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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Can today's popular singers sing?

My wife's family ran across this video.

My hearing isn't what it used to be, but that's very close to perfect pitch a cappella. He also shows extraordinary rhythm, diction, range, and expressiveness.

I don't want to be a sour old fart who whines that nothing today is as good as it used to be. But I believe it's fair to ask, can today's popular singers sing? There is so much assistive technology in modern singing these days that I can't imagine many performers would have the nerve to be recorded doing what Marvin Gaye did. Of course, these days it's not necessary for singers to do what Gaye did — so perhaps it's an unfair comparison. What matters now is a combination of fashion, lifestyle management, mastery of social networking, etc. Taylor Swift appears to be really good at those things, although I think she can sing reasonably well... but she's no Mariah Carey or a Sheryl Crow.

Amy Winehouse and Pharrell Williams? Maybe. Otherwise, when I look at the winners of Grammys for Best New Artist, the list has been bleak since Norah Jones in 2003.