Ah, you’ve never heard of Stooshe? Are you ready for a full-fledged blast of fabulousness?
This trio of Londoners hasn’t quite taken off in the U.S. yet but here’s the thing: I almost prefer it that way. Whoever decided it was a good idea to turn their sassy hit “Fuck Me” into the eye-roll-inducing “Love Me“, featuring an obnoxious American rapper, doesn’t understand the quirky-sexy cheekiness that surely brought these girls together. Stooshe is at their best performing for small radio stations or covering TLC live (rather than their half-hearted attempt at a mainstream “Waterfalls” cover). Their earlier songs feature an almost distracting amount of nonsensical and non-PC dialogue, which is hilarious and off-putting and oh so charming. “Betty Woz Gone” is a kind of postmodern spoken story with a side of spectacular vocals. Their cover “Hotstepper” sounds positively bonkers. And how cute are they in “See Me Like This“??
Maybe it’s just my natural Anglophilic tendencies, but I want to celebrate these artists without bringing them into the mainstream (American) world pop because then they’d probably have to sacrifice their unique style. “Love Me” feels like a classic example of selling out – by censoring Stooshe’s bizarre, R-rated quips, their creativity has been stifled, replaced by a literal exclamation of “explicit!” which probably confuses American listeners anyway. Don’t censor the sass, mate.
Whether it’s the artists’ decision or some team of hungry managers, there’s a tendency for musicians to compromise a large part of their originality in their bid for commercial success. The Icona Pops and Foxes and Lordes of the world are far more interesting on the fringes of alt-pop, hovering in the blogosphere and off the top 40 charts (Wait, “Royals” is number one?? Nooo!). Their distance from the mainstream allows them to deviate and riff off what we consider typical popular music. Remember when the Black Eyed Peas used to be cool? Or when Lana del Rey lost all credibility by performing on SNL? Or when Katy Perry had a small budget, clever lyrics, and a foul mouth??
Keep Stooshe weird!