Music Man–The Nasal Tone

[ 0 ] November 19, 2009 |

I partially blame Christopher Carrabba (aka Dashboard Confessional). He had a large hand in starting the whole thing that has since become entirely too common and even predictable in so much of the new music that’s coming out these days, especially among the scene crowd. Nine out of ten demos I receive have it. The thing with Christopher though, is that he, while certainly not the first to sing almost entirely through his nose, connected with fans on such a personal level that they totally overlooked it. His timing was perfect, his lyrics struck a chord, and his word of mouth cult status helped get him to the point where the nasally tone of his voice became his signature sound, it was cool for its time (sorta). The truth is, if you were to see him live back in 2001, you would see a show where the entire audience sang every word to every song, Christopher literally didn’t have to sing, and it was pretty remarkable to be honest. Admittedly I own, and occasionally still listen to “The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most” (I didn’t go much further back then that). It’s a solid album for it’s time.
My problem is that since then, it seems every up-and-coming singer to grab a mic has followed suit in the vocal department and wow is it grating. What used to be the exception, has now become the rule. When I come across new music in my daily pursuit, I’m actually relieved when the singer can sing, I mean, come on, shouldn’t that be expected? It’s not. People complain about auto-tune’s over usage in pop music today, which is a topic for another time, but what about the kids who sound like their mouths were sewn shut and their nose was their only outlet?  The minute I hear a singer crooning through the ol’ schaunze, I’m turned off because it sounds (a) contrived and lazy, and (b) like every other kid who discovered a microphone and Garageband and decided to make a record. Carrabba was singing through his nose, but at least it seemed like it was coming from his heart.

*note-in the past two or three weeks I’ve actually come across some pretty great non-nasal singers, all of whom will at some point be mentioned in this blog.

-Jay Harren

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