What makes you believe Lizzo when she sings about love?
When you’re singing in English, you’ll often come across songs with slant rhymes. When a songwriter plays with sounds, you need to join the game. If you stay with the ‘classic’ pronunciation of English words, you’ll sound wooden and odd; bend too far and you’ll sound odder. Unusual sound rhymes, done well, are a treat for the listener.
For native English speakers, it’s natural and easy to play with the sound of words, while still sounding recognisably English. If English isn’t your first language: be careful not to overcompensate when you pull two words that don’t usually rhyme into a slant/half rhyme. It’s a question of hinting and shading. Think of feathers, not mallets.
Watch Nerina Pallot playing with the words up and stop in her song Put Your hands Up. Without her help, only the p would rhyme. Does she sing up exactly the same every time? And, for extra points – how does she squeeze her North London football club into her video?
Does the does of those does rhyme with buzz, or with flows? Or with neither?
Before you sing a cover of Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne‘s Rather Be, think of this:
Doris Day’s playing Calamity Jane, riding the Deadwood Stage into town, singing lustily as she goes. We want you to focus on a word that she repeats three times, early in the song. A big clue: she holds it in her hand from (1.19) to (1.27). What is it? Continue reading You’re on a stage: are you Doris or George?