A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'd like to teach the world to sing....

Okay, so I am horrendously busy and I am deeply sorry that I have been ignoring you all lately and I promise I will be much better in just a few days as soon as everybody in my family gets well and I write this damn paper I'm working on, but I must say this, and I'll just throw it out so you can bat it around amongst yourselves like a litter of kitties with a ball of yarn.

I was listening to my latest favorite band, The Weepies, and really enjoying their voices. Then I was messing around iTunes and listened to some Christmas music, and then-- bammo, there was Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins bleating his way through yet another piece of something and I just thought: DAMN! Who gave this guy a microphone to begin with and thought that this was a good idea?

You have heard me gripe before about people who have recording contracts who can't sing, talented songwriters I am sure, but jeez! I wish they would let someone else sing their songs. You know, people like Lucinda Williams, God bless her, but really, she sings like I speak French: it just doesn't translate into anything intelligible to the human ear. I thought Macy Gray was an elderly, Gitane-smoking, former opium addict when I first heard her. I'm still not too sure I was all that mistaken.

Back to Billy Corgan: I will NEVER forgive him for his cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide." Ever. The first time I heard it, I made the Sound of Ultimate Suffering for about thirty seconds.

So who do you think should never be allowed to sing again?

And let's make it easy: no one who has ever appeared on American Idol need apply, because I think that entire show is just wrong from the get-go.



At 12/12/07, 5:28 AM, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

I'm going to say Brad Roberts from the Crash Test Dummies. Seriously? I mean, he's certainly got an INTERESTING voice, but it's not one I could stand to listen to for very long...

At 12/12/07, 2:37 PM, Blogger matineeidol said...

Um, Elvis Costello.
Sad, but true.
Oh wait, no, it's just sad.

At 12/12/07, 4:56 PM, Blogger Rita said...

Tom Petty. Exceptional song writer; voice is like a sophomore being funny (and oh-so-original) with the chalk while up at the board.

At 12/12/07, 6:10 PM, Blogger 100 Farmers said...

I honestly can't stand the sound of Rod Stewart's voice. Whatever standards he's singing are certainly irregular in my book.

At 12/13/07, 12:42 PM, Blogger bk2nocal said...

First off, I can't believe that Rita said Tom Petty...sigh...but, I like almost everyone who has been named. Even Billy Corragan. So, I may be tone deaf. I personally think that Rob Zombie should never be given a mic or a film contract ever again. EVER again...

At 12/13/07, 7:58 PM, Blogger Mrs. T said...

I LOVE Elvis Costello!
But, I have to go with 100 farmers on the Rod Stewart- he may have been sexy, but he really shouldn't sing- especially Christmas songs. My husband will consider this blashpemy, but Bob Dylan really can't sing so well.
I know she CAN sing, but I can't stand to listen to Celine Dion.

At 12/14/07, 3:46 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

And Eddie Vedder, although an incredibly insightful songwriter, spends most of his time being off-key.

Rod Stewart was NEVER sexy. And I never liked his body, either.

And then there's Kid Rock, now that he's actually singing, I find myself longing for the rap days. And that mug of his, all framed in greasy hair....

And speaking of greasy hair, my favorite Professor Snape lookalike: Jack White. Meg White, for that matter. You know if you're going to try to mimic Yoko Ono's stylistic wonders, you should understand no one would have given HER a microphone if she hadn't been Mrs. Lennon.

At 12/14/07, 8:13 PM, Blogger Mrs. Bluebird said...

I'll have to vote for Bob Dylan. His voice has the same affect on me that the proverbial fingernails on the chalkboard do. I'm getting hives just thinking about it.

Oh yes, and Yoko Ono. Egads. That's scary.

At 12/16/07, 2:04 PM, Blogger Nancy Flanagan said...

So, I'm a music teacher. I actually would like to teach the world to sing, kind of. And I get queasy when folks start talking about which singers should have their microphones taken away.

The thing about your voice is that it's your voice; everyone's voice is personal and unique, and to critique someone's voice is like criticizing someone's face (which, I suppose, is why we have plastic surgery). I also know that recording and selling one's voice leaves that person wide open for cheerful rotten tomato-flinging. Believe me, I'm not feeling sorry for Tom Petty or Celine Dion here.

Only that I really hate it when an adult tells me that they can't sing, never could sing, don't like to sing. Push on that hard enough and there's usually a mean music teacher or nun somewhere in their distant past.

At 12/17/07, 8:44 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

You know, I'm with you. I would never critique a "civilian's" singing. I hate American Idol mostly for that reason, although, frankly, those people are putting themselves up for it.


Say someone tries to get paid for singing, and he can't sing? He's asking for my protests, vociferously, until the record companies knock this crap off.

In short, these crows are asking me to pay for it.

They're asking me to tolerate bleeding eardrums and I, unfortunately, have perfect pitch, which is actually a curse and the reason why I am not a music teacher. God bless those kids-- but NO.

But back on topic: if you can't stay on pitch, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD don't be a professional singer. I don't care how many computer programs there are out there to strengthen rotten vocal quality. Spare us.

At 12/18/07, 11:56 AM, Blogger Nancy Flanagan said...

Agreed--when you're positioning yourself as a professional singer, ya gotta have some talent, or style.

I actually wrote a blog called "I hate American Idol" on this very topic. My point was that we've lost something important in the transition from sitting around the campfire, singing for community and entertainment, to sitting around the TV, making fun of people. As a school music teacher, it was distressing to have 6-year olds deciding that they "couldn't" sing.

What was interesting is that the blog attracted the snarling wolves trying to track down anything "noncompetitive" in the blogosphere and stomp it to death--and comment thread turned into a rant against overly permissive parents who tell their children they are able to sing, instead of giving them the bad news that they have no talent early and often.

Great thread, Ms. C.


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