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Re: Kirsty MacColl

Kirsty MacColl
August 04, 2008 04:45PM
I miss her.

Just sayin'.
Re: Kirsty MacColl
August 04, 2008 05:59PM
A fine lady and one of the more criminally underrated talents of the last few decades.
Re: Kirsty MacColl
August 04, 2008 11:59PM
I bought Kite when it came out, absorbed it, and eventually sold it. Got it later on CD with bonus tracks, and eventually sold it. Picked up Galore in the mid-90's, and have held on to it.

Earlier in that timeline I had a friend make the jackass-comment that he hated Kirsty because all of her songs sound "like they were written." I'm not sure what the hell he meant, and it's all shades of wrong, but when I'm in a generous mood, I assume he was just overstating the hyperliterate nature of her lyrics. And she was 'hyperliterate' [though no moreso than Costello or Morrissey or some of my friend's other heroes.]

Also, her songs are hard to relate to personally. And she made some unfortunate stylistic exercises (incorporating Carribean, hip-hop, trip-hop)

Despite all that, she did have some great songs, has a tragic story, and I would expect her to have been picked up as influence by some schools of [women] songwriters. But the Riot Girls would have dismissed her (had they even been aware,) the Lesbians never picked up on her, shockingly she was never championed by the Lilith Fair crowd, her name was never mentioned in the kajillion "Women In Rock" stories, and even the alt-county/folk gals passed by the well [though Kelly Willis did cover Don't Come The Cowboy With Me Sonny Jim a few years back.]

What gives?

Anyone wanna start a "Woman Songwriters Overlooked By Women Songwriters" thread?

Re: Kirsty MacColl
August 05, 2008 12:07AM
I kept expecting "In These Shoes?" to become some sort of anthem of the Sex and the City crowd, but she was already dead by the time it was released in the US, and Eva Cassidy had already filled AOR radio's quota of after-death discoveries for that time period, so it never happened.
Re: Kirsty MacColl
August 05, 2008 12:09PM
"Also, her songs are hard to relate to personally. And she made some unfortunate stylistic exercises (incorporating Carribean, hip-hop, trip-hop)"

You don't think her attempts to move stylistically beyond the usual folky pop rock were a good move? I'm not a huge fan of "Walking on Madison," but I think her Latin record Tropical Brainstorm is great.

I don't find her tunes hard to relate to at all. She was an excellent storyteller, creator of characters and actress - if that makes her "hyperliterate," I wish there were more hyperliterate songwriters out there. I think of her more of a Nick Lowe type than a Costello or (gag) Morrissey.
Re: Kirsty MacColl
August 05, 2008 04:03PM
Kirsty was one of the greats. She a genuine gift for pop structure, and Kite is a masterpiece, with Tropical Brainstorm and Desparate Characters coming very close. Her singles collection rivals many others, and she had a crackin' bust, to quote Morrissey. Damn straight, she's missed.
Re: Kirsty MacColl
August 05, 2008 11:16PM
I loved her then as I love her still.

For me, her stylistic experiments are part of the appeal. I actually enjoy "Walking Down Madison" quite a bit. Is it "of its time" (to be polite)? Sure. You can't go wrong with MacColl & Marr.

There are three reasons I think Kirsty MacColl's been overlooked by later female singer/songwriters (not to mention many fans of quality music):
1. She had a unique voice, and an extremely British sensibility that can be challenging, although well worth the effort (see also: Kate Bush, Billy Bragg);
2. As others have referenced, her output was very eclectic;
3. People who are only casually aware of her legacy seem to view her as primarily an interpreter of other writers and/or someone who collaborated with better-known talents. There is certainly some validity to both of these views, but they're not even close to the whole story.
Re: Kirsty MacColl
August 07, 2008 02:52PM
I think Kirsty has been overlooked/underrated for all the reasons listed above, but I think the big thing is that she was always doing records whose sound was tangential -- to speak charitably -- to the current hit records. Obviously, <i>Kite</i> was her best all-around record, but what has it got on it terms of "hit" potential? A McGarrigle cover in French? A random (parody) Western? A scathing Smiths cover? I just don't think that her instincts were to crafting Top of the Pop-styled hits, even though her sensibility was more classically "pop" (by which I mean, songwriting structure, melodic sophistication, clever lyrics) than the rock and roll of its era.

I don't think her Britishness was the problem, by the way. The Kinks were way British, but they have loads of credibility and sold a few records along the way.
Re: Kirsty MacColl
August 07, 2008 04:03PM
Well, Tracey Ullman had a US hit with MacColl's most pop-radio friendly song, "They Don't Know." Kirstie's original was never even released in the US until years later, which seems inexplicable to me because it's as good a pop tune as has ever been written. If she'd had that as her calling card in the US back when she was a more marketable young new wave cutie her career here might have gone differently.
Re: Kirsty MacColl
August 09, 2008 03:34AM
this post brought me to tears.
thanks all.
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