Kate Nash - 'Do Wah Doo'
When it comes to pop stars who really bring out the worst in people, Kate Nash is up there with Mika, Westlife and (more recently) Paolo Nutini. To some people, it's as though her very existance is an affront to human decency. Because she had the NERVE to write some songs which are not quite as witty or barbed as those of Lily Allen, and which did not seek to make more sense of the world than your average teenage diary.
Actually, it's worse than that, it was as if she tried to say profound things but it all came out a bit awkward and weird, which probably reminded a lot of people of their own stumbling teenage poetry. And she didn't pronounce her words properly. People hate that.
(Here's the video. Hey! Who nicked the Foo Fighters?)
As a writer, her basic tone of voice, that observational, reported speech thing, is clumsy and wittery. For me, this is what makes her amazing. It's as if there is no filter of self-awareness between the words coming into her brain and out of her pen. She's not hiding things behind cool language, she's not describing emotional situations as if they are medical conditions or mental instability, she chunters on about stuff in the way that people do, not poets. And it's up to us to sort out whether it works or not.
This is a perfect example. A '60s freakbeat rave-up with half-formed lyrics about a hot girl that everyone rates except Kate. It's got one verse, and then it's all chorus. It builds and builds and builds, with Mardi Gras trumpets and massed harmonies, while Kate wonders if she should stop glaring at the girl in question and pop off to the book shop. Oh and then she does an extended impression of the Crazy Frog. Twice. See what I mean about not being cool?
As an extra bonus nugget of fuel for the haterzz, it features a perfect Kate Nash lyric, delivered in that spoken, artless blank voice she sometimes uses:
"Everyone thinks that girl's a lady, but I don't. I think that girl's shady"
Bound to set certain teeth on edge, a line like that. And if that applies to you, I'm truly sorry, because you're missing out on the most incredible pop fun, and definitely the most enjoyable thing Bernard Butler has been involved with since he created the astonishing 'Yes' with David McAlmont.*
Me? I'm playing it very loud and dancing about, welling-up with joytears and generally thanking the pop gods that no-one has managed to sand down Kate's rough edges.
* with the possible exception of 'Don't Look Back Into The Sun' by the Libertines, which is also a total joy.