I’m not entirely sure how I missed Remi Nicole‘s first album. Probably because I don’t religiously keep myself up to date with pop and corporate indie (for want of a better expression).
The first time I saw her was on the telly a month or so back playing ‘Standing Tears Apart‘. Just her and a semi-acoustic. I really did think she was superb. Sweet-as-a-nut voice, beautiful to look at, she played a really nice song with a bit of a Libertine’s vibe. Maybe that last bit’s just me, but I stand by it. The Libertine’s were a great band. At her best Remi Nicole has something similar. Clearly less laddish, less masculine, but a similar vibe nevertheless.
She is sweet whilst not being kookie. Her lyrics are to the point, without being stupid. I like artists who write simple songs that tell it like it is. She might not be revealing universal truths that have previously evaded mankind, but then again how many musicians really do? I’m a firm believer that most of us appreciate the established themes, and most of us can do with reminding ourselves that (for example the old song “Fed Up”) people generally don’t change and if they are idiots who take the piss then you should dump them. There are plenty of people out there who fail to remember things like that when it comes to making their own life decisions.
In fact that is one of the most fantastic things about pop and rock now I come to think about it. With writing there is nothing but the words. Any subtlety, any mystery has to come through the words (not my style, sorry). With Rock n Roll the je ne sais quoi can come from the music as a whole or any part of it. Which leaves the writer able to cut to the chase and give it to you straight when it comes to the lyrics. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate clever word play, or the odd lyric which confuses you. But I want to hear a truth and think about it, I do not want to sit there thinking “what the fuck is this song about?” Unless I am listening to the unbelievably good Future of the Left of course, but I’ll leave them for another day.
Anyway, I suspect her label still hope they have the next Lily Allen on their hands, though the relative lack of success for her last effort doesn’t bode well. She might yet become a damn fine pop artist like Allen has. But at the moment I see someone who can write a song (the odd gem, a few pretty fine efforts – hopefully ‘Standing Tears Apart’ is a sign of her improving as a songwriter), possesses a very listenable voice, and has possibly the greatest gift in pop – an ability to get up on stage by herself, with an guitar and a mic, and play one of her own songs and sound fucking great.
I fear that in trying to fit a band around her, trying to produce her, the end result is a Lily-Lite, who is bound to fail to be as good at being Lily Allen as Lily Allen. She is not new, she’s not fresh, she’ll not win over the indie crowd, but neither will she succeed like Lily as a pop artist.
Maybe the new album will be better. If not then if she’s really lucky she’ll know that when she’s dropped it is an opportunity to go back to basics, with a percussionist and another guitarist at most, and make music for herself. Raw and passionate. And I hope she has some cash in the bank when it happens. I really do ‘cos – and call me an old softy if you like, I don’t care – she does deserve it.