03 June, 2010

some music spamming

This song was on United States of Tara and I thought it was The Usual (girls being adorable, you know) but then I found out what it was and once I listened to it I realized it has really good lyrics and is really catchy. I am addicted to doubletracking, personally, but I think it can sometimes be a really bad idea--the live videos are so much nicer than the recording because the incredibly usual two sets of fluttery/lacy vocals make it that much harder to tell that it's a mega good song.

It's unfortunate because the whole doubletracking, sincere, really simple tunes sung by a woman thing is actually awesome but it's getting sort of old. At the same time I sometimes feel that the idea that it's old is pretty sexist--I mean, there's a lot more music by men, so when someone is like, "oh, Marina and the Diamonds just sounds like a lot of other people," and so on, it's like...well, Marina and the Diamonds sounds like a lot less people than most male musicians do.

Like, the thing with Kimya Dawson? When I used to actually play music in front of people I knew, they would tell me I sounded like her and I'd be sort of annoyed because that's not how I think of my music and I feel like people have such a small frame of reference for female singers that just because I sing in a talky way, I automatically sound like Kimya Dawson. (The real reason I got started on that track was because of Jenny-Lewis-before-she-was-awful. Saddest sellout EVER. I mean she still sings in a talky way but--everything else sucks. And the singing isn't really as good anymore either, she's trying to fit herself into "good female singing," at least a little.


At the same time, even though I don't think Kimya Dawson is amazing (which she arguably could be, she's just not ambitious and settles for making a kind of music that I think is often small) I actually like her music a lot--or I did before everyone decided that Kimya Dawson is dumb because--I don't know, because she was in a mainstream movie, oh no.

But! Mainly! This is about Laura Veirs who I am lately really infatuated with and I think really takes the talk-singing thing to a fantastic conclusion, and doesn't just do it, like Dawson, but does it and makes it beautiful.

I mean, I have a lot of feelings about talk-singing, it's basically my religion. I should explain I don't mean necessarily that the person in question isn't singing--it's about how they pronounce words. I hate absolutely nothing more in the world than mainstream female singing where you pronounce everything with this gooey accent that doesn't sound like the way anyone would really talk. I totally admit that talk-singing is not always a more genuine expression of the way someone talks--I for example don't always pronounce words the same way when I sing that I do when I talk, but this is sort of because my singing voice is the way I would talk if I could. It's like a more intense expression. But it sounds--I don't know, I'm just really infatuated with it, even when it's really really overdramatic talking, like Conor Oberst. I get really mad when I see YouTube covers of good songs that were originally talk-sung (or at least not done in the gooey singing accent) and the 14-year-old girl or whoever has decided to do the gooey accent. NO NO NO.

Like, I know it is maybe frustrating to hear Marina and the Diamonds and Regina Spektor and everyone making such an intense effort to show everyone that they figured out interesting ways to pronounce words--but that is at least, in my opinion, an attempt at getting more directly at the heart of the words. I don't think everyone needs to be trying really hard to not do a gooey accent, some people just have nice vocal tones and they can pronounce words in a way that is just not especially gooey, like Jenny Owen Youngs. But the goo makes me so annoyed; it seems so heartless and unintellectual at the same time.

In addition to all the good reasons to hate Glee, I was also just mega frustrated by the Lea Michelle>Amber Riley fallacy they kept reinforcing in every episode, because Lea Michelle is probably the gooey-ist singer in the entire world, while Amber Riley is not some sort of anti-folk twang junkie, but does actually pronounce consonants.

For the excuse to listen to a lot of TALK-SINGING/weird-singing*, some more videos of people I mentioned above.

Pre-Kimya Dawson comments: If you don't know what this woman sounds like you are probably removed enough from pop culture that you can't possibly care about any of this and are probably wondering when I'll get around to my epic post about stuff that's actually important. But I am including this song because, from what I've heard of hers, I think it's in a way the best. I think that the way she sings and the crowded/pop-culture-reference nature of her songwriting is actually at its strongest when the subject of the song is her really dark experience with alcoholism. For her to sing this song, this way, screws with the whole idea of cuteness--that someone who sounds/talks like Kimya Dawson isn't a grownup with grownup problems--and sort of explodes that fallacy from the inside. The lyrics could be pretty triggering, even aside from the alcoholism, so keep that in mind.

*I'm afraid talk-singing is nowhere near enough broad a term to include everything I'm really talking about. I just sort of mean any kind of singing that is sharp and aggressive--and I think singing in an overly soft/gentle way, like Rose Melberg, is also aggressive.

Actually, please just read this article--Twee as Fuck: The Story of Indie Pop. I know it's Pitchfork but I read it in high school and, as the kids say, it changed my life.


  1. Lisa Mitchell!

    Out of all the talk-music you showed here, I think your voice and manner is closest to Rilo Kiley. Certainly with many of the Make Mouths pieces.

    Veirs was okay, she sounded out her words.

    I also enjoyed Bright Eyes: The Calendar Hung Itself.

    And the last, immediately above, is great.

    Melberg is a quiet gem.

    Definitely more Tiger Trap.

    (Even if I don't necessarily understand the lyrics, I can appreciate the tone and colour). And probably the rhythm also.

    As for Miley Cyrus saying that her 13-year-old self would think her 17-year-old self a sell-out ...

  2. you are invited to follow my blog

  3. I saw Lisa Mitchell live at Falls festival and she was wonderful!

    Sarah Blasko is better though... every note she hits on her albums, she hits on stage. In fact, she is better live. Give her a go!

    I was recently introduced to Marina and the diamonds, I've enjoyed what I've heard :)

    I also saw Kimya Dawson live, once (I have been to one live music night and one festival, go fig you'd address artists I heard at both) and she is good with a crowd, if nothing else. Look up And then to bed, with triplej or myspace, she was damn good. Opened for Kimya and was arguably a better artist, did a great cover of toxic even though she forgot half the words. Perhaps because she forgot half the words.

  4. Better say nothing than nothing to the purpose...................................................