Surprising Songs Sung: Kate Nash / Hollaback Girl

It would have been hard to miss Gwen Stefani’s number one hit “Hollaback Girl”, from her first album as a solo artist. Released in 2005, the hip hop/pop song was written by Stefani, Pharell Williams (“Happy”), and Chad Hugo. It received Grammy Award nominations, but on the flip side, Maxim labelled it as the “Most Annoying Song Ever”! 

The meaning of “Hollaback Girl” has not been explained, but with the video depicting cheerleading, one theory is related to Stefani being the cheerleader who leads the chants, rather than one of the girls who “hollers” back. Also, with Courtney Love having referred to Stefani as a cheerleader type in an interview in Seventeen, the song was thought to be her response to the comment. (Source: Wikipedia and other assorted internet browsing). Here is Stefani’s version (explicit lyrics):

One day while browsing YouTube I came across a really fun acoustic version of “Hollaback Girl”. I have no idea what the circumstances of this video were, but it is seemingly just a bit of unrehearsed fun! To me, this is how this lyrically silly song (IMO) should actually be sung (explicit lyrics):

I had never heard of Kate Nash before this, but the lighthearted tone of the song somehow teminded me of an old Chas and Dave song that my English relatives had introduced my family to years ago. Have a listen to this funny song called “The Sideboard Song”:

In any case, after hearing Kate Nash sing “Hollaback Girl”, I looked her up and found that I really enjoyed a lot of her original songs, which are quirky but really show a slice of life. My favourite of her songs is “Foundations”, about a romance that is pretty obviously coming to an end. (Explicit lyrics — The only official video I could find that hadn’t sanitized the original lyrics was this video with German subtitles.) Hope you enjoy it too.

4 thoughts on “Surprising Songs Sung: Kate Nash / Hollaback Girl

  1. Hollaback Girl was always one of those songs that was fun to sing extremely loud, preferably when you’re in the car, by yourself 🙂 I always took it to mean that she’s not a follower, that if someone was talking about her behind her back then they’d regret it. her referencing cheerleaders was tongue in cheek, like okay, you say I’m a cheerleader? let me put my pom-poms down before I kick your ass 😀 I didn’t know the history of the song though, that was interesting and shed some light on the lyrics. I’d never heard the Kate Nash version. she reminded me of Lily Allen with her accent. speaking of accents, I could not understand even half of that Sideboard song!

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    • It is a fun catchy song for sure. I think your interpretation sounds right. Although I saw a tongue-in-cheek misheard lyric saying that she’s actually singing that she “ain’t no Holland badger” which are notorious for eating bananas!

      I think Kate Nash and Lily Allen are around the same age and both from in and around London.

      The Cockney accent and slang in “The Sideboard Song” are pretty thick! Plus they sing so fast! The gist is that the daughter is dating someone unacceptable and he better watch out if he comes around. But the dad’s happy enough to “let mama sort it out” because he’s got his beer in the sideboard.

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  2. Maybe I have lived under a rock but I didn’t know that Hollaback song, even though (I just checked) it was also a top 10 hit here in The Netherlands! Then again, at the beginning of the 2000s I was living under a rock music-wise.
    Chas and Dave sounds fun, although the lyrics are so fast it’s not quite easy to follow every word on the first listen. 🙂
    Kate Nash also reminds me of Lily Allen, not only the accent, but also the style of music and the voice.

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    • Oh wow. It was played sooo much here. I don’t know much really about Chas and Dave, although I think they were really popular in England. As for Kate Nash, I’ve never heard her on the radio here, but “Foundations” was a top 10 hit in England.

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