It’s the Fourth of July. And if you’re not out exploding fireworks or debating if Hancock looks any good (it doesn’t, don’t fool yourself) then we’re glad you’re spending it here with us. So, without any further ado and in honor of our liberation from the British, we give you the top 11 fake British accents in rock. Please note, Madonna will not be on here.
11. Julian Casablancas, The Strokes – “Is This It” sounded like the culminating sound of four generations worth of rock and one thing that Mr. Casablancas was shrewd enough not to overlook was the importance of the fake British accent. However, he really made it his own by avoiding the cliche cockney-inflected voice and going for a more affected, spoiled-boarding-school-brat-on-holiday voice. Oh, wait, that wasn’t an act?
10. Mark Mothersbaugh, Devo – If de-evolution required that we start talking like squeaky, English robots (C3PO anyone?) then Mark Mothersbaugh deserves credit for turning that concept into musical gold.
9. Brandon Flowers, The Killers – He’s a self-professed New Order/Joy Division fanatic and his angst in this video almost reaches French levels. You can almost taste how badly he wishes he was born and raised in Manchester instead of Las Vegas. He’ll always have that fake accent though to keep him warm at night.
8. Adam Cox, The Exploding Hearts – Although little known, this band packed a wallop in the faux British accent department. The video on these guys is shoddy at best so we thought we’d give you a song to sample instead. We can only imagine how huge these guys would be if tragedy hadn’t struck. Such great songs.
Exploding Hearts – Busy Signals
7. Billy Joe Armstrong, Green Day – Green Day? More like Greenwich Meantime Day!!! <hi fiving friends in room> Billy Joe Armstrong’s fake accent is so thick that it sounds like his mouth is stuffed with spotted dick.
6. Steve Bays, Hot Hot Heat – We actually don’t know a whole lot about this band except that they’re Canadian. But one thing we can all agree on is that front man Steve Bays channels Elvis Costello through his sinuses every time he gets behind the mic.
5. Andre 3000, Outkast – I think this video tells you all you need to know.
4. Jay Reatard – Although still an up and comer, this Memphis new waver can hang a fake British accent with the best of the legends on our list. The only thing keeping him from jumping to number one is the fact that he’s so young. He’s like the LeBron James of fake British accents: destined for greatness, he’s almost at the top of the mountain, but not quite there yet. Don’t worry Jay, maybe when we re-do this list in ten years you’ll be number one.
3. Jack White, The White Stripes, The Raconteurs – If you ask him, he’ll probably insist that he’s more a world-weary-90-year-old-black bluesman from the Mississippi delta than English dandy. This doesn’t change the fact that he sings about frou frou British topics like the hardest buttons to button and prominently featured bag pipes on Icky Thump. The verdict from our white wigged judges? Anglophile!
Top two after the jump:
2. Billy Fucking Squier – I always figured he was a poor man’s Robert Plant. I mean, this guy’s accent is so impenetrable and downright powerful that it came as a complete shock to find out that he was actually American. Doesn’t that really tell you all you need to know about the strength of his singing accent?
1. Joey Ramone, The Ramones – There can only be one king. In his unabashed love for British-invasion-inspired rock he dropped his Queens accent and picked up a hybrid cockney/street urchin type of thing. The only way his mouth could have gotten more British is if Germany started bombing it. For that, Joey, we dub thee into the knighthood of greatest fake British accents.
Honorable mentions go to Britt Daniel of Spoon, Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, Craig Pfunder of VHS Or Beta Donald Cumming of The Virgins and Toby Keith.