Words by Sharissa Lee
If you were a teen in the noughties, chances were Kate Nash’s ‘Foundations’ was most likely an iPod staple. Ten years on from the release of her number one debut album Made of Bricks, Nash’s fourth album Yesterday was Forever shows that despite her lengthy hiatus she’s not slowing down any time soon.
After initially finding fame during the good old days of Myspace, Nash – aged twenty – found herself catapulted to fame, winning a BRIT award and becoming an it girl within the pop world. As a BRIT school graduate, with alumnae including the likes of Amy Winehouse and Adele, it is unsurprising that Nash has found herself joining the ranks of Britain’s best female artists. However in an interview with DIY, Nash clarifies that despite her success, things were far from peachy:
‘I was overworked and I don’t think I was looked after very well by anyone in the record industry or who was managing me at the time… The music industry will suck you dry and work you when you’re hot right now and then when you’re not, they don’t want to know.’
This played out particularly when her second album My Best Friend is You failed to match the success of her debut and Nash was brutally dropped by her record label via text. However, she’s since dusted off her feet and continued to march forward. Having returned to her independent roots, the singer has crowdfunded her following albums via Kickstarter, whilst also carrying a lead role in Netflix’s wrestler-girl series GLOW. Needless to say, Nash’s new album is a continuation of her upward trajectory.
This record definitely evokes the spirit of a teenage diary. Singing in her distinctive London accent, energy drips off this LP, with the now-thirty-year-old delivering a punchy, tongue-in-cheek yet sincere message about the ups and downs of life. Nash addresses issues such as mental health in riot-grrl-esque opener ‘Life in Pink’, which despite the gravitas topic of ‘thinking about death all the time’ still manages to infuse a sense of optimism and unity. Slightly more reflective tracks (‘Hate You’, ‘My Little Alien’, ‘To the Music I Belong’) encompass the trials and tribulations of love, from despising a lover’s guts to not being able imagine happiness without them, all embodying aspects of a pleading ballad and fifties-esque nostalgia.
The album’s first single, ‘Drink About You’, is a full on musical and emotional release, in which Nash lets go of holding on to and mentally reliving an ended relationship, embodying the angst of jumping up and down on your bed out of adolescent frustration. Nash even incorporates elements of rap in ‘Karaoke Kiss’ and ‘Musical Theatre’ – it’s initially surprising but slowly begins to grow on you.
Whilst having an album compared to a teenage diary might seem insulting, Nash embraces it full-force. In speaking to DIY, Nash sees Yesterday was Forever as a way to reclaim the patronisation and exploitation she endured during her early musical days:
‘Now I’m 30, I think teenage girls are fucking amazing and they have so much to say and so much wisdom that’s just so sincere and unique and I just fight for the teenage girl all the time,” she enthuses. “I’m old enough to be comfortable to just sit in that chair and be like, yeah, that’s what that record is and I think that’s fucking great. More teenage girl diaries should be out there so that we can all learn from women and girls, you know? And so it’s kind of reclaiming that as a good thing.’
All things considered, Nash is doing a supremely good job. Despite having been in the industry for a decade, it seems that the singer’s comeback is also the start of a second wind. Alongside a blooming acting career and a continually growing fan-base, it seems this album is another way of giving the middle finger to those who tried to push her down in the first place.
YESTERDAY WAS FOREVER IS OUT NOW.