So maybe you’ve heard about Karmin. They’re a pop-music duo, and they’re engaged to each other. They’re very talented and very stylish and very cute.
But are they as good as they should be?
When Karmin starting getting attention, they were awesome. That was last year—when they posted homemade videos of themselves covering hip-hop hits like “Look At Me Now” and “Super Bass.” It was crazy to see these Brooklyn-esque white people absolutely destroying rap songs.
In case you’ve forgotten those magical times (or missed them altogether), watch their take on “Look At Me Now:”
Sure, it’s gimmicky to see singer-rapper Amy Heidemann tearing into Busta’s flow, but Karmin transcends the gimmick with their talent.
Obviously, they got a record deal. They even got to perform on SNL in February, almsot three months before their first album arrived. (It gets released later this month.) That seemed a little preemptive, but what can you do? You can’t stop cool.
Except you can. Because now that Karmin has traded covers for original material, they’ve also traded surprises for flat predictability. Here’s the video for their new single “Brokenhearted:”
I realize that once they got sucked into the industry machine, Karmin probably had to do whatever they were told. Maybe they were required to record “California Super Bass Gurls” whether they liked it or not. Still, though, it’s disappointing. (It’s the same story with their other recent single, “Crash Your Party,” which is such a Jessie J. song that Jessie J. might want to sue.)
And don’t get me wrong: I love the current pop formula. I’ve stopped resisting Katy Perry. I’ve got a spiritual tattoo with Jessie J’s face on it. But I’ve already got those ladies. I wish Karmin would take their obvious talent and respond to those acts instead of just imitating them. Their cleverness is what got my attention, and that’s what will keep it.
What do you think? Was Karmin better on YouTube, or is this their moment?
Mark Blankenship has written about pop music for NPR and The New York Times, and you can follow him on Twitter at @IAmBlankenship. He’s waiting to become a viral video sensation.