Right, let’s establish some basic foundations before we start this discussion, shall we?
Firstly, I am not a fan of Kate Nash. Not at all, actually. In fact her previous stuff seemed like pretty tedious girlie piano pop to me, at a time when the ‘quirky female singer-songwriter’ was in danger of becoming almost as much of a cliche as four skinny white boys in leather jackets wielding guitars.
Secondly, I don’t think that this is a particularly great song, and in fact a few things about it rather irritate me. So don’t go thinking I am holding this up as being all that fucking amazing, because I am not.
Why establish these caveats then? Because it seems like something of a polarised debate has sprung up around this, and given I am going to be praising her I think I will probably come across as a big fan who thinks this is amazing, just because I am not on the other team and relentlessly bashing her. And that is not the case. I am not a fan of hers in general, and I think this song is no more than okay.
What I do think it is, though, is fucking ballsy, and very interesting (in the good way, not in the ‘oh yes it’s very, er… interesting‘ way). It is exactly what people like Kate Nash bloody should be doing, and it speaks very well for her indeed that she has the guts to do it and almost no-one else does. She has a name, so she has a bit of leeway to have a go at stuff, to experiment and to take chances, but pretty much everyone with her level of status and general awareness in the music industry plays it inordinately safe, so as not to risk losing the audience and acceptance they’ve generally had to fight so hard to attain.
That’s fair enough, and it would be incredibly naive to criticise people for doing that. Getting anywhere in this business is fucking hard work, and to risk throwing it all away to fanny about with something weird involves putting an awful lot of very hard-earned gains very much on the line.
That’s no way to create great art though, which thrives at least as much on risk-taking, exploration, uncertainty and novelty as it does on the fine-honing of particular skills. You can say that this isn’t great art of course, but that’s really not the point. It’s the creative process, and I admire Nash’s approach.
The other thing, of course, is that for all Kate Nash wasn’t in any sense, to the best of my knowledge anyway, a manufactured pop star, she was still very much a product of the professional, big business entertainment industry. That’s all well and good – and entirely necessary when dealing with someone who became as big as she did – but the processes of that industry are involved and slow.
Sometimes, however, you just need to have a go at shit. Try something out, throw it out there, experiment, produce a sketch rather than a masterpiece. Creativity can hugely benefit from spontaneity and experimentation, and from being loose rather than meticulous.
So for all the most screeched parts of the vocal sound far too contrived, and for all I don’t know if this is a song I will be listening to again, I am really impressed that she’s had the courage to fire something like this out there and stir people up a bit, and I am also glad to see someone at her level of the music industry not giving a fuck and having a go at something, irrespective of how little it matches people’s expectations of her.
Nice one Kate, well fucking done.