Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Advice For R&B Singers

Based largely on having heard Boyz II Men's version of "Misty Blue" on the Muzak at work.
There is no need to slide up and down the scale like a vaudeville trombone whenever a note is held for more than one beat. It's cheap, it's annoying, and it's cheesy. You never heard Aretha Franklin pull that crap, did you? Did you ever hear Sam Cooke do that kind of BS? Or Otis Redding, or Diana Ross, or Wilson Pickett? No. But then, they were the kind of singers that you would call, um, what's the word, good! They were good. They didn't have to resort to that cheap wankery to try to show off their vocal control, they just sang really, really well. You know who does do that? Hacks. American Idol contestants. Mariah Carey. It's weak and stupid, just knock it off.

2) Not every song needs to be remade. If it was good the first time, you're only going to suffer in comparison. If it sucked the first time, your version probably isn't going to suck any less. Now if you are a young Whitney Houston and you want to tear up Dolly Parton's "I will always love you," by all means go ahead! If you are a young Whitney Houston, you are going to sing the hell out of that song, and raise it to a whole new level. But you are probably not a young Whitney Houston, so try writing a new song.

3) If you do write a new song, try giving it a tune. Or a Melody. Maybe then you won't have to glissade over every note like Sideshow Mel's slide whistle.

4) Turn off the auto-tuner. I can not emphasize this enough. If you can't carry a tune on your own, maybe singing isn't for you.

And there is nothing clever about turning the auto-tuner up so that you sound like a robot. You're probably too young to remember Midnight Star, but this is from 1983:

And they probably weren't the first to do the robot voice. Either way, it's not original, it's not clever, and it's irritating as hell. Stop it.

Addendum: Of course they weren't the first, I totally forgot about Kraftwerk

Rex Duncan saves us from the Imaginary

From ABC News:
Oklahoma is poised to become the first state in the nation to ban state judges from relying on Islamic law known as Sharia when deciding cases.

The ban is a cornerstone of a "Save our State" amendment to the Oklahoma constitution that was recently approved by the Legislature.

Save Our State?
This is what Oklahomans need to be saved from? Judges imposing Sharia Law?
Is that really something that might possibly happen in Oklahoma? Is there some large Muslim population in Oklahoma that I'm unaware of?

Oklahoma has few Muslims – only 30,000 out of a population of 3.7 million. The prospect of sharia being applied there seems remote. But a chief architect of the measure, Republican State Rep. Rex Duncan, calls the proposed ban a necessary "preemptive strike" against Islamic law coming to the state.

Oh, a "preemptive strike." Yeah, those always seem to work out well.
"I see this in the future somewhere in America ," Duncan, who chairs the state House Judiciary Committee, told ABC News. "It's not an imminent threat in Oklahoma yet, but it's a storm on the horizon in other states."

No. No it isn't. Really, Rex, I promise you it isn't.

But let's pretend for a minute that it is. Let's say a state with a large Muslim population, like say, Michigan, decided to have its judges use Sharia Law to decide cases. And let's pretend that the appeals courts didn't throw out those decisions as blatantly, laughably unconstitutional. Let's pretend that that scenario could possibly happen at some point in the future. How does Oklahoma get involved? Would you suppose that as goes Detroit, so goes Tulsa? Somehow, the practice of American judges consulting Sharia Law spreads from Michigan down through Indiana, over to Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas and down to Oklahoma? Is this the new domino theory, because it's even stupider than the original one.
Or maybe this is the thought process. Oklahoma has oil. Oil attracts Ay-Rabs. now stay with me here, because this is where it gets tricky. The Ay-Rabs flee their home countries with the repressive Sharia laws, head to America, the land of the free, and immediately start replicating the oppressive system of the country they just left. In Oklahoma. Now they have oil, shitty weather and burqas, just like they had at home, and all they had to do was pull up stakes, leave their families, friends, culture and homelands, travel halfway around the world to a foreign land where they start over from scratch with the end result being that they are back to square one? Is that how it would work?

Hey, Rex. Maybe you should think about a ban on unicorns, or leprechauns.

Or maybe you oughta have bigger worries, like I don't know, this?
Oklahoma assesses damage after record rain
Oklahoma City Fire Dept. rescue crews take 2 ...

You should really concentrate on making sure that no one blames global warming for this.

Or perhaps you should be concerned about your state's apparent inability to construct a proper T-shirt.

Either way, I really wouldn't stress over the whole Muslim thing.