When I got my first iPod in 2004, I was the coolest kid in my school somehow. I had never been cool before, but after suddenly getting an iPod, well, I was cooler than the other side of the pillow. I used that bad boy every single day, consolidating my music collection, discovering old favourites, and making new musical discoveries that have stayed with me to this day.
Sadly, despite having opened in the US in April 2003, Australia had to wait until October 2005 for the iTunes Music Store to open up for them, despite, y’know, being completely digital and easier to organise than a brick-and-mortar store.
When it did open though, the first thing I became familiar with was the free single of the week. I still remember listening to the very first single available, British India’s ‘Roses’, and setting myself on a long road of discovery. Some of the songs lead me to discover bands who I call favourites today, and a handful of those songs make it into this countdown, such as today’s.
Kate Nash’s ‘Nicest Thing’ was arguably the ‘softest’ song delivered as a free single up to that point, so I was taken aback at first. Soon enough, I found myself listening to the song, trying to full appreciate what it was I was listening to.
Later, I began to discover more of Nash’s music, and I began to discover that ‘Nicest Thing’ was not the norm, but rather a subdued outlier. Her music, while usually featuring a somewhat introspective, somber set of lyrics, were usually delivered in partnership with a misleadingly upbeat instrumental, and prominent use of Nash’s accent.
Once I realised this, it gave me an even greater appreciation of the track. While the song’s subject material arguably comes from many of the same places that the rest of the album does, this deals with it in a much more delicate way. Instead of taking on the attitude of ‘I’m fine now we’re through’, we’re given a ‘actually, I really miss you’ vibe, and it works so, so well.