Scott Hardie | February 12, 2004
Maybe Denise should be the one to start this discussion; she can probably explain this better than I can. She emailed me recently when seeing a White Town album in my Favorite CDs, since she was a fan herself. Her favorite singers tend to be "wimpy" men (Stuart Murdoch, Bobby Wratten, Nick Drake, etc) and I admit to liking a few (Jyoti Mishra, Duncan Sheik, Liam Lynch) that belong in that category.

Myself, I'm drawn to masculine singers - James Hetfield's growls or Chris Cornell's wails more often reflect how I feel. Even with female singers, of whom I've been listening to a lot lately, I prefer tough chicks like Brody Dalle and Shirley Manson. There's just something about a male indie-pop singer with a high-pitched whine that makes me squeamish. I certainly credit Denise's favorite singers for being eloquent lyricists, much more so than the people I listed, but they have tiny voices and wear their squishy, sensitive hearts on the outside. I feel the same kinds of melancholy and loneliness that they feel, but I don't want to be reminded of it in song.

Comments? Your own preferences?

Denise Sawicki | February 12, 2004
Well I just usually prefer my male singers to have a pretty voice. This doesn't mean they have to have a tiny voice! Take Thom Yorke of Radiohead. I love how he sings on songs like Fake Plastic Trees and High and Dry. I know he sings pretty high but he has a beautiful, strong voice. An old friend of mine liked to tell me that my singers aren't really singing, they're just going "la la la" like a little kid. I just never understood why most people seem to feel that a performance has to be abrasive, growling, screaming, and shouting in order to be good.

For the female singers I tend to like them a little stronger and tougher, but I guess I still want them to be able to sing in key rather than scream their heads off. :)

There are exceptions to my rules as to which kinds of singers I prefer but I won't elaborate at the moment because I'm sure nobody really wants to see me ramble on endlessly about such things.

Jackie Mason | February 13, 2004
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Erik Bates | February 13, 2004
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Bryan Antonio Carroll | February 13, 2004
[But nobody beats Harry Connick, Jr. Nobody.--Erik Bates]

Damn straight

Lori Lancaster | February 13, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | February 13, 2004
I like Radiohead a lot, but I can't really say that the majority of male singers I like have girly voices - I love the late singer of Morphine's voice, for example. As far as girls go, I tend to like throaty sexy much better than anything else.

Denise Sawicki | February 14, 2004
Well, Jeff's little sister has hijacked my computer to play the Sims so instead of making mp3s on my computer I will use his to babble. You all should be afraid :P.

There are several kinds of wimpy singers, one is the kind with the high, clear voice like Thom Yorke or Stuart Murdoch or to a lesser extent Bobby Wratten (his voice is not so out of the ordinary but if you hear his topics you will know that it is wimpy music). Incidentally, the Radiohead songs I mentioned are the most fun things for me to sing along with because they are right in my vocal range. When I sing along with Belle and Sebastian I always find it going a little too low for me so I keep switching octaves, but singing along to High and Dry in the car I can feel like a virtuoso... :-P

Anyway the second category of wimpy singer is the kind with a lower voice, yet still smooth, melodic, and pleasing, like Morrissey or Stephin Merritt or any of those guys Stephin gets to sing for him on 69 Love Songs (they still all sound kind of similar to me).

The third category is the kind who does not have a particularly smooth and pleasing voice but can be categorized as "whiny" by the tone in which they sing, such as Conor Oberst or Robert Smith.

The general public may add even more singers into the wimpy category than I would, for instance they may add Art Alexakis because he sings about stuff like his father leaving him, or they may even add Kurt Cobain because his songs have melody - I don't know.... but I like all these singers.

Well, by now you probably see why I don't open my mouth more often - it's too embarrassing.

Anna Gregoline | February 15, 2004
I don't think that emotional singers should necessarily be called wimpy - I like Scott's characterization better of feminine and masculine singers.

Scott Hardie | February 15, 2004
Jackie, I share your dislike of whiny kid-punk bands! I love the music of punk rock, I love the politcal attitude of punk rock, I love the energy of punk rock... but I hate the fucking whiny faux-Brit voice most of the singers feel they must adopt, Green Day probably being the most famous present-day example. Johnny Rotten left us that annoying legacy.

Steve Dunn | February 16, 2004
I love Cake - I don't think that guy has a wimpy voice, though.

My favorite girlie-man singer is Rufus Wainwright.

Erik Bates | February 16, 2004
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Steve Dunn | February 16, 2004
Me too, man. I'm a hard core Cake lover. All their albums sound pretty much the same, but I don't mind because they're all great. I'm also a trumpet player, so any band that throws in a trumpet gets extra points from me.

Sometimes I'll listen to Mr. Mastadon Farm 10 times in a row.

Erik Bates | February 16, 2004
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Denise Sawicki | February 16, 2004
Oh, I like Rufus Wainwright. Even though I'm a hopeless non-believer, I think his version of Hallelujah is awesome. Er, that's kind of the only song of his I have at the moment though :)

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