Kate Nash first entered public consciousness in 2008 with her keyboard led tale of a relationship gone bad, ‘Foundations’. Since then she has taken up the bass guitar and is embracing her inner angry grrrl. Hayley Foster da Silva salutes the punk attitude evident in Girl Talk
Girl Talk, which was released earlier this year, is the third album from Kate Nash. Self released with the help of a pledge music campaign, Girl Talk shows a whole new side to Kate Nash; this album is about independence, fierceness, but also lost love and friendship.
Girl Talk is a great title for this album as it feels almost like reading entries from a girl’s diary. Kate is proving to be a great new role model for young girls through her music but also all the things she does outside of her music. She’s helped young girls discover musical talents through her Rock N Roll After School club for girls and has made no secret of identifying as a feminist, a subject that is also mentioned throughout Girl Talk. She also insists on having female sound engineers and as many female crew members as possible to assist with her work.
Anyone looking for another ‘Foundations’ won’t find it here. That’s not to say there aren’t any catchy melodies in the album. Songs like ‘Ohmygod!’ which is almost sixties girl group like with its ‘ooh oohs’ in the background and the album’s first single ‘3AM’ are two that can surely boast of that.
But Girl Talk introduces another side to Kate Nash. On this album, there is also a hint of punk, a hint of grunge and a great big dollop of riot grrrl, especially on ‘Cherry Pickin’ in which she seems to be channelling Kathleen Hanna vocally.
Personal stand out favourite track have to be the truly outspoken song ‘All Talk’ with its angry but catchy chorus and best of all, Kate Nash singing “I’m a feminist, and if that offends you then fuck you!” The song is all about actions speaking louder than words and to me it seems to be something that fits into feminist issues quite well even if it wasn’t what Kate was referring to when she wrote this song.
The other real stand out track in which Kate is undoubtedly referring to feminism- is ‘Rap for Rejection’ and yes she does attempt rapping on this track! I actually think it’s very good and I love the lyrics about various forms of sexism. In the song she talks about being pressured into sex, about music magazines being placed in the ‘men’s’ section, been called a lesbian for not giving someone her number- “if sexism doesn’t exist, then what the fuck is this?”
For me, I really love the punkier, more aggressive side of Girl Talk but for those who prefer the softer side of music, you can also find some calmer, slower, almost ballad tracks too, such as ‘Oh’, a song which on the surface seems to be about a relationship break up, but some of the lyrics suggest it could be about other things too – “image conscious, image freak, the mirror lies to you and me” perhaps hint at issues with body image.
I think this album would have meant even more to me if it had been released when I was a teenager, as it sums up so many of the feelings so many young girls go through, it’s almost like reading a teenage girl’s diary. Out of the many ‘pop star’ female role models that are easily accessible to our young girls in our current times, I think Kate Nash is a very worthy role model.
Personally I’d love to give every girl who has ever felt alone, devalued, or a freak a copy of Girl Talk to add to their record collections, as I know that if I had had this album as a 14 or 15 year old girl, it would have been on repeat play rather than The Spice Girls diluted version of feminism in their album. It would have possibly provided comfort and reassurance in a world of female pressures, which if anything, seems only to be getting worse for young girls in this generation.
This is the album that Kate’s former record label Fiction Records didn’t want to be released. Despite the lyrics being written back in 2011, they had been insisting that Kate take the punky and grungy elements away and slow down the production. Luckily Kate didn’t let this happen as the album is perfect this way and it’s a fantastic progression for her with her music.
People who have judged Kate for making the decision to change her direction should take another listen, really listen, and maybe then they will be able to see that it’s not a gimmick, but just a genuine reflection on the person that is Kate Nash, showing her true colours and having a good time whilst doing it!
Image is the sleeve to Kate Nash’s Girl Talk. Sleeve shows Kate at the centre of a design of red and white cut and paste collage work. The collage is surrounded by peach curtains