Thursday, May 7, 2015

Favorite Voices: Part 2

Years ago I compiled a list of my favorite vocalists of all time. That list is still true today - I love all of those singers just as much as I did back then. (However... I must warn anyone who reads it: It was posted during my first couple years of blogging, which means the layout isn't quite right and my writing is super simplistic.) Somewhat recently, I've developed some love for other voices, and I thought now would be a good time to share them.

Floor Jansen
Member of: After Forever, ReVamp, Nightwish

It took me a while to discover the perfection that is Queen Floor. Once she started filling in for Nightwish I listened to her on "Ghost Love Score," and by the last note I became a fan for life. She has mastered a combination of vocal styles one could only imagine: She can hit notes higher than the stratosphere, she can sing classically with grace and power, she can sing metal with a grungy sound, she can growl better than most of the grunters in the metal scene. And she can switch between styles with seconds to spare. This woman is power. When watching videos of Nightwish's "The Greatest Show on Earth" live I thought an extra lion was added between the sections "Life" and "The Toolmaker." But it wasn't a lion. It was Floor.
George Oothsoek
Member of: Orphanage

I actually don't know Oothsoek from his band Orphanage. Instead, I know him from Within Temptation's impressive list of concert DVDs, all of which feature him as a guest. On the Mother Earth Tour DVD,  he performs "Deep Within," on The Silent Force and Let Us Burn: Elements and Hydra Live in Concert he performs "Candles," and on Black Symphony he performs "The Other Half (Of Me)." On Black Symphony, Within Temptation's lead vocalist Sharon den Adel calls him "the best grunter in the Netherlands," and I completely agree. Many grunters struggle with consistence live as they have to really do it just right in order to sound good and not destroy their voices, but George is spot-on.
Dolores O’Riordan
Member of: The Cranberries
*Also has a solo career

If you told me eight years ago that I'd feature Dolores O'Riordan on a list of my favorite vocalists, I would have said you were crazy. But here we are. O'Riordan's voice is characterized by a thick Irish accent and the way her voice cracks a bit at the end of phrases. It's not what a lot of people are used to, but her sound is so unique it's impossible not to grow fond of it. She belts so strongly and thrusts a lot of emotion in her voice, making her sound utterly powerful at times but utterly broken at other times.
Dido Armstrong

Even though I've always known of Dido and even owned one of her albums, my appreciation for her has truly grown over the past half year. Her alto voice is one of the smoothest I've ever heard, but I suppose hearing it always makes me nostalgic since I remember hearing "Thank You" on the radio 24/7 as a child (I think my mother was completely sick of the song at the time, but even she can't resist Dido now). To be honest, I only really like some select songs from her, but her voice is so pretty that I'll always be interested in her career.

Chester Bennington
Member of: Linkin Park

A unique sound, a unique range. Chester Bennington's tenor voice is certainly recognizable even though much of the mainstream-listening general public doesn't know him by name and instead by the title "The Lead Singer of Linkin Park." His voice is higher-pitched than that of most men and has a remarkable clarity to it, but Bennington is also known for his harsh vocals. Rather than projecting low, monstrous growls and screams, Bennington screams about as high as he can sing. In addition to Linkin Park's fusion of genres that lessen some of their rock music's aggresiveness a times, Bennington's voice is also a factor that plays into the band's widespread popularity.
Elena Tonra
Member of: Daughter

Daughter is one of those bands that are the epitome of the laid-back indie sound, much like Radical Face but perhaps more melancholy. However, the effect wouldn't be the same without Elena Tonra's alto vocals. Her voice has a smoothness remnicient of Dido (though I'd definitely be able to distinguish the difference between the two in an a cappella match). She doesn't show off; she just goes with the music and allows her voice to mesh with subtle instruments, and hence, her voice is quite peaceful to listen to. 

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