Album Review: Kate Nash – My Best Friend is You

By on Thursday, 29th April 2010 at 12:00 pm

Ah, Kate Nash, Kate Nash, Kate Nash. She has suddenly got all serious, hasn’t she? You know – cut her hair all edgy, got a super hip boyfriend in the form of Ryan Jarman of The Cribs, and spent the last few months spouting words about how she has “changed direction”, claiming to have gone 60s, punk, and Riot Grrrl all at once. Not bad for that lass who used to sit at her piano with a cup of tea and sing about lemons being bitter and such. So. Does her second album, ‘My Best Friend is You’ (hey thanks Kate), actually live up to all this gossip? Well…

Good news. Miss. Nash has, surprisingly, grown up quite a bit with her latest musical serving. The album propels off the ground with ‘Paris’. A mass of chirpy strings introduce a notably Chocolate Rain stylee piano riff (YouTube this if you have no idea what I’m talking about), before revealing the sunny harmonies of the chorus which are missing that awful LDN kick accent (yay!). Track two, ‘Kiss that Grrrl’, the ultimate jealousy anthem (“I don’t like it how she makes you laugh so much. How when you talk, that you touch. She is instantly more pretty and more interesting than me”), is similarly pleasing. It kicks off with some Ronettes stylee instrumental before leading into fun, hop scotch vocals. Sadly, the cringe worth lyrics remain – “I bet she doesn‘t like to eat. I bet her feet don‘t even stink”.

There are some bad moments. ‘I Just Love You More’, for example, is an embarrassing attempt by Nash to be experimental. It’s an epic fail, with Kate just repeating the title over and over again to the backing of grungy riffs. She is no Yoko Ono, and this ‘avant-garde’ number ends up sounding more comedic than artistic. Similarly, ‘Mansion Song’ begins with a spoken word recital – something along the lines of poetry you hear at an Open Mic Night, and try to not laugh at. The repeated curses only make Nash sound like she is trying (and failing) to be shocking, and perhaps even hoping via such words, she’ll shed those younger indie fans that clung onto her a few years back. Luckily, however, her attempts to be ‘weird’ are pulled off a little better when it comes to ‘I’ve Got a Secret’. This track follows the same structure as ‘I Just Love You More’- repeating the title over and over and all that lark – but the lack of screams and moans, instead replaced with a floaty vox, make this a lot more enjoyable.

Another highlight is ‘Doo Wah Do’. With it’s Spector stylin’ harmonies and surf riffs, this is an awesome slice of pop which I am sure you have heard acquainting the radio waves of late. While we’re here, for those who enjoy vintage Nash – never fear – you can still find her older, silly, sweet pop in the form of ‘Later On’ and ‘Pickpocket’, with their skipping piano riffs and childish-come-endearing vocals. The juvenility reaches a peak, however, with ‘I Hate Seagulls’. Undoubtedly one of the worst tracks on the album, it sees Nash merely reciting a list of her pet-hates over an acoustic. “I hate burning my finger on the toaster and I hate nits. I hate falling over, I hate grazing my knee. I hate picking off the scab a little bit too early.”. Yes, Kate, and so does most of the planet. However, we do not write songs about it, have the audacity to release it and finally, earn mega bucks from it. But each to their own.

Still, not to end on a negative note. I genuinely have come out impressed with this album (yes, I admit, I pre judged this record). It’s filled with a fireball of energy from start to finish – that is undeniable. Similarly, Kate has definitely embraced the whole direction change stuff with heart. Perhaps, a bit too much. She has ended up taking about 1000 musical routes, to the point this album ends up being a genre pick-a-mix. She does some well (the whole retro doo wop stuff), yet others prove a shambles (the whole avante-garde end of things). Still, credit to her, I guess, and at least there are no ‘Foundations’ on here that should kill all our ears for the coming years.

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