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Album Review: Kate Nash – 9 Sad Symphonies

3 min read
Album Review: Kate Nash - 9 Sad Symphonies

Debuting at no.1 in the UK with her smash hit Foundations Kate Nash quickly became an icon of 2000s Britpop. Her relatable lyrics and almost sarcastic talk singing style making her stand out  from the crowd. While later albums failed to reach the heights of her debut, Nash found success elsewhere starring in Netflix’s GLOW. With the cancellation of the show, Nash has returned to her roots with the pop album 9 Sad Symphonies. Inspired by traditional and classical music the album blends her modern styling with much older influences.

From the first song Millions of Hearts the classical influence is clear in the strings and piano that accompany the catchy chorus. The verses are a return to the spoken style that Nash’s previous work has had, with her nihilistic lyrics spoken almost conversationally. The strings are even more pronounced in Misery with its rapid violin line. The speed suiting the repetitive, insistent lyrics and repeated “misery it’s out to get you”.

The third track Wasteman was one of the albums first singles and came accompanied by an affecting video starring Danny Dyer. The song itself has an angry intense sound, playing on the term “wasteman” as she chronicles a relationship falling apart singing “you’re a waste of time”.

Abandoned, has a similar repetitive style to Misery, with a talk-sing effect that contrasts with the ballad-style strings and drumline. The repetitive line “I feel abandoned by you” can get rather grating by the end of the song, the effect more dull than impactful.

Horsie is an unusual track, despite some hoof sound effects in the backing the title seems to have no relation to the lyrics, which can render the odd percussion a little distracting. However, the chorus is pleasant and Nash shows off falsetto vocals, the melancholy sound suiting lyrics about loss.

My Bile is a catchy and fun song about Nash’s decision that she isn’t going to act to please people anymore. She uses her vocals again and a clever layered effect in the chorus for a choir-inspired sound. These Feelings uses light-plucked strings in the verses that transition to a more drawn-out melodic style in the chorus, it’s probably the place in the album where the strings and spoken lyrics feel least mismatched.

Ray moves away from the classical style with a guitar backing, a melancholy vibe for a song about feeling sad on your birthday and the process of recovery. The guitar returns for the final song, Vampyre giving it a country-folk sound. The style of falsetto singing and catchy tune make it a stand-out song among its more complicated predecessors.

With 9 Sad Symphonies Kate Nash’s pop lyrics are slightly overshadowed by the overwhelming classic influences in the backing of nearly every track.  While she can be commended for her bold choices, Nash really shines in songs like Vampyre where she moves back and lets her voice be the centre of attention. Despite many catchy tunes and fun lyrics throughout the album, the instrumental choices and leave it seeming slightly unsure of itself. As a pop album it may not reach that no.1 spot again, but theres still plenty to enjoy along the way.

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