No matter how striking the production on any of our past fave Nadine Shah tracks, she very much possesses one of those voices, haunted, seductive, world weary, that always made us wish she were singing just for us, in our own living room, sans instrumentation. But BlackBook has managed to get the next best thing: this exclusive studio clip, recorded for Radio 5 Live in the UK, of the slyly sensual but introspective title track from her latest album Kitchen Sink, just released June 26.
The enigmatic Norwegian-Pakistani Brit from South Tyneside is deftly backed by her band, each playing from their own personal quarantine position. And over a raw but visceral accompaniment (minimal piano, handclaps, Zep-like guitar squawks), she gets incisively philosophical, her throaty delivery as smoky as it is silvery.
“I wasted time with paranoia
Don’t let unorderly thought destroy you
Don’t pick a fight just for the sake of it
But let it lie and they will grow tired of it”
She even allows herself a few wry and sly smiles for the camera, as if she’s thinking of a really good off-color joke as she’s singing. But it may be because she just perfectly well realizes that any amount of pandemic is no match for the sheer force of her musical puissance.
The new album itself speaks very much to the sort of self-reflection that comes with women reaching an age where they’re expected to give serious consideration to the question of having children or not. Though Shah insists that despite so many of her closest friends having brought new life into the world, she is nevertheless comfortable in her own choices—though putting it all into words surely helped to get her there.
“There’s that panic that so many of us have that we are running out of time,” she explains, “when it comes to having children. If you were to tell 14 year old me I’d be 34, unmarried and have no children, I’d have never believed it. Essentially I’m writing about so many women that I just love. The new mothers, the rock stars, the ones doubting themselves who need our support.”
And of course, the song “Kitchen Sink” in any form is an essential capsule of wisdom, no matter what your age, gender, or your grand plan for life.