Today’s Christmas offering was a fine and free track released by Poly Styrene, once of X-Ray Spex, a couple of years ago. An almost anti-seasonal track, if such a thing is possible. I wasn’t that into her final album Generation Indigo, sadly, but she was a legend and is sadly missed.
And if you think this track is bleak, bear in mind that, after all, some Christmas music is patently dark and antagonistic. That goes for the Hives and Cyndi Lauper’s ‘A Christmas Duel’. You also get the very sad carol ‘The Coventry Carol’ which remembers all the children slaughtered by King Herod. And if it’s all about good cheer, why do people love ghost stories around this time of year so much. Eh? Eh??
Don’t get me wrong – her voice sounds as awesome as ever, possibly even better than it did in the days of X-Ray Spex. What mystifies is why she has released a record that aims for Santigold’s debut -and ends up feeling like a collection of demos for a Bananarama album that was never released. The producer was Youth who has certainly shown that he can produce some excellent records.
Perhaps the problem is with the tunes which far too often sound like cheesy bubblegum pop, and not in a good way either. The lyrics are also quite poor in places -‘Kitsch’ actually manages to rhyme the title with ‘witch’ and ‘bitch’ which may not be as cliched as rhyming ‘fire’ with ‘desire’ but is hardly much better.
There are some great moments here – ‘White Gold’ Colour Blind’ and the fantastic anti-Iraq War ‘Code Pink Dub’. These tracks are definitely worth hearing -and I suppose in this download age, going and buying. But I can’t help wishing that Poly had explored more tracks in this vein. I hope that there will be another Poly Styrene solo album, because there is no question that she is talented and a legend. Unfortunately, too often this album doesn’t allow her to show this.
Generation Indigo is released on Future Noise on March 28.
Six months after we saw the very welcome return to the music business of the Slits’ Viv Albertine, former X-Ray Spex frontwoman Poly Styrene has announced that she too is to return.
I do enjoy Christmas despite my bah-humbugisms a lot of the time, and no doubt, will be posting more than a few Christmas mp3s when the time gets nearer. But as Ms. Styrene poins out, it can get a bit much at times.
This is her ace come back track, which will be released as a free single next month, entitled ‘Black Christmas.’ Featuring the sooon to be immortal line ‘A child is born on Christmas Day/But they crucified him anyway.’ The track was written by Poly and her daughter Celeste, who also sings on it, after they heard the news about a man dressed as Santa Claus killing people in LA. It has been described as a tongue-in-cheek anti-Christmas song.
This track is not a one-off either; her debut solo album is set to follow in March 2011. It’s entitled Generation Indigo and was produced by none other than Youth.