B2 Reading Multiple Matching Exam 14
Feels nothing like teen spirit
The albums chart is filled with some of the least offensive music ever made and rock critics are wondering whatever happened to youthful rebellion, as embodied by punk rock and grunge. The stars of easy listening see things differently.
(A) Jamie Cullum
When 26-year-old Jamie Cullum was a teenager, music was his hobby and he worked his way through college doing every kind of gig possible - weddings, cruise liners, parties - and playing in every band going, from heavy metal to freestyle hip hop. Backed by experienced professionals on double bass and drums, the charismatic vocalist and pianist brings a contemporary broad approach to jazz. “What I'm doing isn't pure jazz. Pop, rock, dance, hip hop - everything gets thrown together”. He covers heroes of his own generation like Coldplay and Radiohead as well as those of the past by doing jazzy new interpretations of their songs but also writes songs of his own with modern themes in old styles. A gifted but self-taught performer, Cullum, who can't read music and plays by ear, provokes extremes of love and loathing amongst record buyers and jazz purists but says, 'What I do is totally true to me. I put my heart and soul into it'.
(B) Michael Bublé
Michael Bublé, at 27, has achieved over a million worldwide sales for his album of old dance band favourites from the 1930s and 40s. He discovered swing through his Italian grandfather. 'While I was growing up, this music would be everywhere. Of course, I heard modern stuff too, but there wasn't enough melody for me. Swing is all about rhythm. When I was growing up, kids weren't given any choice so this was my rebellion. I like rap, pop and R&B but for too long there's only been room for that and nothing else'. So does this on-stage 'smooth' behaviour come naturally to him? 'I wasn't born in the 30s and I don't smoke cigars in real life. I don't want to be a copycat - I'm not really Frank Sinatra. It's just part of the performance in the same way that an actor doesn't have to take drugs in order to play a junkie.'
(C) Katie Melua
In 2004, Katie Melua, then 19, spent most of the year as number one in the album charts. Her music is not easily categorised but she laughs at the idea that she is conservative. 'If everyone else was doing jazz, blues and folk in the charts then you could accuse me of this. But everyone's doing R&B and hip hop, and I feel there should be another option'. Haven't some of her contemporaries accused her of being a little unexciting? 'All I can say is that my music is completely from my heart and it's what feels right. OK, it happens not to be hip and cool, but I'm not suddenly going to get an electric guitar out just to attract the kids. Perhaps my music appeals to an older generation because I myself listen to artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan and Eva Cassidy. When I heard Cassidy's 'Over the Rainbow' it opened my eyes, because it sounded old-fashioned but also fresh and new.' So would she ever consider using her fame to write a song about the wrongs of the world, as Dylan did? 'I already have. This kind of protest can be a powerful tool with young people and it's been neglected in the current popular charts’.
(D) Marcella Puppini
Being in a band which does cover versions of old songs is rarely cool or glamorous, but Marcella Puppini, as one third of one of the most interesting vocal acts around, includes supermodel Kate Moss amongst her famous fans. Marcella met the other two 'Puppini Sisters' at the Royal College of Music, where they studied singing and various instruments including the piano, saxophone, violin, harp and accordion. All accomplished musicians; they decided to turn the clock back 60 years to form a three-part harmony group. As well as creating up-to-date interpretations of favourites from the 1940s, they also translate 'modern' songs and reinterpret them in the 1940s style. Helped by the present vogue for all things retro they have achieved a cult following in the coolest, trendiest clubs and festivals in the UK, wearing clothes and make-up in keeping with the songs they sing. 'I would now like the band to cross over to the 'pop' charts. I think they may be ready for something different', says Marcella.