Male Recording Artists Are Starting To Sound Alike...
...I've had this draft sitting for awhile (months actually) and I keep adjusting it because I keep hearing more and more artists that sound alike, so that really should read "Male Recording Artists DO Sound Alike", or something similar to that.
I cruise the radio dial, as many of you do, and I'm found it's getting increasingly difficult to tell one male artist (or male fronted band) from another. For example, let's throw John Mayer, David Grey, Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz into a pile. Can you tell whose voice is whose?
Ok, maybe John Mayer isn't fair since he's got a rather distinctive *sound* but if they were all singing the same song in the same key at the same tempo, could you tell them apart? Doubt it. I don't think that I could. They could harmonize on stage together (which would be some interesting eye candy) and you really wouldn't get anything spectacular in my opinion. Same goes for many others - The Killers, Snow Patrol, Razorlight, Keane, Five for Fighting... it's hard to tell them apart if they're all singing in the same key.
I'll give it to the guys at Five For Fighting - that's a very distinct sound that they have with their lead singer. But when you place them next to James Blunt and The Fray, then you've got those three sounding alike.
It's sad. There's probably only a couple of really distinctive stand alone voices on the radio anymore, unless you happen to be a dedicated fan of someone and know all the nuances of their voices. After all, I can pick out the guys in Chicago out of a crowd for the most part - I'll be honest here - Keith Howland's voice would blend right in with Mayer, Grey, and Mraz. But even the most dedicated fans should be able to admit that their favorite does have sound alikes- whether the sound is created in the studio or is naturally occurring there are sound alikes. Only those in blind adoration refuse to recognize the similarities when it's being played side by side.
You don't seem to have that happening with the women... then again... can *you* pick out Beyonce from Christina Aguilara, and Michelle Branch from Vanessa Carlton? What happened to popular music having a distinctive sound? Oh sure, you can have some really distinctive melodies and coupled with your voice it's a unique sound (like the aforementioned John Mayer and James Blunt). But what about a distinctive voice?
Elvis had one. The Beatles did too, unless you start listening to the Kooks or Mott the Hoople. Barry White, Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart. These guys had voices that you could *TELL* it was them. Now it's a guessing game on the radio for the most part.
Is that Daniel Powter or is it James Blunt?
Is that Jason Mraz or is it Razorlight?
Christina Aguilera or Beyonce?
Who can tell anymore?
In a lot of cases, who the hell cares anymore? As long as it sounds good, isn't spoken over and is on a station that isn't playing commercials every 10 seconds does it matter who it is? I know the artist will think that it's important because they're trying to make a statement, but mainstream radio doesn't care. And that includes satellite radio too. They don't care what it sounds like as long as they're not getting fined, sued, or losing ratings.
It's not about the look anymore either. Wear ratty jeans and bring a beat up guitar, no one really cares because the age of the music video is dead thanks to MTV becoming more of a "reality programming" station than one that shows music videos. And most of these folks don't care about what the fans are thinking in the first place because they're just there to sell the record or fill the concert venue seats.
Jaded, me? Absolutely. Why? No idea. I still have my favorite artists and favorite bands (some of whom I've mentioned in this post) and I'd know a lot of their voices instantly. Some I wouldn't just because of age, or experimentation with a different sound. I like what I hear and I buy the music that I like, same as anyone else....
...if I could just figure out who they are.