Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental flunky Hop-Sing and I are off to a screening of the Michelle Obama "Kill Whitey" video sponsored by the Republican National Committee and some guy named Larry Johnson. As said screening will necessarily have to take place in a mystical clime like the Bermuda Triangle (apparently Narnia is all booked up) my return date is uncertain. And as a result, posting by moi will necessarily be somewhat fitful for a few days.
But until then, as always, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:
MOST PAINFULLY ANNOYING POST-BEATLES POP/ROCK SINGER!!!!
No arbitrary rules here, and obviously this is way subjective so there's going to be a few disagreements about the following. But I want to emphasize that we're talking vocal quality here, NOT stage demeanor or general personna. For example it doesn't matter how affectedly Patti LaBelle flutters her hands, annoying an affectation as that may be. Rather, it's her relentless oversinging of even the simplest song that makes me want to take a hostage every time I hear her.
Okay, here's my totally top of my head Top Eleven:
11. Russell Mael
I know Sparks are innovative and brilliant blah blah blah, and I've always loved the concept of a pretty-boy frontman with Hitler on keys. The voice, on the other hand, is...well, annoying is an inadequate word some times.
10. James Blunt
I'm sorry, whenever I hear that smug falsetto I think "somewhere an electric chair is waiting." Really -- this kid makes John Mayer sound like Howlin' Wolf.
As my dear friend Laura put it the other night, "she sounds like two cats copulating."
8. Paul Williams
Williams is one of those guys, like Michael McDonald, who seems to sing from his jaw, rather than his throat, and he was one of the leading vocal annoyances of the early 70s. Fortunately for all of us, word has reached me that the man himself was in the wings at a some sort of industry function yesterday and was eaten by the backstage cat before anyone could intervene.
Frankly, without Johnny Marr's jangly guitar, the Smiths would have been unbearable, which is the word I associate with Morrissey's solo career. "Have I mentioned that I cried?"
6. David Bowie
Boy, does this guy have a lot to answer for. We can argue about his songwriting, but the singing? Yuk. I can't count the awful frontmen in his wake (mostly, but not exclusively, Brits), from Spandau Ballet to that putz in Coldplay, who basically recycle Bowie's emotion-free, affectless, pretentious quasi-operatic crooning.
5. A tie --
I can't think of a genre that's spawned so many unlistenable yowlers as 80s hair metal. Actually, these two aren't even the worst, now that I think of it.
4. David Clayton Thomas
It boggles my mind that this guy was ever even considered a rock singer. It boggles me even more that apparently he was singing in a blues(!) band when BS&T plucked him from obscurity.
Joan Armatrading famously allowed how she actually liked Madonna's "little Munchkin voice," but I think she was being ironic.
2. Cristina Aguilera
Ah yes, growing up on the mean streets of The Mickey Mouse Club is precisely the sort of experience that gives a singer depth and soul. Seriously -- I doubt there's a song extant that this horribly amusical belter couldn't flog into submission, leaving it gasping, exhausted, and flopping about the stage floor like a porpoise out of water.
And the number one incredibly irksome, it's so obvious it's not even a fricking contest, singer is --
1. Geddy Lee
This song is a guilty pleasure for me (yes, there's actually a Rush song I like) but sometimes when I'm really depressed, I fantasize about somebody with a better voice singing it and I immediately feel better. In any case, I can't think of another rock vocalist who more consistently makes me want to rip my ears off.
Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?
[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel movie Listomania, complete with choice MST3K clip, is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you can see your way to leaving a comment I can up my freelance rate, thus financing that romantic week in Paris I've been invited to share by a certain shady dame.]