Warning: This blog post may contradict some of our other blog posts. We make no apology for this. Life is full of contadictions; but add them all up together and as a whole they make a lot more sense.
In 1982, Kevin Rowland and his band Dexy’s Midnight Runners were riding high in the UK singles charts with his Celtic sound of Come On Eileen (that year’s biggest selling single). Seventeen years on Kevin could be seen in drag, heavy make-up, suspenders and covering The Monkees and Whitney Houston on an album called My Beauty. At the time it was reported as only selling five hundred copies (the reality was it sold 20,000 worldwide). Later when Rowland, still in a dress, performed the songs from the same record at the Reading Festival he was pelted with bottles.
It was just one of the many great so called ill-advised changes in direction in pop; history is littered with them. From Bowie’s back to basics rock project Tin Machine to Moby’s thrash metal album Animal Rights.
And we use the word great here to mean just that. Sometimes these moments of apparent career suicide are actually bloody brilliant. (Read on we'll explain why)
Which brings us to Kate Nash, a singer who on the face of it could easily be accused of dumping herself in the bad-idea trash bin. Remember Foundations ? It was a number 2 hit and only held off the top spot by Rihanna. But then remember last years Under-Estimate The Girl ? It found Kate Nash trending on twitter, but mainly because of people tweeting “OMG Kate Nash has committed career suicide.”
But even though we couldn’t stand Under-Estimate the Girl, we think it’s time to defend Nash a little. We think it’s important to have the Kate Nash’s, the Kevin Rowland’s, the Moby’s and the David Bowie’s of the world in pop music. Sure, we may not like everything they’re doing artistically (although hold fire on the Nash album, because actually there’s some songs on it we really like), but without risk takers what would we have? A world that shifts more and more towards the middle ground, the boring, the beige, planet bland where every artist has their personality sucked out of them by corporate media trainers. More and more pop stars end up saying nothing, because either they have nothing to say or they’ve been taught that saying very little is better than saying something with an opinion and risking losing fans / sales. Twitter has fuelled us to become instant judgement haters on anyone who dares to actually have a voice that’s different to our own, whilst a struggling record industry and recession means that the safest card is to play is the blank one both musically and in terms of attitude.
Which is why we really love Kate Nash. Having been dropped by her record label she seems to have adopted a ‘couldn’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks and I’m going to do what I want and have fun with it’ attitude. Her gigs have become a weirdly attractive mix of shouting, swearing, noise, grungey vibes, indie pop and lo-fi surf-rock whilst Nash talks about issues that are important to her such as self-esteem of young girls in a very honest way. Her audience may be smaller, but those who stick around are likely to do so for a longer time; because to get hardcore fans there’s usually something else to attach on to other than just the music. Unfortunately most artists have it sucked out of them as they sign up to the club of the new boring. Career suicide? What would you rather do? Spend your whole life being unhappy with what people expect you to be or just be yourself. We’re pretty sure which route Nash has chosen. She won’t give a shit about what we’ve written here, but we 100% salute her for that. We need more of the likes of Kate Nash in pop.
Kate Nash - Deathproof (Video)