Friday, September 7, 2012

Can't Sing But They Still Gets The Money

I've listened to all kinds of music over the course of my lifetime and about the only real skill that I'd managed to develop is the ability to differentiate between good vocalizing and bad vocalizing. While the background of being a not-so-serious musician (played clarinet in grades 5-11) help me develop the knowledge of keeping the beat, it did not prepare me for being able to appreciate the good, the bad and the ugly of singing.

While certain genres lend themselves to good singing (country pop, pop & rock), other genres just about demand that you go above and beyond (soul, americana, singer/songwriter and true R&B). And there are those others that don't really require you to carry a tune, but simply have the ability not to make yourself look like a complete idiot (rap and certain kinds of metal).

Today's post will focus on a few "musicians" and styles that in my opinion have irritated me so bad that the second they come on the radio, I will listen to a foreign language station until they go away.

True statement: my wife has personally witnessed me yelling NO! at the radio and switching it to salsa/meringue music.

1} Fred Durst. Fred Durst was the lead vocalist in Limp Bizkit, a pseudo rap/rock band that flourished in the mid 90's. His vocals remind of a cross between a cat and a actress from a slasher flick. No matter what kind of tough guy persona he took on or how pseudo muscular his music was, the second he opened his mouth, I would just want to reach through the radio and slap some smartness into him.

2} Dave Mustaine. I cannot give an honest opinion of what he sounds like without offending my blog reader's sense of propriety, but suffice to say that whatever revolting combination of human noise you can put together, would pretty much describe his singing. Of his guitar playing I have no opinion, simply because I haven't been able to listen to any Megadeth song for longer than five seconds without changing the channel. All I can say is that this "musician" should never be allowed in the vicinity of a microphone ever again.

3} Marilyn Manson. Another singer whose voice leaves me at a loss for inoffensive words to describe, as he sings in the same moronic style as Dave Mustaine. He probably was decent at one point but unlike Alice Cooper, when he morphed into a caricature, his singing only gets worse.

One of the worst singing styles that bugs the crap out of me is talk-sing. Talk-sing is when the singer in question is more known for performing/composing than for singing, so they talk their way through the song. Examples of this type of singing would be Tom Waits and Lou Reed.

Another one that drives me nuts is monotone singing. Monotone is when the singer has almost no vocal range, so they choose to sing everything in one or two notes. The problem with this is that it instantly detracts from appreciating the music, as the listener focuses exclusively on the irritating vocals.

Some examples of this would be a small percentage of mid-90's small indie bands like Modest Mouse (I have the album that is featured on this website, and in my opinion, it sucks) and The Halo Benders, who felt that their appeal was geared more towards the lyric/music than actually being able to properly sing the lyrics.

One last example of vocal stylings I detest, is scat. While I like jazz and jazz vocalists, I cannot stand or tolerate scat. To me, stringing a bunch of nonsensical syllables together and putting it to a beat tells me that you're too lazy to either sit down and let the band play for another few minutes or you're too lazy to end a song at a logical point.

These are just a few examples of musicians/singing styles that simply irritate the crap out of me.

Do you have any that bug you? Do you have an opinion of what I wrote here? Fess up, I can take it.


  1. Haha. I have a problem with many many artists that I really don't think can sing. Dare I say it .... Bob Dylan springs to mind.

    Also I'm not that keen on Rappers who try to sing. As much as I love a great deal of Eminem's music, I often think his singing spoils a great record.

  2. Love Scat...and Ska. I into all the weird s words

  3. I hate modern R&B, where every singer seems to feel obligated to overdo it on every phrase, every held note. A perfect example of what I mean is every time you hear one of these people sing the national anthem before some event. Awful. Unlistenable.

  4. Hey, how come you didn't say anything about opera?

  5. Joe: Excellent point. Haven't thought about rappers who try to sing. I think it works better the other way around, singers who can rap (Linkin Park and 311 come to mind).

    And yes, Bob Dylan needs to give up the ghost. After 5 decades, he needs to stop.

    Bearman: Haven't been exposed to much ska in my lifetime, as that music kind of passed me by while growing up. But I would probably appreciate it since I would lump it it with reggae and I love reggae.

    Chris: Modern R&B sucks major moose testicles. I agree about what you say about holding a note or phrase above and beyond what the lyricist intended. Definitely detracts from the song. And don't get me started about those major artists who attempt to sing the National Anthem. Feh and ugh.

    Debra: Unfortunately, I did not say anything about opera because my opera listening has been permanently brutalized by watching/listening to Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd and every other WB cartoon character sing opera.

    I can't truly comment on what I haven't properly listened to. But feel free to add your two cents in. I'm alway willing to listen to an opposing viewpoint.

  6. I am in full agreement with regards to talking one's way through a song, and monotone singing. If you can't sing, let someone else take the mic, please.

    My least favourite vocal styling is the one I refer to as "Cookie Monster Death Metal". You know, the kind where the "singer" sounds like he's trying to hork up the mother of all hairballs to a background of thrashing drums and electric guitar. I really don't hear the appeal.

  7. Agree here. I do like Alice Cooper, though. I also like Bob Dylan, but I don't know why, because he has never been able to sing. Just like the lyrics and the music.

  8. S.R.: Ah yes, you're talking about speed metal. Guttural growling/singing is just about required when performing that kind of music. To me, no appeal to the singing, only with the playing, as you need to be in phenomonal shape to play that fast.

    M: I actually like Alice Cooper. I was saying that whereas Alice Cooper knew what he was doing and got somewhat better with his singing, Marilyn Manson does not.

    Bob Dylan should've stopped singing sometime after "The Joker" album.

    You want painful singing from Bob? Trying listening to his Christmas album that came out a few years ago.

  9. I actually like Marilyn Manson's voice. agree with you on Durst, and although I listen to megadeth all the time and love their music, Mustaine definitely isn't a good singer.

  10. Charles: When I'd first heard Marilyn Manson's cover of "Sweet Dreams" I thought the vocals were kind of cute. But multiple c.d.'s with the same kind of dopey vocals to me is a definite turnoff.

    As for Megadeth, I haven't been able to form a yay or nay on the music simply because Dave Mustaine's vocals kills whatever chance I have to listen to his music.

  11. Just give me Waylon, Willie and the boys! I'm probably too high brow for you guys.

  12. G.A.: I like classic country music. I have a Waylon Jennings album floating around my basement somewhere from the late 60's when he was clean cut.


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G. B. Miller

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