Alex Cartañá - Hey Papi
Whatever else should happen, I'm hoping that my daughter should never try to release any music as the most brittle relationship in music, barring the marriage of George Jones and Tammy Wynette, is between pop stars and their fathers. Admittedly, other than those misguided enough to think they can be friends with their kids, us dads are a grumpy, cantankerous lot but with hair growing out of everywhere but the top of our head, we've got a right to be.
With Madonna's Papa Don't Preach being the archetypal father-daughter relationship in music, although Bikini Kill's Suck My Left One comes in from the leftfield, Alex Cartañá's Hey Papi, her debut release, comes from a troubled time with her father. Good though it is, with its mix of funk, electronic pop and shrill vocals, much like early Madonna as it happens, it's hard not to want to tell Cartañá to get over it and move on from lyrics like, "I'm not your little girl no more, so Daddy, you can keep on calling, this house ain't hme no more".
Come the release of this single, come the call out to the sisterhood, with Cartañá saying Hey Papi goes out to all women who'd doubtless be knocking on the door of the Nobel Institute were it not for the no-good partners/fathers/sexy pool cleaners who're otherwise holding them back from greatness. Problem is that Cartañá's tinny message has the ring of middle-class schoolkids trying to solve all the problems of the world by asking, "...like, why don't we just all get along?" and despite good intentions, this doesn't have the surefire seal of female empowerment that, say, a Janis Joplin record does, nor even the pop zing of the Spice Girls' early, Girl Power years.
Whilst a fine pop record, it's as much a rallying call as Billie's Because We Want To. Cartañá, at least at this point in time, would be better served dropping the cutesy politics - big statements can follow on in later years once the time to be singing about boyfriends has passed - in favour of getting on with delivering sparkling pop records, of which this is a great arriving shot.