Tag Archives: Kate Nash

Girl Gang

Everyone has that one song (or more) they love and sing along to every time – only to finally look up the lyrics and realize they’re completely different. Not many people then go and make that song with their misheard lyrics as a cover. But that’s what Kate Nash did when she heard the song “Cocaine” by FIDLAR and turned it into “Girl Gang”!

Not much changes other than the name (and every instance of it in the song). It’s a straight up cover, and a great one at that. Definitely makes me want to don my old patch covered jacket, find some brass knuckles, and dare someone to mess with me.

I saw Kate Nash a couple of years ago at the Troubadour here in LA and she actually played this song. She even explained that the song did indeed result from misheard lyrics as I mentioned at the top of this post. She’s a big fan of FIDLAR, an LA based punk band, so much so that her bass actually has their inscription. Or did they give her their bass? I can’t remember exactly. But they’re well-acquainted with each other and she’s even performed on one of their songs.

Anyway, I love what she’s done with the song. It definitely fits in with her current riot grrl style/aesthetic/image. She even turns it into a sort of feminist track. I wish this one had made it onto a single as a B-side.

So it’s common knowledge these days that you should never look at the comments, and yet against my better judgement, I’ve done it anyway! They mainly consist of a three types of people:

  1. People who hate punk
  2. People who hate women
  3. People who miss “the old Kate Nash”

I’m really not sure who to roll my eyes hardest at here. Here is an example of type 1:

“She is trying really hard to sound ‘punk’ which kind of goes against the punk aesthetic, she has a genuinely nice voice and is just pushing really hard to ‘grunge it up'”

Also various disagreeable comments on how she “ruined” the original. Never mind the fact that this is a straight up cover and I’ve heard the original and they’re doing the exact same shouty/screamy thing so I guess you just hate punk – I don’t know what to tell you, Mansplainer McGee. (Yes, we’ve got some bonus mansplaining going on here!) This is just totally ignoring that the voice is an instrument, so she can (and SHOULD) test her range and push her limits and do whatever the fuck she wants which, last I checked, is pretty goddamn punk.

Then we have an example of type 2:

“No soy machista… pero esta canción en mi opinión no queda oara nada bien cantafa con la voz más fina de una mujer. Simplemente no me gusta”

Which basically translates to:

“I’m not sexist … vut in my opinion this song is not at all well sunf with the beautiful voice of a woman. I just do not like it”

I included the typos so you can get the full experience of Manly McWomen-Hater here. Do I need to say anything else? I really could have stopped at “I’m not sexist … vut”. There’s no need to go further.

And finally there’s type 3:

“As of late she’s gotten a little anti-man or something but her previous work is good, she’s awesome not this song. :p”

Here we have a superb example of “I Don’t Understand the Meaning of Feminism”, which is really a bonus to type 3. Yup, Kate Nash hates that fictional male character in her music video for no gosh darn reason! I mean, he looks like such a nice guy! Did anyone who listened to My Best Friend Is You really not see Girl Talk coming? Scratch that, reverse it: Did anyone who listened to Girl Talk not look back at My Best Friend Is You and say to themselves “Huh, guess I should have seen THAT coming”? Go back and listen again and if you don’t like it, you’re more than welcome to listen to Made of Bricks on repeat; your ignorant ass is forbidden from listening to My Best Friend Is You ever again.

Gosh, these are just a few precious gems. What’s that saying again – that every comment on an article about feminism only justifies the need for feminism? We’ve got poetry in motion right here, folks.

Anyway, enjoy the song and just imagine the duder in the video is one of these commenters. Check out the original FIDLAR track and video while you’re at, just for comparison! It’s silly (and NSFW) and it’s got Nick Offerman in it, which works perfectly. I’m off to rally up the girl gang.

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Pumpkin Soup

Hey, everyone! Remember “Oops!…I Did It Again”??? Oh boy, that’s a song I think of when I think of high school. Not that I listened to Britney Spears back then (not that I don’t listen to her now, haha) but it is just one of those many generation-defining pop songs that happened to come out in those years.

I bring it up because I wanted to compare it to Kate Nash’s “Pumpkin Soup.” Super great comparison, because they basically are about the same thing!

“I just want your kiss boy” is the chorus, and was almost the title of the song. It makes it pretty clear what it’s all about. I really enjoy a song that’s upfront about not being about love. That is everything that’s going on here. Listen for the line “Whoops, I think I’ve got too close.” I think it might just be a direct nod to Britney! Kate Nash knew what she was doing when she wrote this song.

I like that it throws off that stereotype that women are generally looking for love and men are generally looking for sex, because it’s clearly the opposite case in this situation. “I hate lookin’ like a fool” she sings about falling in love. “I’m not in love/I just want to be touched” she puts forth candidly later in the song. Yes! Fantastic!

I think the music video works really well for this song too. It’s very colorful and almost Valentine’s Day themed. And over the top cheesy with those giant fluffy white cats. That holiday can be rather cheesy. So can hackneyed expressions of love. When you listen to the song and watch the video, it seems like the lyrics and the visuals are almost at odds with each other. This is all the stuff Kate doesn’t want and yet she’s being forced to face it because this boy thinks that it’s what she does want. See the wedding scene and hear the lyric “I hope that you don’t think I’m unkind.” I love the frankness at the worst possible moment and place.

This is one of my favorite Kate Nash songs. It’s fun, it’s playful, and a little bit coy while being flirtatious. I like it much better than “Oops!…I Did It Again” even if it never reached the same meteoric level of fame. It deserves some credit though! Kate Nash has a talent for making relateable songs. This is one of her best.

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Girl Talk

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When Kate Nash released “Underestimate the Girl,” the single that would precede and define the sound of her third studio album Girl Talk (and coincidentally, preemptively serve as a response to responses to the song itself), the disapproval from some Kate Nash fans – but mostly, I think, casual listeners – came swiftly and without mercy. People were asking questions like “Is this a joke?” and “What happened to the old Kate Nash? :(” Frowny face included.

These people must not have been listening very carefully to her previous album My Best Friend Is You, because if they had been, they would have foreseen Girl Talk as one of the possible outcomes following tracks like “I’ve Got a Secret,” “I Just Love You More,” and, most importantly, “Mansion Song.” (Kate did end up responding fantastically to the criticisms.)

It’s okay to not like Girl Talk. I get it: Some people liked the sweet, relatable indie pop sounds of Made of Bricks and most of My Best Friend Is You. Those albums’ sounds feel like cuddling with your favorite blanket fresh from the dryer. Girl Talk on the other hand is like the old leather jacket from the thrift store with spikes on the shoulders and patches on the body – and maybe it even has that weird thrift store smell too. But what an artist is trying to do with a new sound (even if they’ve clearly explored it before) should not be dismissed because you don’t like it. They still have something to say with their music, and I think it’s always worth it to listen and figure out what that might be.

In the case of Girl Talk, I think it’s Kate Nash casting off the sweet, girl-next-door image and saying a thing or two about her feminist identity. It seems to me like she was tired of standing on the sidelines and wanted to jump into the fray, charting singles be damned. She wanted to make her music something active rather than passive, something to make the listener want to get involved rather than just sit back and enjoy.

I had the pleasure of seeing Kate Nash perform back in May, and I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever seen any artist connect with their fans on such an intimate level. I’d definitely never seen anyone get so chatty with their audience. To me, she’s even more relatable now than she ever was before. Sure, you can always relate to songs like “Foundations,” “Mouthwash,” and “I Hate Seagulls,” but did you ever really feel like it was reciprocal?

Girl Talk grounds itself in the indie-garage-punk sound of the riot grrrl movement of the early 90’s. Definitely a departure from her previous albums, but no one can accuse Kate Nash of losing any passion in the process. Kate’s got just as much personality and moxie as she did before, maybe even more.

The lyrics are just as catchy (and again – relatable) too. I guarantee you’ll be singing and toe-tapping along to “OMYGOD!” It’s one of my favorites, next to “Rap for Rejection,” a far better qualifier for the category of Feminist Anthem than *ahem* some songs perhaps. It’ll make you angry, but it’ll make you want to do something about it too. “Sister” is incredibly heartfelt and poignant (and a touch angsty) – you can practically feel the pain and heartbreak. “Death Proof” (yes, it’s a nod to the Tarantino film) is a fun and empowering song that’ll make you feel too cool for school in a rebel without a cause sort of way.

If you prefer Kate Nash playing the piano and singing about mouthwash and her distaste for seagulls to Kate Nash to rocking the bass and snarling about your expectations of her, this album may not be for you. But if you suffer from bouts of 90’s grunge/riot grrrl nostalgia, then Girl Talk is the cure. Personally, I love both! Kate’s got great range and I love extreme opposites. It makes it more difficult to pick a favorite album, but is that really a bad thing?

*Disclaimer: While I applaud Kate Nash promoting feminism through music, I don’t support her wearing the bindi in the above music video for “Underestimate the Girl.” I LOVE the song and video otherwise but c’mon, Kate. Cultural appropriation isn’t very punk rock! (Admittedly, I don’t know if she’s said anything about it since releasing the video.)

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