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The Lincolnian

The Student News Site of Lincoln High School

The Lincolnian

The Student News Site of Lincoln High School

The Lincolnian

The Adventures of an American Gurl ; A Review of Kilo Kish’s ‘American Gurl’

Innovative or messy?

STOCKTON – On March 25, 2022, Lakisha Kimberly Robinson, artistically known as Kilo Kish, released her second self-released album, American Gurl, a 14-track synth-pop album infused with elements of both hip hop and indie rock.  This album ventures from the singer’s usual genre of contemporary R&B and she has cited performing live as her reasoning behind the drastic change, saying she wanted to create music that matched the trajectory of her life.

American Gurl is a concept album that covers the topic of consumerism, with Robinson staging the album as a retro arcade game allowing her to switch genre and sneak social commentary into upbeat and infectious pop songs.  “Do you see me?/ Lost my face in the TV,” Robinson robotically chants on TV Baby V.2 (Latch Key March). “You want it/I got it/This soul is/A bargain,” Robinson raps over ad-libs provided by Vince Staples on New Tricks: Art, Aesthetics, and Money.

The opener and closer of the album, two skits, Play and Continue? are there to set up the project and explain the retro video game effects littered throughout the record.  Play opens the album with a group of girls approaching the retro arcade game, American Gurl, which serves as the world the songs of this album take place in, and the girls eagerly wanting to play the game, the track ends with a 8-bit sound effect fading into the next song.

The first official song and second track on the album, American Gurl, is the most straightforward pop song of the entire project featuring a catchy hook and horn-like synths paired with a marching sound effect in some parts of the song.  Lyrically, the song is about outgrowing a person who constantly holds you back, and the only way you can achieve your goals is to remove them from your life. “Who are you, baby?/Who are you keeping around?/But I’m changing places/So I can’t see you anymore,” Robinson sings persistently throughout American Gurl.  In the music video for the song, Robinson, dressed in an metallic astronaut suit, is alone on a desert planet and as the video progresses she desperately tries to cling to any forms of life on this planet, with her never truly finding it.

Death Fantasy, the third song on the album is led by atmospheric synths and echoey percussion that when coupled with Robinson’s drawling vocals evokes a feeling of floating in outer space.  Lyrically, the song is about the freeing feeling that Robinson believes comes along with death and how she is slowly losing her sense of self.  “Death of my hustle/my trajectory/My style and my lane/That flagrant look on your face,” Robinson drones on Death Fantasy.  In the music video for the song, Robinson, wearing an American flag dress, roams aimlessly around an apartment complex, with her movements eventually settling into mania and her frantically spinning in the complex’s courtyard, the video ends with her throwing up gold coins, symbolizing the way consumers take as much as they can even if they don’t need it.

Track 4, Distractions III: Spoiled Rotten, is made up of robotic synths and aggressive percussion instruments.  Lyrically, the song leans heavily into the concept of the album and talks about how consumers never truly feel like they have enough and continue to ask for more and more and more until there is no more to give.  “What will it take to satisfy?/Every single day to satisfy?/Kneel down, pray to satisfy?” Robinson whispers slowly on Distractions III: Spoiled Rotten.

The fifth track on American Gurl, No Apology!, is reminiscent of a synth-pop song ripped straight from an 80s horror movie.  Lyrically, the song is about being unapologetic about wanting more and achieving your aspirations no matter what you need to do in order to reach it.  “Oh no, oh no/Who apologizes?/No apologizing here (For me, are you looking at me?/I don’t need to say sorry,” Robinson sings on No Apology!

Bloody Future, the sixth track on the album, much like No Apology!, is a 80s era, synth-pop song, leaning more heavily into the horror movie soundtrack sound.  Lyrically, the song is about the overall impending doom that comes along with acknowledging what the future can become, bloody, crazy, and vicious.  “We’re blowing up/I saw it deep in the screen/Cruel world, mammal or machine/Can’t stop that fire burning,” Robinson sings mechanically on Bloody Future.  In the music video for Bloody Future, Robinson lives a seemly normal life in a quiet home with the exception of her lover who is a robot, as the video progresses we find that Robinson is slowly but surely becoming more and more dependant on her lover with the video seemly ending with the implication that her lover is leaving her.

Track 7, Choice Cowboy, begins with a distorted guitar loop and muffled breakbeat percussion before exploding into a cacophony of sound with the percussion and drums becoming more prominent and there being an added crashing sounds and orchestral arrangements sprinkled throughout the song.  Lyrically, the song is about escaping somewhere that you don’t belong whether that be your home, hometown, job, etc.  Robinson uses the metaphor of running to symbolize one’s escape from a life they feel is separate from their own.  “Finally found my way to get out/Finally found my place from the ground/This town ain’t me, I can tell/It’s three strikes, and I’m out of there,” Robinson sings on Choice Cowboy.

The eight track on American Gurl, Attention Politician, is brought in with distorted synths and percussion reminiscent of an 8-bit video game and as the song progress the sounds become more and more distorted, eventually ending in a full out instrumental made up of arcade sounding sound effects in distorted 8-bit synths.  Lyrically, Attention Politician is about doing things for all the wrong reasons, the attention and validation of others, especially someone who you so desperately want to be in your life, and how it is hard to come to grips with the fact that it’s hard to change who you are deep inside.  “So do you think about me?/Do you ever think?/What do you think about me?/Do you ever think?” Robinson sings desperately on Attention Politician.

New Tricks: Art, Aesthetics, and Money, the ninth track on the album is the most hip hop inspired song on the album with Robinson rapping over a heavy hitting drum beat and industrial sounding synths.  Lyrically, the song is about the business world and the ever present pressure that the workers are under to adapt rapidly in order to keep up with the expectation set by high ups.  “Congeniality is a basis for content (Uh-huh)/Peddling narcissism wrapped in self-love and progress/(Yeah) You want it, I got/This soul is a bargain (I know you want it)/America, the land of pretty people and monsters,” Robinson raps stoically on New Tricks: Art, Aesthetics, and Money.

Track 10, TV Baby V.2 (Latch Key March), is sonically jarring with distorted melodic keys paired with Robinson’s dissonant voice and off beat drums.  Lyrically, the song is about losing yourself a little each day as you watch as people on the TV live the life you desire to have.  “Yeah, yeah (Do you see me?)/Lost my face in the TV/Yeah, yeah (Can you see me?)/Lost my face in the TV,” Robinson sings unmelodiously on TV Baby V.2 (Latch Key March).

The eleventh track on American Gurl, On the Outside (Jason’s Song), begins with the sound of distorted organs, horn-like synths, bouncy drums, and even orchestral arrangements at some points.  Lyrically, the song is about feeling lost and as if you are no longer in control of your life after losing someone who kept you grounded, this song is the most personal to Robinson as it is about the death of her long time best friend, Jason.  “I hit the ground/Can’t tell my left, my right/Can’t tell my up or down,” Robinson chants on Track 11, On the Outside (Jason’s Song).

Super KO Love, the penultimate track on the album, is the most rock leaning song on the project with electric guitar sounding synths and live drums being the most prominent instruments in the instrumental.  Lyrically, the song is about a person on the journey of self-discovery and personal growth, at the beginning Robinson sings about how she doesn’t believe she possesses the ability to love genuinely and throughout the song she slowly learns that she in fact has the ability to love truly and genuinely.  “Said you’re gonna be a “bridge builder”/My god, I don’t think I possess/That super kind of love,” Robinson sings in Super KO Love.

The final song on the album and track 13, Intelligent Design, is led by airy synths and organ sounds paired with the same live drums from the previous song.  Lyrically, the song explores themes of religion and trusting whatever higher power that is out there and learning that a lot of things that happen in life are not within your control and that a lot of things don’t have answers because we as a society can’t be the ones to make sense of something created by a higher being.  “O ye, nation of high people/Looking through their little peephole/Blaring bulls–t from their steeple/Glaring truth, and still can’t reach you,” Robinson chants on the final song on the album Intelligent Design.

The final track on the album, Continue?, shows the aftermath of the final song, with the American Gurl game ending and the girls becoming upset believing that there’s no way the game could have ended so abruptly, this symbolizes the theme of the album, consumerism.  The girls wanted more even though there was no more to give, so once they bled the game dry they discarded it and passed it off as broken.

Aesthetically, American Gurl feels like a shiny new phone wrapped in plastic and covered completely in brightly colored price tags, fighting intensely for your attention.  The album manages to grab your attention while not also being very in your face.  The instrumental arrangements and songwriting on this album are highly exceptional for what in some people’s eyes would be your average, run of the mill pop album.  With that being said this album is full of very high highs and rarely ever loses your attention and should be way more appreciated in the eyes of the mainstream.


Favorite Song(s) – American Gurl, No Apology!, Attention Politician, Super KO Love, Intelligent Design


Least Favorite Song(s) – TV Baby V.2 (Latch Key March)


Album Rating – 8.8/10

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About the Contributor
Dennis Hopkins
Dennis Hopkins, Staff Writer
Dennis Hopkins is a senior at Lincoln High School and this is his second semester in the Journalism class. In his free time he enjoys creative/narrative writing and listening to music. He writes often about music and voices his opinions on the album.

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