Kate Nash – Girl Talk – Album Review
By Anthony Marcusa
There is no typical Kate Nash song. Every emotion, fleeting or permanent, is ushered into a piece, subverted or embraced by the accompanying music. Nash purrs and roars, serenades and shouts, singing alternatively of the boy she wants and the one she can’t stand, of the friend she adores and the one she could never let in.
Girl Talk, the 25-year-old’s third studio release, showcases her versatility, with passion in its many manners informing the varied, ambitious, and yet curiously coherent 15-track album. There is both a rap and a lullaby, a song inspired from a film, and an acoustic piece where Nash is joined by a chorus in an ode to cool.
The track that would be the closest to capturing the varied nature of Nash, in all her range of emotion and explosive, is ‘Sister,’ which of course in fine Nash fashion, isn’t really about any sister. From a slow, soft, almost mournful beginning, Nash builds quickly, turning the piece in a louder, faster-paced, her anger and frustration building until a frantic and exasperated end. It’s about a fated love triangle, with her on the outside, belting the Nashian lyrics: “I’m sorry is that too dramatic? I should just be far more placid/Well blah-blah, blah-blah, me myself and I/ I’m so funny oh my god HA HA.”
Still, Nash has more range to show. ‘Death Proof,’ a subtle, hypnotic song inspired by the Quentin Tarantino film of the same name could easily be fit in a flick by the director – though, surely that’s the intent (picture Uma Thurman driving on the highway in a convertible).
‘3AM’ is more familiar, catchy and wistful, following the paths laid by earlier hits such as ‘Foundations’ or ‘Pickpocket.’ The same goes for ‘Conventional Girl,’ another fast-paced lilt, but this one features a Nash reversal again. She brings you in with her warm voice, singing of mature acceptance, giving way to a chorus of girlish shrieks and angry condemnation.
The sixth track is not ‘OMG’ or simply ‘Oh My God,’ but ‘OHMYGOD!’ with fervid insistence, almost obsession. About wanting someone back, she sings with not a heavy heart, but a belief in destiny. The tempered, calm verses give way to a manic, aggressive chorus, and whether or not this emotion is healthy, and whether or not you are more or less drawn to this doting female, you can’t escape her intensity.
Though many of her songs start from a whisper and end in a bang and an occasional tirade (though nothing like the expletive-laden ‘Mansion Song’ from ‘My Best Friend is You’), the final three tracks maintain a resigned demeanor.
Drama is a part of Nash’s music, and she wields it wonderfully. While ‘Part Heart’ begins the album, escalating in volume and anger, she closes the release with ‘Lullaby for an Insomniac.’ She sing unaccompanied for over two minutes until finally giving way to an orchestral swell, and you can almost picture the curtains slowly close as the song and album come to a fitting end.