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Song You Need to Know: Hybrid Rose, ‘Hugs N Kisses’

The Auckland artist coolly recalls the dazzling electropop of the late 2000s on her new single

Hybrid Rose


Do you remember the dazzling chaos of the pop world around the end of the 2000s? (If you do, you may be entitled to financial compensation.)

Kesha was dominating the charts with her bratty party-starting anthems, while Lady Gaga was still very much in her “Paparazzi” era, duets with timeless crooner Tony Bennett still a few years off.

It’s an era that Hybrid Rose clearly likes. The Auckland artist – real name Rose Windeler – coolly recalls the electropop of that time on her new single, “Hugs N Kisses”, a cut that could easily have fit somewhere on Kesha’s debut album, Animal.

“Hugs N Kisses” is a slick bop, a sickeningly sweet song that sometimes dares to spill into parodic territory, but Rose is too pristine an artist to allow this to happen. Because “Hugs N Kisses” is fully her, the sound of an artist that’s been refining their particular style of pop music over the course of five albums.

And Rose is already preparing for her sixth album, too, despite just releasing Hyperkunt last year: “Hugs N Kisses” is the lead single on the forthcoming Mutation, set for release this Halloween.

“”Hugs N Kisses” is about being so obsessed with someone that it drives you crazy,” says Rose. “Love can change you, in any or every single possible way. I really wanted the sound to embody the 2008-2010 electropop style. It’s such a significant sound that’s grimy and sexy. I wanted to go in a popgirl rockstar direction, so there had to be some filthy synths and poppy chords.”

The lyrics bring that era to life, with references to “flip phones” and a “special ringtone.” And Rose knows when to be playful, carefully and alluringly drawling just one word in the line, “I’m about to come over” (no guesses which word it is).

Between Rose’s new single and Theia’s thrilling “Crucified By U”, Kiwis have really been spoiled for choice with brashly unapologetic pop anthems this year so far.

“After my last project, I sorta found a nice middle man between what people enjoy about me as an artist and what I like to do creatively. This song and overall vibe feels like a step above everything I’ve done so far, and “peak artistry,”” Rose adds.

Hybrid Rose’s “Hugs N Kisses” is out now via Unstable Records.