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And the sound of 2013 is… 1993?!

Posted at 4:00 pm, January 4, 2013 in Music & Nightlife
© Haim

Getting that deja vu feeling? The top five acts in the BBC Sound of 2013 poll have been revealed, and all of them have retro leanings of one kind of another, with influences stretching from ’60s jazz to noughties synth-pop. Sensing the possibility for a bit of dubious statistical analysis, we decided to work out scientifically (sort of) what year the Sound of 2013 acts are really representing. By drawing comparisons with bands from different eras, and harnessing the awesome power of maths, we can reveal that pop music is currently stuck in… August, 1993. 

See our working out below:

1. Haim…

…are Hanson in 1997 

The judges of the BBC’s Sound of 2013 award have awarded this year’s tax-payer-funded crown to Californian sisters Este, Danielle and Alana Haim. They may be flushed with a danceable clutch of punchy indie-rock jams, but we simply can’t get over the similarities with another trio of long-haired all-American pop siblings… Hanson. It’s not just the fact that they boast sweet harmonies or look like they’ve strolled off from the set of a Pantene advert. Haim, like Hanson, are just itching to dance around like goons in their videos. Check out the similarities below:



2. AlunaGeorge…

…are Morcheeba in 1998

We know – it’s hard to stomach. One of the most exciting bands in London sound like snoozy stoner favs Morcheeba? Still, we’re struck by the trip hop-y lackadaisical lushness of George Reid’s production and Aluna Francis’s drawling vocal. The south London duo’s songs also nod to the big club anthems of Timbaland and the recent digi-rave breakthroughs of Rustie, but it’s Morcheeba and those many chill-out compilations of the ’90s that – like the smell of weed on an old sofa – have left a permanent legacy.



3. Angel Haze…

…is Eminem in 2002

When rappers ‘get personal’, we usually wince and reach for the sick bag. Angel Haze however has such a strange and unusual personal history (having grown up in Michigan to a strict religious sect that regarded music as a sin) that the 21-year-old is more than welcome to overshare. Her debt to Eminem is obvious, given her emotional recasting of his 2002 single ‘Cleaning Out My Closet’, but the similarities run deeper. Just as Shady crushed his immediate competition (like Fred Durst or Everlast) on record, Angel Haze has taken to calling her out her main rival Azealia Banks – like on searing new diss track, ‘On The Edge‘.

Angel Haze


4. Laura Mvula…

…is Nina Simone in 1968

There are many great names that are evoked by the smokey and earnest tones of Birmingham jazz-soul singer Laura Mvula. Carole King, Billie Holiday, even South African star Miriam Makeba all spring to mind. But to deny her similarity to Nina Simone would be like denying that the Pope ticks the box marked ‘Catholic’ on the census. That thunderous staccato delivery, laced with solo piano and keys, undeniably remind (in a good way) of the first lady of conscious soul.

Laura Mvula

Nina Simone


…are The Knife in 2003

The latest band to emerge from Glasgow’s fertile, yet underexposed, electronic music scene (see also: Errors, Miaoux Miaoux, Conquering Animal Sound) are CHVRCHES. Their sound comprises a slice of ‘Hounds Of Love’-era Kate Bush, a slither of Altered Images’ Scottish new wave pop, and a thick wedge of dancey synths, a la experimental Scandinavian brother-sister duo The Knife on their brilliant 2003 album ‘Deep Cuts’. Add in ethereal, girlish vocals and the unnecessarily stylised name (vowels being so uncool these days) and CHVRCHES look well on their way to synth-pop paydirt.


The Knife

1997 + 1998 + 2002 + 1968 + 2003 ÷ 5 = 1993.6 or August, 1993

So now you know.

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