Thursday, 21 January 2010

You've got the love? Or maybe the wrong voice

The comments section on a recent Guardian blog discussing the use of certain tracks on adverts sadly descended into a bitch about Florence and the Machine (she being guilty of having licensed her music to a number of advertisers). I was surprised to see a number of people complain about how she ‘couldn’t sing’. Say what you will about dear Flo, she certainly has a hefty pair of lungs on her. I could only think that people were responding to her slightly jerky and coarse vocal style, which she herself said in a recent interview, would win her no prizes on X-Factor.

A number of people in the comments section talked in particular about a cover she did of Beyonce’s Halo. Intrigued I looked it up…and yeah, they were right. It is shocking. I wondered what possessed Florence to do this cover after already admitting her vocal style isn’t suited to that glossy pop style. Maybe it was an attempt to reach a new audience, or rock up the pop queen. Or maybe it was just a bit of a mistake…we do all make them. I once thought I could look good in a pair of tartan trousers.


  1. Indeed her version of Halo wasn't the best moment. I love her voice when she doesn't try so hard. A good example is her version of Fairytale of New York. It may not be Christmas any more but it still makes me gush (and I love Billy Bragg's voice as well...someone else who has been accused of not being able to sing.) You can see it here

    Personally I feel that as a nation, since X Factor et al we've become obsessed with big voices and if someone can sing or not. As far as I'm concerned talent - in terms of musical ability - is all well and good, but not essential. What concerns me more is if the music moves me or not. That can be with a quiet girlish whisper, or a big croaky throaty shout. Joe McElderry may be able to sing, but he doesn't move me (except to throw something hard at the telly if he is on.) Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips can't sing that well, but hell the bands performances almost make me cry with joy...

  2. I think vocal wanking has replaced guitar wanking of 70s/80s (i.e sing/play as many scales as fast as possible to as high an octave as you can). It doesn't make for interesting or exciting music in my books. As you say, it's gotta have a bit of love to it.