Anglo For Your Ear: Kirsty MacColl’s “Walking Down Madison”
Kirsty MacColl – singer-songwriter, famous for her work with The Smiths and The Pogues – a rapper? How odd. Yet she pulls it off: in this 1990 track co-written by Johnny Marr, MacColl employs hip-hop beats, but she doesn’t actually rap. (How embarrassing would that have been?) Instead, she mutters her wry lyrics in a low sing-song voice that is both wise and sexy. And the lyrics themselves, which vividly describe New York City class divisions, are fantastic: “From an uptown apartment to a knife on the A train/It’s not that far/From the sharks in the penthouse to the rats in the basement/It’s not that far.” And if you live in NYC, look around: those lyrics still ring true.
The video, shot in Washington Square with real street dancers, really evokes early ’90s New York.