Tuesday, April 17, 2007

One's a Knight, another's a Jabber, and the last one has died and come back to life

I was listening to my mp3 player (I'm old school) when the Pet Shop Boys came on. I was really digging the song and it got me to thinking. Neil Tennant has such a nasally voice, why on earth do I like it so much? This isn't something that has developed recently either. I remember riding around in my brother's '80 VW Rabbit (The one we had was sky blue) being 9 years old and listening to the awesome 80's music of the time. One song that always stuck with me was "Opportunities" by PSB. Sure, I remember liking Information Society, Erasure, Bananarama, Human League, Duran Duran, and OMD as well, but I just loved the voice of the guy who sang "Opportunities". Now, at 25 years of age I'm listening to "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show" on the walk to the bus and still digging it. I don't get it. Why this deep seated affection for the voice of Neil Tennant? So, as I walked, and then rode the bus home I racked my brain trying to decide who my favorite male singers were. I was able to come up with 3 that rose head and shoulders above the rest. In reverse order they are:

#3 - Bono Vox aka Paul Hewson

Group - U2

Songs Where He Especially Shines - One, One Tree Hill, and Please

What to say about Bono that his many fans haven't already said? I for one feel that his voice peaked around '90-'91 during the recording and touring of Achtung Baby. He was still able to his those insanely clear high notes, but his voice had some balls when needed as well. Feel what you want to about his extra-rock god activities, but this man packs more emotion and feeling into his voice than just about anyone. It's nice when a performer can make you feel what they are feeling.

#2 - Neil Tennant

Group - Pet Shop Boys

Songs Where He Especially Shines - You Only Love Me When You're Drunk, Being Boring, and Can You Forgive Her (Check out the "Product" section of their website for audio clips)

Much has been mentioned about Mr. Tennant above. I'll just make this quick observation about his voice. It really has become much better with age. The nasal whininess has become much smoother and less abrasive he has advanced through life. Not that it has mattered to me, I was digging on his voice at the age of 9.

#1 - Dav(e)(id) Gahan

Group - Depeche Mode and Solo Project

Songs Where Especially He Shines - John the Revelator, Shine, and In Your Room

By far my favorite singing voice on earth. To me, he is the only one in this triad that can take a mediocre song and make it listenable/enjoyable. He has always (Well...let's call it from 1984, or when he finally made it through vocal puberty) had an excellent aggressive/suggestive singing voice. His voice is just cool. He can channel such wonderful darkness and emotion through those windpipes of his. But what has put him over the top is, after he got of the heroin sauce he took some serious vocal lessons and added another dimension to his vocal performance. Now on top of the funk he grinds, he increased his range and can now sing tenderly, as well as aggressively. (For a good example, check out Precious) For me, it just doesn't get any better than Dave Gahan.
On a complete side note. An apartment building that I walk by on the way to work every day had it's fire alarm going off so I had the opportunity to see all of ghetto folks. Let me tell you, I was NOT prepared for the visual feast I was about to encounter. I just wish I was better at taking clandestine pictures so I could have snapped a picture of his huge beer gut hanging over his bitchin' black sweats as well.

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