Kate Nash released a new song and a drastic new musical direction last week; it got a very mixed reception other than from the NME, who loved it. But was their appreciation genuine or just a cynical attempt to get publicity?
She’s been called ‘musical Marmite’, ‘mini Allen’ and now Kate Nash has attempted to reinvent herself and reveal the nascent “Riot grrrl” within, via her latest musical offering “Under-Estimate The Girl” (UETG.) It has been universally panned and from an artistic point of view not without good reason, because let’s face it, it’s really not very good at all. There are those who will state, quite rightly, that great female artists are those whom push boundaries, constantly reinvent themselves, take risks and pay little heed to public opinion. Which is all well and good, but such risks do expose you to the very real danger that you will fall flat on your face. In Kate’s case we can’t quite decide if releasing such an utterly dreadful song is a serious statement of artistic intent or one designed to provoke some sort of debate on gender.
Given the reaction on Twitter, which has been often brutal and ill conceived, it certainly has shown that sexism is very much alive and kicking. Kate’s own views on discrimination are often sage, genuine and well thought out, and it’s a woeful indictment of society that she’s considered “outspoken” when she expresses perfectly sensible views around gender and equality. Sadly the song itself reveals that Kate is no Patti Smith, in very much the same way that Tony Parsons reveals on a daily basis that he is no Oscar Wilde (or even the lefts answer to Richard Littlejohn). In essence UETG sounds horribly contrived and lumbers about, lacking both direction and guile, before, like Grawp in the Harry Potter books, it collapses on it’s arse in an undignified heap.
However one can’t help but feel that it’s the NME’s transparent greasing of the hype machine that has fuelled the flames of rage, perhaps more so than the unremitting awfulness of the song. Artists release bad songs everyday of the week, big deal, get over it, but the NME’s elevation of it to some sort of epoch defining zenith in the history of popular culture is so fatuous it beggars belief.
According to the NME it “out-punks punk” as their tedious obsession with comparing something that quite clearly isn’t punk with punk, thereby bizarrely making it more punk than punk, scales new heights of absurdity.
When they bracket it alongside ” the Monkees making ‘Head’, Lou Reed making ‘Metal Machine Music’ and Paul McCartney doing ‘Temporary Secretary’” you really are left thinking, ok, this has to be Chris Morris channelling Paul Morely right ? It’s exactly this sort of absurd hyperbole that gets people’s backs up and leads the more oak-headed to take to twitter and attack the artist.
The article in question is like a stream of rambling tight, red trousered hipster consciousness, tossing around meaningless fuck- witted phrases like “there was nothing punk about punk. “ I mean really, what the actual fuck does that even mean please? Oh wait, it means the square root of absolutely fuck all and was probably, in all eventuality, dreamt up in conjunction with Ms Nash’s PR people over a nice power lunch at IPC Towers. “This song is in a line of great moments in pop” erm no mate, it isn’t and making a statement delivered with such absolute certainty does not make it any more convincing than David Cameron saying “and it is right to do so.” As ever the NME’s attention seeking tabloid shtick means they completely miss the irony when they burble that actually, not liking a Kate Nash tune really shows just how conservative our taste is these days. Oh do fuck off !
The NME , in its increasingly desperate attempts to be seen as relevant in the digital age seem to be embracing the sort of hysterical overstatement that makes your average Daily Mail editorial seem restrained and considered. But of course, rather like Jeremy Clarkson, who’s paid to have controversial weekly opinions to a deadline, one imagines the article in question has been written with a similar remit ie/ to stoke up debate, piss people off and thereby get “hits.” Because they surely can’t be serious? Can they ? It’s a shame that a more interesting discussion has been side stepped in favour of simply irritating people.
But that’s enough about Kate and her new direction, because if you thought UETG was bad, it is nothing, we repeat NOTHING, compared to the earth shattering news that Viva Brother (formerly Brother, formerly Kill The Arcade and formally Wolf I Am) are back, having reinvented themselves as a drippy synth pop band called Lovelife. The results are, as you might expect, deeply depressing and yet conversely unintentionally hilarious, and would make a Hurts tribute band fronted by Westlife sound like Big Black. Twitter we suspect, will be on the case.
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