April 2nd, 2014 12:23pm

Ever Since The Day We Met

White Hinterland “Sickle No Sword”

I interviewed Casey Dienel for a piece about White Hinterland I’m writing for BuzzFeed yesterday, and she mentioned that one of the things that pushed her towards singing in a loud, emphatic R&B/gospel style was an experience where she sorta reluctantly sang a Beyoncé song at a karaoke party and totally nailed it. She used to sing more like this when she was younger, but had strayed from it out of embarrassment or a need to express a different sort of feeling, but it felt good to her, and physically comfortable. You can really hear that in “Sickle No Sword” – her earlier work was more restrained, but this sounds like a person who is completely at ease with themselves and not afraid to really belt it out. I think one of the reasons this style of singing endures and connects with so many people is that there’s just no way to hedge on emotion – you can’t go halfway with this, and you can’t put up a wall between yourself and the listener. It’s not simply about a display of technical prowess, though that’s in the mix. You hear a song like this – or a song by Beyoncé, or Aretha Franklin, or Otis Redding, or whoever – and you’re listening to someone be brave in their expression. I think we’d all like to be that way, or at least experience it vicariously.

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