Natasha Bedingfield

    {grate 1} Blaming the young and impressionable for their own pop music
    indoctrination is too unapproachably circular. Instead, let’s blame Natasha
    Bedingfield and people like her, or at least her marketing team.

    Unabashed posturing for the sake of increased consumption
    number one: an “American” image. Bedingfield’s striving for soul in the voice
    and country in the big white hair and the big white teeth, but this lady was
    born in England.
    One of her higher-ups must have determined that, given the current climate, her
    Sunday-school style import was good enough to send back as is.

    Unabashed posturing number two: content that suggests
    audience-comparable age and experience. Pocketful of Sunshine is blatantly engineered
    to resonate specifically with preteens whose hormones ensure both a market for
    discussions of body image (“Freckles”, “Pirate Bones”) and a market for
    storybook semantics of eternal love (“Soulmate”, “Put Your Arms Around Me”) —
    or is it eternal “like”? The album’s appeal is so narrowly directed that, when
    this nearing-30, mix-messaged figurehead breaks from being, yes, “in like” to
    offer a few lines about landlords and unemployment, these seem more out of
    character than others about tutus and plastic bazookas.

    But the power in the melodically moribund middle-school
    dance punch is that, on top of all of the noted misconstructions, Bedingfield’s
    marketing team still got her on “Ellen” this week and she still sang with
    enough sincerity to bump her up at least one notch on the top 20.

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