My Best Friend Is You
May 11, 2010 Web Exclusive
At the end of "Don't You Want to Share the Guilt" Kate Nash screams, "Not being able to articulate what I want to say drives me crazy!" This is just one outburst in a sophomore album full of stream-of-conscience rants that help brand her as the girl we all wish we cold be—funny and brutally honest, even when plowing though life's emotional cesspools. My Best Friend Is You finds Nash, a perpetual Peter Pan, returning to the same self-deprecating source material that made her debut such an awkward yet admirable attempt at self-exploration. While it's clear that Nash's skills have advanced light years since Made of Bricks' bang-it-out musicality, one can't help but wish she'd finally figure out what the hell it is she's trying to say.
The mixed messages aren't for lack of want. The album opens a with superb girl-group-by-Courtney-Love triple-hitter "Paris," "Kiss the Grrrl," and "Don't You Want to Share the Guilt." Proving pop is not a dirty word, these three songs pack not only untempered emotion, but mean hooks and earworm choruses as well.
Had Nash and producer Bernard Butler (Suede) stopped there, My Best Friend Is You would have been a perfect (slightly) guilty pleasure. However, their early momentum is quickly squandered with a series of increasingly self-indulgent experiments—most which fall flat. While repetition drives home meaning, the album sinks under the weight of not one, not two, but three lo-fi chants. "I Just Love You More" plays as Nash's attempt at being, not just tough but tuff, however her three-line riot grrrl growl is unconvincing at best. "Mansion Song" throws away tension built by an unsettling spoken word opening with a Toni Basil impression, while the mindless taunting of "I've Got a Secret" boasts no redeeming qualities.
When not flaunting her newfound post-emotional breakdown fierceness, Nash is busy losing traction, sliding backwards with such sleepy tracks as "You Were So Far Away" and "I Hate Seagulls." For a girl known for swearing with a wink and a smile, Nash's momentary lack of passion is troubling, particularly during the latter track, which should be more impassioned rant than laundry list of likes and dislikes. It's the only point in the album where Nash comes close to trading in the one thing that keeps her likeable—her honestly. For the time being, she's safe, and fans will continue to flock. Best friends or no, next time she needs to give them a few more reasons to stick around (www.katenash.co.uk)
Author rating: 5/10
Average reader rating: 7/10