Michaela - Fixing Barbie

Published Friday 11th December 2009
Michaela - Fixing Barbie
Michaela - Fixing Barbie

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 85715-15883
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Phil Thomson

It's difficult to take this delightful tirade seriously. What the lady delivers, irrespective of age, is full-on teen angst with all the preoccupations of fashion, sex, faith, drugs, colour of skin - nothing seems to be left out - in a style somewhere between sung speech ,rap and political rant. What we hear is complex, witty linguistic gymnastics, sometimes in tracks of assertive poetry with attitude, sometimes in song, in a whimsical, girly gospel voice. Her band play along with the gags, teasing out mini jazz morsels into three minutes worth of pure invention when they can, but finding it hard to keep up with this unstoppable pouter. She definitely has the audience on her side. There is some inventive songwriting going on and it's hard to make a distinction between live and studio material, all of which seems intentionally theatrical. One moment Michaela is in confessional mode, delivering up intimate gossip on the dance floor, next, full of self-righteous invective, accusing the world of giving her a bad time ''cos she's black' - cue the patois. The tongue-in-cheek Barbie reference is a perfect allusion for this particular doll. But, however fresh and clever, it is definitely an acquired taste. Michaela comes across as the kind of person who could make saying 'I love you' confrontational. The point is, it works. Hopefully, this London-based performance poet-cum-singer-cum-rapper will manage to avoid becoming a parody of herself. I would guarantee there's nothing like it out there so she's already teetering on the brink of true originality. Whether or not Michaela goes on to stardom is quite another matter, of course.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Reader Comments

Posted by George Luke in United Kingdom @ 10:23 on Oct 7 2015

I found this just after catching up on Michaela's show on E4, 'Chewing Gum'.

Wow - so much hate levelled at Phil for his review from people who either have missed the point of it or consider any review that isn't 100% gushing to be the words of a "hater". He gave the album 8 out of 10, for heaven's sake! He described it as unique, said that her persona works, and even called it delightful! But just because he has some reservations about it, people are calling him names. Sad, really...

Posted by Tracey Loves Ya in LDN @ 01:21 on Jun 23 2010

have you seen her blog about oraclez?

Posted by icie in LONDON @ 12:42 on Feb 14 2010

Its such a shame when those who are so far removed from the context in which art is created speak from such a pious pedastal.

Maybe in your 'cushion-like NEVERLAND'.... grown up issues do not come to knock on your door.

Michaela is not a Overzealous Christian Activist seeking to shove Jesus down the throat of anyone that comes near her with cliched statements that would have no PERSONAL conviction...NO!...MICHAELA is a creative movement that tells REAL LIFE tales as she observes and sees life through Christocentric rose tinted glasses.

You claim to wonder if she'll be a star-WHOEVER SAID THAT WAS HER MAIN FOCUS IN LIFE! Is that what your organisation promotes as the focus and drive for creative art?

I do wonder if you spent time to talk or email the artist of this masterpiece album ?..because if you did it would have given you better scope to write rather than throwing together abunch of big words and making snap judgmental remarks that have no true foundation to stand on.

Michaela didnt ask me or anyone who has replied to write this , these replies come from true EXPERIENCE of in their entirety , you cannot separate ARTIST from person ...BEFORE YOU REVIEW anybody's album in the future seek to understand the context it was created in and the times WE CURRENTLY EXIST IN!!!!

Posted by confused..... in The world!.... @ 18:43 on Feb 10 2010

I don't think whoever wrote this article, had a big enough understanding of the genre or the world this album describes......i live in a world where this album makes COMPLETE sense, and consequentially changes people.......

Posted by Jay in The South East @ 18:39 on Feb 10 2010

Phil Thomson is simply incorrect in his conclusive thoughts about this album and I'd strongly advise him to take the time to re-listen re-assess and re-analyse.
Sure, everyone is entitled to their opinion and some even get paid for the privilege. However, this review, at best, appears to be jaded by what can only be described as a huge cultural misunderstanding.

This album ROOCCKKKSS! It's a breath of fresh air pumped into a "British Gospel Industry" which is saturated with repetitive, ageing, and, in some cases, downright boring melodic "achievements."
This album crosses every stereotypical barrier, rowing the gospel message down the ear canals of those who are wrapped up in their own self confusion and self delusion - thinking God is someone who is not in touch with the mundane realities of earthly life.
The musicianship is great, the vocals are brilliant and, without fail, the album has something for EVERYBODY in its lyrical, musical and poetical content.

I can't wait for the next instalment and I'm sure I'm not alone in my thinking!

Posted by Uncle in New york City @ 18:00 on Feb 10 2010

ur assertion is fair but inaccurate b/c ur coming from an ignorant perspective....
u dont know her personally...u dont know her heart.

if u did, this review would be totally different

Posted by Kate in Basildon @ 00:59 on Feb 10 2010

I think to truly grasp the beauty of this album you need to have some relation to the issues she confronts, perhaps you're lucky enough not to? Far from teenage angst Michaela is confronting stereotypes, challenging mass thought imposed by the media and expressing pain and joy through sheer honesty and soul baring.
Her album is based solely on experience and her experiences are not uncommon. She's not making herself into some sort of black victim, but giving the victim (who has no race) a voice. I think you're missing the point which is a very clever one, so it's understandable.
To become a parody of herself Michaela would have to lack self assurance and confidence, which on listening to the album I'm sure you're clever enough to gather that she does not. The ''patois'' (I actually laughed out loud at you) keeps the album relate-able and sets the foundation of where the album tracks grew from.
With lyrics that pierce you to your very soul and melodies that ease the pain of being confronted with life's truths, fixing barbie, for me, and I'm sure MANY others is flawless.
If anyone was put off by this review, please try it for yourself and I invite you (the author of this review) to attend one of Michaela's concerts to see the album ALIVE.

Posted by JAI in London @ 22:09 on Feb 9 2010

I beg to differ.. Michaela is a queen in her own right. It disapoints me that a person could judge anothers self expression and creativity so callously. I saw Michaela live recentley and her energy and glow was inspirational.

Posted by Tara Ngozi in US @ 18:46 on Feb 9 2010

She's already a star!

Posted by Kay in Kent @ 18:44 on Feb 9 2010

Michaela is an inspirational, beautiful woman who teaches young women just like myself to love ourselves and apprecaite how God has made us. She isnt a singer nor a rapper she is a spoke word poet which is something different to anything else in the charts these days. Michaela you should take this critism with a pinch of salt because this will only push you to be even more amazing. I was a model at a relevant girls association and we listened to your album during rehersals you were really inspiring. God bless and increase you! xxx

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