Review Summary: neither furthers Kate Nash’s pop credentials nor embraces a lasting adult audience. What’s worse is that it has took three years to muster up this poor collection of songs and for that reason will be a genuine disappointment.
In 2007, apart from Lily Allen, Q and Brit award winning singer song writer Kate Nash had little competition for her quirky kitchen sink dramas. Her debut, “Made Of Bricks” reached the top of the UK album charts, and the catchy “Foundations” was a staple on every pop station throughout Europe. In 2010, the musical landscape has changed dramatically, with what seems the strongest ever assault on the teen pop market by original female artists (Florence Welch, Natasha Khan, La Roux, Little Boots, Ladyhawke etc), it seems Nash needs to up her game just to compete. “My Best Friend Is You” shows a more edgy, snarkier bite, and is distinctly less fun than its predecessor, as the singer ponders over jealous relationship problems, female liberation, infidelity and rape. Her lyrics range from vicious rant to year ten playground gossip with no concern for repetition when desperate to make a point to her current beau, The Cribs Ryan Jarman (“I just love you more” she blurts 16 times).
Along with ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler there’s an attempt to offer up a more diverse musical backdrop, and the 60s girl group stomp of “Kiss That Grrrl” and leadoff single “Do-wah-doo” sound fairly convincing until one realises the vapid lyrics (“everybody thinks that girl's so fine, everybody's like "I'll make her mine", everyone thinks she's a bit of all right, but I think that she's not so nice”). When she really gets to vent her spleen on the spoken word “Mansion Song” there’s an undignified and stressful persona yet revealed by the sweet looking 22 year old. “I wanna be ***ed and then rolled over, ‘cos I’m an independent woman of the 21st century” she barks with little thought of consequence to pop convention, and a vague air of desperation as she sees that the only way to grab attention is by outpouring every line of vulgarity from her limited arsenal of vocabulary (“Strip, strip, strip, and shag, ***, get ***ed in drag”). The monologue then launches into a jungle drum and vocal diversion that makes Anabella Lwin’s “I Want Candy” sound light years ahead in both quality and cool.
Nash’s effort for alt/rock street credibility on the stark, tuneless “I Just Want You More”, shows that Polly Harvey, Karen O, or even Yoko Ono have nothing to fear. So too, Regina Spektor’s reverence will never be usurped, judging by the simplistic piano plonk of “Pickpocket”. The tired, child like ballads “I’ve Got A Secret” and “I Hate Seagulls” are delivered with an equally luke-warm, almost weary resolve. If there are positives to be gained from this collection then the Los Campesinos! styled punchy folk/punk of “Don’t You Want To Share The Guilt"” and “Take Me To A Higher Place” at least have the necessary level of urgency and engagement to the listener.
“My Best Friend Is You” neither furthers Kate Nash’s pop credentials nor embraces a lasting adult audience. What’s worse is that it has took three years to muster up this poor collection of songs and for that reason will be a genuine disappointment to all but her most loyal fans.