The Brits Are Here and They’re Kicking Our Asses

And I’m enjoying every minute of it. It’s like the sixties, with eyeliner and profanity.

I thought at first it was going to be all sunshine and happy love songs, and hard as it may be to believe, I can get into that sometimes. First I heard Corinne Bailey Rae, little skinny girl with a lovely voice, and I thought she sounded enough like Norah Jones for me to buy her CD. It’s pretty good, by the way.

Then it was Amy Winehouse, who I love because she’s so into her fucked-up weird self. She celebrates her crazy in a way I wish I had the nerve to try. What if I’d woken up one day in my early 20s, looked in the mirror at a horrible hair day, and decided to embrace my ugly side with 40 full-color tattoos and a pierced face? I might not be gorgeous, motherfucker, but you’ll remember me. And then she’s got that amazing voice, which, strangely, goes with the rest of the screwy package. It makes you think about how the most talented people you knew in college were all train wrecks.

And now, in a fit of unsuspected novelty, VH1 presented me the other day with Kate Nash, singing this weird wonderful  edgy song about a relationship coming apart, “Foundations.” Who the hell worth knowing hasn’t felt this way? I mentioned it to a friend the evening after we’d both had a bad day (although hers was worse) and she bought the CD. Two days later she returned the favor and sent me a terrific song, with the same spare, bare-bones arrangement around the vocals as “Foundations,” except this song began, “Why you bein’ a dickhead for… Stop bein’ a dickhead….”

Holy shit. It was like my brain had somehow clawed free of my skull and then gone and got itself a recording contract.

I bought that CD too.

Where are all the pissed-off American women? Even the ones I love are awfully fucking mellow lately. I adore Norah Jones, but “My Dear Country” is about as angry as she gets, and it’s more bitter than hostile. Alanis Morrisette grew up and went away, and I really can’t argue with that. There was Shirley Manson of Garbage — she always seemed too tough to be crossed, but now that I think about it she might be British, in which case I should’ve Googled her before I brought her up. And while Queen Latifah still rules, she’s mellowed more than I would’ve ever expected.

“Thirty-five people couldn’t count on two hands the amount of times you’ve made me stop and think why you bein’ a dickhead for…”

What’s the matter with us, America? Why couldn’t someone over here write that? This woman’s going to be looked at in 20 years like Joni Mitchell. She’s a prophet. It’s not like we’ve got nothing to be pissed off about — we watch the news, right? That’s not just me, is it?

Seriously. The voice of reason just released a great angry album with a bunch of songs that are like brilliant little time-release photos of a couple falling apart. Or maybe the voice of reason is a screwed-up crackhead who might not be good enough to attend the Grammys but was awesome enough to win one. And sometimes it’s a romantic, jazz-obsessed teenager.

I can be all three of these and more at times. But I can’t sing. Who’s gonna step up to the plate?

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8 Responses to “The Brits Are Here and They’re Kicking Our Asses”

  1. Daners Isadora Says:

    Ooo, I can sing! Whether I do it well is up for debate, but I believe I can sing. Doesn’t that count? Others may have a difference of opinion.

    Also, you had me at “I might not be gorgeous, motherfucker, but you’ll remember me.”

  2. I’ll have to download this later and get back to you.

  3. tigereye Says:

    Anyone who likes the “Dickhead” lyrics should thank Bibliomom for sending me the song.

  4. I guess I’m so out of it I don’t know what you mean by angry music/lyrics. I missed it all.

    I think a lot of the music is and always reflective of what others are singing and playing. They figure if someone is doing well with a particular sound, then they will too. Before long, everyone is playing the same sound.

    Perhaps it’s time to get some individual voices out there, writing the lyrics and singing them.

  5. Anners Scribonia Says:

    I’ll step up to the plate! I’m bitter and I can sing. Can’t play the guitar well, tho.

    And thank you, Bibliomom!

    * Sorry for barging in on your sanctuary… Daners Isadora is my pal. So is Wanda, when she’s not shagging my boyphriend.

  6. Actually, Anners is shagging my boyfriend.

  7. *Your “boyfriend” is shagging the guy next door. 😛 *

    I can sing, but don’t do angry lyrics. Music effects my mood, so I keep it mellow.

  8. pandemonic Says:

    We don’t suffer enough.

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