Kate Nash and Bubblegum Pop

May 30, 2024
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One way of describing the indie pop scene in the mid-2000s could be by imagining splashing a bucket of bright pink paint all over the floor of a sweet shop. Bright, loud, sticky, and messy to say the least. Every week, there was a new indie album reaching the charts, bringing with it a new fluffy, synthetic song blasting from someone’s car stereo. One of those songs was the extremely well-known “Foundations” by Kate Nash. A pop-y, exceedingly British hit that reached number 1 in the UK charts. A song that led Nash to another popular album in her home country, an acting career, and indie record companies.

But I do not want to talk about “Foundations” or its album “Made of Bricks”, but about Nash’s second album, which was one of the last CDs I ever bought, a couple of years before Spotify and Apple Music took over the world.

The album is titled “My Best Friend Is You”, and recently, just for a moment, almost thirteen years after it came out, while walking through the streets of Central London, I realised the importance of female, pink, bubbly indie pop.

“My Best Friend Is You” has a synthetic, sometimes overly repetitive poppy sound. One song after the other, Kate Nash holds the same delightfully monogamous, joyful sound, followed by bitter-sweet, sometimes hilarious lyrics that could very well fit either as part of a WhatsApp conversation between two young twenty-year-olds or a hit West End musical. The album follows what could very well be a story about any young woman on the verge of a breakup or a well-deserved mental health crisis, all enveloped in a DIY, (some may say) excessively feminine bundle. Why this album was not as big of a hit as “Made of Bricks”, I will never understand. Maybe the fad had diluted into boredom? or a new hipster sound emerged away from Myspace favourites, but this album, at least for me and some bored millennials, could very well represent what it felt like, and I’m pretty sure still feels like, to be a young twenty-something woman and the importance of the feeling of pink, bubblegum distress in music.

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