English would be easy, but boring, if its 5 vowels sounded the same every single time they appeared.
Watch Big in Japan by Alphaville. Can you hear the difference between the first a in Japan and the second a in Japan?
If you’re not a native speaker of English, you might struggle to hear and to reproduce the difference between d and th (ð) sounds. Don’t give up! If you sing ‘dey‘ instead of ‘they‘ or sing ‘dose‘ instead of ‘those,’ you sound as if you have a very bad cold. To a native speaker, you sound as if your nose is blocked. That’s not an attractive thought to put in their mind. You can’t avoid the soft th of English. The word the is the most common word in the English language.
Listen to the Mamas and the Papas singing California Dreaming. Focus on the clear, clean d of dreaming, day and down. Fix that sound in your head. Enjoy the bathtub dancers.
When you listen to the Stranglers’ song Golden Brown, pay close attention to the word brown. Do you notice anything unusual?
Watch Plan B sing “She Said.” He chose to include the actual phrase ‘she said’ 17 times in his song. The repetition is pure percussion. But his voice weaves a story around that repetition. Sometimes he lands on the d of said hard, sometimes softly. And you, the listener, read him through the subtle messages contained within that choice. Just as the jury, and his girlfriend read him.
Why doesn’t he sing said exactly the same each time? Who is he trying to convince when he sings it: the jury, his girlfriend or himself? Watch his target change as the song goes on:
If you want to sing in English, the word love is hard to avoid. Sadly, it’s a word that lots of non-native speakers of English find hard to pronounce. Try this: does love rhyme with prove, drove or above? After all, they’ve all got ‘ove‘ in the middle, haven’t they? So they must rhyme with each other, mustn’t they? Well…let’s see… Here’s Tom Jones singing “Delilah.” Listen out for love and drove (1.04). Do they rhyme?