Nostalgia for the MySpace millennials
MySpace girl-rock phenomenon Kate Nash returns from her hiatus with the crowd-funded Yesterday Was Forever. The fact that this album was funded by her fans through a Kickstarter campaign is reflected in much of it being a direct tribute to what made her fans love her in the first place. Unfortunately, unlikely to score many new fans, Yesterday Was Forever is a bloated record of 14 formulaic girl-rock anthems featuring lyrics straight out of a teen girl’s diary. For Nash, the play to her fans’ nostalgia will probably pay off, but it doesn’t show enough artistic evolution to bring her back to the scene.
The album opens with “Life in Pink” and the cliché “I’m not like the other girls” line up top clearly setting the tone. Nash’s sweet Brit voice, unfortunately, devolves into a hoarse caw over music that reeks of the ’90s. This is followed by “Call Me,” another song that suffers from her voice when she tries to push it towards grunge but is nonetheless a quite lovely anthem when she sings.
The pop-rock schtick is already tired by the third track “Take Away.” With lyrics that fall into elementary rhyming patterns and border on the cringe with their content, the song, of course, leans heavily on the millennial girl nostalgia—even going so far as to reference watching “Buffy on the TV.” The next track, “Hate You,” is just as cringeworthy, with the distorted refrain “I really fuckin’ hate you” anchoring the rebellious teen anthem that her fans have surely all outgrown.
“Drink About You” is a fun jam that could easily replace a couple of the other weaker tracks on the album. Nash’s voice is better here even when she pushes it to achieve the rocker girl aesthetic. A bit later, “Always Shining” is another refreshingly decent song. Reminiscent of raw “MTV Unplugged” sets, the acoustic tune is more fitting for the lyrics, but unfortunately showcases how unpleasant her voice can get when she goes for the raw squawk.
Yesterday Was Forever perhaps references the feelings that Nash’s fanbase feel—that their teen days were forever ago, and how the pain they experienced then felt as if it lasted forever. She achieved what a crowd-funded album should by feeding her fans exactly what they expected. Unfortunately, the album is too indulgent in all the ways. It’s too long, too formulaic, and too reliant on attempting to recreate the past.