Less than four months ago I reviewed Death Proof, an EP Kate Nash released to hold fans over until the release of her third studio album Girl Talk. Compared to her first two albums, Death Proof showed Nash experimenting with a darker sound, so I was interested in hearing how the new album would turn out sonically.
Girl Talk picks up right where Death Proof left off, with album opener “Part Heart” including a grungy sound and heartbreaking lines like, “And it doesn’t matter how many colors I paint my nails, I still feel the same.” Another nod to Death Proof, is the album’s second and third tracks, “Fri-end?” and title-track “Death Proof.” I still think “Fri-end?” is the song that fans of Nash’s older work will gravitate to because it’s snarky and catchy enough to grab their attention, despite the change of sound. Another song sure to make fans nostalgic for Nash’s older tunes is the previously released single “3 AM.”
The album highlight is definitely “Sister” as it’s the song that most effectively puts Nash’s new sound to use as she goes into a brilliant moment of hysteria during the second verse. “To be ripped away from you, is like being ripped out of the womb. Oh, 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,” she yells. It’s GOLDEN. It’s quirky, unconventional lines like these that make me think of “Birds” in all of the best ways.
Girl Talk takes on a more serious tone during it’s second half, with Nash straying away from romance and singing about her second favorite topic: feminism. “Don’t tell me who to be,” she sings in “Oh.” As the album progresses the lyrics become more direct. On “All Talk,” she offers a huge “f**k you” to anyone who has a problem with her strong feminist stance. “It’s funny how I got your attention,” she yells. Similarly, in “Rap for Rejection” she rhymes, “You try to tell me sexism doesn’t exist. Well if it doesn’t exist, then what the f**k is this?”
Everything isn’t all down in the dumps, though. Things get riffy on “Are You There Sweetheart” and “OHMYGOD!” With the simple, repetitive lyrics they’re the perfect break from the heaviness that is the rest of the album. Similarly, the stripped down “You’re So Cool, I’m So Freaky,” is a breath of fresh air on an album full of distortion and screams. The vulnerable sentiment is echoed in “Lullaby For An Insomniac,” the acapella closing track where the only noise heard outside of Nash’s voice is the tapping of her foot…and then, out of nowhere, an orchestra crescendos in to end the 15-track album.
Girl Talk lives up to it’s name with songs about romance and feminist values, and while I like the new sound I have to admit I don’t love this album nearly as much as Made of Bricks or My Best Friend is You. Perhaps, I would’ve loved it more if Nash had shortened the album, because at a certain point it gets to be redundant both sonically and thematically. I can fully respect Kate Nash for being fearless and making the kind of music she loves while promoting her beliefs, though. It’s pretty amazing, actually.