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Forums => Oscillations => Topic started by: FerriswheelBueller on June 02, 2021, 03:01:55 AM

Title: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: FerriswheelBueller on June 02, 2021, 03:01:55 AM
I am a huge Talking Heads fan. Whatever you think about David Byrne (and I think he’s brilliant, and one of the all time greats), you cannot deny his magnetism, his showmanship, and his vision (and execution) as an artist. He is ever-watchable, and one of a kind. An incredible performer.

...not a great voice though. I mean... it’ll do, most of the time, but like... hmmm. I suppose he gets by on the fact that he’s a “frontman” in the purest form of the word, directing the band and offering genre-defying visuals (both for himself and for the band’s aesthetic) but as a singer? He doesn’t really bring much to the table at best.

The open secret back in the day was that matey out of Embrace couldn’t sing a note, but after that England football song they were untouchable so generations of exasperated sound men and studio engineers shouldered his burden.

Any others? I remember being struck by how bloody awful both of the Libertines were on a relisten about 10 years after those records came out and the fug of overly-loyal fandom had shifted. Must be loads of others but fucked if I can think of any.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Astronaut Omens on June 02, 2021, 03:05:19 AM
The thing about Byrne is that whenever you hear people trying to rip off his style, (I'm thinking here of when Adrian Belew was doing the vocals in King Crimson and been excessively Byrney) you realise how hard that nerdy thing is to pull off without being annoying, especially over a whole LP.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Rev+ on June 02, 2021, 03:49:08 AM
He can pull a dramatic move and a certain kind of phrasing, but you've got to be very generous to rate Luke Haines as a singer.

Doesn't matter though, does it?  On an actual performance level it's all theatre, so there are no good and bad singers, just good and bad performers. 

Someone will say Mark E Smith, and that someone can fuck off before they even start.  He was just shit all over.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: FerriswheelBueller on June 02, 2021, 04:00:01 AM
Mark E. Smith is another “frontman” though, directing the aesthetics, ethos, and lyricism of the band while also acting as a spokesperson and on-stage character to draw in the punters and critics.

Then again, I would say that wouldn’t I, because I love the Fall (and not just because Stewart Lee tells me to).
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Video Game Fan 2000 on June 02, 2021, 04:13:39 AM
MES and Kim Gordon are the canonical wrong answers to this question.

Landfill indie must have been the worst period for voice in pop music ever. No wonder people wanted to hear talent show winners instead.

(I'm thinking here of when Adrian Belew was doing the vocals in King Crimson and been excessively Byrney) 

Always found this totally embarassing and hard to take even a minute of. Discipline isn't for me, but there is very good music on the next two that sounds like Red mixed with Eno's Before and After Science, and he kills it. It's completely superfluous! They're playing postrock with Seinfeld bass, not what if Byrne fronted The Knack.

If ever a band needed to put out instrumental mixes of all their records, its Crim.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: famethrowa on June 02, 2021, 04:43:54 AM
I'm saying that Talk Talk guy. Obviously never learnt (or thought about) how to breathe while singing, that's why we got this throaty strangled noise every time he got near a microphone.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Elderly Sumo Prophecy on June 02, 2021, 05:23:14 AM
Ian Brown
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: SpiderChrist on June 02, 2021, 07:01:11 AM
I'm saying that Talk Talk guy. Obviously never learnt (or thought about) how to breathe while singing, that's why we got this throaty strangled noise every time he got near a microphone.

This has made me very angry. So angry.

My nomination is famethrowa’s favourite singer. Or Tom Jones.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Nice Relaxing Poo on June 02, 2021, 07:01:50 AM
I remember getting into The Flaming Lips when they released The Soft Bulletin and the thin reediness of Coyne's voice slowly wearing my tolerance down. I have a high tolerance for "quirky" vocals, I love Neil Young's reedy singing but I just can't tolerate WC and therefore the Flaming Lips are a no-go area for me.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: BeardFaceMan on June 02, 2021, 07:51:28 AM
Yer man out of Ash, that was the first time I heard a singer and thought "I could be in a band".
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: The Mollusk on June 02, 2021, 08:21:29 AM
My stepdad once told me David Bowie was “a great performer but couldn’t sing to save his life”. I found that bitter pill especially hard to take considering his favourite band is The Jam.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Dr Rock on June 02, 2021, 08:22:21 AM
Robert Smith.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: DrGreggles on June 02, 2021, 08:36:35 AM
Brett Anderson

I'd probably quite like Suede if they had a different singer, but his voice is proper nails-down-the-blackboard to me.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Lisa Jesusandmarychain on June 02, 2021, 09:39:49 AM
Top Kenneth Williams lookalike Fred Schneider from the B- 52s. It's a good job the two lasses in that band are quite handy at the ol' singin'.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Darles Chickens on June 02, 2021, 09:40:55 AM
I'm saying that Talk Talk guy. Obviously never learnt (or thought about) how to breathe while singing, that's why we got this throaty strangled noise every time he got near a microphone.

How very dare you!  Mark Hollis may have had a unique and unconventional singing voice, but he knew how to use it.  I'd've said it was the opposite of 'throaty' - his tone was very pure, and his live performances were always pitch-perfect.

These days most singers go through so much pitch correction and production that it's hard to tell who can genuinely sing and who can't, but before this kind of tech was widespread in the 90s, you could get a feeling from live performances for who was just winging it.  The 90s was full of bands like this who would've needed 50 vocal takes in the studio just to get something satisfactory down.

Exhibit A (which I posted the other day): Sarah Cracknell and Tim Burgess
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSEo383ThRo
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: holyzombiejesus on June 02, 2021, 09:58:05 AM
All my favourite singers couldn't sing.

David Berman, Lawrence, Lee Hazlewood, Stephen Pastel, Aidan Moffatt, sure there are loads more who would get laughed off The Voice but whose voices I love and are perfect for the songs they write.

In terms of singers who are supposed to be able to sing but are just shit, I'd say Isobel Campbell.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: jobotic on June 02, 2021, 10:05:57 AM
I agree with you. And there are plenty of people who can technically sing well but sound bloody awful because of what they sing.


Anyway, imagine if Lou Reed had sung Heroin in a Mariah Carey voice.

(It'd be great possibly)
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: FerriswheelBueller on June 02, 2021, 10:20:09 AM
Byrne hides a bit in a lot of Talking Heads stuff I like by doing his talky-sing voice (“you may find yourself! In another part of the world!”) and when an actual honest to god bit of singing comes up he gets the backing band to sing it with him and sweeten the vocals (“letting the days go by...”).
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: thecuriousorange on June 02, 2021, 10:33:44 AM
If you want to be a frontperson or pop star, having a recognisable voice is more important than being able to "sing" in a technical sense. The persona and charisma will take you a lot further than being able to sound like Pavarotti.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: greenman on June 02, 2021, 10:33:54 AM
How very dare you!  Mark Hollis may have had a unique and unconventional singing voice, but he knew how to use it.  I'd've said it was the opposite of 'throaty' - his tone was very pure, and his live performances were always pitch-perfect.

The earlier stuff I think Hollis often elevates the material and I think the development of the bands style almost feels like looking for a sound that matches the soulfulness of his vocals.

I remember Byrne commenting on his own lack of singing ability in that section were he interviews himself in blackface.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: The Crumb on June 02, 2021, 11:39:35 AM
Live clips of Ian Brown's singing are almost unbelievably shite.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: kalowski on June 02, 2021, 11:41:11 AM
Linda McCartney.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Butchers Blind on June 02, 2021, 11:42:23 AM
Kurt Wagner from Lambchop.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: chveik on June 02, 2021, 11:48:49 AM
them rap singers. they're not even trying!
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: JaDanketies on June 02, 2021, 11:56:19 AM
Bowie might not have a great range but his voice is lovely and his delivery is really powerful.

I hope the Tom Jones suggestion was a joke. Nobody can top Delilah (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIIU9xkGAMs). Incredible set of pipes on that man.

I'm not sure if Rihanna can sing. I think her ability - whatever there is of it - is so exceptionally well-hidden in her songs that she probably can't sing. Kylie Minogue is a little bit more obvious.

If you've seen I Can See Your Voice, most of the celebs on there have been vastly outperformed by some of the guests. This includes Nadine Coyle, Ronan Keating and Louise Rednapp.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Lisa Jesusandmarychain on June 02, 2021, 11:57:42 AM
Yer  woman who looks like Judith Crumble's more serious, slightly less glamorous sister out of  Black Squid Midi, New Road The Dry Cleanings !!
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: buzby on June 02, 2021, 12:01:11 PM
Bernard Sumner, though like a lot of these 'singers who can't sing', his lack of technique (pardon the pun) was part of the charm of early New Order. In 1985/86, working with John Robie taught him about writing songs to fit his natural key and range and he started taking singing lessons. He still wasn't the most confident or technically gifted vocalist after that, but they started making songs that fitted his voice (for better or worse).

I'm not sure if Rihanna can sing. I think it might be very well-disguised that she can't hold a tune. Kylie Minogue is a little bit more obvious.
In Rihanna's version of Diamonds, the harmony vocals are from Sia's vocal from the demo for the song. They just mixed out her lead vocal and replaced it with Rihanna's. Kylie owes her singing career to the capabilities of the Publison Infernal Machine 90 (as do most of that crop of late 80s S/A/W acts).
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Video Game Fan 2000 on June 02, 2021, 12:09:51 PM
I'm saying that Talk Talk guy. Obviously never learnt (or thought about) how to breathe while singing, that's why we got this throaty strangled noise every time he got near a microphone.

What the hell man.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Astronaut Omens on June 02, 2021, 01:02:14 PM
Bowie might not have a great range... 
The range from the low notes at the beginning of Sweet Thing to "It's safe in the city...." to the high "WIIIIIIIIIIIND!" at the end of "Wild is the Wind" is pretty good.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Elderly Sumo Prophecy on June 02, 2021, 01:15:36 PM
Bernard Sumner, though like a lot of these 'singers who can't sing', his lack of technique (pardon the pun) was part of the charm of early New Order. In 1985/86, working with John Robie taught him about writing songs to fit his natural key and range and he started taking singing lessons. He still wasn't the most confident or technically gifted vocalist after that, but they started making songs that fitted his voice (for better or worse).

Not only his voice, he couldn't play guitar very well either. If you watch any Joy Division TV footage, he's always staring down at the fretboard, and is clearly having to try very hard at doing some extremely simple guitar lines.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: idunnosomename on June 02, 2021, 01:15:40 PM
Ozzy Osbourne literally cant sing in that he wrecked his voice by the end of the 70s
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: famethrowa on June 02, 2021, 01:23:49 PM
I suspected there'd be some blowback from the Talk Talk talk, it's just always seemed that way to me. But he did make it work for him and built his music around it, so fair dos. Anyway back to the thread question:

Paul Young.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: badaids on June 02, 2021, 01:24:39 PM
Not only his voice, he couldn't play guitar very well either. If you watch any Joy Division TV footage, he's always staring down at the fretboard, and is clearly having to try very hard at doing some extremely simple guitar lines.

There was some documentary I saw years ago in which he said how hard he found it to write lyrics and hated doing it. In spite of all these limitations he’s done alright.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Video Game Fan 2000 on June 02, 2021, 01:44:20 PM
Ozzy Osbourne literally cant sing in that he wrecked his voice by the end of the 70s

The fronthobbit of ACDC now sounds like a lawnmover going over a beer can.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: The Culture Bunker on June 02, 2021, 02:04:20 PM
Not only his voice, he couldn't play guitar very well either. If you watch any Joy Division TV footage, he's always staring down at the fretboard, and is clearly having to try very hard at doing some extremely simple guitar lines.
I would put part of that down to shyness and trying to look anywhere but the audience/camera. I think for a lot of the 80s, he needed a fair bit of alcoholic/chemical encouragement to get up on stage and front the band.

That said, I remember Johnny Marr saying that the thing that surprised him most about Sumner's guitar playing from their working together was the fact he never practised, so maybe it is more him trying not to hit bum notes.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: buzby on June 02, 2021, 02:20:20 PM
Not only his voice, he couldn't play guitar very well either. If you watch any Joy Division TV footage, he's always staring down at the fretboard, and is clearly having to try very hard at doing some extremely simple guitar lines.
Well, at that point they had only been playing instruments as a hobby for about 2 years (and Bernard's 'training' was a Bert Weedon book). Steve was the only one who had any formal drum lessons, and he knocked them in the head fairly early on.

There was some documentary I saw years ago in which he said how hard he found it to write lyrics and hated doing it. In spite of all these limitations he’s done alright.
I would put part of that down to shyness and trying to look anywhere but the audience/camera. I think for a lot of the 80s, he needed a fair bit of alcoholic/chemical encouragement to get up on stage and front the band.
He does usually find it hard to write lyrics. Early on in New Order's career LSD was a major catalyst in his writing, but all of the band members were contributing to the lyrics to a greater or lesser degree even up to Technique. On Republic it was mostly him, and they had to lock him into the studio's apartment for the weekend to force him to write lyrics for the songs. In the early 2000s he participated in a experiment on using Prozac to get past a period of writer's block.

As you say, it was the actual being a frontman and singing in front of an audience that was the greatest issue for him (a role that was thrust onto him that he never really wanted), and the only way he could do it was by getting pissed or wasted, which then led to their reputation for shambolic live performances and his acting like an arse.

Check out any video of them performing on TV prior to the Technique era - in a situation where he couldn't get pissed he always looks terrified, and usually does the entire song with his eyes closed.
Quote
That said, I remember Johnny Marr saying that the thing that surprised him most about Sumner's guitar playing from their working together was the fact he never practised, so maybe it is more him trying not to hit bum notes.
In Electronic, Marr was quite complimentary of his guitar playing and was always trying to get him to play more on the records. The reason New Order went progressively more synth-oriented was because Sumner wasn't really bothered with becoming a 'guitar genius' and found it far easier to write the music he wanted to make on keyboards and sequencers. That then led to the friction with Hook, who always sided towards a more the traditional 'rock' sound.

Paul Young.
He certainly could sing in the No Parlez era. He's another one like Ozzy where excessive touring in the 80s ruined his voice.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: The Culture Bunker on June 02, 2021, 02:25:36 PM
In Electronic, Marr was quite complimentary of his guitar playing and was always trying to get him to play more on the records.
Yes, I should have said that Marr was complimenting Sumner by saying (something like) "he's so good, even though he never practises". I think he compared him to Neil Young in some way - this would have been in a Uncut cover feature about Electronic around the time of their third album, so the details are hazy in my mind, primarily because I was in my first year of uni at the time and pretty much permanently half-cut on Brown Ale (which Sumner, of course, used to drink in the Joy Division days because he knew nobody else would nick it).
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: phantom_power on June 02, 2021, 02:35:25 PM
The range from the low notes at the beginning of Sweet Thing to "It's safe in the city...." to the high "WIIIIIIIIIIIND!" at the end of "Wild is the Wind" is pretty good.

Hasn't he famously got one of the widest singing ranges in rock? Certainly in the 70s
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: JaDanketies on June 02, 2021, 02:39:02 PM
I was just thinking of some of Bowie's popular songs where he doesn't display much range but shows off his plummy chops, like Heroes maybe. ok he's got a good range too, I can't see how there's any basis to call him a bad singer
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: SpiderChrist on June 02, 2021, 02:39:49 PM
I hope the Tom Jones suggestion was a joke. Nobody can top Delilah (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIIU9xkGAMs). Incredible set of pipes on that man.

No joke. The man's a big honking walrus with all the subtlety of a hangliding flasher. "But Otis Redding called him the greatest soul singer in the world or something." Well Otis was WRONG, wasn't he?
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Brundle-Fly on June 02, 2021, 04:13:37 PM
I remember once hearing a Madonna live bootleg at a record fair circa 1990. HTF is this caterwauling clown the biggest pop star in the world?, I thought to myself as I bought an old Wreckless Eric LP.
Threw in a bit of irony there.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Famous Mortimer on June 02, 2021, 07:59:03 PM
David Lee Roth.

Although his voice is on some of the finest rock of the late 70s and 80s, he was never very good, and towards the end of his tenure in Van Halen, he'd stopped trying to a fairly embarrassing degree (check out any live video of theirs for proof). Now, his performances in Las Vegas are the thing of memes, apparently.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Nice Relaxing Poo on June 02, 2021, 08:03:08 PM
Ozzy Osbourne literally cant sing in that he wrecked his voice by the end of the 70s

Yeah, I love me some early Sabbath and Ozzy's voice is integral to that sound (much like any original vocalist in a seminal band) but he's always had a really shit voice, flat and toneless.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: The Mollusk on June 02, 2021, 08:03:34 PM
No joke. The man's a big honking walrus with all the subtlety of a hangliding flasher. "But Otis Redding called him the greatest soul singer in the world or something." Well Otis was WRONG, wasn't he?

I get where you’re coming from here. Although I personally like it, his voice is certainly maximalist. It doesn’t neatly tick the box, it colours the entire thing in so it’s a thick filled-in square.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Nice Relaxing Poo on June 02, 2021, 08:08:48 PM
I get where you’re coming from here. Although I personally like it, his voice is certainly maximalist. It doesn’t neatly tick the box, it colours the entire thing in so it’s a thick filled-in square.


The cover of Burning Down the House with him duetting with Nina from The Cardigans has to be the biggest vocal mismatch ever, like pitching a fog horn against a reed warbler.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Dr Rock on June 02, 2021, 08:09:39 PM
He can tone it down when necessary - Weeping Annaleah, which Nick Cave done

https://youtu.be/8HBVQRD1Pw4
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: kalowski on June 02, 2021, 08:10:54 PM
David Lee Roth.

Although his voice is on some of the finest rock of the late 70s and 80s, he was never very good, and towards the end of his tenure in Van Halen, he'd stopped trying to a fairly embarrassing degree (check out any live video of theirs for proof). Now, his performances in Las Vegas are the thing of memes, apparently.
Yeah, I'm heartbroken when I hear how badly his voice has deteriorated. He just seems to shout out of tune nowadays.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Elderly Sumo Prophecy on June 02, 2021, 08:16:40 PM

The cover of Burning Down the House with him duetting with Nina from The Cardigans has to be the biggest vocal mismatch ever, like pitching a fog horn against a reed warbler.

I remember the video of that and she looked a bit frightened of him. He kept doing all these strange eye bulging faces and stuff.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Jerzy Bondov on June 02, 2021, 08:39:35 PM
Bowie’s an interesting one because he worked quite hard on his singing. By the time you get to Berlin he has an absolutely amazing voice but he didn’t start out that way.

I’ve defended loads of idiosyncratic singers from the charge of “they can’t sing” by saying that if you hit the notes you want to hit you can sing. I fucking hate Neil Young though.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Dr Rock on June 02, 2021, 08:45:02 PM
As mentioned before, the best voice you can have is unique. But it helps if you can carry a tune.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: OnlyRegisteredSoICanRead on June 02, 2021, 09:09:28 PM
David Lee Roth.

Although his voice is on some of the finest rock of the late 70s and 80s, he was never very good, and towards the end of his tenure in Van Halen, he'd stopped trying to a fairly embarrassing degree (check out any live video of theirs for proof). Now, his performances in Las Vegas are the thing of memes, apparently.

But he's the best one! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCIyeXn1sKQ
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: thecuriousorange on June 02, 2021, 10:19:31 PM
Apparently Cheryl wasn't a very strong singer in Girls Aloud, so despite being the biggest celeb she couldn't vocally front the group. Nadine was the singer and Cheryl reportedly still hates her for this.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Video Game Fan 2000 on June 03, 2021, 01:16:28 AM
Tom Jones had a great voice he just makes astonishingly shit music. He doesn't know how to turn it off, its just a full blast. Its hideous and abrasive but in his line of work that could be plus. I'm stunned he's never done anything really great since his relationship to soul is fucking weird (for a guy who comes close to being a blackface performer his music is whiter than ABBA) and he came along at a time when rock bands were plundering r&b to create the 'heavy' vocabulary.

If he was slightly more kitsch or eccentric in a slightly different way he would've be capable of putting out a slamming LP in the late 60s. Since his love of the music is clearly real and many legends have respect for him, Tom Jones never being able to truly own at least R&B cover is a baffling thing to me. Otis might have loved him but he fucking desecrated "Try A Little Tenderness", sounds like Zap Branigan having a colonoscopy.

I remember the video of that and she looked a bit frightened of him. He kept doing all these strange eye bulging faces and stuff.

Riffing on this was up there with "and then I saw my mum had left me a cup of tea" back in the day. Usually with the lined "like being shagged by a leather sofa!"
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Elderly Sumo Prophecy on June 03, 2021, 01:28:07 AM
I think Nina probably has lovely skin. Not like a leather sofa at all.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Keebleman on June 03, 2021, 08:07:05 AM
Back to Tom Jones, in the late 80s when he had returned to the charts and British TV for the first time in 15 years, Kerrang did an April Fool's prank where they announced that he had joined Black Sabbath.  It was long before online media of course, but based on the subsequent letter pages not only did a lot of people believe it, most thought it was a fantastic idea.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: buzby on June 03, 2021, 08:51:45 AM
Apparently Cheryl wasn't a very strong singer in Girls Aloud, so despite being the biggest celeb she couldn't vocally front the group. Nadine was the singer and Cheryl reportedly still hates her for this.
The OG of this of course being Posh Spice. Remember the demos of that song she did with Dane Bowers and her aborted album produced by Damon Dash leaking? They turned her mic off for Spice Girls live performances.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: steveh on June 03, 2021, 08:58:16 AM
Does anyone else find an inability to sing in tune is quite painful? There are artists with rougher voices where I find it doesn't matter to me so much as it's part of the overall sound and then there are others that I really can't listen to. St Etienne live I remember as a particularly tough experience to get through and the previously mentioned Bernard Sumner on some tracks where he holds a note that is consistently off.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: jobotic on June 03, 2021, 09:17:45 AM
I really like Bernard Sumner's voice. His lyrics, however, are laughable.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: sevendaughters on June 03, 2021, 10:04:07 AM
Ian Brown is obviously the one for me because unlike Byrne, MES, Berman et. al. his voice has absolutely no presence. Mike Mills was a better singer than Michael Stipe in terms of range, quality of voice, melodic sensibility, but Stipe had a particular personality that came through. Presence is so important.

The guy from Smash Mouth is appalling too.

Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Butchers Blind on June 03, 2021, 10:10:57 AM
Damon Albarn needs to be mentioned in this thread. He's got by on very little in the vocal department.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: gilbertharding on June 03, 2021, 10:34:09 AM
I would put part of that down to shyness and trying to look anywhere but the audience/camera. I think for a lot of the 80s, he needed a fair bit of alcoholic/chemical encouragement to get up on stage and front the band.

That said, I remember Johnny Marr saying that the thing that surprised him most about Sumner's guitar playing from their working together was the fact he never practised, so maybe it is more him trying not to hit bum notes.

I remember reading an interview where Marr said he always thought of Sumner's guitar playing as "naïve". Other people's recollections of similar interviews are probably more complete, but no-one used the actual word.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: non capisco on June 03, 2021, 10:38:38 AM
Damon Albarn needs to be mentioned in this thread. He's got by on very little in the vocal department.

During a recent bout of insomnia I was tortured by the looped remembrance of whatever Blur song it is where he screeches "And grandma loses her knickerrrrrrs!", an especially irksome noise dredged up from memory's fetid canal.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: gilbertharding on June 03, 2021, 10:38:59 AM
Ian Brown is obviously the one for me because unlike Byrne, MES, Berman et. al. his voice has absolutely no presence.

It's not just the lack of presence in Brown's case, is it?

Live, he takes tunelessness to new depths. The fact that he does this with such a thin, weedy voice is merely the icing on the cake.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: DrGreggles on June 03, 2021, 11:13:43 AM
Damon Albarn needs to be mentioned in this thread. He's got by on very little in the vocal department.

I think he's become better more bearable on the Gorillaz and later Blur stuff.
Seems to have ditched the Mockney wanker style and found his (admittedly limited) range.

Still a pretty weak singer though.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: buzby on June 03, 2021, 12:07:57 PM
I remember reading an interview where Marr said he always thought of Sumner's guitar playing as "naïve". Other people's recollections of similar interviews are probably more complete, but no-one used the actual word.
On a related note, there's a really good interview with Marr & Sumner where they discuss their approaches to songwriting here (https://www.electronicbeats.net/from-the-vaults-an-interview-with-bernard-sumner-and-johnny-marr/). this particular quote from Sumner encapsulates how he viewed his role in the band and why his lyrics were mostly cryptic:
Quote from: Bernard Sumner
New Order was escapism, clearly, above all it was a game of hide and seek. As the songwriter of New Order I never said a word about the lyrics that I wrote. With New Order everything is unclear and indistinctly laid out. It is intentionally unclear and misleading. You must understand that I was never a songwriter and never wanted to be a singer. I only became a singer because Ian Curtis, our singer, killed himself. We nonetheless needed to and wanted to continue, and the idea of replacing him with someone from outside seemed to us all disconcerting and even artificial. Through his suicide he interfered with my future, he changed my life. I had to suddenly do something that I had never considered. I had to change the way I looked at life. Up to that point I was always the one who stood in the corner and could observe the others. Even on stage. I was the guitar player, the observer. In this role I could also sit back in peace and register what all those around me were doing. I found that very interesting. As the singer you can’t do that. As the singer you have to face the people directly, you are the object being viewed and you receive the attention. That is the mental state of the singer and frontman. I had to change my worldview, my manner and as a consequence myself in order to make it as a singer and to be successful. My lyrics with New Order were therefore arranged as a way of protecting myself, so that no one, really no one, should know what was going through my head. I had to sing because it was my job. I was the only one that could steer the ship off of the reef that it had landed on with Ian’s suicide, and I therefore gave myself the right the hide myself.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Elderly Sumo Prophecy on June 03, 2021, 01:01:57 PM
I have always thought about
Staying here and going out
Tonight I should have stayed at home
Playing with my pleasure zone
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: buzby on June 03, 2021, 01:46:20 PM
I have always thought about
Staying here and going out
Tonight I should have stayed at home
Playing with my pleasure zone
To be fair, The Perfect Kiss was largely written and recorded in a sleepless 72-hour session before they were due to fly off for an Antipodean tour. That's why it basically consists of a medley of bits they had come up with while jamming. Even then, Bernard's rushed, placeholder lyrics were an improvement over the improvised lyrics of it's initial incarnation that they were playing live at the time:
Quote
The Perfect Kiss (aka I've Got A Cock Like the M1) 14 May 84 Royal Festival Hall - London England
I've got a cock, it looks like the M1
It's long and thin, it's got a white line down it It curls about, it curls about
There's crashes on, and service stations too

I've got a cock like the M1...like the M1...like the M1...

This is about a man called me and you
a night for us, just with you
Of all the things we need some now
Before the end comes to our home

This is the first time, this is the last time I saw you in front of my house
You had a shotgun, you had a knife
You shot(?) at me and killed my wife

How did you get your name in front of me? Cuz I found you like I knew I should
I won't get laid with them...cuz belsen was a gas...

Artificiality, artificiality, artificiality, Artificiality, artificiality, artificiality

I looked to the right I saw my ride
You saw me with her long legs
You said 'I am at last on my own'

its not your own fault....
its not your own fault....
its not your own fault....
its not your own fault....
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: PaulTMA on June 03, 2021, 02:36:40 PM
I remember watching the Electronic 'For You' video with some folk and someone said "he can't play the guitar!", as in Bernard.  As if he'd just strapped on a guitar for the video.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Dr Rock on June 03, 2021, 02:39:30 PM
Perhaps if Bernard couldn't sing, couldn't write lyrics and hated being the frontman so much, they really should have got someone in who was good at those things. Yes I read why they didn't, but if they had done maybe they would have been better.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Waking Life on June 03, 2021, 02:48:51 PM
James Murphy? It works for his music but he is mainly speaking in different notes. Seems to be a reluctant singer though.

Daft Punk fairly hammered the auto-tune too...
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Waking Life on June 03, 2021, 02:56:22 PM
Also, as much as I like them, Stephen Pastel also came to mind when reading this. There are quite a few examples given in this thread where the 'flat' singing is at least in step with the music, but this one certainly ain't.

https://youtu.be/8XcDgt9o3NY
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Ballad of Ballard Berkley on June 03, 2021, 05:11:52 PM
Speaking of New Order, I've always been on the fence about Ian Curtis' voice. It's certainly distinctive and occasionally quite powerful, but you could always tell that he wasn't a natural baritone. He forced himself to sing in that register, hence why his pitch often wavered.

He was obviously trying to emulate Jim Morrison, a singer who crooned with sonorous ease. Curtis sounds quite mannered and gauche by comparison.

Buzby, am I right in saying that Hannett encouraged Curtis to sing outside of his natural range? Possibly because it added an extra layer of vulnerability to his performance? I'm no Joy Division expert, but I have a vague memory of reading that once.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: The Culture Bunker on June 03, 2021, 05:19:56 PM
It was a surprise to me when I first heard Curtis' natural speaking voice from some radio interview, as it didn't seem to match what I heard on the Joy Division albums at all.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: pigamus on June 03, 2021, 05:21:27 PM
I really like Bernard Sumner's voice. His lyrics, however, are laughable.

Matthew Rudd played Thieves Like Us on Forgotten 80s recently. I think if it was anybody else I might have found it laughable, but he just has this sincerity about him.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Ballad of Ballard Berkley on June 03, 2021, 05:47:21 PM
It was a surprise to me when I first heard Curtis' natural speaking voice from some radio interview, as it didn't seem to match what I heard on the Joy Division albums at all.

Similarly, I remember being quite surprised when I first heard Michael Stipe's natural speaking voice. It's quite deep, nothing at all like that sort of yodelling coyote whine (which I like) you hear on REM records.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: PaulTMA on June 03, 2021, 06:36:43 PM
Also, as much as I like them, Stephen Pastel also came to mind when reading this. There are quite a few examples given in this thread where the 'flat' singing is at least in step with the music, but this one certainly ain't.

https://youtu.be/8XcDgt9o3NY

I always thought he was interesting as his vocal style is reminiscent of early Edwyn Collins, whose signing matured considerably over the years, whereas Pastel sounds exactly the same nearly 40 years on.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: DJ Bob Hoskins on June 03, 2021, 07:58:08 PM
James Murphy? It works for his music but he is mainly speaking in different notes. Seems to be a reluctant singer though.

Can't really argue withe the 'speaking' thing and he does seem an unlikely lead vocalist, but he can sing.  A decent example is I Can Change. He may not have the prettiest voice but he can hit the high notes of the "love is a murderer" part.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW8FKkVnqng

I reckon he does a great job on "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down" too.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: DJ Bob Hoskins on June 03, 2021, 08:04:15 PM
It's not just the lack of presence in Brown's case, is it?

Live, he takes tunelessness to new depths. The fact that he does this with such a thin, weedy voice is merely the icing on the cake.

He's a strange one, in that I reckon he can sing in tune, but he just seems to be totally inconsistent from gig to gig. I've seen him 3 times solo and once with the Stone Roses when they reformed. First time, he sang OK. Not bad, not great. The 2nd time I saw him was the worst gig I've ever been to. The 3rd one, he was terrific, and his Stone Roses covers in particular were better performed by him and his band than the versions I subsequently saw him perform with the actual Stone Roses.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Video Game Fan 2000 on June 03, 2021, 08:43:57 PM
The Roses Live In Blackpool thing that everyone used to love so much is dogshit, the band are boiling but he destroys it. He doesn't even do the swooning ooo ooo ooos he did on the record he goes erru erru and urra urra in his speaking voice.

But shots of him shaking his head to music under lights are iconic as the kids say and he sounds incredible when reverbed to oblivion on the LP. The only criteria to fronting the Roses was 1) you're in the best band since Joy Divison, act like it and 2) sound as loved up as possible even when the songs are about car crashes and riots. He brings those in spades, be able to perform live was wouldn't crack the top 20 on the list. I haven't seen him perform live but I know people who have and who don't share my idolisation of the Stone Roses record and said he was great, so I dunno.

edit: the unreleased stuff mostly pitiful but I will say he sounds incredible on the Sex Pistolsy "Heart On The Staves", he could've easily fronted a first wave punk band with performances like that. He even does Joey Ramone style "ooh woahs" in the chorus, wouldn't be out of place on a Husker Du record. Great stuff.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Elderly Sumo Prophecy on June 03, 2021, 09:07:55 PM
She bangs the erru erru
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: buzby on June 03, 2021, 11:00:32 PM
Buzby, am I right in saying that Hannett encouraged Curtis to sing outside of his natural range? Possibly because it added an extra layer of vulnerability to his performance? I'm no Joy Division expert, but I have a vague memory of reading that once.

It was Frank Sinatra's crooning Ian was trying to emulate during the Closer era - Wilson had given him a Sinatra album with the suggestion that he try to develop a more crooning style (Morrison was also a major influence on Curtis' vocal style too). He wasn't a natural baritone though and there is still debate as to how this was achieved - the most likely explanation was that Hannett recorded his vocals with tape pitched up slightly using varispeed (the fact that most of their songs are not perfectly pitched is evidence for this). When performing live during that later era they sometimes used a harmonizer to add a lower pitch harmony that was mixed into Ian's vocals to add a baritone effect (this can be heard during the sound check footage at the start of the Here Are The Young Men video from their 1979 tour supporting The Buzzcocks).
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: popcorn on June 03, 2021, 11:15:32 PM
I am a huge Talking Heads fan. Whatever you think about David Byrne (and I think he’s brilliant, and one of the all time greats), you cannot deny his magnetism, his showmanship, and his vision (and execution) as an artist. He is ever-watchable, and one of a kind. An incredible performer.

...not a great voice though. I mean... it’ll do, most of the time, but like... hmmm. I suppose he gets by on the fact that he’s a “frontman” in the purest form of the word, directing the band and offering genre-defying visuals (both for himself and for the band’s aesthetic) but as a singer? He doesn’t really bring much to the table at best.

Right that's it Ferris, you really are going to prison this time.

When Byrne belts, his voice is strong, clear and true. Example (https://youtu.be/Mf6qTZ53Fqw?t=64)
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: purlieu on June 03, 2021, 11:52:58 PM
During a recent bout of insomnia I was tortured by the looped remembrance of whatever Blur song it is where he screeches "And grandma loses her knickerrrrrrs!", an especially irksome noise dredged up from memory's fetid canal.
'Bank Holiday', although it's "mother" who loses her knickers, rather than "grandma" ("grandma", apparently, needs new dentures to eat the crust on pizza).
Damon's a limited vocalist and tends to do well on more subtle performances - the line of slightly atmospheric arty pop that runs from 'Sing' through to 'Battery in Your Leg' - but I quite like his voice because, when he's not overdoing the mockney thing, it has some character. And he can hold a note.

Obviously the Mark Hollis post on the first page was the absolute nadir of CaB. He's one of the finest singers in the history of popular music.

I'll second whoever said Isobel Campbell, though. I can deal with Stuart Murdoch's fey Lawrence-aping, especially as his songs were once utterly magnificent, but Campbell's asthmatic wispiness backed with almost hilariously bad 'my first pop song' compositions, no thanks.

There's a whole discussion to be had about Nicky Wire, but I'm not sure I can be arsed. I think having a singer like James Dean Bradfield in the band and letting someone with the voice of a tone-deaf 60 year old with a 40 year 50-a-day smoking habit sing at least one song an album for the past 17 years is a genuinely brave move.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Video Game Fan 2000 on June 04, 2021, 12:05:11 AM
Damon's fine. He's irritating as shit on most of The Great Escape but its not because of his singing voice.

When Byrne belts, his voice is strong, clear and true. Example (https://youtu.be/Mf6qTZ53Fqw?t=64)

Or the performance of What A Day That Was on SMS. Can't say anyone who could belt out that tune with the brides of funkenstein didn't have vocal chops. If he was a poor singer that would be embarrassing.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: non capisco on June 04, 2021, 12:22:13 AM
Yeah, that "Oh-oh-oh-OHHHHHHHHHHHHH-AYE-AYE-AYE-AYE-AYE-AYEooooooo" bit on Psycho Killer takes some pipes to hit on key whilst giving it the requisite oomph.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: jobotic on June 04, 2021, 12:27:24 AM
Yeah Byrne can sing.

I get what's being said about Isobel Campbell but I love this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMCwaaT0D1g

Never got through the whole of that album though and never bought anything else.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Ballad of Ballard Berkley on June 04, 2021, 01:09:23 AM
I'll second whoever said Isobel Campbell, though. I can deal with Stuart Murdoch's fey Lawrence-aping, especially as his songs were once utterly magnificent, but Campbell's asthmatic wispiness backed with almost hilariously bad 'my first pop song' compositions, no thanks.

Murdoch is a far better singer than Lawrence - and I really like Lawrence's Lou Reed-style drawl. Early B&S were certainly influenced by Felt, but Murdoch always pitched his voice somewhere between Donovan and Nick Drake. He never tried to emulate Lawrence.

As for Campbell, she can't really 'properly' sing at all, I agree, but Is It Wicked Not to Care? is a lovely song. And I think her voice suits the stuff she writes. Tastes may vary.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Kankurette on June 04, 2021, 08:23:49 AM
Speaking of New Order, I've always been on the fence about Ian Curtis' voice. It's certainly distinctive and occasionally quite powerful, but you could always tell that he wasn't a natural baritone. He forced himself to sing in that register, hence why his pitch often wavered.

He was obviously trying to emulate Jim Morrison, a singer who crooned with sonorous ease. Curtis sounds quite mannered and gauche by comparison.

Buzby, am I right in saying that Hannett encouraged Curtis to sing outside of his natural range? Possibly because it added an extra layer of vulnerability to his performance? I'm no Joy Division expert, but I have a vague memory of reading that once.
I did wonder why he sounded so different on Warsaw.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Kankurette on June 04, 2021, 08:32:17 AM
The OG of this of course being Posh Spice. Remember the demos of that song she did with Dane Bowers and her aborted album produced by Damon Dash leaking? They turned her mic off for Spice Girls live performances.
I always thought it was Geri who couldn’t sing. According to Bob Herbert, one of their original managers, one of the girls was going to be kicked out because she couldn’t sing and that was why they did a runner. I can’t remember his exact words but it was pretty obvious he meant Geri. Geri was the only one who didn’t have any dance and/or stage school training, so she really struggled when they started doing proper gigs.

I’ve heard mixes of Spice Up Your Life where all but one of the Spice Girls had their vocals removed and Victoria wasn’t that bad, but she may well have had a lot of work done on her vocals. She’s also the least arsed about music these days, she’s concentrating on her failing fashion label instead.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: The Culture Bunker on June 04, 2021, 08:35:27 AM
I did wonder why he sounded so different on Warsaw.
If you listen to him speaking (see link below), he sounds quite like Bernard Sumner and you realise that even on the 'spoken' part of 'No Love Lost', he was putting on a voice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag5h5O3-MKY
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Kankurette on June 04, 2021, 08:46:57 AM
If you listen to him speaking (see link below), he sounds quite like Bernard Sumner and you realise that even on the 'spoken' part of 'No Love Lost', he was putting on a voice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag5h5O3-MKY

Fucking hell, that is bizarre. He’s so quiet!
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: buzby on June 04, 2021, 09:29:01 AM
I did wonder why he sounded so different on Warsaw.
Here's the soundcheck bit from the start of  Here Are The Young Men I was referring to - you can hear the Harmonizer trying to track his voice (and producing that autotune 'robot' effect in the process).
https://youtu.be/eCEPorxFmjg?t=54 (https://youtu.be/eCEPorxFmjg?t=54)
On the Something Else perfornance of She's Lost Control you can also hear a ADT/pitched down copy of his vocal being mixed in if you listen carefully.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: popcorn on June 04, 2021, 10:00:36 AM
Speaking of New Order, I've always been on the fence about Ian Curtis' voice. It's certainly distinctive and occasionally quite powerful, but you could always tell that he wasn't a natural baritone. He forced himself to sing in that register, hence why his pitch often wavered.

He was obviously trying to emulate Jim Morrison, a singer who crooned with sonorous ease. Curtis sounds quite mannered and gauche by comparison.

I've posted about this on CaB before, but Curtis was definitely "doing a voice". On Love Will Tear Us Apart he pronounces "flawed" as the American pronunciation of "floored", with an audible R. In British English "flawed" and "floored" would be pronounced the same, without an R sound, but in American English they'd be different. He was trying to do an American accent, overcompensating and getting it wrong.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: phantom_power on June 04, 2021, 10:03:32 AM
Damon's fine. He's irritating as shit on most of The Great Escape but its not because of his singing voice.

He is great in the songs that need a bit of world-weariness. Out of Time, Blue Jeans, Miss America, To The End, all great vocal performances
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Dr Rock on June 04, 2021, 10:54:24 AM
I've posted about this on CaB before, but Curtis was definitely "doing a voice". On Love Will Tear Us Apart he pronounces "flawed" as the American pronunciation of "floored", with an audible R. In British English "flawed" and "floored" would be pronounced the same, without an R sound, but in American English they'd be different. He was trying to do an American accent, overcompensating and getting it wrong.

I can hear him doing it, maybe he thought 'flawed' was spelt 'floored' or its how you say it in that Manchester
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Butchers Blind on June 04, 2021, 11:36:22 AM
Chris Martin from CaB favorites, Coldplay.  Whenever I hear their records on the radio I always think his voice sounds a bit on the flat side.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: kalowski on June 04, 2021, 11:40:05 AM
Chris Martin from CaB favorites, Coldplay.  Whenever I hear their records on the radio I always think his voice sounds a bit on the utterly fucking terrible side.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Video Game Fan 2000 on June 04, 2021, 12:01:15 PM
He is great in the songs that need a bit of world-weariness. Out of Time, Blue Jeans, Miss America, To The End, all great vocal performances

Blue Jeans is one of my favourite britpop related songs. He is good on that one. I don't think he sounded like that much again until they were Geezer Pavement.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: dissolute ocelot on June 04, 2021, 01:08:39 PM
Apparently Cheryl wasn't a very strong singer in Girls Aloud, so despite being the biggest celeb she couldn't vocally front the group. Nadine was the singer and Cheryl reportedly still hates her for this.
I love Nicola Roberts for many reasons, but not her singing voice. Girls Aloud as a band had maybe one and a half good singers (Kimberley was ok), but it didn't matter with most of their material - obviously Sound of the Underground or Biology, but even with the slower songs - I've a mate who was a singing teacher and insists See The Day is literally the easiest song in the world to sing. But most of the Sugababes' solo efforts also betrayed limited vocal skills; Siobhan kind of screeched and Mutya barely tried.

It does seem upon reflection that from the Proclaimers to Gerry Cinnamon to him out of Travis, no Scottish person can sing.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: lankyguy95 on June 04, 2021, 02:07:38 PM
It does seem upon reflection that from the Proclaimers to Gerry Cinnamon to him out of Travis, no Scottish person can sing.
(https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/97fabee82c069ea05788cd4b45296dc67cedd80f/500_0_2039_2549/master/2039.jpg?width=700&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=9afebb095fea940745ebaf7c65f4bd91)
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Clatty McCutcheon on June 04, 2021, 02:29:08 PM
Damon Albarn needs to be mentioned in this thread. He's got by on very little in the vocal department.

Having Graham Coxon around makes him sound good in comparison, although Coxon on backing vocals works OK, actually. Coxon lead vocals though - not good. When they did ‘Coffee and TV’ on the TFI Friday revival a few years ago it was painful.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Clatty McCutcheon on June 04, 2021, 02:37:07 PM
I've posted about this on CaB before, but Curtis was definitely "doing a voice". On Love Will Tear Us Apart he pronounces "flawed" as the American pronunciation of "floored", with an audible R. In British English "flawed" and "floored" would be pronounced the same, without an R sound, but in American English they'd be different. He was trying to do an American accent, overcompensating and getting it wrong.

I wouldn’t dispute that Curtis is ‘doing a voice’, but don’t a lot of English accents, despite missing out a lot of r sounds, actually add r sounds in mid-word or phrase. To my Caledonian lugs, a lot of English people say ‘drawring’ rather than ‘drawing’, for instance.

You definitely can‘t say that in ‘British English’, "flawed" and "floored" are pronounced the same, as a lot of us (Scotland, N. Ireland, parts of N. England) pronounce all r sounds, so ‘flawed’ and ‘floored’ sound very different to one another.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: popcorn on June 04, 2021, 02:39:44 PM
You definitely can‘t say that in ‘British English’, "flawed" and "floored" are pronounced the same, as a lot of us (Scotland, N. Ireland, parts of N. England) and pronounce all r sounds, so ‘flawed’ and ‘floored’ sound very different to one another.

Yes, that was a simplistic and silly statement from me! I'm a great southern pansy as you could probably have guessed from my post, but I'm thinking of my dad, who is from Up North (but not Manc) and wouldn't pronounce the "R" like Curtis did.

Quote
I wouldn’t dispute that Curtis is ‘doing a voice’, but don’t a lot of English accents, despite missing out a lot of r sounds, actually add r sounds in mid-word or phrase. To my Caledonian lugs, a lot of English people say ‘drawring’ rather than ‘drawing’, for instance.

I'm a bit out of my depth here so what I posted might have been complete bollocks. I wonder if Curtis would naturally have pronounced "flawed" as "floored" (with an audible R) in speech after all, I don't know anything about them Manchester types.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Astronaut Omens on June 04, 2021, 02:39:57 PM
I heard "Love Will Tear Us Apart" when I was a child, and I thought he was doing a cowboy voice.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Video Game Fan 2000 on June 04, 2021, 02:48:35 PM
You cry out in your sleep....yeehaw!
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Astronaut Omens on June 04, 2021, 02:52:42 PM
Love will tear us a-(howdy) pardner

Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Video Game Fan 2000 on June 04, 2021, 02:54:29 PM
don't want be farmer
a teacher or a tax collector
you'll find me in the joy division
i'm the, uh, death camp inspector
-Tex Hooper
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: purlieu on June 04, 2021, 05:23:03 PM
I love Nicola Roberts for many reasons, but not her singing voice.
I like her voice, but it's definitely unconventional.
Quote
It does seem upon reflection that from the Proclaimers to Gerry Cinnamon to him out of Travis, no Scottish person can sing.
Liz Fraser, Roddy Woomble, Jim Kerr, Lauren Mayberry, Annie Lennox and undoubtedly many others would like to suggest otherwise.


Big Guided by Voices fan, but Bob Pollard often falls flat. Suits the scrappy sound of the band, though.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Video Game Fan 2000 on June 04, 2021, 05:36:35 PM
Love GBV but Pollard is so bad whenever he tries to do a 70s classic rock thing. Glad Girls, Bulldog Skin, a decent chunk of Isolation Drills fucking hell.

Huge gap between that how well he does what they'd call "British Invasion"
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: purlieu on June 04, 2021, 06:35:56 PM
Bob's voice on Bulldog Skin is absolutely horrible. I don't think GbV do 'rock' very well in general, they're always better on the poppier end of things. Or the mucking about making weird noises in someone's basement end.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Video Game Fan 2000 on June 04, 2021, 06:50:17 PM
His best rock voice is on stuff like "Weed King" where he's clearly imagining its 1969 and he's fronting some unknown prog band and cutting the bside of a single that went nowhere but Thurston moore mentioned in an interview one time. There's some exceptions but when he's just doing a normal "rocking out" voice its horrible.

Mentioning GBV being inconsistent is as redundant comment as you could make about anything, but its pretty amazing to think that "Sad If I Lost It" and "Bulldog Skin" are same singer, same year, same album.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: sutin on June 04, 2021, 09:14:28 PM
Top Kenneth Williams lookalike Fred Schneider from the B- 52s. It's a good job the two lasses in that band are quite handy at the ol' singin'.

Nah, Fred has an awesome voice for what he does (speak-sing). Instantly recognisable and charming as hell.
Title: Re: Singers who (upon reflection) can’t sing
Post by: Video Game Fan 2000 on June 04, 2021, 09:18:26 PM
I missed someone said Fred Schneider! That's a worse suggestion than Mark Hollis.