Singing akin to Talking
November 6, 2017 11:41 AM   Subscribe

Hey guys. Listening to my music tonight, I noticed many of my favourite artists are almost more talking than singing, though it's definitely not rapping either. What would you call this? Can you name some other musician's in the same vein? I'm thinking of Modest Mouse, CAKE, and the Blow as some examples.
posted by Trifling to Media & Arts (38 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wikipedia has some examples in the Talking blues article.
posted by mkb at 11:49 AM on November 6, 2017


Pavement
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 12:00 PM on November 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


I've always thought that Laurie Anderson's "Oh Superman" was an example of this taken to a very weird conclusion. Weird but awesome.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 12:02 PM on November 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


Lou Reed and everybody who wants to be Lou Reed
posted by sheldman at 12:02 PM on November 6, 2017 [8 favorites]


You may like Son of Dave.
posted by phunniemee at 12:03 PM on November 6, 2017


Beck
K-OS
Barenaked Ladies
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:09 PM on November 6, 2017


Laurie Anderson, a lot, and to varying degrees of completeness:

BabydollLet X=XIt TangoSharkey's DayBeautiful Red Dress, etc.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 12:14 PM on November 6, 2017




Smog / Bill Callahan (Short Drive)
Silver Jews / Dave Berman (Smith & Jones Forever)
posted by thecaddy at 12:17 PM on November 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


Or this magical early-90s flashback from Meryn Cadell: The Sweater (which inspired Weezer's parallel sweater song, Undone)
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:18 PM on November 6, 2017 [5 favorites]


Spreschgesang I always think of Fred Schneider from the B 52s.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 12:18 PM on November 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


Sprechstimme
posted by matildaben at 12:18 PM on November 6, 2017


basically all of Mark E. Smith's vocals for The Fall
posted by cakelite at 12:28 PM on November 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


What would you call this?
I think of it as chanting, more of a cheerleader/carnival barker chant than a monastic one, though.
posted by soelo at 12:31 PM on November 6, 2017


there's also King Missile
posted by cakelite at 12:36 PM on November 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


Listener - Wooden Heart

The rest of that album (also called Wooden Heart) has songs in the same vein. Their other albums do as well, but this one in particular.
posted by sacrifix at 12:39 PM on November 6, 2017


Mike Doughty, formerly of Soul Coughing.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 12:47 PM on November 6, 2017 [5 favorites]


Courtney Barnet
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 12:49 PM on November 6, 2017 [4 favorites]


Probably not quite the right term for the modern pop/rock type, but traditionally (in musicals) this style is called a patter song. Picture "Modern Major-General" or the salesmen on the train from The Music Man. Aside from that, I got nothin' but will be watching with interest as I enjoy this style too.
posted by dust.wind.dude at 12:59 PM on November 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


Not exactly like CAKE et al, but the talking-singing thing... William Shatner (seriously, this is a fantastic album)
posted by snorkmaiden at 1:14 PM on November 6, 2017


The National
posted by easy, lucky, free at 1:15 PM on November 6, 2017


The Hold Steady
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:36 PM on November 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


Peaches (not linking because it's a bit NSFW at I'm at work)
posted by radioamy at 1:38 PM on November 6, 2017


Sprechstimme is kind of specific and usually only refers to classical music, I would have said. In the same vein, there's "parlando" which isn't quite as likely to refer to one particular period of music, but it's still mostly a classical music term.
posted by Smearcase at 1:39 PM on November 6, 2017


Seconding Listener - they describe themselves as a spoken-word rock band, and they're great. Catch them live if you can.

Also seconding Courtney Barnett - Elevator Operator and Pedestrian At Best are just incredible songs and I love her so much.

LCD Soundsystem, especially things like North American Scum and Daft Punk Is Playing At My House

Kurt Vile - he's done an album with Courtney Barnett, and has a similar vocal style - Pretty Pimpin' is a great solo track; Over Everything is the lead single from their joint album and is also ace.
posted by parm at 1:58 PM on November 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


G. Love often does the not-quite-singing-but-not-really-rapping-either thing.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 2:00 PM on November 6, 2017


I first heard this called "spinging" (i.e. halfway between speaking and singing) back in the 90s sometime. I feel like it might have been a Sassy (the magazine) locution, but I'm not positive of that. This question mentions that term too.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:02 PM on November 6, 2017


Art Brut!
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:04 PM on November 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:21 PM on November 6, 2017


From the land of musical theatre, Carol Burnett doing Sondheim's "Not Getting Married Today" is a true delight.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:55 PM on November 6, 2017


There are some Clash songs that might fit the bill:

Red Angel Dragnet
Broadway
The Right Profile

Come to think of it, Joe Strummer does a lot of this talk-singing (although the main vocals on Red Angel Dragnet are by Paul Simonon).
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:18 PM on November 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


My favorite song in this vein is the Tragically Hip's So Hard Done By

" Interesting and sophisticated
Refusing to be celebrated
It's a monumental big screen kiss
It's so deep it's meaningless…"

posted by hoodrich at 4:32 PM on November 6, 2017


OMC, more or less one hit wonders (in the US) with How Bizarre.
posted by SquidLips at 6:03 PM on November 6, 2017


Dave Alvin's version of "Highway 61 Revisited" seems like a good example of this kind of thing.
posted by Lexica at 8:04 PM on November 6, 2017


Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig Lazarus Dig. The chorus is sung, but the verses are mainly spoken.
posted by bendy at 9:27 PM on November 6, 2017


Bright Eyes - When The President Talks to God
posted by madonna of the unloved at 2:53 AM on November 7, 2017


My first love in the genre was Naked Raygun
posted by lumpenprole at 3:49 PM on November 7, 2017


Ought does this a lot.
Life Without Buildings comes to mind as well.
posted by Sonny Jim at 5:32 AM on November 11, 2017


« Older he's just a skater boy (who wants to record his...   |   Things to do in Ashland, Oregon in November? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.