NPR logo First Watch: Haley Bonar, 'Kismet Kill'

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First Watch: Haley Bonar, 'Kismet Kill'

Haley Bonar's songs marry fizzy arrangements to cuttingly quotable observations about love, disappointment, identity and the curdling of youth. Her new album, Impossible Dream, finds the underrated Minnesotan in top form, mixing darkness and light with a deft touch.

The video for "Kismet Kill," in which a party-loving prom queen stares down a life that can never compare to the glories of high school, captures many of Bonar's considerable gifts: Like her music, it pairs shimmery beauty and indelible imagery with an undercurrent of bleakness that can be almost suffocating. As always, "Kismet Kill" finds Bonar packing a cocktail of mixed emotions into bold, economical phrasing — "I was impossible when I was beautiful," she sings in the chorus — while never letting self-laceration stand in the way of a good earworm.

Impossible Dream comes out August 5 via Gndwire.