Jan 28, 2008

Why Won't You Release Me?

Fly Over Gallery - Return of the Living Dead (2007)

Duffy - Mercy (mp3) [video]: The poppy onslaught of cute, white women singing fifties soul from across the Atlantic continues. While this trend is twisting the mainstream female vocal norm in an interesting way, there's something irksome about the time and place in which the influence is resurrecting. Amidst complex questions of whiteness and miscegenation, Duffy (and Amy and Joss and Lily) sound more like Eric Clapton standing at the Crossroads than Robert Johnson. And again, the racial inbalance seems glaring because of the lack of public exposure to young black counterparts, not in the mashed-up miscegenation itself. As commercials run for the Real Housewives of Orange County, is the repressed fifties housewife being brought back, replacing aprons with diamond rings and picket fences with condo associations? I guess the point is that as this period in music resurfaces, what does it say about 2007-08 that the style resonates? And as the sound returns, how have the issues of racial exploitation by the music business changed?


7 comments

At Monday, January 28, 2008, Blogger Johnny said...

Wow, that picture is terrible. I want to laugh, but afraid it may send me to hell.

 
At Sunday, February 03, 2008, Blogger laura.beth said...

i can't get this song out of my head. god bless you. ;)

 
At Monday, February 04, 2008, Blogger Kyle said...

Me either...

 
At Thursday, February 07, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I think the blonde british whitegirl singing soul thing goes back quite a ways- to Dusty Springfield (at least). Though "Duffy" obviously models herself on Dusty, she pales in comparison.

There's also a 60s tradition of white Jewish girls singing soul- Laura Nyro, Carole King come to mind. Amy Winehouse may be British and a wreck, but she's reminds me of Nyro sometimes (and like Nyro she writes her own songs).

I'm not sure I understand the Robert Johnson reference here, since none of these ladies is emulating 1930s blues.

 
At Thursday, February 07, 2008, Blogger Kyle said...

Thanks for the history!

 
At Wednesday, February 13, 2008, Anonymous OTISFORLIFE said...

My favourite music is 50s, 60s, R&R and soul. I love music influenced by it.

I do not think it's useful to let race or any other factor influence our enjoyment of music.

Music is build on that of the past. I love this song and I think you're kind of taking away from it with these comments.

Music should be judged on a case by case basis, and simply on whether you enjoy it. Other things seem to be clouding this as you are judging it on by comparing it not simply by listening to it as if it were the first thing you've heard - only then will you give yourself the chance to like it.

 
At Wednesday, February 13, 2008, Blogger Kyle said...

Oh, I absolutely love this song. But I don't think it lives outside of the context of history. Nor outside the large racial divides in modern music. I ask these questions because I think some of the same issues of who music belongs to and who makes money off of it continue to be oppressive in modern music, accentuated in my mind as the 50/60s era influence resurfaces. I think that's interesting and worth wondering about.

 

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