Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Best Male Voices Around

Today in the car I was listening to the new Mumford and Sons album, courtesy of my sister, and thinking "Man. This guy has the most amazing voice."  As thinking often does, it led me straight to a blog post. I've been watching The Voice lately. It's my guilty pleasure.

What are the most beautiful male voices around?   Female voices get a lot of press. Adele, Christina, Florence...people talk about the female voices ad nauseam, but male voices never quite get the respect or praise they deserve.

A beautiful female voice makes me want to sing along with her. A beautiful male voice takes my breath away.   I was going to ask for some Facebook input on this one, but then I thought - nah, who cares?   It was all going to come down to my feelings anyways, since I have so many of them.  (Throwing them out like candy):  Feelings for all!  I did ask my sister, who is the Queen of all things Cool and Current, and she gave her input.  For the record, this is just about voices, not so much about music.  It's about the SOUND. Though, they usually go hand in hand, great voices and great music. So, with no further blathering, get out your itunes playlist and enjoy some of the best vocal chords around. (And maybe two Josh Groban videos.)

Colleen's Vote for Best Male Voices Are....

Third Day's Mac Powell: The epitome of a mighty thick and powerful voice, Powell rips through a rock song in the same way he cradles a softer, sweet, acoustic song or re-done hymn.  His sound is so distinct that once you've heard it you will never UNhear it.  You'll know his voice the minute it comes over the radio.  It's that distinct. I heard he's doing country now, and I'm glad to hear it. They need a voice like his.

Best Songs?  Cry out to Jesus,Follow Me There, Thief, Children of God, Revalation

Mumford and Son's, Marcus Mumford.  Such a clean and cheeky sounding voice, Marcus Mumford is my new favorite voice. In fact, you would be hard pressed to hear me playing anything other than Mumford and Sons lately.  Their latest, "Babel" is pretty much the greatest thing ever.  Mumford's voice reminds me all of things Southern gospel and charming.  It sounds like a raucous night where you drink too much bourbon and have debates about faith. .

Best Songs? "Babel", "Lover of the Light" and their re-do of the "The Boxer" is fabulous.

Pearl Jam's, Eddie Vedder: My old designer friend Christine would be jumping for joy right now.  She LOVED (and still loves) Pearl Jam, loves them with the power of a thousand rising suns.  Let's talk for a minute about Eddie Vedder's GROWL.  Because that's what it is.  It's the kind of voice that makes you grab your vocal cords.  His voice gets under your skin, and lingers there, like lovely salt in a wound. His new solo album, Ukulele Songs, is fantastic.

Best Songs:  Longing to Belong, Rise, Black, Daughter

Josh Groban: I hear you laughing, wherever you are. It seems strange after Vedder, but I LOVE Josh Groban, and the first time I ever heard his voice I thought "I'm pretty sure that's what all the men's voices will sound like in heaven."  My sister and I have been Grobanites for a long time, and I've seen him live twice.  And I can just tell you - that voice is NO JOKE.  It's all real, and he was 10 times better live than he is on any of his albums. He is everything and more, and both times I was left weepy and stripped emotionally. That's how powerful his voice is.   Not only does his voice ripple over the water like silk, it's very strong.  I was a fan, and I am a fan. Also - my favorite You tube video EVER is Josh Groban singing the Kanye West tweets. You can watch it here. My favorite? "I make awesome decisions in bike stores."  Laughed until I about died. You can tell he has a fantastic sense of humor.

Best Songs:  His cover of America, Remember when it Rained, London Hymn, Straight to You, You Raise Me Up (of course) and his AWESOME performance in the musical Chess, which you can watch below.  I advise starting at the minute mark, and it REALLY gets awesome at about the 2:28 mark.  SUCH a beautiful song. 

Glen Hansard:  I first fell in love with him through my sister, who was turned on to his music in Ireland, where he is the equivalent of Bono (who is also from Ireland).   He is the lead singer for the band The Frames, but also the band The Swell Season, which he created with his then-lover and actress friend, Marketa Irglova.  You might have seen them in their fantastic movie Once, which won an Oscar for best song.  If you can say anything about Hansard, it's that the man has some MAD PIPES. His voice is big and powerful and earth-shattering.  He could probably sing Adele into a corner. Somewhere between a melodic lullaby and a gargling lion growl, Glen Hansard is pretty much AMAZING.

Songs: Take the Heartland, Falling Slowly, Fitzcarraldo, The Gift, Bird of Sorrow.

Adam Levine: Obvious answer, but let's just be honest with ourselves here - there is no voice like his out there. There's just not.  The minute you here that gorgeous falsetto tenor, you KNOW it's him.  Keep in mind that this man OWNS his image. He's a randy rock-star, charming, handsome and absolutely mischievous.  His songs are about what happens in the sheets, and occasionally shooting someone.  And his voice is all those things and conveys all those things. It's no small accomplishment to match your music to your sound.

Songs: She Will Be Loved, Moves Like Jagger, Payphone, Wake Up Call, Misery

Cindy (Cool Sister)'s picks are Ed Sheenan (below) and Ray LaMontague.  

And, as an extra nerdy bonus, my favorite BROADWAY male voices are:  Colm Wilkinson, Hadley Frasier..

, Mandy Patinkin, John Cameron Mitchell and the one, the only Michael Crawford.


Okay readers, I want to know - WHO do you think has the most beautiful male voice around? Who are your favorite male singers, just for the sound of their voice alone?   And do you want to see a female list?


Adventurous Kate said...

Nice post! Have no idea why I hadn't seen Josh Groban singing Kanye's tweets -- hilarious!

My picks for the best male voice out there: Cee-Lo, far and away at the top of the list. Also up there: John Legend, David Bowie, George Michael, Maxwell, Anthony Kiedis, Jason Mraz, Alicia Keys' backup singer for her Unplugged album (dude is amazing, especially on Heartburn and Diary), and, um, Tom Jones. And I think that might be the most eclectic list you get today.

Meghan Moore-Hubbard said...

Awesome choices! I agree wholeheartedly (with the exception of the Brodway voices which I admittedly know nothing about). Babel is my favorite album this year by far. And the Josh Groban video was hilarious. Not to be anti-feminist but I prefer male singers.

Chris Wible said...

I agree with you on almost all of your choices (some I don't know and will have to try out). To add to your Broadway list, I would say Paulo Szot (opera crossover who won a Tony for Emile DeBecque in South Pacific) and Alfie Bow (another opera crossover who played ValJean in the recent 25th ann. Les Miz and does wonderful Elvis Presley covers too). Interesting we should have the same taste in singers.

Marlene said...

Even before I scrolled down my first two thoughts were your first two. I would add Chris Isaak and Elvis.

Bon Evans said...

As a Male Vocalist I think Colleen has a Great Blog here, and a marvellous, fluent writing Style.

This is a really Great topic and I am glad someone finally approached it. There has been many Great male vocalist over the years that indeed had the gift to inspire and Tell a story with honesty and conviction.

You have mentioned one of my all time Fav. musicians, "Eddie Vedder". His Song "Guaranteed" from the "Into the Wild" Soundtrack, touches on some really great lyrics that hit Close to Home, and the heart, especially if you have seen the movie.

My other Fav Male Vocalists include- John Lee Hooker, James Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Cat Stevens, David Bowie, and Anthony Kiedis.
Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl (which Grohl's recent stuff is blowing my mind, What an honest connection he has with his music), Jason Mraz, Michael Buble, Brian Setzer, and I will cut the list short but add finally The Great Tom Jones. The pipes on that guy, and story telling. He was one of my earliest musical Inspirations.

All of these people have been able to entertain me through the years and keep my attention through Great Connecting words, rhythms and Vibes that leave me speechless.

I am glad I could participate in a Great blog Topic. A women's list would be a Great Idea. I am currently looking for new duet potentials out there.

Thanks Colleen,
~Bon Evans
( P.s. I just Started writing, recording and playing last year when my mother was going in for Thyroid Surgery. All she wanted was to have my recording for her recovery, since then I wrote 20 originals. Maybe it is another male voice you would enjoy )

Em said...

Good call on all of these. LOVE Glen Hansard. And love that Groban video. Wow,

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