20 December 2007


I apologize most sincerely for inflicting this upon you, because you will leave this post with an obnoxious pop song stuck in your head.

I'm also putting on my Spinster Aunt Grammar Police hat.

You got me trippin', stumblin' flippin, fumbling
Clumsy cuz I'm fallin in love
You got me slippin, tumbling, sinking, fumbling
Clumsy cuz I'm fallin in love
So in love wit you

That's the chorus to Fergie's latest pop song, Clumsy. I've seen the video twice, randomly surfing the TV channels, and I am hearing the bass line in my head for hours afterward. I like Fergie's music, understand that. But that last line, "so in love wit you" has me all fired up, for a couple of reasons.

First, it is miserable grammar/pronunciation. Folks who don't enunciate make me nuts. "Wit" instead of "with" is really one of my pet peeves. Another one is people who mispronounce the word frustrate, but that's a story for another day. Wit is intelligence. Wit is savvy. W-I-T is not an appropriated shortened form of with. Grrr.

The other reason this irritates me requires a bit of backstory. You already know I'm a music geek. I don't think I've ever talked about my singing here; I no longer sing in public, but to not sing would be to not breathe. I sing all the time. With the iPod. Without the iPod. With the radio. Not with the radio. With the muzak in department stores. At full fortissimo or as quiet as a church mouse. I have a halfway decent voice. I'll never be Maria Callas or Mariah Carey, with their astonishing ranges, but I can carry a tune, and carry it well. From the time I was 12 years old until I left for Sweden at 16, I studied with a vocal coach, in addition to singing in my school's choirs.

My coach had been an opera singer with the Met, once upon a time. She taught me wonderful things about breath support and projecting volume. She was also at considerable pains to teach me how to sing the words 'with you' so it didn't sound like you were singing the word 'chew.' The choir director at school was the same guy from 6th grade all the way through graduation; this was one of his fussy things too. Thanks to both of them, this is something I notice in popular music, and when it is done incorrectly, it makes me grind my teeth. It isn't that hard to do; any singer should know this little trick. All you do is soften the "t" sound, almost as if you were going to drop it off all together, and emphasize the 'you', being careful not to introduce too much of your Midwest twang into it and making it sound like 'yew'. Oh, wait, that Midwest thing would just be me. Anyway.

Fergie-Ferg has a lovely voice, is a talented songstress, and produces extremely entertaining music. This just makes ME nuts, it is a psychosis, I know. The song really sticks with you, which speaks well for it being a major hit for her. And that means that I'll be hearing it everywhere.

If you need me, I'll be over there in the corner in the fetal, rocking and grinding my teeth.

clumsy 'cause I'm fallin' in love..in in love
so in love
wit you


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