Thursday, July 10, 2003

STUDT WALL: So, we've finally got a chance to hear the next step in manufactured pop; that of the artist who is almost totally like a "proper" artist. If you want a food analogy, you have your textured vegetable protein, which looks and tastes totally made up (Girls Aloud), and then you have your Quorn, which is always meant to be exactly like the product its trying to replace. Quorn, of course, is Amy Studt and like the great mushroom-style meat product, you're liable to get gassy if you have too much at a time.

She is an okay singer, in a production-line-Liz-Phair sort of way (you could say the same about New Liz Phair, of course) but there is just still a hint that this a project that her heart isn't quite in. You know the way Sheryl Crowe can belt out that one about being in a bar with a bloke and his matches and makes it sound like it's a real place? That's what's missing from Studt's work. She's not as obviously stage-scenery and no backing as Avril, but the whole thing lacks conviction.

Of course, what's frustrating is that about fifteen years ago, round the era of Julia Fordham and the first coming of Tracy Chapman and Tanita Tickaram (and all the rest) there was no end of people who were producing this sort of stuff; not to fill some gap in a declining market, but because it was their music. At the time, the record industry didn't see much of a need for them and gradually you stopped getting girls turning up carrying guitars wanting to play. The result of their lack of support in the early 90s is that now the members of the BPI have decided that's where the profits are, they're forced to try and create a copy of something they could have had the original of. (You could make the same argument for a lot of other acts, too: Transvision Vamp to Jennifer Ellison; Alishas Attic to Tatu...)

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