Sometimes the hitting of notes, consistent pitch and overall trained aesthetic of traditionally “good” singers is wholly overrated. Here is a short list of singers who aren’t afraid to yell, talk, scream and/or growl their way through songs and absolutely kick ass in the process. I don’t consider them bad in the sense that I don’t like their voices, only that they would need a few lessons before auditioning for the IC School of Music. Their style, lyrics and passion, on the other hand, reach above and beyond any traditional voice aesthetic that I wouldn’t take them any other way. Enjoy!
1. Tom Waits
Years of caffeine and nicotine have done a number on this man’s voice and that’s what makes it so special. He’s got a totally unique style that may take a while for some to get into but I think that given time, it will grow on you.
2. Craig Finn
It’s hard to criticize the lead singer of The Hold Steady for having a bad singing voice because it’s questionable whether you consider what he does to be singing. Either way, Finn’s talking/singing through their bar rock anthems makes for one the most energetic, sweaty, fist pumping-ly awesome live shows around today.
3. Alec Ounsworth
As lead singer of the band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, this guy is one who isn’t afraid to miss a note or twenty or sing so loud his voice cracks. Catchy hooks and a whole lot of passion make this band one of my favorites to sing/yell along to.
4. David Byrne
Lead singer of the legendary Talking Heads, David Byrne is such an influential musician and artist despite not having that great of a voice. I don’t know much else to say about that. Just listen.
5. Kristian Matsson
Better known as The Tallest Man on Earth, Matsson is one who isn’t afraid to howl and crack his voice throughout his songs. He’s from Sweden but you wouldn’t know it from his accent. Despite his non-traditional vocal style, I think he has a very accessible sound with a really nice finger-picking guitar style.
(Clichéd 6)- Bob Dylan
This man should already be on everyone’s list so I hesitate to mention him, but for those who either have not discovered the genius that is this poet with a scratchy voice, you need to give him a listen… Now!
Also, number 6 is always Bob Dylan.
Spencer Krug of Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown
Ian Felice of The Felice Brothers
John McCauley of Deer Tick