Little Boots „Working Girl“
(Dim Mak Records)
I actually quite like Victoria Christina Hesketh aka. Little Boots: her brand of the overly virtuous English rose mixed with an undeniable love for clubbing is right up my street. In addition to that I thought that her last album “Nocturnes”, which was produced by Tim Goldsworthy, would have deserved more attention than it got, as all of its tracks, which were mainly vibrant airy homages to 70s disco music and 90s electro, were prime dance floor material. And the fact that Little Boots is rumoured to have discovered her stage name in the film “Caligula” out of all places is so weird (as in so strange and pseudo-tough) that she managed to win me over with that.
Since I felt so positive about Little Boots from the start I thought that Hesketh’s third full-length record “Working Girl” would be a clever, witty take on the thematic complex of the work environment as such, including at least a couple of danceable potential hits. After all Little Boots has gone on to own a label of her own, thus she would have to be an utterly responsible business woman who – in the manner of a British version of Madonna or the latest Client-update – is dancing on top of the infamous glass ceiling, reigning those beneath her and so on and so forth. At least that’s what I thought it would be like. Unfortunately, hardly any of it applies here.
You only need to get as far as the “Intro” – including the ringing of a phone and an answering machine message – and the very conventional cover itself (business suit!) to come to the painful conclusion that Little Boots delivers stereotype after stereotype and does not manage to bring anything new to the table. Neither Dolly Parton’s “Nine to Five” nor “She Works Hard for the Money” by Donna Summer – just to mention two spot-on working-girl-classics – could have acted as an inspiration or model. “Working Girl” rather sounds as if it had been inspired by a cover version of “I’m so tired” by the Beatles done by Baby Spice. Hesketh sounds empty and exhausted. Her music as a boring workout-soundtrack that the girl who has had to spend her day working in an office puts on automatically: “Not really feeling it, but I don’t really have a choice” is what her sighing between sit-ups seems to want to say. “It’s so hard, it’s so hard for a working girl,” Hesketh sings in the title track. Well yeah, alright, of course, we get it – but what would Little Boots rather be doing? “You’ve got to play the game” is her answer to this question a few songs on. Apparently there is no way out of “the game”. In “Get Things Done” there’s finally a change of tempo, beats and bass and for a second you might be tempted to think that all of the exhaustion the record has so far delivered has just been the foreplay and this right there is eventually the time of empowerment, of liberating hedonistic dancing – the text, in its resignation, however, makes you give up any sort of hope you may have had that things on this record could maybe start to get better after all. At times, when listening to the record, it may have been during “Pleasure” or “Heroine”, for a moment I thought that Little Boots’ obvious mediocrity could be a ploy, an ironic meta commentary critical of capitalism shining a sceptical light on the Holy Cow that is being a working woman for most of Western Europe’s civilization. But this thought vanished again, driven away by the all too sweet vocals and the dull completely predictable music.
On “Working Girl” Little Boots comes off as Client LB who has been bullied out of the team by Client A and Client B as she was not strong enough and not courageous enough. Hesketh should strongly consider taking a break or a sabbatical and consequently reconsider her personal strengths with a professional coach.
(Translation: Tanita Sauf)