“Decorated with elements of trashy 90s cheese-pop and dressed up like it’s something new”
Digital Release: January 29, 2012
Physical Release: N/A
When she’s not busily dreaming up more collaborations that, to us highly cynical normal people, are clearly far out of her reach, Pixie Lott releases a bit of music. And when a new Pixie Lott single comes about, in her music’s typically surplus fashion, it’s a sort of health check for the record industry. The same goes for many artists these days – the kind that sell singles far more effectively than they do albums, and thus resort to slaughtering an album piece by piece for all it’s commercial worth. Although it seems that to prolong this arduous, repetitive procedure gives medical results that suggest the record industry is actually doing rather well; it shows artists are still releasing single after single until they’ve successfully sucked the respective albums dry of any commercial merit (and then some, e.g. Katy Perry) and are still achieving success. In Lott’s case, ‘Kiss The Stars’ hit the UK’s Top 10 before it was even officially released as a single in it’s own right.
‘Kiss The Stars’ cements the change in both musical and visual direction for her, perhaps more the latter than the former, because in the video she’s got up like the birth-child of Kitty Brucknell and a space-age drag queen with a penchant for Brylcreem. The song though, doesn’t so much conjure the question as much as it sounds deafening alarm bells in your head as to why she even bothered. In fact, those alarm bells probably have better melodic dexterity than Lott’s nasal tones. If there was a word that perfectly summed up her music it would be “irrelevant”. Said word is usually slapped around at whim to describe (but mainly insult) someone who’s dropped off the public’s radar and who’s material isn’t really up to scratch. However, there’s been nothing quite so wrong with her music up till now – she was happy enough to follow the crowd and whilst critics and music snobs alike gasped and retorted at the thought of Pixie’s commercially-orientated boho-pop turning into colourless and claustrophobic dance-pop, she continued slamming down hard of the UK Top 10 with ‘All About Tonight’ and ‘What Do You Take Me For?’. So no, she might not be the most thought-provoking of artists, but she is popular. It’s worth noting though that popularity should never be aligned with quality. And that unwritten law of the music world will exist until the day when Pixie Lott decides to stop spoon-feeing her listeners warm diarrhoea in the form of pop drivel like ‘Kiss The Stars’.
It’s often hard to find any merit to Lott’s music since ‘Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)’. The delightfully innocent-but-experimenting persona that gleefully coloured in ballsy brass and a hand-clapping accompaniment have been made redundant in favour of conformity. Her recent LP is like the embodiment of function over form: a slap-bag job of below par tunes that neatly conform to the trend of the Now will sell by the bucket, but to break away from such a narrow, confined stream of popularity promises instant relegation to nothing more than the loyalty of overly-enthusiastic fandom. The crux here is, that Pixie doesn’t have that kind of fanbase yet, and probably never will considering her comic failure at being anything other than a conveyor-belt roller that gives an audience what they want (or at least, what they think they want, considering it’s the radios that ultimately hold those cards). You might say there’s satisfaction to be had in that what she does she does quite well, regardless of the quality (of disparaging lack thereof). However, there must be very few people out there who openly admit that they like Pixie Lott’s music more than anyone else’s. Because of that fact that is both rather sad and quite uplifting, she can’t ever be much more than a staple support for the welfare of the record industry, called out to service whenever her label-mates have finishing promoting their own albums.
I say this because ’Kiss The Stars’ is a different kind of bad to ‘All About Tonight’ and ‘What Do You Take Me For?’. The latter two sounded like they belonged in today’s charts. ‘Kiss The Stars’ is decorated with elements of trashy 90s cheese-pop and dressed up like it’s something new. She’s picked lyrics like “Put the plug in the socket” and sings them with a slightly demented effervescence and hopes that by some invisible hope she stands a chance of being taken seriously even as a seductress, but at least she’s having fun. There is however, some part of that intangible pleasure that just doesn’t transfer across to the listeners. For us it’s just hard work to listen to the full three-and-a-half minutes. It could be a number of reasons, but the most obvious would be her tendency to sound like the anguished moan of a wounded mammal whining through it’s nose with all the sex appeal of a flaccid penis.