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Rude - Single (2014)


Review By Catherine Lewis

September 17, 2014

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Catherine Lewis

There's something uncomfortably chauvinistic about the Magic! song Rude: the narrator asks his beloved's father for permission to marry her, that permission is denied, and he proclaims that he'll marry her anyway. The vocal band Accent has found a way to make this antiquated practice — and defiance of authority — sound believable in song: the group turns Magic!'s reggae swagger into an old-fashioned jazz arrangement, complete with finger snaps and tightly-harmonized chords.

Even more impressive than the song's transformation is the group's logistics. These six singers live in five different countries and collaborate via the internet. Though they very rarely sing together in person, the delivery of this arrangement is superb, from vowel matching to dynamics to tempo to tone. These are things that many groups struggle with when they record together in the same studio at the same time, and yet Accent makes its flawless delivery seem like a total breeze.

My only complaint with Accent's version of Rude is its ending: there's a long series of repetitions of "marry that girl / marry her anyway" in the song's final thirty seconds, which just feels too drawn-out to this listener's ears. It's still a significant improvement over the original song, though, so that complaint is but a small nitpick in an impressive overhaul of a drab and sexist modern radio hit.

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