Just forget the words and sing along

Saturday, July 26, 2008

So You Want to be a Music Critic....

I've boasted a few times in the blog about my new MP3 player, and something about a new piece of audio technology makes me run out and buy a whole bunch of new CDs. I went online and ordered a few that I'd been wanting to purchase out of curiosity for some time. They do contain one thing in common: they boast celebrities who are attempting to sing.

Well, for the first one, I should say "attempting to sing," as it is her fourth album and did receive quite a bit of critical acclaim. And I'm not sure I can even say "celebrity," as she's only widely known to a geek like me. Grey DeLisle is, perhaps, one of the hardest working voice actors in animation today. Her voice is every where. Some of her better known roles include Frankie Foster on Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Lor McQuarrie on The Weekenders and the villainous Azula on Avatar: The Last Airbender. And in all Star Wars cartoons and video games (including the upcoming Clone Wars) she does the voice of Queen Amidala.

Anyway, since I love my cartoons, I occasionally google voice actors, just to try to find a picture of the person with the voice. And while googling Grey DeLisle one night, I discovered that she's a country music singer. With four albums out. I was curious, to say the least. I read that she even gathered quite a bit of critical acclaim. When one critic described her as a "Goth-infused Dolly Parton," I was very, very intrigued.

So, I went online and purchased her most recent album, Iron Flowers, which came out in 2005. Needless to say, I was quite impressed. I found a lot of her music to be deep and soulful. Her singing voice is quite reminiscent of Alison Krauss.

If I have one complaint about her album, well, it's a complaint that's unique to me. I am too familiar with her work as a voice actress. And, her singing voice does occasionally take on the qualities of one of the voices she does for a note or two. And that's enough to completely take me out of the moment.

Other than that, I really enjoyed it.

Since all I had to do was add another $10 to get free shipping and handling from Amazon, I also picked up the best-known "so you think you can sing" album at the moment. And that's Scarlett Johansson's album, Anywhere I Lay May Head. It's a bit of a tribute album, as it's mostly made up of Tom Waits covers. It's got some impressive credentials too...David Bowie sings back up on a couple of tracks.

I found the album to be, well, mildly depressing. Johansson's singing voice is kind of a droning monotone, and the music matches. Everything about it just seems so downbeat....

The great stand-up comic Richard Jeni once remarked that, if you want to bring the party to an end and the guests to go home, you should crank up The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald on your stereo, as that song has the ability to completely drain the energy out of a room. And I'm saying that if you can't find your Gordon Lightfoot albums, Scarlett Johansson's album will do just as nicely.

No comments: