Kofi's hat

Kofi's hat

MP3s, music news and reviews, and a sprinkling of pop culture. Named by Aqualung's Matt Hales, after his son.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ink in my blood, a song in my heart. Metaphor is my middle name.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Nerina Pallot - "Fires" and "Geek Love"

Although Nerina Pallot's "Everybody's Gone To War" insists, "Don't tell me it's a worthy cause/No cause could be so worthy", Pallot believes there are times when military intervention is appropriate. She names World War II, Bosnia, and Rwanda as worth risking lives. Pallot calls the song "anti this war".

She has been called "brave" for taking a stand against the Iraq War, but it's hardly a shocking, seldom-voiced viewpoint.

It's a viewpoint I share, but I find the track a shade too self-righteous and overwrought ("I don't want to die"?). The song's breezy catchiness is such a stark contrast to the lyrics, the whole thing ends up feeling overly calculated to produce a Pop Hit. The wacky food-fight-in-a-grocery-store video doesn't do much to change that perception. But maybe the merciless pelting of Pallot (Pallot-pelting?) with assorted food products after she strikes a Christ-on-the-cross pose will convince some people that the Iraq War in particular is wrong, or at best, kinda unfair.

"Everybody's Gone To Die" is the first single from Fires, which was first released last April, but, alas, failed to set the world afire. It's having better luck this time.

The album is heavy on songs about leaving, driving, roads, home, and, naturally, fires. Her lyrics are sometimes quite lovely and evocative. They're also unusually literate for a record this mainstream-friendly, for instance sneaking in a reference to Phaedrus here, a play on an Ayliffe quote there, and mentioning "cumulus nimbus" clouds instead of thunderstorm clouds.

Pallot reminds me a bit of Nellie McKay on her cheekier songs, such as the infectious "Geek Love". Other standouts include the wistful "Idaho" ("I don't want to fall asleep and watch my life from fifty feet/My hands are on the wheel so I'm driving to Idaho") and "Damascus", which is beautiful and hopefully will not get a video shot in an ice cream parlor or in a mall.

Nerina Pallot - Geek Love (available on Fires)

Nerina Pallot - "Everybody's Gone To War" video


Blogger Paul said...

a friend recommended this blog to me (solondon) and the first time i read it you feature one of my fave new artists Nerina. Well i liked her since 2002, and prefer the dear frustrated superstar album to fires, but both are excellent. I think the single is probably not considered that brave over here where anti war sentiment is fairly rife... i love the tongue in cheek video though... :)

12:11 PM  
Blogger trill42 said...

What a very clever friend you have. ;) Good on you for being a fan of Nerina's since 2002. I'll have to check out Dear Frustrated Superstar.

It was an Irish paper that called her "brave" for "Everybody's Gone To War"... they noted the backlash the Dixie Chicks got, but that was for comments specifically about the President, not a song. When it is in a song, I think there's usually more attention in the US when an American criticizes the President. Maybe because it's not unpatriotic when someone else does it.

Pallot said in the interview in the same paper that she wrote the song "primarily because I have a lot of friends who are serving in the army". If she was thinking of those friends and concerned for them, why make a silly video?

I'm not sure what kind of video I would have preferred, if it had to be a single, and it needed a video... I would have lobbied against making it her first single. It has too much of a "one-hit"/"novelty-act" feel to it, and she's better than that.

9:41 PM  

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