>> Thursday, April 29, 2010
Now, here's something I haven't done in a while, a thieving Thursday where I expand on a comment I made on another blog. This week's lucky winner? JD on I Do Things with her blog on loving Karen Carpenter. She bemoaned the fact that many of today's singers can't sing.
She ain't lying. Between the obvious digital manipulation or the breathy this and that, many of the most popular singers wouldn't last ten seconds on a stage without a microphone. Much of today's music has the vocals more like background noise to the beat and melody of the instruments. You don't have to have a good voice, under those circumstances. You just have to be able to carry a tune, or at least not butcher it. Even harmonizing, once a mainstay of popular music, is frequently butchered.
Oh, there are still some good singers out there, but you have to look for them. And listening to the radio, at least for me, is an exercise in frustration, which is why I have my tunes with me where ever I go, carefully chosen from my husband's 8 GB stash of music.
See, I always respected people who could actually sing, could emote with a voice, manipulate sound, really use their voices like an artist uses oils. When I had my stint as a Nelson Eddy fanatic (and took a few lessons from an ex-opera professor), I learned a few things about singing, really singing.
The down side is that some voice I used to like bother me now. And I'm a snob. I like good singing, damn it. People who are emulating the great singers but don't have the voice or skills for it, make me sad. I can spot it, like Madonna knocking down some of the passages so she could sing Evita.
But, when I find a voice that really can sing, can harmonize, can really make the most of their voices, I often enjoy myself hugely, even if they don't necessarily sing the stuff I like. After a while, I find I DO like their music (example: Evanescence).
Good singers still exist, of course. You can find some on Broadway (though not all on Broadway can sing). You can find them singing in Disney movies. And sometimes, when you least expect it, you might even stumble on one on the radio because they're out there, readily recognized by a discerning ear. You'll find, in fact, that you can pick out their particular voices, even in a crowd or an unfamiliar group; they'll have that something special that makes their voices unique.