I find myself in a quandary where many singers are concerned. I want to like Imelda Mays music. It’s bright, bouncy, often cheerful, and wonderfully old but new. However there is one pretty major problem. I just can’t make out half of the fecking words she sings. I mean she is singing in english, right? Because sometimes I wonder.
I feel the same way about a lot of singers, everything’s great apart from not being able to make out the words. For example, it took me 20 listens to Pinks latest song “Just give me a reason” to realise that she was saying “Just a second we’re not broken just bent”. Up until then I swear I heard “ended”, “rent”, “sent”, I mean “sent”? What the frikkin fuck? How does that even fit, and yet that was genuinely what I heard.
“But Amanda, there’s always been misheard lyrics.” Yes, I know. I can remember someone in my family really believing that the chorus from Enyas “Orinoco flow” was and I quote
“Save a whale,
Save a whale,
Save a whale.”
It happens, the sung word is admittedly not a precision musical instrument in the same way as a flute, or piano. It has near infinite variations of inflection, tonality, duration. But sometimes I wonder do singers actually belong to a secret order whose sworn goal is to drive every person on Earth in to mindless slaves via confusing lyrics? ‘Cause, damn it singers, sometimes you really do leave me scratching my head.
For a lot of my teens I was kind of in to rap for this reason. Say what you like about Technotronic, and their frontwoman Ya Kid K, but at least you can always make out what’s being said in their songs. Same goes for MC Hammer, The Fresh Prince and even *swallows bile* Vanilla Ice. I hate not being able to make out what someone is saying, much less singing.
It jars my sensibilities, irritates me beyond all belief, and it was only the discovery of Queen, Pat Benetar, and Level 42 in my mid to late teens that brought me back to being a fan of the sung word. I’m thankful for this, and that there are at least some musical artists who can sing a perfectly pronounced song that is still emotionally affecting. But dear gods, sometimes I just want to shake certain songbirds, and scream at them.
“ENUNCIATE GODS DAMN IT!”
And now, Queen.
Yes, this was largely just an excuse for me to post some of my favorite songs.