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Bic Runga

Bic Runga Beautiful Collision

Bic Runga Album Reviews

New Zealand’s Bic Runga has only released four albums of original material, starting with her 1997 debut Drive, but despite her limited output, she reigns supreme as the queen of New Zealand pop music. Runga comes from a unique cultural background; her father is Maori, and her mother Chinese-Malaysian, and they met when her mother was performing as a lounge singer in Malaysia. They moved to Christchurch, New Zealand, where they had three daughters; Runga’s older sister Boh also found national success as the leader of Stellar.

Runga burst onto the New Zealand scene at 21 – her debut album Drive was enormous, going seven times platinum, and the title track was a demo that she recorded at the age of 19. Drive often has a sparse sound and long running times; and doesn’t stand as her finest work in hindsight, even though it showcased her sweet voice and hit the mainstream. Runga went for a fuller, poppy sound with 2002’s more satisfying Beautiful Collision, while 2005’s Birds was acoustic and jazz influenced.

With her smooth voice, Bic Runga’s a little too safe and adult contemporary for my liking, even though she’s an obvious talent. But she belongs in a conversation of significant New Zealand musicians, continuing to grow as an artist, and elegantly walking the line between the mainstream and artistic integrity.

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Bic Runga Drive

Drive – Bic Runga

1997, 5.5/10. Bic Runga’s debut album was released at the age of 21; it was a huge hit in New Zealand but she was still developing as an artist.

Bic Runga Beautiful Collision

Beautiful Collision – Bic Runga

2002, 8.5/10. A charming album of sophisticated pop, with enough whimsy and personality to be interesting.

Bic Runga Birds

Birds – Bic Runga

2005, 7.5/10. Birds is hushed and sombre, a eulogy to Runga’s father whose passing provided the backdrop to these songs.

Bic Runga Belle

Belle – Bic Runga

Belle 2011, 7.5/10 Belle has a light pop sound that often sounds straight from the 1960s; the title track is a … Continue Reading Belle – Bic Runga

Close Your Eyes – Bic Runga

Close Your Eyes 2015, not yet rated Runga’s covers album has an idiosyncratic selection of songs from Kanye West, The … Continue Reading Close Your Eyes – Bic Runga

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