Sunday, July 24, 2011

Anna Calvi again

There are quite a few talented, dramatic, haughty girls (where I use 'girl' just to signal newness, and in a relatively non-age-specific way, cf. 'riot girl', 'roaring girls/boys') around in popular music right now, and I applaud the trend, but, for me, among recent entries, Anna Calvi has jumped out ahead of the pack:

One problem, I've yet to hear an album version of one of her songs that is as good as, say, the best three or four live performances of that song available on youtube. Calvi's performance skills and presence are so strong that it's evidently going to be hard to match that and capture that on record. Strong performers from Joanna Newsom to Janelle Monae to Gaga have all had to find some way to do this consistently, albeit in each of those cases too there are songs where the live versions are markedly superior, so maybe this isn't a problem that can ever be completely solved. At any rate, in my view Calvi's still got some work to do on the recording side, perhaps she has yet to find the perfect studio collaborator (Eno's watching over her, so presumably that's a problems that'll be solved). Apart from that, though, she's fabulous, appears to have everything figured out and to have almost no limits.

p.s. In my view, anyone who prefers Gaga's Edge of Glory nonsense over Calvi's Desire for an '80s-big-rock fix needs his or her head examined:

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