Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Kate Nash

  • Made of Bricks [Geffen, 2008] A-
  • My Best Friend Is You [Geffen/Fiction, 2010] ***
  • Girl Talk [Have 10P, 2013] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Made of Bricks [Geffen, 2008]
A lot of these songs don't hold up when you hang in there for every word--not because they sink into metaphor, but the fellow citizen because their points are softer than you'd hope. In neither wit nor brass does she approach Lily Allen, who figured out that an ordinary girl sticking up for herself could be a template. Nor has she grown into the intricacy of the slightly older Jens Lekman, who did the same for an ordinary guy seeking love without being a sap about it. But Nash has staying power. Whether watching "CSI" or distinguishing pimples from freckles or enthusiastically pronouncing the full titles she feels obliged to render as "D---head" and "S--- Song," she remains a nice kid whose knowledge of her own limitations doesn't interfere with her self-respect. That's not just because the knowledge helps her make catchy music out of it, either. But the music helps. A-

My Best Friend Is You [Geffen/Fiction, 2010]
Girlish insecurity ripens into womanly insecurity, which involves more bluster ("Take Me to a Higher Plane," "Do-Wah-Do"). ***

Girl Talk [Have 10P, 2013]
I'm proud when Kitty wets her undies and Kacey screws Mr. Acceptable, but prouder, frankly, when this likable size 12 lets her voice crack all over the big fat scarewords "feminist" and "sexism" on an album that gets dissed for its simplistic songwriting as if that wasn't the point. There are a few duds, and not everything is in the mode of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre--she ends with an a cappella lament finished off with a full orchestra. A lot of it is, however, including one called "Rap for Rejection," and should some jerk claim it's rejection that fuels her militance, she has the balls to leave the cad's gender unstated and write one called "Sister" that opens another possibility. Too bad the grungy "Under-Estimate the Girl" was consigned to YouTube. Check it out. A-

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