Tag Archives: United States

Idiocracy: reasons not to like Kate Nash

Gemma and I recently watched the 2006 film Idiocracy and I can’t recommend it enough. Luke Wilson plays the most average man in the US armed forces, who is selected for a top secret experiment into freeze-drying humans. He was meant to be awoken after a year but – you guessed it – ends up being frozen  for 500 years. In the meantime, various factors combine to cause the human race to gradually become more and more stupid. They replace water with Gatorade, watch films called things like ‘ASS’ (which features one close-up of a man’s arse farting for 90 minutes) and are governed by an incredibly vain former pro-wrestler. Actually, it felt more like 50 years in the future than 500, but you get the point.

Shortly afterwards, we watched 5 minutes of Big Brother on Channel 4 and switched off, shocked. Yes, Big Brother was stupid before we ever saw Idiocracy but it had always at least seemed funny. Not any more. Society really does feel like it’s getting stupider. Dumbing down, it’s often called. BBC Breakfast has been reduced to a 2-hour commercial for forthcoming BBC television programmes. Car surfing is the new cool pastime. Kate Nash is in the charts.

There are many reasons to dislike Kate Nash. Her popularity, for example, or her chart success. It would be perfectly acceptable to dislike her for sounding very similar to Lily Allen – the dropped-aitches of their mockney accents are particularly grating. But none of these things make me dislike Kate Nash as much as her lyric:

You said I must eat so many lemons
Cos I am so bitter

You see, lemons aren’t bitter. They’re sour.  Now I’m not the first to point this out but I am probably the first to waste half an hour writing a blog post about it. That lyric renders an already poisonously self-involved and poorly structured song so infuriating that I nearly wept when I first heard it. Last time I heard it, I immediately thought of Idiocracy.  I mean, sure, there have always been bad pop lyrics around but this young woman is being lauded on all sides. She’s being given recognition and praise for a songwriting talent that just doesn’t exist.

Another thing I don’t like about Kate Nash is her use of the gender card. Responding to yet another suggestion that she might sound a little bit like Lily Allen, Nash  said:

It’s lazy journalism and also quite sexist that there’s not enough room for more than one female singer songwriter from London

No, Kate: the reason that people are comparing you to Lily Allen is because you sound more or less exactly the same as her. It’s not sexism at all and I reckon it’s pretty low of you to use such a fallacious claim in order to divert attention away from your rubbish music.

So, yeah, I don’t like Kate Nash.

Neil Hagerty, Ian Svenonius: Two pop music heroes you may not know but, like, should

Pop music can be a difficult terrain to navigate: just what do you feel okay listening to, and can you admit to it? This issue is at the heart of dozens of websites (like myspace.com and last.fm) and grips millions of young people searching for their Pan.

Myself, I pretty much decided that I’d stick with Royal Trux about seven years ago. For me, their blend of free jazz, 70’s opiate-rock, RnB, boogie-woogie and smart, personal, witty, political lyrics was enough. Despite my liking for bands such as The Fall, I am still certain that Royal Trux sum up what it is I want pop music to be: cool, sexy, angry, bored, wasted, wise.

Neil Hagerty, one half of Royal Trux is my first pop music hero. He was a guitarist in Pussy Galore, a band now confined to the ‘most mental album I own’ category (a bit like Royal Trux?!)… and while I’m unsure as to how much influence he had on the values of that group, I’m aware that he was behind their covering the entire Exile On Main Street album. A declaration of intent, perhaps.

Through their albums, Royal Trux have covered enough material for a complete website or two (see the links in my sidebar). Suffice to say, I drank a bottle of vodka the night they broke up. Stupid of me. It should have been juice. Since then, Neil Hagerty has released a series of albums (firstly solo, now with The Howling Hex), all of which I’ve found to be entertaining, challenging and good pop records. My favourites are probably the two solo/band crossover records, Niel Michael Hagerty – The Howling Hex and The Howling Hex – All Night Fox. Continue reading Neil Hagerty, Ian Svenonius: Two pop music heroes you may not know but, like, should

Review: Stars Are Blind – Paris Hilton

Wealthy heiress and socialite, Paris Hilton has long been rumoured to be keen on a career in popular music. As early as two years ago, news spread like wildfire that she was planning to create and release an album which would serve to strengthen her position as multimedia goddess and icon of the mid 2000’s nekulturny.

It is perfect that this woman’s first moves into the public consciousness were with stimulant-dulled eyes as she preformed fellatio on a ‘stud’ known by some as a pornographer and by others as the son of a Warner Bros. executive. How marvellously apt that she earns royalties from perverts and misogynists who wish to purchase a film of her uninspired and loveless copulation.

So to the single, a ‘reggae-influenced’ mishmash of this season’s popular sounds, floated over by an autotuned and yet perversely tuneless girl’s voice. Everyone knows that girls can’t sing. This landmark song, completing Hilton’s trajectory from banal, ubiquitous dog-carrier to banal, ubiquitous model/actress/singer/whatever has, I’m reliably informed, been compared to both Gwen Stefani and Blondie. Ms Stefani’s 2005 song, ‘Rich Girl’ springs to mind, if only for the sensation it induced of a fatuous and self-important airhead making stupid people believe that what she thinks is in some way valid or interesting. Stefani and Hilton are both rich girls, so who cares what they think?

The lyrics of ‘Stars Are Blind’ are, on the whole, as stupid as the song’s title. I quote:

Even though the gods are crazy
Even though the stars are blind
If you show me real love baby
I’ll show you mine

Forgetting that we’ve already seen ‘hers’.

Those other guys all wanna take me for a ride
But when I walk their talk is suicide
Some people never get beyond their stupid pride
But you can see the real me inside
And I’m satisfied, oh no, ohh

Paris Hilton is a girl whose every wish can become reality. Her separation from ordinary life is what made her such an amusing and disgusting ‘character’. Her lack of character made us treat her with less contempt than she might have received for being an utterly contemptible person. But now, the tables have turned. Paris Hilton is no longer satisfied with the dull and unconsidered ambivalence of hundreds of millions of people; she wants, she needs their love. And she’ll get it, because she’s Paris Hilton.

‘Stars Are Blind’ stormed into the US single chart at #18 in June. 0/1