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nomadthethird
16-05-2008, 07:34 AM
I'm not going to respond but I'm interested in getting opinions on the new wave of female British singer-songwriters we Americans are being forcefed by Vh1 and top 40 radio. These supposed divas tend to do nothing more than reappropriate classic American jazz, soul, and R&B vocals in some vain attempt to resell Americans music they've already heard performed better by more attractive and dynamic performers for decades.

What gives? Is this trend nearly over or is it just beginning?

Examples:

Early on, it seemed harmless enough. Especially before the arrival of Lilly Allen and co.

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Then it was all "At least she can sing live, right, even if she now looks like she's been on a steady diet of lima beans and crack for three years?"

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Then I saw this and thought "boy they really think Americans will buy any old tepid carbon copy of music Americans made better 40 years ago, don't they?"

<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/KE2orthS3TQ&hl=en"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/KE2orthS3TQ&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>

Oh no another hot R&B diva:

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Today I saw this and just guffawed out loud to myself.

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Why? Who thought this was a good idea? Apparently it's working, so they must've been right.

zhao
16-05-2008, 09:10 AM
yay!

Ivan Conte
16-05-2008, 09:42 AM
Well, this is nothing new. It's getting more media attention now and probably more divas are signed and marketed in the US, but there is a long tradition of female singers appropriating northamerican music styles. Think about Dusty Springfield, for instance! I actually don't like most of what they do, but it is understandable that after being exposed for decades to these types of music, eventually people will appear who wants to have a go at them. The question of them being British shouldn't be an obstacle, the idea that they are daftly trying to resell americans something they do better raises uncomfortable issues of authenticity IMHO

Besides, at her best, Amy Winehouse has distinctly British characteristics such as the fact that she sometimes adds a Jamaican flavour both to her words and music, which is, I think, a direct consequence of having being exposed to both soul and reggae in England. Again, I don't particularly like much of what she does, but at least this is mainstream music that acknowledges the cultural variety of England, in contrast to the NME-indie-rock-bands, who try to make us think England is still an all-white country.

matt b
16-05-2008, 09:50 AM
Today I saw this and just guffawed out loud to myself.

just be thankful you don't have access to 'britain's got talent', 'yowling for lloyd webber' etc, which makes this radio 2, brit school, major label production line guff almost tolerable.

crackerjack
16-05-2008, 09:51 AM
These supposed divas tend to do nothing more than reappropriate classic American jazz, soul, and R&B vocals in some vain attempt to resell Americans music they've already heard performed better by more attractive and dynamic performers for decades.

Oh, who gives a fuck. Unless the sons and daughters of Wilson Pickett, Laura Lee, Irma Thomas, Bobby Bland and Al Green are gonna crawl out of the woodwork and compete, people who want to hear this kind of music will turn to the people who are making it.

Most of those listed are just singers (though Chasing Pavements is very good indeed), but Amy is a 24-carat genius. Say what you like about the retro music, for lyrics and vocal performance You KNow That I'm No Good and Tears Dry On Their Own shit on any American R&B song since No Scrubs.


Then it was all "At least she can sing live, right, even if she now looks like she's been on a steady diet of lima beans and crack for three years?"

She's not all that great live, as it happens - goes a bit, er, wayward.

john eden
16-05-2008, 09:52 AM
all about the girls singing in ridiculously tortured r&b stylings at the back of the bus. Your time!

matt b
16-05-2008, 10:32 AM
unshakeable self-belief in the face of reams of evidence to the contrary. Your time!

UFO over easy
16-05-2008, 10:50 AM
your particular brand of patriotism is incredibly bizarre nomad.


Then I saw this and thought "boy they really think Americans will buy any old tepid carbon copy of music Americans made better 40 years ago, don't they?"

presumably they think that because currently you guys are lapping it up.

Pestario
16-05-2008, 11:03 AM
all about the girls singing in ridiculously tortured r&b stylings at the back of the bus. Your time!

yep, Britain's Got Talent alright :slanted:

mistersloane
16-05-2008, 01:30 PM
I never understood Joss Stone but she was phenomenally successful - really amazingly so - which led to this trickle-down effect. I wouldn't put Leona Lewis in with that lot, she really is one of those girls with a great voice on the back of a bus, good luck to her.

That Amy Winehouse album is a genuine Thriller type phenomenon, every country I've been to in the last year, she's being belted out of shops and restaurants globally on some crazy scale, and still, and deservedly - her lyrics are amazing. It just kind of follows that after that there's going to be a flood of music in similar style that is seen as something that commercial and retail properties can be marketed to.

On a zeitgeist level you've had (over here at least) so much guff about 1968 in the press and book media that it feels, on some sort of level, like a liberal attempt to recreate the vibe of around that time, almost sympathetic magic; people who were affected then would be in positions of power I guess. I'd put alot of it down to left-wing nostalgia, as well as music that appeals to people who still buy CDs, who would again be people in that age bracket.

I'm not too concerned by the appropriation thing, personally, and the Dap Kings are pretty realistic about why they did it (quote "reason number one? the money") and I think everyone knew that, in this climate, Sharon Jones was never going to make number one in the singles chart. They could have tried harder with her though, really, and Amy could certainly have checked her in interviews, maybe she did, I'd hope so.

Mr. Tea
16-05-2008, 01:44 PM
in contrast to the NME-indie-rock-bands, who try to make us think England is still an all-white country.

Except when they do not-at-all-contrived stage appearances with Dizzee Rascal. :rolleyes:

crackerjack
16-05-2008, 03:01 PM
Except when they do not-at-all-contrived stage appearances with Dizzee Rascal. :rolleyes:

I believe Lethal Bizzle is the official Sammy Davis Jr to the current batch.

mistersloane
16-05-2008, 03:21 PM
brit school

Brit School as well, they've all had the same teachers, same contacts

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/fame-academy-the-brit-school-433652.html

Mr. Tea
19-05-2008, 10:25 PM
Brit School as well, they've all had the same teachers, same contacts

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/fame-academy-the-brit-school-433652.html



They hunch over piles of bags, coats and amplifiers, and they strum guitars, tootle on a flute or bash some bongos and jam along; others dance effervescently and the sound of song flows through the corridors. The customary greeting is a deep and meaningful hug. Jeans are worn either spray-on tight, or voluminous and tent-like, and everyone has extraordinary hair. There are more growing stars here than on the ceiling of a planetarium. The sight of a teenage boy in a leotard flexing hamstrings against a coffee machine is not uncommon, nor is there anything exceptional about a trio of theatre students improvising a Shakespearean tableau adjacent to the sandwich bar. Is this a dagger I see before me? If so, you could cut the atmosphere of diffuse, gleeful creativity with an imaginary knife.

*sickbag* :mad:

mistersloane
19-05-2008, 11:25 PM
*sickbag* :mad:

Fame! Light up the sky like a match.

muser
20-05-2008, 09:44 AM
I think some of it is really good pop music, and I think both joss stone and amy whinehouse have great voices (which are slightly wasted at times on relativley run of the mill song writing). It does suprise me that anyone would spend their time listening to poor imitations of a golden era gone past but the fact is I think the majority of people don't have the time or inclination to be trawling through record shops/internet etc to find old classics, they're just embracing whats given to them on a plate.

crackerjack
20-05-2008, 11:57 AM
I think some of it is really good pop music, and I think both joss stone and amy whinehouse have great voices (which are slightly wasted at times on relativley run of the mill song writing). It does suprise me that anyone would spend their time listening to poor imitations of a golden era gone past but the fact is I think the majority of people don't have the time or inclination to be trawling through record shops/internet etc to find old classics, they're just embracing whats given to them on a plate.

But it's not just a matter of being force-fed. People want to feel a part of what's going on, to see them live, catch them on TV shows, read about them in the press. It's not difficult picking up an Aretha best of, but a lot of people think there's something a bit weird about buying music made before you were born. I was talking to someone about Stevie Wonder the other day. His favourite tracks were from the early 80s, by when Stevie'd gone well gloopy, and when I mentioned the good shit ten years earlier he just said, "I'm not that old". (He was 35).

CHAOTROPIC
20-05-2008, 02:47 PM
They hunch over piles of bags, coats and amplifiers, and they strum guitars, tootle on a flute or bash some bongos and jam along; others dance effervescently and the sound of song flows through the corridors. The customary greeting is a deep and meaningful hug. Jeans are worn either spray-on tight, or voluminous and tent-like, and everyone has extraordinary hair. There are more growing stars here than on the ceiling of a planetarium. The sight of a teenage boy in a leotard flexing hamstrings against a coffee machine is not uncommon, nor is there anything exceptional about a trio of theatre students improvising a Shakespearean tableau adjacent to the sandwich bar. Is this a dagger I see before me? If so, you could cut the atmosphere of diffuse, gleeful creativity with an imaginary knife.


*sickbag* :mad:

Jesus fuck, the UNUTTERABLE GHASTLINESS ...

CHAOTROPIC
20-05-2008, 02:52 PM
nor is there anything exceptional about a trio of theatre students improvising a Shakespearean tableau adjacent to the sandwich bar.

You're telling me, LOL!!

petergunn
20-05-2008, 07:35 PM
They hunch over piles of bags, coats and amplifiers, and they strum guitars, tootle on a flute or bash some bongos and jam along; others dance effervescently and the sound of song flows through the corridors. The customary greeting is a deep and meaningful hug. Jeans are worn either spray-on tight, or voluminous and tent-like, and everyone has extraordinary hair. There are more growing stars here than on the ceiling of a planetarium. The sight of a teenage boy in a leotard flexing hamstrings against a coffee machine is not uncommon, nor is there anything exceptional about a trio of theatre students improvising a Shakespearean tableau adjacent to the sandwich bar. Is this a dagger I see before me? If so, PLEASE STAB MY FUCKING EYES OUT


WHOAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Corpsey
20-05-2008, 07:56 PM
I've already seen an awful quote from the independent on a forum today.

Bonus

michael
20-05-2008, 10:33 PM
Latest Mutya whatshername (ex-Sugababes) song is all soul-y too. Pity.

This kind of stuff has been around for decades in British pop, hasn't it? Everyone from Phil Collins to the Spice Girls have had a go. Not that Phil's much of a diva.

nomadthethird
27-06-2008, 12:08 AM
Oh, who gives a fuck.

Don't really give a fuck, just noticed that suddenly wherever I noticed mainstream music press/media I saw another new British diva getting a lot of play. We've always had "British invasions" in different waves over here I just thought this one seemed unique in that it's never been so consistently "female singer/songwriter"-y and definitely never so focused on flagrantly "retro" aesthetics. I do think a lot of what's getting released as part of this trend is great pop--was just being sarcastic up there about "who thought this was a good idea?" Some of it isn't so great by the same token.

If you'll note, I acknowledged that the whole bid *was* working and that Americans were lapping it up. Bear in mind that record companies easily buy spots on the top 40 without this reflecting tastes too much anymore. (Restrict the flow of information/consumer goods and there will only be limited sources to consume and all of that...)

Just seems very 'k-punk "end of history" post-modern ontological nostalgia mode crisis manifested in music" to me, especially if it's true that people feel weird about buying Aretha because her music was recorded before they were born. (For a while there it seemed that this might finally be going out of style...)

Guess it must be a case of the Y generation being completely out of touch with "roots" music.

Not necessarily a bad thing from a creative standpoint. Potentially.

nomadthethird
27-06-2008, 12:22 AM
I never understood Joss Stone but she was phenomenally successful - really amazingly so - which led to this trickle-down effect. I wouldn't put Leona Lewis in with that lot, she really is one of those girls with a great voice on the back of a bus, good luck to her.

Yes, you're right, Joss Stone was probably really the "first" in line. She was nowhere near as big as Amy Winehouse has become here, though, which makes it interesting to read that Joss was huge over in the U.K. Unsurprisingly, I think a lot of the continuing and lasting American interest in Amy Winehouse, especially "iconographically", has a lot to do with her presence in the American tabloids. She sort of took Pete Doherty's place as world's biggest hot mess in the eyes of US Mag readers. (Bear in mind the two most important trends in Hollywood, from a PR standpoint, are pregnancy/childbearing and checking into rehab.) Methinks Amy has extremely saavy "people" behind her image. I also think she is the prototype for the others who've followed with retro haircuts and bluesy vocals which makes her much more interesting to me than they are.


That Amy Winehouse album is a genuine Thriller type phenomenon, every country I've been to in the last year, she's being belted out of shops and restaurants globally on some crazy scale, and still, and deservedly - her lyrics are amazing. It just kind of follows that after that there's going to be a flood of music in similar style that is seen as something that commercial and retail properties can be marketed to.

On a zeitgeist level you've had (over here at least) so much guff about 1968 in the press and book media that it feels, on some sort of level, like a liberal attempt to recreate the vibe of around that time, almost sympathetic magic; people who were affected then would be in positions of power I guess. I'd put alot of it down to left-wing nostalgia, as well as music that appeals to people who still buy CDs, who would again be people in that age bracket.

All of this is very interesting. I agree on the significance of Amy's singles as highly significant pop events--also love her lyrics, love that she's a wreck and unlike Britney seems to know it and intentionally play into tabloid expectations, love that she's pretending to be as grand and tragic as the tabs will allow--but she seems to also typify something new going on in the industry where musicians are under the same sorts of pressures that Hollywood show biz types are to carefully and aggressively execute their own public image.

Still digesting second part about 60s Zeitgeist mining...I think you're probably right. Remember when people used to say "This generation needs its own Vietnam"?

nomadthethird
27-06-2008, 12:30 AM
your particular brand of patriotism is incredibly bizarre nomad.



presumably they think that because currently you guys are lapping it up.

I think you're reading my post too literally.

I have no brand of patriotism. I was being glib. And I clearly stated that these artists were indeed being lapped up by Americans. Maybe you didn't get that far.

mistersloane
27-06-2008, 12:49 AM
Yeah, I think also that both her and Doherty represent a particular form of culture in the UK at the moment, which is complete lawlessness in the face of, well, 1984 really. They're the public face (grime the less public) but it's a very real resentment that people are displaying. We haven't really had pop kids in and out of jail since Boy George and the Blitz kids in their heyday.

A GREAT thing which you may not have seen is Winehouse (pre-boy-in-jail) on this programme, which is just a fantastic piece of a person glowing in their prime

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIeZWbQGrqY
(three, maybe four parts to it)

She's about 5 steps ahead of everyone else there, which is saying something as there's a couple of pretty fast fish in that programme.

And there was just a conference - not too good but you might like some of the titles - analysing the deal women have been getting media-wise

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/celebrities-face-new-degree-of-scrutiny-851594.html

But I reckon, as usual!, that South Park has it about right

http://allabout-sp.net/?p=season12/1202

xxx

noel emits
29-06-2008, 11:20 AM
Yeah, I think also that both her and Doherty represent a particular form of culture in the UK at the moment, which is complete lawlessness in the face of, well, 1984 really. They're the public face (grime the less public) but it's a very real resentment that people are displaying. We haven't really had pop kids in and out of jail since Boy George and the Blitz kids in their heyday.
That's interesting but did you see what George Michael said recently about how he thought the media circus around people like himself was a useful diversion from other stuff that should really be more prominently in the news? It's obvious I know but I still think it's more useful for someone in a celebrity role to point something like that out than to simply act up in public, that doesn't really say much of substance at all. I mean those people can react however they like but it's still just turned around as cheap entertainment. They are quite lidderally making Spectacle's of themselves no?

George Michael: The kind of celebrity we're now talking about is very damaging to us in other ways. I think we're all watching each other make stupid mistakes whilst people change the world around us. I think people like me are a great cover, these days, for other people. You see my meaning?

Interviewer: You sell newspapers....

George Michael: Yes, I sell newspapers, but not just that. I'd love to know what actually happened that people should know about on those days that I made my mistakes, you know?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7450238.stm

STN
29-06-2008, 11:32 AM
does the fact that they're british make the retro aspect more palatable to americans almost in a swinging london/austin powers sort of way? also, I can't believe it's young americans buying this stuff...