Accents in Music

Ever noticed how some singers who have a strong accent when they talk have almost no accent when they sing? This is something Manly Man and I got to talking about for about an hour and a half on VDay while driving in the car. I think it came up because we were listening to the new Lily Allen, she sounds exactly as she talks.

I think the best example of a singer with an accent who does not sound at all like that when they sing is Elton John. He has a English accent, a fairly strong one, but he sounds almost southern when he sings. Listen to this song in particular. I looked it up (how I :heart: google sometimes) and he was asked this in an interview. He said that when he was young he listened to American musicians and that is where he developed his style.

I then thought about The Beatles. Manly Man immediately pointed out that George has an accent when he sings but as we listened to a couple songs (he had to point out to me who was singing when) that John and Paul mostly sounded American but had some words that sounded British. I also read that supposidly their accents sound more American in the earlier years, which doesn’t really make sense but whatever.

Now it seems that it’s the “in” thing to have a heavy foreign accent when you sing, like Keane or Coldplay. Is this something you’ve noticed and do you have any thoughts on this?


  1. Amanda

    February 26, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Mike and I talk about this sometimes- but we both seem to like the bands with the accents better. I wouldn’t even say Keane or Coldplay have super strong accents- There are some words, yes, that are very English. Sometimes they sound totally American. Do you listen to the Kooks? Now they are REALLY british sounding.

    I kind of think maybe the studio beats it out of you, because old Snow Patrol sounds very Irish but the newer, more produced, sound is more American.

    Oh, and also with southern accents? Have you ever heard the guy from three doors down talk? You can barely understand him, but he sings normally.

    This is a really long comment for this topic.

  2. B

    February 26, 2009 at 11:56 am

    It’s not something I really notice or pay attention to. I notice it more with an actor, like Hugh Laurie, then I do with singers.

  3. B

    February 26, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Oh I meant when he’s on Leno or doing an interview! I think his American accent is fine but it’s funny to hear his real accent sometimes!

  4. Giggle Pixie

    February 26, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    I have always wondered about this – singers with accents who don’t have them in their songs. But then I guess I thought they just worked at it to do it – you know, like Hugh Laurey on House. In real life he’s got a thick English accent, but you can’t tell on the show. Cool, huh?

  5. Tug

    February 26, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Funny, Lily Allen is the first one that made me notice it, too – and I laughed on the way to work this morning listening to It’s Not Fair – LOVE that album!

  6. edmcbride

    February 26, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    i’ve been saying this for years! no one can give me an answer as to why tho.

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