Daily Archives: February 22, 2011


I knew there had to be a word for it.

That ridiculous vocal yodeling (my term until today) that pop singers seem to think expresses emotion…not realizing those of us with ears and taste hear cats being herded into a woodchipper? Audio pyrotechnics, somersaults on the scale, the machine-gun burst of notes squeezed into one syllable of a song that rips any chance of credibility out of the picture and probably adds the song (as well as the artist) to my brain’s “Do Not Fly” list?

Yep, that’s an insult to yodelers – so let’s adopt oversouling.

Add in the liberal presence of Autotune and I am seriously wondering what the hell is wrong with people who aren’t revolted by a large segment of what passes for hit songs these days. I’m not someone pining for the good old days and refusing to accept that music has changed over the course of my lifetime, but I am shocked that the appreciation of musicians takes such a back seat to celebretards and vapid excuses for pop singers.

(Really, if you need recorded loops and Autotune…what the fuck are you actually doing on that stage?)

So when I got the email link to the Huffington Post essay by John Eskow today – courtesy Rock & Rap Confidential – I couldn’t help but smile and fist-bump myself (better than fist-bumping an imaginary companion, even if it does take the hands off the keyboard for a moment). For John not only nailed the main problem with Christina Aguilera’s trainwreck of a National Anthem, he hit the bulls-eye on the whole trend of oversouling.

“This is the same grotesque style — 17 different notes for every vocal syllable — that has so dominated the pop and R&B charts for years. Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston are relatively minor offenders, but singers like Aguilera — who admittedly possesses a great instrument — just don’t seem to know when to stop, turning each song into an Olympic sport as they drain it of its implicit soul, as if running through the entire scale on every single word was somehow a token of sincerity. It’s called melisma — the bending of syllables for bluesy or soulful effect — and what’s creepy about the way it’s used now is that it perverts America’s true genius for song…”

I implore you to read the entire essay and continue to the bottom for even further bemusement; his mention of Jerry Wexler elicits charges of racism from the great unwashed in Mommy’s basements across our fine land.

At least Roseanne Barr was joking…and she got the words right.

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Filed under Editorials, Film/TV, Music