25 May 2012


A Musical Indulgence

If this blog isn't for indulging myself, then what is it for?

There have been so many times I scrapped a "Reading Diary" or "Twelve Things" draft that I knew my "target audience" would love because it just wasn't happening for me. And there have been other times I went out of my way to write about a book or a movie that I knew would throw everyone else for a loop, simply because I loved the totally random angle it had suggested to me. But these decisions do cost me in comments and return visits--and believe me, I feel that.

What this post really should be is a McFly album review. (Heck, I should have at least three McFly album reviews in my archives by now.) Or at the very least, a Westlife album review. You know, something that makes sense. But of course it would be something else . . .

7 Notes on Insatiable

E: Oh, Nadine, Nadine, Nadine . . . When Girls Aloud broke up, it was you whom I wanted "to win the breakup." You have no idea . . . And I held on to that hope until I was halfway through your lead single and realised that that wasn't going to happen . . .

There is something very aggressive about the track Insatiable. The vocals come off as very "I am woman; hear me roar" (Oooh! Six words!)--which doesn't really make sense when lyric comprehension finally kicks in and you realise that it's about a woman who is pleading with a man for a second chance at a romance with him.

So we turn to subtext and say that she's not singing to a man with other options as much as she is singing to an audience that already loves her. Oh, okay . . .

F: Insatiable is definitely a "woman's album." I'm reminded of the kind of music my mother liked to listen to in the 90s, when her career was getting off the ground and she was living it up. Had this come out twenty years ago, it might have been part of the soundtrack of her life. For these songs are about the experience of being a modern woman (Well, a certain kind of modern woman . . .); and taken together, they do feel like an organic album.

G: And when I heard the story behind Insatiable, everything made sense. To paraphrase my favourite professor of all time, "Every good album is about its own production." This wouldn't be such an Independent, Empowered Modern Woman album if it hadn't also been put together by a real Independent, Empowered Modern Woman (TM).

Which is a nice way of saying that she basically recorded the whole thing in her bathroom because she didn't want to sign a record deal with the labels that wanted her and couldn't get signed by the labels she wanted. Bwahahahahahahahahaha! (But there's an allegory there for those who know how to read it.)

A: In all seriousness, however, Insatiable is not as bad as it could have been. Some tracks are just awful, even by filler standards, but she could have pulled a couple more singles from among the better ones. Lullaby, for instance, is pretty cool.

I like their cover better than Nadine's original. =P

B: Most of the tracks seem to have been written and arranged with the nightclub scene in mind: they're either ready to go as they are or ready to be remixed. Sure enough, you'll find just as many remixes as covers if you check YouTube. I have, but haven't also found one I liked enough to embed.

C: There are also a couple of straight love songs in the mix . . . You Are the One and Natural are probably the most self-absorbed examples of their kind that I have ever heard, delivered without any emotion whatsoever, which seems only appropriate . . . but I'll Make a Man Out of You Yet, the vulnerable sucker punch right at the end of the album, has some real potential. =D

I think what I like about it is that it comes really, really close to the mark (even if it doesn't hit it) . . . and is soulful.

D: Now, believe it or not, I didn't decide to blog about this album just so I could stomp all over Nadine's solo efforts--no more than I decided to listen to it because I liked her. (Yes, she was my favourite member of Girls Aloud, but even during their heyday, I knew that was no guarantee I'd buy her solo stuff.) But I had cause to listen to one of the tracks this week and it presented a puzzle that I wanted to solve . . .

Why is it that at a time when "women's fiction" is selling well and "women's TV" is almost redundant, "women's music" is sucessful only within certain genres (e.g. Country or R&B) and can't climb the Pop charts? Same message, same audience, different results. Wanting to get to the bottom of it, I listened to the entire album very carefully, putting some tracks on repeat, for two whole nights. And on the third night . . . I completely lost interest in the mystery.

Do you know that story in Cinema Paradiso about the suitor who said he would stand under a woman's window for 100 nights and then walked away on the ninety-ninth night? It was exactly like that. =P So I'm really sorry that this post has to end this way, but given that the only reason it made it on here was a blogging quirk, it might as well be quirky through and through. =)

Image Source: Insatiable by Nadine Coyle

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