‘Believe’? Vocoders, digitalised female identity and camp

Dickinson, K. (2001) ‘Believe’? Vocoders, digitalised female identity and camp. Popular Music, 20(3), pp. 333-347. (doi: 10.1017/S0261143001001532)

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In the two or so years since Cher's ‘Believe’ rather unexpectedly became the number one selling British single of 1998, the vocoder effect – which arguably snagged the track such widespread popularity – grew into one of the safest, maybe laziest, means of guaranteeing chart success. Since then, vocoder-wielding tracks such as Eiffel 65's ‘Blue (Da Ba Dee)’ and Sonique's ‘It Feels So Good’ have held fast at the slippery British number one spot for longer than the now-standard one week, despite their artists' relative obscurity. Even chart mainstays such as Madonna (‘Music’), Victoria Beckham (with the help of True Steppers and Dane Bowers) (‘Out of Your Mind’), Steps (‘Summer of Love’) and Kylie Minogue (the back-ups in ‘Spinning Around’) turned to this strange, automated-sounding gimmick which also proved to be a favourite with the poppier UK garage outfits (you can hear it on hits such as Lonyo/Comme Ci Comme Ca's ‘Summer of Love’, for example).

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dickinson, Dr Kay
Authors: Dickinson, K.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts
Journal Name:Popular Music
Publisher:Cambridge University Press (CUP)
ISSN (Online):1474-0095
Published Online:07 March 2002

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