Why do you have to go and make things so complicated?
March 9, 2009 10:43 AM Subscribe
I like to gripe about Top 40 radio, but I don't have much of a technical music vocabulary. Are there names for the vocal styles of Avril Lavigne, Taylor Swift, et al.?
posted by Beardman to media & arts (20 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Recently I found myself trying to articulate the particular way that these singers deliver lines, and I quickly ended up using unsatisfactory phenomenological language to describe it ("they, um, kind of curl their words in this irritating way...and it's kind of nasal and groany...does anybody know what I'm talking about?").
It got me thinking that I'd like to know more about the technical names for the vocal styles that are commonly used in the music they tend to play at my gym, in the grocery store, and so on. Avril and Taylor were the first to come to mind, but I'm interested in all of it, including, say, that heaving, ogre-ish singing in Nickelback. So: is there any go-to resource for this kind of information, or any informed criticism you can point me to? Or is it really as ineffable as my poor attempts to describe Avril Lavigne would suggest?
(Note: I realize that the most obvious thing to say about vocals in contemporary Top 40 is that they're autotuned to hell and back, but I'm asking about the styles of singing, not vocal production. So the fact that Nickelback typically builds a wall of sound out of vocal overdubs alone isn't what I'm after.)