59. London Grammar

Posted on 18/07/2017

59. London Grammar

Its an impossible name: there is no such place. The band said it was because London is a world city and they had come down from Nottingham, which isnt.

But they did not explain the ‘Grammar’. Whether its to mean that they are not ‘public school’ or that they are keenly interested in the meanings of the English language is not clear. But the point of London Grammar is Hannah Reid’s voice.

The power of her singing is quite something. The words are pretty good too: the following is an example:

Yeah, I might seem so strong
Yeah, I might speak so long
I’ve never been so wrong
I might seem so strong
Yeah, I might speak so long
I’ve never been so wrong

That track comes from their first album in 2013. The following is a really good song from their new albut ‘Truth is a beautiful thing’. They do heartfelt very well:

Another heartfelt love song is ‘O Woman Oh Man’, which deals with heartbreak rather well:

Its good that they deal in emotion without seeming emotionally wrecked by it. Wrecked is, unfortunately, the way to describe Janis Joplin. She had a wonderful voice for portraying the emotions of a song. Somebody described it as like a sudden patch of blue sky in the midst of a storm.

The trouble is that she was a troubled girl and the storm took her away soon. Pop stars dying young is, unfortunately, not just a thing of the past. Its not long since Amy Winehouse was singing of not going back to rehab:

Amy was no Janis: her main speciality was singing old fashioned big band songs that she learned from her father. But her dislike of rehabilitation was genuine: she was a shooting star.

Florence and the Machine are more like London Grammar in that Florence is relatively cool but sings of emotional topics.


It will be interesting to see how London Grammar evolve. They are only just beginning their career. A voice like Hannah Reid’s though, is likely to carry her through a long career. To do that in today’s market will probably involve even more re-invention on the part of the stars than it did in the past. But there is a limit, and Cher was a fine example of going way beyond it. I hope Hannah sticks to being Hannah.








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