Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Great Falsetto Mystery- why do I love it when men sing like women?

In the next few posts I am going to try to disect my taste in music. I am going to go through what I’m inexplicably and inevitably drawn to. There are some elements to music that I have always appreciated ever since I was a little kid, the one I am about to start with, the Falsetto is not really one of them. I had mixed feelings about it as a kid, after I sort of found out what it was. I loved it in the Platters and Elton John I didn´t like it in Prince ( listening to ” The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” I remember thinking he should just sing with his normal voice, it sounded good enough. Yeah, I wasn’t a huge Prince fan back then, but all that has changed now), I was fascinated by the Bee Gees. Fascinated and happy that something like that is even possible in this world where men are men and women are women. Or at least seem to be, to a kid.
So, I found out what falsetto actually is. It’s pretty much when you only use the edges of your vocal cords to speak or sing in a higher pitch than your normal range. Apparently you use ¼ of them when you speak with you ”head voice” and even more when you use your ”chest voice”. Yes, isn’t Wikipedia a wonderful thing. What I don’t understand about it though, is if it's considered falsetto when women do it. Wikipedia does mention that Megan Mullally uses falsetto for her role in Will& Grace. ( I did not KNOW that, wow). Still, I can’t help wondering why no women are listed on their alfabetical guide to falsetto singers. This is truely a mystery, and I will get to the bottom of it some other day.

So, I´m going to post 8 falsetto-favorites, enjoy.

Papalina Lahilahi- Joe Keawe

To start this off right, I had to go with the Hawaiian falsetto. It's been very popular there for quite some time. This song is totally fascinating, and probably something Irwin Chusid ( the smug idiot) would make fun of in his book Songs in the Key of Z. I can only assume that he knows his musical history well enough not to. I can't bitch about his "Song in the Key of Z" 2 CD compilation though, since it's wonderful.

Devil got my woman- Skip James

What can I say about this song? Nothing, because we all know it's incredible. I'm just happy that my hunch was right, and Wikipedia does infact list him as a falsetto singer. Pheeww. What? I don't know all your little rules of music-writing!

Starry Eyes- Roky Erickson

This song is not a "pure" falsetto song, but I had to include it because dear crazy Roky starts out with his normal voice, then goes into a otherwordly, incredibly beautiful falsetto, after which he returns to the normal voice again. I love how falsetto brings out qualities his voice normally lacks, in my opinion. How is that even possible though? With just the fucking edges of your vocal chords!? So confusing...

You Make me Feel like Dancing- Leo Sayer


This is the song that made me want to write this post. Because I just realized that the person singing is a man. And it blew my mind, like this phenomena always does. Why can't I just be cool about things? Oh well, moving on.

When you were mine- PRINCE

Hah, what can I say. I realized I could pick any Prince song really. So I just picked a good one. One intresting little dork-fact about Prince and his famously high-pitched voice was that he actually planned on making an entire album as his female alter-ego Camille. Ooooh. That didn't happen because, it was too crazy for Warner.

Stockholm Syndrome- Yo La Tengo

Ok, some very Neil Youngish indie-falsetto. Damn fine name for a song too.

Winners- Bobby Conn

Jesus Christ. I don't know what to write about this one. It's really good though.

Freedom of '76- Ween


People love singing this one. It's irresistible. I do it when I'm bored, and only the people who truely love me let me finish the whole song. Ohmygodimmike does it in my elevator at 4 o'clock in the morning, at the top of his lungs, drunk as and eagle. Every floor in my building was graced by the beautiful, just slightly off singing of ohmgodimmike as the elevator ascended to the 5th floor. And that, my friends, concludes this monster of a post.

16 Comments:

Blogger ohmygodimmike said...

Hey, My faslsetto is perfect. Better than Gener himself.

September 21, 2006 8:50 PM  
Blogger Mazur said...

Does Neil Young count (sometimes)?

September 27, 2006 6:27 AM  
Blogger Laz said...

Yes, according to Wikipedia he does. Neil Young sings in a falsetto that sounds like his own name. " Neeeeiiiil".

September 27, 2006 6:05 PM  
Blogger Laz said...

Yes, according to Wikipedia he does. Neil Young sings in a falsetto that sounds like his own name. " Neeeeiiiil".

September 27, 2006 6:05 PM  
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