“I don’t just want to eat bread, that is bad for my head, and my belly too.” The punkish simplicity of “Carb Your Enthusiasm” from Miss World conceals a broader, more complicated account of contemporary times. The brainchild of Natalie Chahal, Miss World is a project that skims the substance from social media platforms to produce an improperly dressed agit-pop. Her 2017 EP Waist Management was swaggering, self-aggrandizing, and full of glam strut, yet it also allowed for moments of reflection, self-deprecation and a deeper awareness of the impulses experienced in this period They’re calling late-capitalism.
With a debut album, Keeping Up With Miss World, slated for release at the end of September, “Carb Your Enthusiasm” introduces newcomers to the sensibility of a project that has been several years in the making. Chahal represents an aggregation of things that she’s picked up on travels, and through time spent learning what makes modern culture tick. Puns remain integral to the sharp-witted reality of the artist. The Kardashians are a point of reference – not only in album title but in networking chops, and her musical touch slams buttons.
Someone once described M.I.A. as an artist born for the tumblr generation. Miss World lands like an artist born for the brevity of Snapchat, and the rapidly scrolled ‘gram feeds of handheld devices. Dismissed by those who don’t get it, annoying to those over-precious purveyors of music industry norms, there’s something genuinely subversive at play in the work of Miss World. It would be disappointing if the older generation readily accepted this level of quasi-frivolity.
Chahal pouts her way through the process, she sometimes opens her shirt in press photos, and she toys with sexual triggers. However, her awareness is deeper than the fame-whoring she exploits. With a project name lifted from a Hole song, a sludgy approach to guitar riffs, and a broad range of references from Larry David, Debbie Harry, and The Stooges her study of pop culture goes beyond easy derision. Yes, there’s the manipulation of things – but it is Chahal in control.
Miss World harnesses the spirit of punk for the now. For all the cheeky playfulness there’s a level of aggression too; a frustration at the limited perception of cultural commentators.
HURRY – LISTEN – MISS WORLD
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAYLEY BARRETT