Ask Galoot - Mmmm. Swedes.

Hey, guess what? It's time for another installment of "Ask Galoot." Face the front of the room, children.

Taz writes:
Dear Mr.Galoot, this is something I've been asking myself for a long time. I hope you can answer it. Why is it when people with accents (Australian, Irish, English...) sing, they lose their accents?
U2 wouldn't be U2 if Bono's singing voice were as Irish as his politics. If it were, nobody would *understand* his politics.

I'll bet there's a huge body of work on this subject, Taz, but if I looked it up I'd have nothing to write about. So I'll just guess.

First, though, think of all the singing you've heard where accent isn't lost. Traditional Middle Eastern music has a strong accent. Indians chanting sound exactly like Indians chanting. Russian folk singers sound very Russian. Kurt Cobain had a recognizable Lithium accent. That's because none of them are singing in English and the accent comes through. Traditional music also carries the accent over *because* it's traditional. It's handed down from one generation to the next as a valuable piece of culture and thus retains much of the original nuance.

Of course it's very possible to sing in English with an accent if that's what you're shooting for. If it weren't, Eliza Doolittle would have had no problems with the Rain in Spain and country music singers wouldn't have that annoying twang.

Pop music, on the other hand, all sounds like it was sung by midwestern Americans. Even Abba sounded American, though they were a Swedish group who recorded all their hits naked and lubed up in a Swedish bath. How come? Because 90% of pop music comes from Des Moines. The other ten percent is from Davenport. America. See?

If you want to be a successful pop star, wherever you live, it's probably because you grew up listening to American music. You emulate it because it's all you can find in the stores. You learn by singing along in the privacy of your bedroom to such American icons as Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Bolton. You pick up the accent. Sorry, world.

If you *do* decide to consciously buck the trend and sing in your own local accent you'll lose sales. Americans not only produce 90% of the pop out there, they downloa.. (oops) buy 90% of the music, too. And no self-respecting Yankee hillbilly is going to plop money down to hear The Who sing "My Generation" like BBC-English Brits. "Oh, I very much DO hope I pahss on before I age excessively." That's just silly.

The real question is "What the hell did Bob Dylan grow up listening to?"


Want some free medical advice? Ask Galoot. I've forgotten more than you'll ever know.
So what you're saying is if I research this I'll find an answer? Thanks!

My friend told me that I'd get amazing psychic powers just like yours if I jumped into the tub hugging a plugged toaster.
Is this true??

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