Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Music, Voices, and Whitney

With the announcement of Whitney Houston's passing and the Grammys the following day, I've been thinking a lot about music, voices, and what true vocal talent is. There is no doubt that Whitney had it, although her lifestyle choices had caused it to deteriorate.

This is an INCREDIBLE performance where she sings for 10 minutes straight at the AMAs in 1994. She does a medley that includes songs from Porgy and Bess and Dreamgirls, plus her hit I Have Nothing. The first time I saw this, I was so entranced, that I couldn't believe it was 10 minutes long. It's phenomenal...

Whitney singing the National Anthem in 1991. It is the most flawless performance at a sporting event ever. There are plenty of online videos of her sounding off key with a ravaged voice in the last few years, but this is the way I like to remember her:

As Eric and I watched the Grammys on Sunday, we cringed at some of the acts. The Grammys have really become a popularity contest. There is so much talent out there that never gets recognized, yet we have mediocre singers and unimaginative songs that are crammed down our throats, winning awards, and marketed as the voices of today. It's ridiculous.

After an hour of watching the Grammys, I changed the channel and indulged in the 2-hour episode of my beloved Downton Abbey--a reminder that quality TV still exists.

The next day, Eric and I were browsing around on YouTube when we came across Nicki Minaj's Grammy number. Again, confirmation that the lines between "Music" and "Performance Art" are becoming extremely blurred. Her wack-a-doodle number, with all of it's references to the Catholic church, was definitely more performance art.

My own CD collection, which is fairly large, exists because I'm trying to maintain a standard of what I listen to. I personally, prefer Music. I like good songs and great voices. If a great song and a superior voice are brought together--all the better!

So, in the interest of trying to preserve these things that I feel are important, here are a few of my favorite songs sung by some pretty great singers...

Russell Watson: "Always There"

Barbra Streisand: "My Man" from Funny Girl

Josh Groban: "Anthem" from Chess

Linda Eder: "The Man of La Mancha"

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