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Released: 2018

“Top of the World” by Kimbra is a dynamic pop anthem that pulls back the curtain on the relentless pursuit of success and the dizzying heights of fame. It’s a tale steeped in ambition, inner battle, and the often harsh reality hidden behind the veneer of stardom.

Opening with “On my knees, all my life I’ve been sold a chase/Hustling hope for dollars, try cope a day”, Kimbra lays bare the gruelling grind of getting by day-to-day while nursing loftier dreams. The phrase “Hustling hope for dollars” particularly encapsulates the struggle of exchanging personal aspirations for financial security – a clear nod to the relentless grind that artists often face in their rise to stardom.

The chorus, “I’m on top, I’m on top/I’m on top of the world” serves as both a triumphant proclamation of Kimbra’s ascent and a subtle reveal of the loneliness which that summit brings. The repeating phrase “I’m on top” carries a melodic hook, yet the surrounding lyrics subtly hint at a darker, less glamorous side to success.

“See me run, see me run/See me run with the girls” and “See me up, see me up/With diamonds and pearls” speak to the pressures of maintaining a public persona and high-flying lifestyle, while potentially struggling with imposter syndrome. These lines cleverly depict the double-edged sword of fame where one is constantly under public scrutiny.

As Kimbra sings “And it’s crazy, undefined, brand new/It’s amazing, I got high on a view/But tonight, I’m feeling tired and alone/Dear Lord, I hope we didn’t go wrong,” she lays bare the emotional toll of fame. The high she gets from her success ‘view’ is punctured by solitude and doubt, showing us that the ‘top of the world’ might not be quite what it’s cracked up to be.

In the compelling bridge, “I think I’m winning/Feels like I might/Feels like I’m in it/Feels like a god,” Kimbra dangles the seductive allure of success, defined by an intoxicating sense of omnipotence, but quickly contrasts this with the line “They built me up to be beaten.” This speaks to the fickle nature of fame and the intense scrutiny stars face, as they’re often erected as idols only to be cynically torn down.

In closing, Kimbra repeats a key line from the song’s onset: “On my knees, all my life I’ve been sold a chase/Hustling hope for dollars, try cope a day”, nostalgically harking back to the struggle she began with and reminding us that no matter how far she’s ascended, she’s remained grounded. However, the addition of “Uphill I’m winning/Not concerned if I’m cheating/They built me up to be beaten” indicates a hardened resolve to keep fighting despite the odds and potential pitfalls of fame.

Ultimately, “Top of the World” paints a vivid, nuanced portrait of the personal and professional struggles faced on the path to and at the pinnacle of success. It underscores the triumphant joy and harsh realities of fame, reminding us that the ‘top of the world’ is far more complex than it may initially seem.

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