The national topic of conversation has shifted from speculating on the weather to a more pressing subject: the search for this year’s Amy Winehouse.
FOR THE PAST few weeks, you may have noticed that the national topic of conversation has shifted from speculating on the weather to a more pressing subject: “Duffy or Adele?”
The question relates to the search for this year’s Amy Winehouse, or at the least a retro-voiced young woman unrumpled by unsavoury suitors and cocaine.
If you’ve been paying attention, you will know that Adele is the Brit school graduate with a voice that’s London-flecked, smoky and strong as biltong. You can hear it on her album 19, and single ‘Chasing Pavements’.
Duffy, meanwhile, hails from Wales, and with her throaty, gusty vocals, backed by a swollen, cabaret band, sounds not unlike Dusty Springfield. Her album, Rockferry, co-written and produced by former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, will be released next month. Meanwhile you might wish to investigate the YouTube video where she can be seen in the studio singing a heart-wrenching, barely accompanied version of ‘Syrup & Honey’.
At its heart, this debate is rather unfair, pitching artist against artist simply because they are young and female; and although they both peddle a retro sound they are musically quite different. Nevertheless, early indications show Adele to be ahead by a nose: a quick consultation of MySpace, the modern equivalent of holding one’s finger up to see which way the wind is blowing, reveals that Adele has notched up 26,321 friends compared with Duffy’s 4,831, though the latter perhaps appeals to an older, less MySpacey crowd, and her marketing campaign has yet to go full throttle.
But if you have to choose a chanteuse to back, which should it be? Sod it, we say – rise above the Adele and Duffy scuffle and put your money on a dark horse: the magnificent Laura Marling.
© Laura Barton, The Guardian, 4 February 2008