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

Blue Bill

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I wouldn't say it's cooler, but I do agree there's some "great" singers that bore me, and some "bad" singers that I like a lot. There's also some "great" singers I love, and quite a few "bad" singers I can't stand.

Another example: No one ever accused Jerry Garcia of being blessed with a naturally great voice, yet I, and several other people, love his "lousy" singing, and can listen to him for hours on end.
 

39martind18

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A vocalist need not be operatically trained, or classically trained to have a good or even a great voice. What makes a good voice? For me, there have to be several factors present; the voice cannot be exceedingly "pitchy." Off key vocals hurt my ears. While a good voice (and singer) doesn't have to be particularly smooth to be good to me but it helps. That said, I prefer Don Henley over Michael Buble. Buble has the "better/smoother" voice, but to me, Henley's voice is very effective for the material he does, in the styles he does (which I prefer), thus making it a great voice. Uniqueness is another factor. If a vocalist has an outstandingly unique sound, he/she may be great. Johnny Cash comes to mind. For a long time I had a bit of trouble listening to Cash because of his approximate sense of pitch. It offended my choir trained ears, but I got over it!

Going back to the original question, put another twist on it; is it cool to be a bad guitarist? IMHO, the answer is no. Most on this forum strive to become better on our instruments, with differing degrees of success. For my own outlook, I am, at best a rudimentary lead player, but a fairly accomplished rhythm guitarist, and a somewhat better than average vocalist, which makes me a fairly good musician and performer.
 

Recalcitrant

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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.

Indeed. Singing is role-playing. Two arts performed simultaneously. Defects illustrate the character. I think your John Wayne allusion is also apt, because many singers don't stray that far from their actual personna: Sinatra, Jagger, George Jones.
 

daddyplaysbass

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"So, IMO it may not be cooler to be a bad singer, but it's much cooler to be a singer that isn't a perfect singer but has a distinctive voice"

Sam the Sham proves that
 

memorex

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It's probably cooler to be a really great singer. But if you can't sing worth crap, then being a really cool, bad singer is the next best thing.
 

Cheap Trills

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I am not a fan of Celine Dion or Michael Bolton. The reason is, once you get past the technique of singing and no longer measure a singer by their range or pitch or breath, there's just the ability of a voice to speak to you, move you. Celine's singing is too unnatural at times, she does that thing where in order to hit a note she does that "aaaaaaa" type sound? I don't know the technical term. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'll try to clip a video tonight and link it... it distracts from what she's singing if you care about the words she's saying as much as the fact that she hits the right pitch. Bolton does the same thing sometimes, not as bad.. but his growl is misplaced at times. It's the difference between someone like Whitney. Whitney sang like she's telling you something, whispering in your ear or yelling at you. It all made sense how she did it. Then there are a lot of great singers with no range and limited technique that ust did this stuff great. Sinatra, for example. Harry Connick. John Mayer, even.
 

teletail

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We do love our either/or scenarios. There are plenty of great singers who sing with feeling and there are plenty of bad singers that have no soul at all. It's better to be Paul Rodgers, a man with an incredible voice and soul to spare.
 

Larry F

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Celine Dion and Michael Bolton move a lot more units than most "cool" singers. It's just that the self-appointed arbiters of cool are the ones that screech the loudest about how uncool they are.

And to be honest, it's 2022, who cares if they "rock" or not. If you like their music, knock yourself out.

Although I must say, my favorite version of "Titanic" has to be The Straitjackets. Too bad the boat sinks in the end...


Oh no! I used to do cardio to loops of songs that moved and stirred me. Then there were no songs that fit the bill, and I packed on a few pounds.

Well, heck, back to the steps and getting ripped.
 

micpoc

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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!


If there is an attitude or personal charisma/presence that makes up for the lack of vocal skills... possibly. But this is only applying it to the notion of being a "frontman/woman"—i.e., a performer—rather than simply being a singer.
 

Larry F

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When I was a teenager I became involved in singing with a barbershop quartet. That training and experience taught me how to sing: breathing properly, staying on pitch, blending with other voices, etc. As it turned out I also learned that my voice was pretty much perfect for that genre and I was good at singing. Although I enjoyed the challenges and performances associated with BSQ singing, I loved rock and blues, and wanted to perform in a "cool" band. It was extremely disappointing to realize that my pitch perfect voice and technique was also the blandest form of vanilla, and poorly suited for the type of singing that I really wanted to do. For the past fifty-plus years of my life I've been envious of those singers that had less than perfect voices with character, guys like John Hiatt, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Mick Jagger, Howlin' Wolf, Lowell George, Dr. John, Leon Russell etc. So, IMO it may not be cooler to be a bad singer, but it's much cooler to be a singer that isn't a perfect singer but has a distinctive voice.
Howlin' Wolf never sang off pitch in his life.
 




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