A battle is being fought within me, the battle lines are drawn. On one side is the cynic, the critic, the musician and music industry person who knows a manufactured product when he sees one and derides it as such. Facing him is the guy who just saw a rocking festival set from a young artist with talent, attitude and, more than anything, good songs.
Tiffany Page is, as far as I can see, something of a novelty in the music industry at the moment. Amongst countless reinventions, repackagings and relaunches, endless attempts to be more flamboyant, more spectacular than the next artist, Page is a female pop singer with no pretensions. This is, no doubt, cultivated in and of itself, a calculated lack of bullshit designed to cut through and access a demographic turned off by over-the-top pop. All the same, when I caught her set at Godiva Festival this afternoon, she and her three-piece band turned in a set of satisfying, well-structured, hook-laden guitar-pop that put a smile on my face. It’s rock’n’roll lite, a step away from the Courtney Love/Shirley Manson/Chrissie Hynde namechecks in her marketing copy, but none the less enjoyable for it.
There’s no doubt that Page has a significant marketing push behind her. Consistent branding everywhere from the website to the kick drum head, spots in most of the major broadsheet music supplements, Page has no real live pedigree to speak of, so again the suspicion would be that there is a serious PR team at work. Strings are being pulled from somewhere deep inside the Universal Music Group machine.
Should this detract from my enjoyment of the music? All pop music is, to a greater or lesser extent, a guilty pleasure for the self-identified “serious music” fan. I am the guy that dare not wind his windows down whilst listening to Taylor Swift lest I drive past someone I know. The live environment strips away a lot of the major-label-machine polish but leaves behind a budding writing talent, an ear for a pop melody, a powerful voice and a commanding, powerful, Stratocaster-wielding stage presence. I, for one, am sold.