Summing up the last few years feels next to impossible, other than to say that we have all
experienced a reckoning: around the environment, health, race, feminism, patriarchal
systems, and endless other areas of daily life. Kimbra has gone through her own series of
reckonings — both on a macro and micro scale — since the release of her third album, 2018’s
Primal Heart. Today, the New Zealand-born experimental pop performer and two-time
Grammy award winner has turned a corner, both personally and professionally.

Kimbra channels all of this into her forthcoming fourth studio album, A Reckoning. Over the
course of 10 tracks, exclusively co-produced by Son Lux’s Ryan Lott, Kimbra world-builds a
space of sonic grandeur while simultaneously mining the depths of her life and the myriad
events catalyzing change on a global scale. “What’s that moment just before you break?”
Kimbra says of the album’s title. “To me, that’s the reckoning. The moment where you decide
how you will react. Where you will channel your energy. This has been my journey:
learning how to understand that moment better. I also wanted to explore themes of
femininity. What it means to me to be a woman in my 30s now and how I’m learning to assert

Kimbra adds. “We’re in a reckoning around spirit, race, our earth and how people walk in the
world with a sense of conscience. I wanted to have something to say in my work that spoke to
that shift we’re all experiencing.”

Ironically, Kimbra’s work on A Reckoning began pre-pandemic. Touring with Son Lux in 2018,
Kimbra began writing with Lott. Together, they began looking through her demos, some recent
and some that she’d been holding on to for nearly a decade. “Very early on, I could tell that it
was going to be really exciting to work with him,” Kimbra says. When COVID-19 hit in early
2020, Kimbra buckled down and focused more than ever on her music and worked with Lott
remotely to keep developing what would become A Reckoning. Soon, she finished the album in
Upstate, New York where she settled for 2 years during the pandemic.

“It was a very new way for me to make a record,” Kimbra says of recording remotely. “In a way,
it was kind of fun. I work a lot on my own; I need to have my solitude with music. It gave me that
space to work in a way that I don’t always get when I’m always in the room with the producer.”
Setting the stage for Kimbra’s new chapter is the vulnerable album opener “Save Me.” Over
tip-toeing, minor-chord keys, Kimbra lays out her worst fears as she contends with the demise of
a long-term relationship: “I’m the accident waiting to happen, it’s just a matter of time.” As “Save
Me” builds with a slow-stepping beat and layered harmonies, she explores how two internal
realities can be happening at once: “I’ve got the money to take care of myself/ But I spend my
time on suffering.”

“I was in a terribly vulnerable time of my life when ‘Save Me’ emerged,” Kimbra says, adding: “I
wanted to be rescued by my relationship at the time. At the time, I was learning about
codependency and I thought, ‘What would it be like to write a song that was not painting myself
in this great light of like, ‘I’m a strong woman’ but actually to be super honest about how unsure
and fragile I feel a lot of the time? What would it look like for me to write a song saying out loud
the thing I’m most scared to say?”

The pace picks up on the quick-footed electronic cut “Replay,” which features Kimbra’s icy
vocals over a propulsive beat and stabbing synths.
Scolding herself for going back to old relationship photos and other trails of evidence, Kimbra
captures the push-pull in intellectually knowing what you should do to get over someone but
flipping through your camera roll anyway: “What’s the matter with my brain?/ I’m master of my
domain / What you doing in my head?/ Can’t stop the replay.”

“I’m interested in the things that are behind anger and compulsive tendencies,” she explains of
“Replay.” “I wanted to make a song that depicted two sides of my internal experience, one is
chaotic but the other is very in control, introspective and calm.’’

“The song is about the experience of replaying constant memories,” Kimbra continues.
“There’s this movie going around in my head of all the beautiful times. But there’s also an
inability to let go. Hanging onto the pain made me feel like this person was still in my life.
There was an addictive quality to hanging on to the pictures, even though I knew it was time to
let them go.”

A Reckoning is likewise the most sonically autonomous Kimbra has ever been, finding
influence in both industrial sounds and minimalist production. “Some of the ballads are very
contemplative and vocally raw compared to my other records,” she observes. “This record
definitely is a lot more of me in my solitude.”

Ultimately, Kimbra hopes listeners will find catharsis and connection on A Reckoning, whether
they are contending with change in their own lives or processing shifts in the world around them.
“We need anger to fuel protest,” Kimbra concludes. “When used in service of the ego or to
cause harm, it’s extremely destructive and at the heart of so much violence and hardship
in our world. But it’s also a life-force, and when channeled toward good, it’s the heart of
protest and positive change. What would it be like for me to explore these things in
depth? My records are my therapy, and hopefully this will give others permission to move
through that in their own lives.”