Rachel Stevens - Negotiate With Love

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“Now you think you’re in the clear/ Well let me tell you dear/ Soon you’ll realize your mistake/ The case is closed/ I don’t negotiate with love/ You made your choice/ I won’t negotiate with love.”


Rachel doesn’t exist, not in my head anyway. I don’t want a simpering face to undermine the glacial power of this song – no coquettish replies and early morning TV banalities please, for the sake of my saturated sanity. Just give me the track, disembodied and magnificent. Don’t expect me to care about the world behind it, because the air-brushed acquiescence upon which Ms Stevens has built her career with girl-next-door sweetness is a world away from the sparsely chilled delivery here.

This is pop beyond person, proficient and polished in the modern British way for which I am joyful. You see, they discovered the mechanic brilliance of pop gems a while back, and so the line of hits rolls past – Kylie, Girls Aloud et al, emotionally void but oh so irresistible. Because someone knows what they’re doing, to the extent that this feels utterly effortless in the way they languidly hit every requirement for immediate devotion; Electronic base substance. Guitars bubbling. Tightly structured, elegantly understated. Blissful.

But remote and uncompromising, it is the vocals which add such a sheen of perfection. Evoking the superior decisiveness of a girl in the three inch stiletto boots she wears to trample on foolishly careless men, Rachel archly dismisses any feeble protest with a fixed glare. Heart of glass indeed. Yet it is when that detached demeanor falters that the moments of brilliance are attained: the ‘What is it you don’t understand?/ Respect is all that I demand’ section of strained repetition conveys just the wounded desperation needed to underpin the rest of this ice-queen persona. And when that half-beat of breathy despair slips into the main refrain, glimmers of pain resonate with an aching beauty that slices through the song.

No ‘live’ performance, please darling. You act like you don’t know the meaning of these words, all synchronized hip-thrusting and beaming prettiness. And you probably don’t, but leave me with this vision of heartlessness intact.

2 Responses to “Rachel Stevens - Negotiate With Love”

  1. Blogger Eppy 

    See, I'm prattering on and on about separating the performer from the song and then you go ahead and do it. I send you a virtual high-five.

  2. Anonymous reup? please? 

    Wrong link! :(


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