Gabriella Cilmi – On a Mission

Gabriella Cilmi (pronounced Chill-me, not Kill-me) has a new album.
With the totally ubiquitous Nothing Sweet About Me behind her, Gab has new and very different fish to fry.
Now, gone is the five-espresso rasp in the throat, replaced by a siren call of a modern day vamp. Don’t get me wrong, Gabriella is still a kook. But now she’s an ironic kook.
Irony is a wonderful thing. Especially ironic booby. Non-ironic booby is tawdry, cheap and sluttish. Just take a look at the Pussycat Dolls. Easy on the eye, no doubt, but as classy as a trailer park pole-dancing class for knocked-up teens. Now, like a glint-in-the-eye sprinkle of magic dust, add irony to the mix and all is forgiven. Take the Pussycats out of their Daisy Duke, Hazzard County skank-wear and put them in matching PVC irony-bikinis and Blammo!, before you can say ‘Robert Palmer’ you’ve got an Art School viral hit on your hands.
Irony doesn’t hold water in this day and age without borrowing lashings of the ’80s. As every teen knows, the ’80s was the decade that style forgot. So the only way to borrow from the ’80s, is to wink while you’re going it. That way everyone will be in on the joke.
Frank admission time: I once bought a cassette tape in 1988 called The Girls Hit Out. I think it was for a road trip and I might have been smoking crack at the time. Regardless, it was packed full of other girls on a mission: Sheena Easton, Debbie Gibson, Laura Branigan, Belinda Carlisle… girls with attitude. It was also packed full of big synth stabs, disco drums, the words ‘woah-oh’ at the end of every second line, and lame attempts at rap — just like On a Mission. The only difference here is that Gabriella Cilmi is surrounded by ironic booby. The only letup from the constant barrage of ironic booby is Gab in a space helmet — yes, Gabriella Cilmi, the Amazing Space Babe from Another Galaxy.
On a Mission is straight out of the Girls Hit Out playbook. Blokes don’t even rate a mention, not even as hopeless stuffups deserving of Amazing Space Babe’s pity. I can’t imagine tweens trying out the ironic booby dance moves, though. If you can imagine a warm up class for a tryout of So You Think You Can Interpretive Dance then you come close to the stop-go auto-manipulations here. That’s okay. I’d much rather my daughter grow up to be the ironic Freaky PVC Girl than a Pussycat Strumpet. Wouldn’t you?

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