Thursday, January 12, 2006

Annoying Singers

I have no good answer to the following question, but I want to try and figure it out anyway... why is it that I can forgive an annoying singing voice for some bands (Decemberists, Green Day, Bright Eyes, Flaming Lips, LCD Soundsystem, Sigur Rós, even Art Brut) but not Crap Your Pants Say Yeah?  Why do I appear to have chosen Clap Your Hands as a battleground for this problem, about which I do feel strongly (people, please stop affecting your voices unless you're punk, OK) when I listen to so much other stuff that could provoke a similar response?

I've had oodles of time to come around on CYHSY and stop hating their guts, and it hasn't happened because their singer is so unforgivably terrible.  He sounds like garbage, contributes absolutely nothing to his band, and yet sings in a way that only a more talented singer should attempt.  You know how sometimes people will say someone like, say, Billie Holliday has a voice like an instrument, because of how impressively she can contort the tone of her voice around a song?  Imagine someone with no talent doing that, and you'll have Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.  Every time I hear that fucking idiot pretend like he's David Byrne, I want to break a guitar over his head and scream "I Zimbra" while I beat my chest.

I think what bothers me the most is that it just doesn't work for CYHSY.  David Byrne adopted his affected singing style for a reason... an audience will connect more with a singer who has an imperfect voice.  (Byrne is on the record saying this, though I can't remember where.)  The To draw attention to himself?  It sure isn't to make the band sound good.  Everyone else in the band is doing a decent job; he's the guy who's holding them back.

Now, here's what bothers me about the question.  As someone who knowingly takes a long time to come around on music, there's an implication that I will eventually like Crap Your Pants.  There's plenty of evidence to support that idea.  I, at one time, wanted to hunt down Rush singer Geddy Lee.  The intro to "Today's Tom Sawyer" was enough to send me flipping away from WAAF.  But I know now that Rush kicks ass, and admit being wrong.  The eventual  acceptance into my heart of Bright Eyes, Coldplay, Flaming Lips and others that I'd dismissed only goes to show that no matter how vitriolic my distaste for a particular band, there's always hope.

But not for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.  They friggin suck.

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