Song, by Toad


Kate Nash is Doing it Right

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.


18 witty ripostes to Kate Nash is Doing it Right

  1. avatar

    Right on

  2. avatar

    Well that’s a result, I’m doing dad stuff which involves seeing Kate Nash tomorrow.

    Stick a sax on there and it’s almost ‘I’m a cliche’….by x-ray specs. I bloody well hope the rest of the gig is guitars and shouty

  3. avatar

    Well she did do an X-ray Specs cover for Record Store Day didn’t she.

  4. avatar

    didn’t know that…*smug*

  5. avatar


    “…some basic foundations”

    I geddit… i see what you did there!

  6. avatar

    He’s being hanging out with industry types Dylan it was bound to happen..

  7. avatar

    Isn’t she going out with Ryan from the Cribs? He might have had a positive influence on her – they’re an ok band in my opinion. She’s lost a lot of weight – which might suggest more compliance with expectations of pop stars. Or she might have had severe food poisoning. I agree though, this is far better than the mockney cup of tea songs she used to do.

  8. Would like to hear her new album now, hope its as angry and forthright as this track. Also, did anyone see her “Rock School for Girls” video, its quite amusing.

  9. avatar
    rampant chutney consumerism

    Matthew, not Toad the other one.

    what are you talking about? she’s lost weight? her boyfriend is in an ok band?

    you being funny or serious cos i’m on the verge of being annoyed.

  10. avatar

    And you wouldn’t like him when he’s annoyed.

  11. avatar

    He’s just suggesting that she may have been more drawn into industry bollocks than it might look.

  12. avatar

    Sorry, but I’m really struggling with the argument that if someone has lost weight it’s because they are being compliant to industry expectations – or had food poisoning. I get that this was meant as a ‘joke’, but it’s actually really depressing that you’d chose to comment on something like that.

    That said, it’s about as well thought out and reasoned as the argument that “a girl has written a good song – it must be her boyfriend’s influence”. And it’s nice to find out that porking out a bit means asserting your indie credentials.

  13. avatar

    I know the song itself may not be the point, but I really struggle to feel anything for this other than it’s a hollow attempt at being punky, with terribly contrived screechy vocals.

    Being far too cynical about these things, I don’t think there is much risk factor in it either – wherever there’s a buzz, there’s often a shrewd marketing idea at work.

  14. avatar

    I suppose you could make a very cynical argument that stirring up some controversy is as good for her career as anything at the moment. She doesn’t seem like that kind of person though, in particular.

    Her response to the reaction to the song, which she wrote on her personal blog the other day, is nice as well:

    P.S.: Time to put some weight on Bart, your indie cred is fast disappearing.

  15. avatar

    That’s a great blog post.

    I might be turning into a Kate Nash fan.

  16. avatar

    Yep. Still not massively convinced by the song itself, but she seems very cool.

  17. avatar

    “more people should talk about stuff”.

  18. avatar

    I think it’s where I will disagree a little with Gill. Which is unusual!

    I know why it sounds contrived. When I first listened to it, the most screechy parts of the vocals sounded really put-on as well, but the more you read about Nash herself the less it seems that this is the case.

    So it may ring a little hollow or try-hard, and I can sort of see where that’s coming from I guess, but ultimately I think it would be wide of the mark to suggest there was anything less than completely sincere about this.

    Whether you actually enjoy it as a song is a completely different question of course!

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