Dear Pop Singers: Stop Mocking People With Speech Impediments With Your Enunciation Affectations
It isn’t cute and it is far past original and interesting — and it is definitely time for you to stop.
You know exactly what I am talking about. From dance pop to indie folk the last decade has seen the rise of singing with intentionally grotesque enunciation. It has become the same scourge that we faced in the previous decade with autotune drenched vocals, except this time it is at the expense of people with a disability.
Let me ask you, if you went and saw a ballet and the dancers had incorporated the movements of people with cerebral palsy into their choreography — would that seem okay to you? What if you went and saw a concert where the singer did a crude impersonation of Tourette’s Syndrome because 'that was just their style’? And no that wasn’t just a cheap shot at the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The point is neither of these things would be cool, and neither is intentional refusal to articulate lyrics within the context of your actual, genuine accent.
Using the non-enunciation effect is useful for exploiting the sense of vulnerability we get from those with actual speaking maladies. It is shorthand for frailty and can conjure that feeling easily, but only at the expense of those who have no choice but to live with that frailty and vulnerability because their voice is incapable of fully articulating words due to a disability. Do not mock them with your super soft rock and grade school anthem fodder. Dolly Parton didn’t have to put on some pretentious vocal mask to become a musical legend and neither do you.