Straight out of your grainy nineties MTV feed, the video for Kate Nash’s new tune “Trash” wouldn’t look out of place alongside Green Day or Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s early releases; using layered green screen for everything and turning up the saturation for acid-bright colours. Chokers, long sleeves under short sleeves, hair split into four buns or scraped into a scrunchied side-ponytail: Nash wears the nostalgic uniform nineties babies will cringe about while Gen Z-ers buy the look in Topshop and lust over Liam Gallagher.
The initial inspiration for the song was to bring awareness to single-use plastic, Nash explains: “Trash’ was written after I was asked to take part in an exhibition curated by Athena Pagington who asked artists to collect their single-use plastic for a certain number of days and then make something out of it. Ideally, I thought I could make music from my ‘trash.” The song has a punk undertone that the singer has often aligned herself with, albeit with an environmental edge. “The whole thing really inspired me and now I want to work on more music with an ethical/environmental agenda.”
Lyrics to the song personify the irreversible impact human pollution has had on the planet: “Impure toxic devotion / Runs through me like a river to a plastic ocean / I’ll only change you can burn me / But I’ll never go away.”
While sustainability shifts into the forefront of the output from artists across different industries, ‘Trash’ adds to the dialogue, with black smoke emanating from incinerators and landfills shown behind Nash dancing in the video. Plastic bags fall gracefully in front of her face as seagulls swoop on to tips in the background. Kate also explains how she “experimented with actually creating records from epoxy resin with my single-use plastic cut up and put into the records.” The process is shown in the video.
Fans of Kate’s debut album Made of Bricks will relish at the spirit and style of ‘Trash’, echoing some of her earliest songs. The production is pared back and Kate’s voice is the main attraction. Her knack for writing an evocative, tuneful and catchy song shows no signs of wearing off. Despite her move into acting, Nash’s razor-sharp dedication to her niche and the zeitgeist remain unwavering.