"guoid" and other diphthongizations in popular music

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

first and favorite example is Selena's banger which is really full of these but "guoid" being the gem:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TsVjvEkc4s

funny guy Crish on twitter gets it:

Indie girl singer introduces us to her kitchen https://t.co/jzDBGloCdX

— Chrish (@mistachrish) January 27, 2015

and this rather in-depth Ace Linguist essay gets around
https://www.acelinguist.com/2018/10/dialect-dissection-indie-girl-voice.html

kind of a crazy thing that once you hear it you can't unhear it and it's everywhere

even at 0:34 in Cry Pretty by Carrie Underwood:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUUjtUP2CrE

and a million more examples, if you like

niels, Wednesday, 5 December 2018 20:15 (one week ago) Permalink

prompted by discussion on The 'Shit Trend' in pop music right now

niels, Wednesday, 5 December 2018 20:18 (one week ago) Permalink

Ground zero for this vocal style is Amy Winehouse, but the way the affectation has been framed and decried is still fundamentally sexist - almost as many contemporary male vocalists sing like this too.

It's like an Christian pop (thewufs), Wednesday, 5 December 2018 21:18 (one week ago) Permalink

we def don't need to frame it like that here

there's a bunch of amy examples in the articles iirc

niels, Wednesday, 5 December 2018 21:36 (one week ago) Permalink

tons of guys are in on it, everybody's doing it

max martin came up with "it's gonna be may"

niels, Wednesday, 5 December 2018 21:36 (one week ago) Permalink

I think the early '00s MMC teenpop crop predates this vocal style - not that they didn't mangle vowels in their own way, it's just a different way than what we're hearing from, say, Sam Smith and Alessia Cara today.

But the one aspect that I never read about - and what to me is really the defining feature of "indie pop" mushmouth - is the way singers seem to insert a "w" before and after every consonant, or in place of "R"s; you can hear it straight from the source on "Rehab" - "They twied to make me gwo to wrehawb." But Winehouse was a real talent, and even if she thought soul meant enunciating like Don Vito Corleone, her musical instincts were sharp enough - and soulful enough - that you could hear past the affectation. So it isn't the originator who ultimately grates but her lesser followers, for whom the affectation is all. It's like Scott Stapp thinking he can channel Eddie Vedder's pathos simply by singing through a permanently clenched jaw (which Vedder certainly did on stretches of Ten) - he doesn't have the imagination to add anything else to what is ultimately a tic, so he ends up sounding ridiculous.

It's like an Christian pop (thewufs), Thursday, 6 December 2018 02:51 (six days ago) Permalink

"him and uy" by halsey and whoever that guy is

dyl, Thursday, 6 December 2018 03:01 (six days ago) Permalink

Addendum to my previous post:

I'm venting here, but made-up accents and vocal affectations are a self-renewing and self-regenerating phenomenon as old as pop itself. There's a generational component to what any individual listener is going to tolerate - nobody was singing "guoid" when I was growing up, so it will never not sound stupid to me. If you're 14, it probably just sounds the way pop singing is supposed to sound. Twas ever thus.

It's like an Christian pop (thewufs), Thursday, 6 December 2018 03:11 (six days ago) Permalink

unsurprisingly I agree with the "fundamentally sexist" thing, even if the linguist's article upthread included a token shawn mendes song

that said, whatever it is, tori amos was close to ground zero for it (this is more recent, but)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25be0j4N7o4

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Thursday, 6 December 2018 17:29 (six days ago) Permalink

A lot of the examples given I couldn't hear what the big deal was tbh. Anyway try listening to Mick Jagger - diphthongs, triphthongs, bizarre phrasing, outlandish accent etc etc.

Monica Kindle (Tom D.), Thursday, 6 December 2018 17:38 (six days ago) Permalink

xp wow yeah she does a lot of diphtongization

I get that the way this "phenomena" has as of yet been represented in mainstream media may seem sexist but that doesn't mean this thread needs to be, I just can't get myself to embed anything with Passenger right now because his voice is so insufferable

Tori Amos rules! as does Selena Gomez! diphtongization is not bad (it is kinda weird though, once you start hearing it)

niels, Thursday, 6 December 2018 17:41 (six days ago) Permalink

I wish I hadn't read this thread as I'm hearing it everywhere. this from 2010.
'falling in loiyve' plus many many more...

https://youtu.be/S7ju56qtO2k

kinder, Saturday, 8 December 2018 10:19 (four days ago) Permalink

This whole trend is just ear cancer to me - I only entered this thread the way that I did because I'm trying to figure out a way to talk about it that doesn't oppress or marginalize anybody for who they are. That's all. I'm sure you are too, so thanks for starting this thread, niels - I was too chickenshit to do so myself.

It's like an Christian pop (thewufs), Saturday, 8 December 2018 11:25 (four days ago) Permalink

I'm generally a big fan of 'affected' vocals but I think this is something separate. as the article/ previous posters have mentioned, it's become a kind of diluted/ lazy version of certain styles.

kinder, Saturday, 8 December 2018 11:42 (four days ago) Permalink

I really hate British singers doing ott American accents too (Elton John, Robbie Williams etc etc etc) and I don't think they are too far away from this

kinder, Saturday, 8 December 2018 11:43 (four days ago) Permalink

haven't listened to it that much but I don't think 'guoid' is that bad of an example - if you were singing 'good' over two notes it's easy to naturally change the second sound as you lift the pitch?

kinder, Saturday, 8 December 2018 11:47 (four days ago) Permalink

AArgh, shouldn't have read this thread, IT'S EVERYWHERE:

-James Arthur and Annie Marie 'Rewrite the Stars

"So why don't we rewrite the STARSH?
Maybe the world could be ARRSH "

geordie racer, Sunday, 9 December 2018 11:43 (three days ago) Permalink

GEORDIE RACER!!

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 9 December 2018 17:15 (three days ago) Permalink

so many people I know who do a bit if playing and singing do this voice now. no there's no problem with vocal affectations but like kinder says, this has become a default setting for a lot of people trying to do the quirky indie-pop thing. the accent codes a certain way. Maybe Joanna Newsom has something to do with it too?

Scritti Vanilli - The Word Girl You Know It's True (dog latin), Sunday, 9 December 2018 23:21 (three days ago) Permalink

Oh man Joanna Newsom is a good call - and again somebody whose vocal idiosyncrasies work for her but sound gauche or straight up fucking stupid when anyone else tries to jack her style. I also want to add John Legend to the conversation here, not an indie artist but certainly a big and unfortunate influence on whatever passes for "soulful" among way too many young idealists, careerists and wearers of the high-and-tight pompadour (that's a Millennial Venn diagram, I know). Unlike Newsom, though, I've always found Legend borderline unlistenable.

It's like an Christian pop (thewufs), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 10:32 (yesterday) Permalink

hehe I'd like to hear a Legend diphtongization if you have one (I don't like his schtick much)

niels, Tuesday, 11 December 2018 10:36 (yesterday) Permalink

guys.. is this album the UR-text for this??

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JkT3p6H4Ws

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 10:44 (yesterday) Permalink

Huh, maybe!

It's like an Christian pop (thewufs), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 10:53 (yesterday) Permalink

the way she says "boulevard" is extremely this thread

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 11:17 (yesterday) Permalink

Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child" feels like the oldest precedent to me.

eva logorrhea (bendy), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 13:09 (yesterday) Permalink

This woman is one of my favorite YouTube music people and she's got a long video about this phenomenon:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNtonlvglu8

Plinka Trinka Banga Tink (Eliza D.), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 14:16 (yesterday) Permalink

maybe not directly related to this but folk singers and buskers who overemphasise that sort of Irish/West Country olde worlde accent feels like a sort of precursor to this

frame casual (dog latin), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 15:06 (yesterday) Permalink

I feel like Karen Dalton is at the root of the folkier side of indie voice, also like Rickie Lee Jones she is amazing

(I think partially she was really on drugs bad and lost her teeth early on)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsYHN7eCCtU

No Smockin' (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 15:17 (yesterday) Permalink

I know Newsome is a big fan

No Smockin' (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 15:18 (yesterday) Permalink

one of the most irritating things in the recent bad film VOX LUX is that the main character is depicted as singing like this as a rising teen star circa 1999-2001, when absolutely nobody was singing like this iirc. the songs were all written by sia but they didn't have to be sung that way, surely!

|Restore| |Restart| |Quit| (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 15:38 (yesterday) Permalink

one of the most irritating things in the recent bad film VOX LUX is that the main character is depicted as singing like this as a rising teen star circa 1999-2001, when absolutely nobody was singing like this iirc. the songs were all written by sia but they didn't have to be sung that way, surely!

― |Restore| |Restart| |Quit| (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, December 11, 2018 10:38 AM (thirty-six minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

lol I haven't seen it (probably won't) but if I do now this is going to bug me

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 16:15 (yesterday) Permalink

Immediately thought of the way Carly Rae Jepsen sings the word "got" in the line "I've got 'em too" in Boy Problems.

J. Sam, Tuesday, 11 December 2018 16:25 (yesterday) Permalink

i really don't recommend the film though i know some people are viewing it as an interesting/ambitious failure. for me it was just a mess. i would also put some heavy trigger warnings re: gun violence and trauma on the front end of it fwiw. but this inability to show any verisimilitude re: turn-of-the-00s pop was what drove my ILMy brain batty.

|Restore| |Restart| |Quit| (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 16:31 (yesterday) Permalink

Immediately thought of the way Carly Rae Jepsen sings the word "got" in the line "I've got 'em too" in Boy Problems.

― J. Sam, Tuesday, December 11, 2018 11:25 AM (eight minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

that's a Sia vocalization I think -- I wrote a piece for NPR about this but a lot of this can be traced to Sia writing a lot of pop songs, enough that people emulate her

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 16:34 (yesterday) Permalink

Tori Amos definitely an early vector for this, though - I remember being baffled by her pronunciation of "watchword" as "wyechword" in "Cornflake Girl" in 1994.

Plinka Trinka Banga Tink (Eliza D.), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 17:09 (yesterday) Permalink

Lol, yes.

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 17:38 (yesterday) Permalink

Leave Ellen Greene the hell out of this

kinder, Tuesday, 11 December 2018 21:39 (yesterday) Permalink

A lot of the examples given I couldn't hear what the big deal was tbh. Anyway try listening to Mick Jagger - diphthongs, triphthongs, bizarre phrasing, outlandish accent etc etc.

― Monica Kindle (Tom D.), Thursday, 6 December 2018 17:38 (five days ago) Permalink

I always just took this to be a cartoonishly bad (and slightly offensive) attempt at sounding african american

Fedora Dostoyevsky (man alive), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 21:56 (yesterday) Permalink

(...)if you were singing 'good' over two notes it's easy to naturally change the second sound as you lift the pitch?

This is basically all I hear happening in the Selena G. song (which is not to deny the existence of this "indie girl singer" affectation, or whatever it may be).

underqualified backing vocalist (morrisp), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 22:03 (yesterday) Permalink

I'm no singer; but just trying it out here in my quiet office, I don't know how I would stretch "go-od" into two syllables and not change the pitch on the 2nd one.

underqualified backing vocalist (morrisp), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 22:04 (yesterday) Permalink

xp ^^ yeah the chorussy bit of that is what I was referring to. But earlier on (around 25s in) there are more grating 'guoid's (and 'toech')

kinder, Tuesday, 11 December 2018 22:17 (yesterday) Permalink

Immediately thought of the way Carly Rae Jepsen sings the word "got" in the line "I've got 'em too" in Boy Problems.

― J. Sam, Tuesday, December 11, 2018 10:25 AM (five hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

me too! she makes it three syllables long in the part at the end!!

crüt, Tuesday, 11 December 2018 22:18 (yesterday) Permalink

It is completely possible to sing a melisma without changing the vowel sound wtf.

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 23:41 (yesterday) Permalink

I am completely able to sing two pitches on "good" without turning it into "goo-yid".

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 23:42 (yesterday) Permalink

You are very likely a better singer than me!

underqualified backing vocalist (morrisp), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 23:44 (yesterday) Permalink

Not that I'm a singer but xp ha

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 23:44 (yesterday) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.