Kate Nash’s debut album, Made of Bricks, was definitely one of the big albums of my formative years, having been released when I was the tender yet crucial age of 15.
Almost three years later, her second album, My Best Friend is You, was released just a few months after I passed my driving test and I remember driving round listening to Paris and Do-Wah-Doo in the sun.
But of course it’s Foundations, and the more twee Mouthwash and Birds, that captivated me first. We Get On was great teenage crush fodder, and every single song on that album had something to connect to.
So when Kate announced a 10th anniversary tour for Made of Bricks this summer, playing the whole album, I just had to go – even though I’d seen her during a more shouty phase in York in 2013 and hadn’t been quite so enamoured. (I still thought she was awesome and girl power-y though).
Picture the scene: it is Summer 2007. The sun is out and every single person near you is humming Kate Nash’s ‘Foundations’. That was her prime, and countless groups of friends ended up screaming their version of the Cockney lyrics- “you said I must eat so many lemons ‘cos I am so bitt-AH/ I said I’d rather be with your friends mate, ‘cos they are much fitt-AH’. Her debut album Made of Bricks was released sooner than planned, and even more jealous and bitter songs were out there (there is even a song called ‘D**khead’). However, no matter the annoyance running through these songs- with lovely ones there too!- the music was almost always upbeat, with pulsing piano chords (‘Merry Happy’) or jaunty arpeggios (‘Mouthwash’) floating along underneath Kate’s mellow voice. Seeing her around the festival scene over the next year in her polka dot dresses and bold colours, she was generally a happy soul to behold despite whatever experiences made her write some harsh words, and she always seemed to have a smile on her face.
In 2010 came My Best Friend Is You, featuring a lot less publicity and a mixture of style between that of Made of Bricks and angrier Riot Grrrl influences. For instance, ‘Doo Wah Doo”s style speaks for itself, but ‘I Just Love You More’ is quite shouty and ‘You Were So Far Away’ and ‘I’ve Got A Secret’ are both quite sultry and almost in a half-voice. To me, the best song on the album is ‘Paris’, with its simple message of life and love- ‘you said you’d lend me anything/ I think I’ll have your company’- and catchy melody over a big accompaniment that is made to be played loud on a car stereo. It was, though unfortunate, not totally surprising that, after some moderate interest in ‘Doo Wah Doo’ and its airplane set video, no one seemed to care. Perhaps its mixture of genre was too much, or that sort of girl pop was irrelevant after the dawn of Adele.