British turned American

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When in any club, listening to any radio station or flicking through your MP3 player, you can see and hear how America affects our culture, especially the music we listen to. Whether it’s the gun crime that’s being accused of making teenagers violent or bands putting on fake American accent when they sing, Americanisms have crept in to our society, like it or not.

With that in mind, when listening to the charts, or even smaller bands just starting out, can’t you hear a little bit of America in the majority of UK music? Although there’s the fact that this week, there are 22 UK artists in the UK Top 40 Singles Chart and 27 in the album chart, have bands taken the formula of American plus music equals success? Cheryl Cole’s first single, ‘Fight For This Love’ sounds like something Rhihanna could have put out, and Leona Lewis’ voice puts her up there with the world’s best divas.

The alternative scene has recently converged with mainstream, with bands like Paramore and 30 Seconds To Mars going from playing 300 capacity venues to selling out arenas in a matter of years. But, of course, both of these bands are American.  Saying that, one band which seems to be following in the footsteps of those success stories are British band You Me At Six, who have gone from supporting smaller American bands to overtaking most of them, and are now just finishing up a UK Arena tour supporting Paramore. They can play 3000+ venues themselves, filling the ears of delighted tweens and twenty somethings alike with their pop infused tunes with a slight rock edge, and those faux-American accents that seem to make their way over the lips of the vocalists.

This band have been criticised many times for their American sound, as a review of their debut album ‘Take Off Your Colours’ on the Thrash Hits website shows: “… Franceschi’s nasal Americanised vocals. He’s from Dorset. People in Dorset don’t sound American. If you belong to a genre that, rightly or wrongly, is known for its open-hearted confessionalism, surely you should at least be true to your origins to maintain that all important emotional integrity.”

Another band that could be said to have sneakily slipped some Americanisms in to their music are Welsh five piece Kids in Glass Houses. Their accents are a definitely a give away to where their roots are, and they’re proud of where they come from; but when listening to their new songs, especially ‘Youngblood (Let It Out)’, you can hear that it has a Kings of Leon vibe to it, which Radio 1 has picked up on, giving them the exposure they’ve craved, as well as deserved, for some time.
Speaking of Kings of Leon, they seem to be an American band that has had to embrace the American stadium rock sound to become successful. ‘Sex on Fire’ thrust them into the public spotlight over a year ago now, which has deemed more popular than their previous, more quirky attempts, such as ‘Charmer’.  After being sick of tired of slogging away for years with material they love writing, could they have adapted their sound for the masses?

The bands in question, of course, wouldn’t admit to changing their sound to be successful, if that’s even what they’ve done. Times and styles change, it’s inevitable, and bands grow and evolve, but music lovers can’t help but wonder what sparks and shapes these changes of the music that’s on their iPods, speakers or airwaves.

For more information or the check out the bands mentioned, follow these links.