Monday, June 30, 2008
I'm a big fan of karaoke. I love doing it...and I'm happy to report that I have never been booed off the stage. Generally speaking, however, getting a bunch of drunk people to sing their favorite tunes into a microphone can be a scary experience.
There seems to be two philosophies among those that cannot carry a tune: those that know they suck and those that think they are the second coming of Clay Aiken.
So, are there people out there that are just naturally tone deaf? Even with proper training, can they learn to sing on key? Researchers at the University of Finance and Management in Warsaw and University of Montreal decided to get to the bottom of this. They asked more than 150 people to sing a very familiar song - like "Happy Birthday." Then they had another group sing a note after hearing it from an instrument.
What they found was pretty astonishing.
More than 90% could sing in tune. The identified two types of bad singers: those that are completely tone deaf. They sing terribly and can't discern the correct note they hear from an instrument. The other group can easily tell if a note is off key, but can't sing properly - they are tone mute.
Regardless of singing ability, there are tons of "artists" that have made it big in the music industry despite having terrible singing voices. Here are my personal top five:
5) J-Lo. She's gorgeous, she could dance, and her perfume was probably OK. But when she had to sing live with her hubby, Marc Anthony, it became obvious that she really cannot sing.
4) Tom Petty. How does a guy who sings like he's got a mouthful of everlasting gobstoppers sell so many albums? The dude has an awful voice. Why oh why did he sing at the last Superbowl?
3) Britney Spears. She's a trainwreck, and before K-Fed, she was so cute. Ever hear what she sounds live? It'll make your ears bleed.
2) Chris Martin of Coldplay. Many of you will disagree because they have a hot single on the Billboard Charts right now. But be objective and listen to his voice. He often sings in falsetto - and it's not very good. At other times, it sounds like his moaning in his sleep. What do you expect from a guy that thinks Amy Winehouse is the best singer in the world?
1) Bob Dylan. I've had sounds come out of my butt that sounded better than this guy's voice. I know he wrote powerful lyrics - I will not disagree. But he sounds like one of those hair clippers at the barbershop. Listening to his voice reminds me of the sound some kid in my 5th grade gym class made after his nuts got rocked from a line drive. He might be the voice of his generation, but his generation spent most of their days in an incoherent stupor.