Last week’s prediction: Upper 40s, white, soulful
Irish trio The Script fall into that category of music that I mostly hear as ambient noise—the Fray (e.g. “How to Save a Life”), OneRepublic, Coldplay, Maroon 5, David Gray. When Biggie used to try and talk, you could watch his jowls, his own cheeks really, obstruct his airway. Bands like the Script seem to have the white version of this problem, where the longing to be soulful gets caught in their throat and you can actually hear this sort of rough, palpable vibrato—hugghh. Another analogy might be to John McCain’s wheeze, which you could notice in particular as he was embarking on a particularly pernicious statement or accusation: psychology, physically manifest.
“Irish people have soul,” says vocalist Danny O’Donoghue. “It comes from generations of pain, and generations of understanding emotion to be able to physically get that in a solid sound.” That last bit is what I’m talking about right now.
Among other things, these men might consider that while the Otis Reddings and Sam Cookes of the world arguably did soul-as-historectomy, singing as dramatically enacted disembowelment, r&b as its been practiced over the last twenty years has not exactly been a blood sport. Especially not for the Justin Timberlakes, Robin Thickes, and Jesse McCartneys of the world, i.e. the white soulmen the Script are interested in becoming.
Next week’s prediction: Beyonce Jr.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 11, 2008