Category Archives: Vowels

Stepping into a song: “Le Premier Bonheur du Jour”

When you sing, you’re telling a story. Like any good actor, you need to believe the words as they come out of your mouth; to choose them. No matter who wrote them.

Watch Françoise Hardy switch from ‘young female guest’ on Sacha Distel‘s TV show to ‘woman in love’.  We believe her as she starts to sing. Why? Because she believes herself. You can see her refocus and prepare in the video. Watch her pupils get bigger, then smaller, around 14 seconds in, as she prepares to sing Frank Gérald‘s words:

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What the Stranglers did to their Diphthongs

R.I.P. Dave Greenfield. Keyboardist, songwriter and singer.

When you listen to the Stranglers’ song Golden Brown, pay close attention to the way Hugh Conwell sings the word brown:

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Little Simz: 101 FM. Something like an Odyssey

“a technically astonishing MC. Her verses freewheel from skippy, breathless flows that pack an impossible number of syllables per bar, to stop-start rhymes so tight to the beat they could’ve been superglued there.”    The Guardian

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Don’t Fear the Reaper

When you invite Death into a love song, how do you keep your audience sensing eternity, not endings? You build a regular, reassuring heartbeat of guitar and drums, with a hint of melancholy in the A minor scale.  You use words with warm, round ‘m’, ‘n’, ‘y’ and ‘b’ sounds. No guillotine cuts of ‘k’, ‘tt‘ or ‘ss’. No heavy, dead thuds of ‘d’ or ‘ug’. Light words, sung lightly, layered with the lalala of summertime. Death becomes a fact, not a fear; a natural part of life and love:

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