The best singer in the world (at least for now)

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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:37 am

Anyways, why did we get into this...??

Silhouette sent me elevator music! Background music!

It has its place to be sure.

All my favorite music is foreground music.

I like the adventure not only of the foreground music itself, but also the stories behind it.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Magnus Anderson » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:27 am

Anything that doesn't capture your attention is background / elevator music. A great deal of baroque (and also romantic) music doesn't capture my attention, so I consider it to be background music (e.g. Bach and Wagner.)

I think Silhouette's point was that vocals aren't really (that) important when it comes to great music. Personally, I don't agree. (I do, however, think one can make a great instrumental without vocals. I'm actually one of those people who start with the music and then move towards the lyrics i.e. it doesn't matter to me how great the lyrics are if the music is bad.)

On the other hand, I probably have lower standards than you do. All I expect from my vocals is for them to be pleasant and natural. (A lot of vocals aren't, for some reason.)

Angelina might be a great singer (the greatest living today, in fact) but I can't help but dislike the way she's singing in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnnzbdt4_RE

Frank Sinatra sounds much more natural.

And the same goes for Michael Jakson. He might be a great singer but the way sings puts me off.

Black - Wonderful Life
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1ZoHfJZACA

A normal guy with a normal masculine voice singing in a normal way.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Magnus Anderson » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:39 am

Bad stuff:

Alice Cooper - Poison
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq4j1LtCdww

Bee Gees - Staying Alive
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNFzfwLM72c

(Men shouldn't be singing in high pitched voice.)

Empire of the Sun - We Are the People
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a47Y1lCRHlM

(Very unnatural + falsetto.)

Louis Armstrong - Wonderful Life
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3yCcXgbKrE

(Bad voice.)

AC/DC - Thunderstruck
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2AC41dglnM

I guess I'm less of a critic of one's ability than one's decisions.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Silhouette » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:45 pm

Incidentally, I'm not a fan of Liszt.

He strikes me as another one of those virtuosos showcasing their dexterity rather than writing anything that'd move someone like me. Perhaps others would disagree - again I emphasise the subjectivity of artistic creation/reception.

The same goes for this comment:

Ecmandu wrote:Anyways, why did we get into this...??

Silhouette sent me elevator music! Background music!

It has its place to be sure.

All my favorite music is foreground music.

I like the adventure not only of the foreground music itself, but also the stories behind it.

I know so few people who appreciate the kind of music that I linked - I shared the track partly just to see what would happen, but even with regards to my main intention to demonstrate a wider point about art, I probably ended up failing if all you hear is elevator music. To me it's an abyss of emotional turmoil that can could hardly be better expressed, and which certainly communicates far more depths of humanity than an Angelina cover song. But, once more: subjectivity.

Magnus is probably right to sum it up as "Anything that doesn't capture your attention is background / elevator music."
I also hear that musical appreciation is largely a function of familiarity.
So the less familiar a style of music, the less likely you are to respond positively to it. This is another tragedy for all artforms when it is distilled into something like contemporary pop music, which is all so homogenous and explicitly formulaic - just to tap into the lucrative market of human mediocrity and closedness to experience.
That's not to say that music ought to broaden itself to absurd limits for its own sake, which is something I usually find pretentious, but I often find it difficult to respect those who don't explore beyond the pop music that I subjectively find to be background / elevator music, to discover and be inspired by alternative music that is doing something a little more different and brave. In this sense - I too would say that my favourite music is foreground music, and that I don't find the music linked to be background / elevator music in the slightest. I find that it intensely steals my attention.

To bring this all back to Angelina, or the notion of "best singer", she certainly does steal my attention as well - but as I said, only because of her surprising and impressive mastery of the human voice at such a young age, even when it comes to emulating singers with far more maturity and life experience than she'd have even come close to experiencing personally.
The reason I brought up the song I linked was to completely invert everything that Angelina does, to achieve something that (to me) is far more meaningful.
You don't have to like the song I linked to get my point, I suppose - perhaps you can think of your own examples of a far better musical experience than being impressed and surprised by Angelina Jordan?

To reiterate, it's just to make a broader point about what "best singer" could incorporate beyond what Angelina can offer.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:48 pm

Silhouette, now I have to redeem Liszt for you (hopefully)
You think he’s showboating. He has a lot of stuff besides the pyrotechnics! Maybe this doesn’t do it for you either. It’s pretty hard to not like SOMETHING from Liszt!

https://youtu.be/HYU66NGjPtY
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby phoneutria » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:58 pm

i very much dislike this trend to oversing the fuck out of everything
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:00 pm

phoneutria wrote:i very much dislike this trend to oversing the fuck out of everything


I agree. Not even my favorite songs of all time can fight against eventual tedium. It goes with the territory.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:22 pm

Ecmandu wrote:
phoneutria wrote:i very much dislike this trend to oversing the fuck out of everything


I agree. Not even my favorite songs of all time can fight against eventual tedium. It goes with the territory.


This my favorite song from the 21st century:

https://youtu.be/-N4jf6rtyuw

Damn it’s been overplayed!

The beegees were it during the late 70’s, they were so overplayed that a selling point for radio stations became “we’re a beegee free zone!”

Over saturation is inevitable with music
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:29 pm

Ecmandu wrote:
Ecmandu wrote:
phoneutria wrote:i very much dislike this trend to oversing the fuck out of everything


I agree. Not even my favorite songs of all time can fight against eventual tedium. It goes with the territory.


This my favorite song from the 21st century:

https://youtu.be/-N4jf6rtyuw

Damn it’s been overplayed!

The beegees were it during the late 70’s, they were so overplayed that a selling point for radio stations became “we’re a beegee free zone!”

Over saturation is inevitable with music


Oh shit! Phoneutria! I thought you said “overusing” instead of “oversinging”

Yeah, oversinging is a problem as well.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Silhouette » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:01 pm

phoneutria wrote:i very much dislike this trend to oversing the fuck out of everything

This was my explanation for this trend:

Silhouette wrote:I think art has suffered a lot in recent years, by putting emphasis on virtuosity as little more than showcases of "dexterity", and being able to technologically iron out the nuance and perceived "imperfection" that would otherwise carry the whole unique story with it - and thus the specialness of the experience. The more "perfected" the final product, the more replicable and formulaic it becomes as a result of these nuances being ironed out. Not incidentally, this is why famous singers these days are forced to intentionally embellish and warble exaggeratedly and almost tortuously around their delivery (e.g. Winehouse). By no means does this mean that lack of production positively correlates with quality - the whole reason production methods have become so advanced is to eliminate this risk for a more reliable result. But that's the thing - without the risk, you lose the "failure" which can so often make a piece of art rather than break it. Technical flamboyance is incontrovertibly replacing feel across all artforms, and at least I personally suffer for it, if not others as well as me.

I'd even go as far as linking it to a market economy where the loudest and most elaborate displays of sounds (and visuals) simply drown out the competition.

For visuals, MTV is infamous for marking the beginning of a downward trend of taking the emphasis away from the whole "in it for the music, man" thing and towards looking good while you do it - the more base appeal of sexiness sold more copies more easily, even at the cost of the music itself. Better looking musicians did better, and these days musical talent is almost irrelevant as long as you put on the biggest show with the hottest figurehead(s).
For sounds, the shift was toward perceived virtuosity through showcases of vocal dexterity, which became even more accessible for more attractive singers through technological advances in auto-tuning and/or post-production. One thing that frustrates me about the average person is their inability to tell if someone is actually in tune, allowing even painful warbling to shine through without them noticing (I physically cannot watch any of these new "talent" shows). Nowadays if you don't attempt it, you're not associated with today's "good singers", and you lose out just from that.

I'd argue that the same goes for other artforms as well, particularly film. The most money is in the mediocre and the most superficially appealing marketing. A market economy is great for flashy technologies appealing to more people but it's the death of art.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:24 pm

Silhouette,

Singing competitions are the modern form of “casting calls”. Welcome to a new era! If anyone is going to be the best eventually, they all use this format now!

Your bias against singing competitions is irrational.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Silhouette » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:58 pm

Ecmandu wrote:Silhouette,

Singing competitions are the modern form of “casting calls”. Welcome to a new era! If anyone is going to be the best eventually, they all use this format now!

Your bias against singing competitions is irrational.

Irrational on the grounds that my bias is counter to what is to become of this new era?

I don't choose paths that comply with whatever I'm offered by emergent prevailing tendencies, I fight for what I think is best. It certainly feels futile and impractical sometimes, and perhaps that seems irrational to you? Irrationality simply depends on what your premises are, and they don't have to be winning ones for one to be rational in staying true to them. I know you relate - you don't even seem to feel like your life's purpose to eradicate all consent violation is anywhere near close, so I know you understand this type of rationality.

Unless of course you think some line of logic that I've used is illogical in some way? In which case, do elaborate :)

If you simply mean to state that there's a subjective element to my preferences when it comes to art, then I'll only repeat that of course there is since art has an inextricable subjective element. All anyone can do with regard to artistic matters is accept subjective tastes as a premise, and then argue logically given such premises - which I believe I am doing. Let me know if you disagree.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Magnus Anderson » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:48 pm

Liszt wrote:Incidentally, I'm not a fan of Liszt.

He strikes me as another one of those virtuosos showcasing their dexterity rather than writing anything that'd move someone like me. Perhaps others would disagree - again I emphasise the subjectivity of artistic creation/reception.


I don't think you're doing justice to Liszt. He is at the very least melodic. Both La Campanella and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 are to an extent melodic. That's probably more melody than there's in both Paganini and Wagner. And it most certainly has more melody and rhythm than doom metal.

Still, I'm not impressed by Liszt. I'd rather listen to Bach's Badinerie or Bach's BVW 1052 or Bach's BVW 1044 or Vivaldi's RV 580 or Vivaldi's Winter of Vivaldi's Autumn.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:53 pm

Magnus Anderson wrote:
Liszt wrote:Incidentally, I'm not a fan of Liszt.

He strikes me as another one of those virtuosos showcasing their dexterity rather than writing anything that'd move someone like me. Perhaps others would disagree - again I emphasise the subjectivity of artistic creation/reception.


I don't think you're doing justice to Liszt. He is at the very least melodic. Both La Campanella and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 are to an extent melodic. That's probably more melody than there's in both Paganini and Wagner. And it most certainly has more melody and rhythm than doom metal.

Still, I'm not impressed by Liszt. I'd rather listen to Bach's Badinerie or Bach's BVW 1052 or Bach's BVW 1044 or Vivaldi's RV 580 or Vivaldi's Winter of Vivaldi's Autumn.


Magnus! Dude! Vivaldi is awesome.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Ecmandu » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:35 pm

As if people care... I have two favorite love songs (I hate love songs!). One of my criteria is that the song is gender neutral.

I also like this song because of the line: “we’re searching for some perfect world we’ll never find”

https://youtu.be/H9694K85Xc8

I like this song because of the subtle reference to suicide. “People ask me how, how I’ve lived ‘til now, I tell them I don’t know”

https://youtu.be/qarnzcRbPMk
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Meno_ » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:14 pm

I like this song because I really like pink, she is awwwww-some.

https://youtu.be/dgxcGejOtYc


I find this song disturbing and exhilarating for it shadows some inner metaphysically lost role, and speaks volumes for the expanding role of the alienated martyr in today's socially
normative image of God in man.

It really speaks for the haunted spirit, of the child within.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Magnus Anderson » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:25 pm

Ecmandu wrote:Magnus! Dude! Vivaldi is awesome.


I concur.

By the way, I didn't know that La Campanella is actually by Paganini. The original actually sounds much better.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Ecmandu » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:31 pm

Magnus Anderson wrote:
Ecmandu wrote:Magnus! Dude! Vivaldi is awesome.


I concur.

By the way, I didn't know that La Campanella is actually by Paganini. The original actually sounds much better.


Yeah... Liszt was obsessed with the devil. Paganini was considered (by lore) to be the first musician to sell his soul to the devil to be the best violinist of all time. Cool story.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Meno_ » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:49 pm

Liszt was probably the most adept to deal with his guilt, the technique was extremely difficult to pull off , peter lorre with faust on the beach.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Silhouette » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:49 pm

Ecmandu wrote:Silhouette, now I have to redeem Liszt for you (hopefully)
You think he’s showboating. He has a lot of stuff besides the pyrotechnics! Maybe this doesn’t do it for you either. It’s pretty hard to not like SOMETHING from Liszt!

https://youtu.be/HYU66NGjPtY

Oh, this song - I remember it being in one of my piano books but I never felt like I responded to it enough to want to learn it properly. I preferred playing pieces by Beethoven and Chopin in particular, there were countless others but those two seemed to stick out for me. I dunno man, I just feel like Liszt wanted to write some pretty notes with that piece - I don't feel the sincere expression of an inspired artist like I do with B and C. Something like Erik Satie's simplistic Gnossiennes and Gymnopedies are by contrast so mesmerisingly more absorbing. Maybe I just don't relate, but I've always had a strong sense of certain pieces of music really resonating with me, and many just not doing that. Subjective, right?

Magnus Anderson wrote:I don't think you're doing justice to Liszt. He is at the very least melodic. Both La Campanella and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 are to an extent melodic. That's probably more melody than there's in both Paganini and Wagner. And it most certainly has more melody and rhythm than doom metal.

Still, I'm not impressed by Liszt. I'd rather listen to Bach's Badinerie or Bach's BVW 1052 or Bach's BVW 1044 or Vivaldi's RV 580 or Vivaldi's Winter of Vivaldi's Autumn.

Oh for sure Liszt is melodic, but how you're melodic really makes a difference for me. And being particularly melodic isn't even a necessary requirement - and it's easy to be overly melodic. I don't know if you're a jazz fan, but that stuff can get just about as melodic as is possible and to me it usually just sounds like a frenzy of notes. Harmony has always been more important for me, and imo jazz too often overdoes that as well. I almost don't care at all about rhythm or lyrics - hence my attraction to Doom Metal I guess. There's even a genre that mixes doom with jazz influences, and the result can be something like this band here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMCvSUndy3g - not their best song to illustrate my point, but they're one of my favourite bands and this is one of my favourite songs by them. Basically just really slow lounge music - which actually illustrates really well an even better point to make about music, which is too often neglected by musicians like Liszt. It's the space between the notes that counts, the silence and all the notes you don't play - ironically a sentiment commonly attributed to the famous jazz artist Miles Davis.

So now I've muddied the waters sufficiently, some points about my personal musical preferences still rise to the surface - and I can apply these emergent points to Angelina.
It's better when she's not oversinging too many notes to showcase herself and to artificially embellish the melody. It's better when she instead lingers on notes and leaves pauses, to allow us to appreciate the notes she's singing and the chords she's colouring. The common modern emphasis is on showing off how many notes you can sing "around" a cadence and to over-emphasise every climax like you're melodramatically trying to get an Oscar nomination, because then talent show audiences cheer harder with how impressed they are. Even Celine Dion holds back on these things relatively more tastefully - and since she's still alive, I think even she outclasses Angelina Jordan simply based on that fact alone, along with her relative maturity allowing her to project sincerity rather than precociousness. She's also able to better produce that kind of "resonating" effect when she "belts out" the climaxes to her songs, which really hits home to me. It's why Nessun Dorma sung by the late Pavarotti is so impactful - it requires the full body to pull off. I've even heard Sia do this to great effect e.g. in the chorus to "Chandelier" (particularly in the last line before it levels out in the second section of the chorus), but she's another victim to the contemporary trend of artificially emphasising vocal "imperfections" to make herself "distinctive" to stand out in a saturated Capitalist marketplace. Celine was perhaps born just enough years before her to have been able to succeed without having to resort to that. It's still there to an extent, but it teeters more to the side of operatic training than pop sensation. I'm not even a fan of opera singing, but I far prefer it to today's pop sensations.

I feel like there's so much homogenous pop that a demand for some kind of objective metric has become necessary to distinguish between it all, quantified by vocal range and dexterity, versatility, and youth.

Magnus Anderson wrote:I didn't know that La Campanella is actually by Paganini. The original actually sounds much better.

I could say the same about Liszt about what I've heard by Paganini, though I'm not knowingly as familiar with his works.

Compare the above linked piece with this one.

What Jacqueline Du Pre is playing is at times extremely technical and her use of vibrato pushes the limits, but it's always tasteful to a fault. Paganini by contrast may as well be a dancing pixie imposing his personality on the entire audience almost oppressively. Jacqueline basically exudes the piece as part of her own soul, whereas the piece Vanessa Mae learned is outside of her and in your face.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Meno_ » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:12 pm

Best when your sober
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Meno_ » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:30 pm

Sober is bestest.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby promethean75 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:36 pm

strange that someone with the intelligence to talk competently about music (sil, i mean) would find such things as 'doom metal' pleasant. i truly cannot understand how he could like something like the sample he posted. i could understand how someone much simpler and less intelligent than sil might like it, but not this guy. i think what's happening is, that darker element such music attempts to display is expressed so crudely in such form that the darker element becomes simplified to the point that an elaboration of melody isn't required for it to be effective. it is, so to speak, genuinely ugly... not a caricature of the ugly. but in being so, there can be no depth or distance traversed. that dark element deserves to be developed better because it is as important, if not more, than those elements characterized by the anatomy of faster tempo, the major scales, the general lack of conflict between tones.

to give an example of what i consider an excellent development of a particular idea of the darker variety which is difficult to produce well with music, go to 4:57 of this song. there are structural reasons why there is a very strong 'unsettling' feeling there. but you'd not be able to capture that in a simpler form. that is to say, fripp's elaboration (the diminished scaling) produces very tense tonal conflicts that do not get resolved. that lack of resolution is one of the key structural elements in the anatomy of that 'darker element'. but to do it, and do it well, there must be a greater compositional range as the medium.



but 'doom metal', on the other hand (and i don't mean all of it), isn't going to create an area in which several conflicts can be created; it sits lazily and flatly on what is most base and most ugly. there is nothing sinister in it, no amount of real madness or distress. it is so ugly that any hint of existential dread we might feel is robbed of its right to be properly developed thematically, and remains simply noise.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby promethean75 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:52 pm

you know, everything is just wrong there, and that's why it so perfectly right. the identifiable back beat which remains stable but in a strange meter, the little percussive wood instruments chattering and arguing behind the drums, the nervous, indecisive bass figures and open ended lines, the blistering speed of the maddening notes of fripp's impossible scales... all this shit is in complete turmoil with itself and is brilliantly done.

you are absolutely disturbed. that's the point. but listen to the whole song. you'll hear nothing like it.
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Re: The best singer in the world (at least for now)

Postby Ecmandu » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:48 am

This is a funny thread to me!

Music brings out all kinds of shit in people!

I liked all your songs btw (even silhouette’s elevator music)

As far as Angelina Jordan is concerned, you can tell from multiple videos what she CAN do! And from this, you know that she doesn’t oversing - if anything, she holds back
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