Very graceful. Bit boring
"Glory be to god’…
Nooo, glory be to the unique pot of London stew, the way that, as ever over the centuries, trade winds have created an unlikely mess on the shores of the Thames. The good winds, the evil winds, the winds of change and hope and desperation blowing up flotsam and jetsam, some of it veteran of several journeys. In this case, the journey of a niche religion from the deserts of Palestine to a stupidly wet island hundreds of miles away and then, that same religion, warped and distorted beyond original recognition sent even further, back south, to the shores of Africa, where it was used as a justification for industrialised slavery and got stuck into the skins of Igbo and Yoruba like vicious thistles. Then, the righteous anger and the sky fairy came back on the Atlantic currents and settled in London where it was mixed up with Saturday night and the American version of the same thing and, voila, Little Simz, whose winning album has its moments but is a bit stodgy for my tastes.
That moment of winning the Mercury is a test. Will the inner luvvy appear? Has the artist been drilled or will the natural result of free cocktails and a room full of labels and management and celeb’s concentrating all their grooming power on you, yes yoooo… will that just make an explosion of youthful joy, a gooooooaaaall moment followed by some drunken shite that you will regret forever more?
In Little Simz’s case, we have a pro, seasoned, actorly response, just the right amount of everything, measured, controlled. Including the crucial, ‘this is for all of us special short listed albums people’ shout-out to her co-contenders. Very graceful. Bit boring.
Which matches the album, like the other albums. No surprises. Everything in its place. Controlled - by the industry and, in Simz’s case, perhaps she has the nous and hopefully the team to stay in control herself, but, you know, there are ways and ways of controlling shit. One is to state the rules, out loud and be strict. The other is to say, in so many words, ‘don’t rock it, don’t knock it, play the game with us and we’ll sort you out a house for your mum and a decent little pension.’
‘Glory be to the record industry’…