Kite, by Kirsty MacColl
Suggested by Dreena Jane
If you believe my wife, my personal music collection is sorely missing Female Vocal representation. To be honest, she’s got a point. There’s a lot of heavy metal and thrash from the eighties and nineties, alongside funk, punk, ska, rock, and more, all genres that traditionally saw a dearth of non-male frontpersons in less enlightened times. On the other side of the coin, my wife listens to breathy females singing ominous cover versions of Eighties classics almost exclusively… I mean, where’s the Chas and Dave?
So, what do I know about Kirsty MacColl? Not much, beside the obvious Christmas collaboration and the story of her untimely demise. She’s got a nice voice, from what I’ve heard. Didn’t she once know someone who swore he was Elvis?
I’ve now listened to Kite, her second album, and will be exploring her back catalogue on the strength of it.
Kirsty MacColl’s voice is wonderful. I realise I’m really late to this particular party, but it has to be said. Every song is perfect in the vocal regard, with flawless performance after flawless performance. They are lyrically intelligent and emotionally resonant, full of charm and pathos and humour and life. Her sound is unique, and iconically her.
As for the songs, each is a gem of folk-pop-rock delight, from the driving country guitar of the opener Innocence, through the wonderful vocal range of Fifteen Minutes, to the bouncing bassline of my personal favourite The End of a Perfect Day. Even the weakest song – the luau-tinged Dancing in Limbo – has charm, and it utilizes one of the overlooked percussive instruments, the ridged wooden loofah you stroke with a stick that’s given out by the music teacher to the kid with the least talent. Who doesn’t love that?
Do I need to listen to more female singers? While I take my wife’s criticism in good faith, I’ve no worries about my perceived vocalist wokeness. I’ve credentials here: I’m a paid-up Pop Tart, once the drummer for a kick-ass female singer / songwriter. This project means my musical boundaries are expanding. I rank Kite at 8/10, and Kirsty MacColl is part of that expansion.