The American Accent Thing

I am easily annoyed. I think anyone who knows me personally is aware of at least one thing that totally bugs me. Very near the top of that long list is non-Americans singing with an American accent. Ever since I was about five years old, idly singing “she loves you yeah yeah yeah” in my bedroom only to be cut off by my mother yelling “it’s luv, not lurve!”, I’ve been aware of accents in song. The irony of that childhood moment is of course that I was singing a song by some English lads who were themselves emulating an American accent.

I like my accent. I like the Australian accents deployed by bands such as The Steinbecks, The Lucksmiths and yes, the Hilltop Hoods. The latter I particularly admire because hip hop is at heart a black American music form that has a powerful cultural drive, strong enough to have middle-class Australian kids adopting its words and cadences. “Yo” and “ho” are two of my seafaring-like favourites. Or “not!”, as our culturally confused youth might append.

Americans are most welcome to sing in their own accent. I heartily approve. But everyone else should stick to their own. Vive la difference!

Anyway, I was pleased to see Slate’s “Explainer” address this issue from the US perspective. It’s a brief but informative read. Nice to know I’m not alone in thinking about this issue.

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