The English singer/songwriter returns with a new sound after her critically well-received second album, My Best Friend Is You, suffered disappointing sales.
Generally categorized as an independent rock and pop artist, Nash does more than stick to the genre label. Throughout Girl Talk Nash adds notes of electronic, harsh punk-inspired tones and the lyrical rhythms of rap and hip hop to her repertoire.
With 15 tracks on the album, Girl Talk excels at a variety of sounds but lacks consistency. Some of the songs on the album sound off. The mixing is peculiar, especially on the more instrumental tracks, where the vocals sometimes disappear completely. This may have been done on purpose, but it is jarring and unpleasant on “All Talk” and “Oh.”
The album, however, is not in any way terrible. Plenty of tracks are well-mixed and they feature a unique combination of genres.
One of the biggest highlights from the album is “Are You There, Sweetheart?” The indie rock tune combines Nash’s haunting vocals with high-pitched guitar to create a sound that stands out from the heavier tones on the rest of the album.
“Death Proof” is another great track, and one inspired by the Quentin Tarantino movie of the same name. It would fit perfectly into the soundtrack of a grindhouse movie with its drum-heavy beat and steady guitar riffs.
The biggest miss on the album is “Rap for Rejection,” which highlights the album’s inconsistencies. The guitar work matches the rest of the album, but Nash’s normal, complementary vocals are replaced by spoken word/rap vocals. Genre-hopping isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but moving away from the album’s sturdy core of rock exploration into rap is an experiment gone awry.
Of course, most of the album is thoroughly enjoyable and is not hampered by any of these technical or stylistic issues.
“Sister,” laden with punk-rock tones, stands out as it is driven by Nash’s lyrical prowess. “Lullaby for an Insomniac” closes the album wonderfully. With a slow build-up focused on Nash’s lyrics and a quick transition that redirects the listener’s attention to the loud, dark, punk-rock presence of the album, “Lullaby for an Insomniac” is Girl Talk’s greatest asset.
Girl Talk is a good album with small issues in consistency and mixing. Still, the great parts of the album vastly outshine its minuscule missteps.
As the third album of her career, Girl Talk shows Nash’s musical evolution. By combining the indie rock and pop from her early albums with electronic tones and punk-rock themes, Nash has made this album a must-hear for fans of many different genres.
Nash’s Girl Talk arrives in stores March 5.