Thursday, February 12, 2009

Why Won't You Release Me?

I'll say one word. Duffy. Now some of you will have heard of her, and some of you won't. If you listen to the charts, watch TV, I'm sure you will have. She's been a scourge in my brain now for some time, and I'd hoped I could make her go away like a bad dream, but I see she's up for nomination at the Brits and no doubt she'll sweep the board there.
     Duffy. She's Amy Winehouse with the crack sucked out of her. She's Otis Redding with a razor blade taken to his vocal cords. I hate her with a vengeance and yet, whenever she releases another godawful single, feel compelled to listen. It's like picking a scab.
I've nothing against her personally. I reckon she's quite a decent person. And she's talented in her own way. But what I do have something against is the 'creation' of her into some kind of banal icon; and I have a lot against those bloated media suits who made her the latest 'big thing", dragging her caterwauling onto Later With Jools Holland to infect my ears.
     It's soul music at its lowest - all soul drained from its core. People love her songs because they're catchy, like a bumblebee in the brain. If you've never listened to many of the soul greats, you might even think they're the real thing. But they aren't.
     I perhaps should have some loyalty because she's Welsh. But I'm afraid it doesn't stretch as far as this tiny singing puppet with a voice like a cheese grater. Am I cruel? Listen to Mercy, her greatest hit, and you'll be begging for it by the end.
     I've posted a video of hers at the end of this post (click twice). You could easily mistake it for that Halifax advert. She cavorts about without any sexiness whatsoever as suited men hurl themselves about an airless studio. God save us all. What was that bloke out of Suede thinking when he announced her his protege?
     Maybe none of this makes sense to you. After all, her songs are catchy, they have a habit of making you tap your foot, even if you don't want to, and she is kinda cute, isn't she, in a harmless kind of way, even if her face looks about fifty when she's actually only twenty-two.
     But it's all that makes me weep about the music business; all that makes me lose faith in people's ability to detect a naff line when they're being fed one. When they decided to make her a star, the whole of the music business shifted in line behind her and opened their wallets. She's perfect fodder - a little hint of depth in her lyrics, a little harking back to the Sixties, all put together in a nice sanitised package. This funny little Welsh girl became a star. And now she's inflicted on me every time I turn on the radio. Once again, banality reigns supreme.


Anonymous said...

In case your readers are curious about tonglen, here's a link to Pema's teaching site where she describes the practice:


clare said...

Great, thanks! I certainly am...

Paul Wady said...

I've never heard Duffy.

Do I have to?