Is it actually cooler to be a bad singer???

Powdog

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Singers and actors have the same job. Trying to tell you a story and make you believe it. If you believe it and are moved by it, that’s great art. But there is always the sentimental trap. I love old John Wayne movies, but he really was a terrible actor. My favorite punk band is X. Exene Cervenka sings a solid half note off key, but when she harmonizes with John Doe, wow.
 

buster poser

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There's this other little thing about music apart from the notes called rhythm. For singers and other soloists, there's another called phrasing. Billie Holiday's range was reportedly just over an octave. I think Billie was an incredible singer.

Unassailable:




On the other hand, truly great singers are something special too. I just find the ones that people most often cite as "amazing" do nothing for me.



(Roger too!)

 

39martind18

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My one observation is that different voices are more effective for certain styles of music. A case in point is my brother-in-law. His voice is ok, with a fair range and decent power. His sense of tuning is a bit approximate, but for rock, blues and some country, it's just RIGHT for those styles with a bit of grit and near pitch. In those styles, his voice is much more effective, My voice has had training, and my ear is more refined for tuning. In a lot of styles, my style of voice works better, but for those aforementioned styles, his just works better. My conclusion: We all have voices, and there is something of value in each. Rather than say this singer has no soul, or this singer sings off key, or whatever negative you can enumerate, look for something positive in the voice and revel in it!
 

FuzzWatt

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I'm gonna be honest with you; as a pretty well regarded singer myself Celine Dion and Michael Bolton are two of the best singers I've ever heard in terms of raw talent yet they're the most made fun of? I feel the same way about Barry Manilow. Bolton used to be in the hard rock band Blackjack with Bruce Kulick and Satriania actualy auditioned for Metallica and got rejected for being "too good". Problem with Bolton is his voice was too clean for hard rock but I still think this rocks like a mofo; check it out!



Sounds similar to Sammy Hagar.

As for "uncool" singers, I tend to like them. Most of my favourite artists aren't great singers. But, I prefer personality and style over sheer talent in almost all things.
 

oldunc

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Rock music has never given a lot of respect to singers- most of the music has little for the singer to work with and good singers don't seem to gravitate there. More like dance bands of the 40's, where a saxophone player or something would take the vocals, which were pretty much placeholders between instrumental solos.
 

Jakeboy

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Singing is hard…I wish I had a pure beautiful singing voice. I work hard at it and am more a character vocalist. Agree with the others who say it’s more about the music they make instead of their actual singing talent. I love rock and blues.I remember Michael Bo,ton back in the 80s? Singing an Otis Redding song with Neal Schon on guitar. It absolutely rocked and I loved it. Pat Benatar, Ann Wilson, and Grace Slick had chops and were well regarded. Adele too and the chick with the 4 octave voice that did the famous Christmas song.

Sammy Hagar proved his mettle with Montrose.
 

421JAM

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Flaws and a distinctive sonic character are what people connect with, and what makes people feel things.

When I hear someone like Michael Bolton, I hear skill and maybe talent, but I’m not moved in the slightest.

I don’t know that it’s matter of cool, at least for me. I happen to think Dylan is kind of a scumbag (certainly has been at times). Neil Young is well known to be an aggressively difficult person to deal with. I don’t think they’re cool at all, based on real evidence, but I’d much rather hear their music than Bolton’s or Dion’s. I’ll bet Bolton is more enjoyable to hang out with than either of them, which is what cool means to me.
 

drumtime

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We have a couple of singers locally who are really great - one is a trained opera singer and the other has vocal training from being in choirs and has won numerous competitions. When either of them shows up on Blues Night and tries to sing that music, it just sounds goofy. They both need to learn that style of singing to be even remotely good at it. Or at least what "stank" is and how to apply it.

Howlin Wolf would be a bad opera singer, and Pavarotti would be equally bad singing Wolf's tunes.

Maybe a "good" singer should be able to do either?
 

ClashCityTele

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One of the greatest vocal performances I've ever heard recorded was Sam Cooke "Live at the Harlem Square Club", the album was considered too loud and raucous when it was recorded in 1963. It wasn't released until 1985.
In terms of soul, charisma, yearning I've never heard a more stirring performance.
I have that album, & I'm not even a big Sam Cooke fan, but it's an incredible performance.
 

drewg

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Emmylou Harris is kind of an exception that proves your rule. She has a beautiful singing voice by any measure, but she uses it in interesting ways.


Amy Winehouse is another….
 

rand z

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I've posted this before...

There are singers with GREAT VOICES: Amazing Range; Diction, Articulation and Pleasantry.

The Michael Boltons and Celine Dions, types.

There are singers who don't have great voices, but have GREAT STYLE: Inflection; Phrasing, Nuance, even Strangeness.

Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, Lou Reed, Lucinda Williams and Muddy Waters.

There are fewer with that have BOTH: Daryl Hall; Lowell George; Bonnie Raitt; Sam Cooke and Barbara Streisand.

Is is cool to be a Bad Singer?

No.

imo.
 

Ed Driscoll

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I'm gonna be honest with you; as a pretty well regarded singer myself Celine Dion and Michael Bolton are two of the best singers I've ever heard in terms of raw talent yet they're the most made fun of? I feel the same way about Barry Manilow. Bolton used to be in the hard rock band Blackjack with Bruce Kulick and Satriania actualy auditioned for Metallica and got rejected for being "too good". Problem with Bolton is his voice was too clean for hard rock but I still think this rocks like a mofo; check it out!


As the New Yorker went out on a limb to note in 2014: "People Who Like Céline Dion Are People, Too."

Somebody should write a book about that topic! ;)
 

teletimetx

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I don’t see why the choice has to be either A or B. You could enjoy both.

Find it hard to think any one particular rationale is somehow more compelling.

The human monkey likes what it likes.

Coolness?

Please.
 

radiocaster

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Problem with Bolton is his voice was too clean for hard rock but I still think this rocks like a mofo; check it out!


Nor sure I agree with that. I don't think the voice sounds too clean, and I can't even hear his voice because of the effects on that overproduced track that sounds like it wanted to cross over to a disco audience real bad.

I think that is spot on. It’s the choice of material & style of arrangement that make Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Christina Aguillera etc etc uninteresting to me, even if I can appreciate the technical accomplishment.
For the rock music I do enjoy, I don’t want to hear an inaccurate “pitchy” singer, but given a choice between an interesting delivery and spot-on accuracy I will tend to favour interest.
Actually Celine Dion has some great tracks in French, some of them are rock too. The tracks in English are not what she feels, they are for commercial success.

My favorite punk band is X. Exene Cervenka sings a solid half note off key, but when she harmonizes with John Doe, wow.
If the off-key parts fit the song, it can be magical. In some folk traditions you are supposed to sing certain parts off key. However, there are a lot of well-known songs with off-key stuff which I can't stand and don't think it fits.
 




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