View Full Version : "Singers" who can't "sing"

08-24-2003, 10:52 PM
yesterday on comedy central i was watching a re-run of saturday night live and it's musical guest was jennifer lopez. i'm not a fan of her music, but also don't despise her and ben affleck as it's currently popular to do so.

anyway, on saturday night live, the musical guest actually has to sing...no lip-sincing is allowed...and i was amazed at how bad jennifer lopez sings. i'm not talking about her style of music, but her complete lack of singing ability. it was probably the worst live perfromance i've ever seen a "professional" singer give. she has no range what so ever, and her voice is very flat. her studio recordings are obviously digitally altered. how she ever got a recording contract boggles my mind. of course she's pretty, dances well and looks every bit the part of the traditional pop singer....but that voice is terrible. she sounded like some regular talentless person you would see at a kariokee bar.

so, without bashing a singer just because you don't like their "style of music", have any of you witnessed anything like this, in person or live on TV?
(...and caesar, you can't say "billy corgan" as it's well known he can't sing live or on tape!" :crazed:

08-24-2003, 11:09 PM
ok.. if Caesar cant say it.. I will .. Billy Corgan! Same place.. same deal..
The live performace the smashing pumpkins.. just down right terrible. I figured Saturday night live.. they shoulda tried harder..

other than that.. none that I can think of...

08-24-2003, 11:56 PM
Tonysmo, I was thinking the exact same thing when I read Dereks above question on talentless singers.

That, and 50 cent. I heard him singing live on SNL and some beach thing on MTV, and I was not impressed.

08-25-2003, 12:44 AM
Snoop Dogg, but I am not convinced he's even trying. ;)

J-Lo has always wobbled my mind with her music career. Her and Britney Spears pop right to the top of this list for me. Anthony Kiedis can't find his notes very well either, he can sing, but even his live stuff on TV is just all over the map while he searches for the right note.

08-25-2003, 01:17 AM
Woah woah, see, Billy Corgan KNOWS he can't sing well, which makes it all the more dandy. Plus, which performance we talking here?!?!!? I thought hte last few appearances i saw of Corgan & Co on TV were good. I think the version of "Bullet w/ Butterfly Wings" was kinda iffy, but tis been a while. Though, everytime i see Corgan live (with whatever band), he always sounded good.

Anyway, I have to go w/ about 90% of rappers can't sing worth a damn. It's not that they can't sing well or whatnot, but it's hard to tell who's saying what when there are 15 people onstage w/ microphones. Like Steve Harvey said in "Original Kings of comedy", "40 damned people onstage, all have mics!! The temptations, 5 people, one mic! no matter what they did, they always came back to the one mic!"

Gwen Stefani comes to mind as well. Man, she sounds so horrible, it makes me want to cut my ears off. :D

Jedi Tech
08-25-2003, 01:52 AM
Britney Spears, 5 dimes A.K.A. 50 cent, Pink, Puff Daddy, JLO, and many more.

08-25-2003, 04:20 AM
Let's see..............Corey Taylor. Only when he is not under the influence.
He messed up at a concert when doing WAIT AND BLEED. He destroyed the magic!!!!!!:cry:

08-25-2003, 07:13 AM
i know billy corgan dosen't have a good voice, but the thing is, he pretty much sounds the same regardless if it's live or on tape, so that's the reason i mentioned him from the start.

....another singer who comes to mind is faith hill. she sounds really good on the radio or cd, but i've seen her live on "VH1 divas" and on a few awards shows, and her voice is a little better than jennifer lopez's, but not much better. she too has obviously had her voice enhanced in the studio.

....another is third eye blind's stephen jenkins. i really like his music, but everytime i see him live on letterman or leno, he sounds horrible, but i've seen them in concert a few times and he sounded good, so i'm not totaly convinced he's "cheating" in the studio like jennifer lopez or faith hill..

08-25-2003, 09:31 AM
I can't recall the first one that comes to mind too well... some "diva" from r+b slow-jam stuff. some special with her on MTV and for all the studio tricks there are, she sounded like a horrible croaking frog when she spoke... sorta like buster poindexter's speaking voice....
The guy from "our lady peace" can't sing to save his life, their live album just released is a travesty...
Eddie Vedder also can't sing to save his life, nor can the guy from *shudder* CREED... just a stupid warbling trick...
Also, for those closer to the border... Gordon Downie from the Tragicall Hip is nothing but that stupid vibrato on an annoying grating 3 note range... I hat when some dumb singing gimmick gets referred to as a vocalists "Style"
Neil Young also.... why does he pretend that that dumb falsetto is the way it has to be... sorry to fans, but his stuff is unlistenable to me (PS I can sing pretty well, so I am NOT talking through my hat this time, to be sure)

I'm not slagging these artists per-se, and certainly not slagging fans of them (JediElf loves the Hip, whatcha gonna do) but for real, all those mentioned above couldn't combine to make even one Ronnie James Dio

08-25-2003, 09:48 AM
Singers who can't sing (but whom I love nonetheless):
Perry Farrell, Bob Dylan, Phil Lesh, Billy Corgan, Eddie Vedder (actually he's pretty all-around annoying), Trey Anastasio of my fav all-time band Phish is sometimes right on the border.

08-25-2003, 10:32 AM
You guys are crazy, I think out of all the names mentioned here Eddie vedder has the best voice. Bob Dylan can not sing, but writes great stuff. Billy is(to quote a forumite...m'eh). I saw them in concert and it was ok at best.

Britney, J-lo, 50 cents, and a bunch more should have never been given contracts.

08-25-2003, 12:38 PM
:crazed: Faith Hill can't really sing?!! Dude(Derek)..I gotta disagree with ya there. Now I will agree about Jennifer Lopez and Britney..well she's so obvious it needn't even be posted. But bro...Faith Hill..nahhh..I've seen her on several live shows and she's got it all her range is incredible. Maybe you saw or heard her on a bad day or something. As for the tweeking in the studios...I'm pretty sure they all do that at one time or another..perhaps not so much as Britney..that girl doesn't even need to open her mouth..it's all fake anyway....
Okay as for Neil Young...mabudon...I totally agree with you there! That mans voice drives me up a wall and back down again...yikes :crazed: Enough of the "children singin' and drummers drummin'" KH likes him though.....so I have to hear it at time..wahh!
And gotta also agree with KH about Eddie Vedder...that man has an awesome voice for the type of music he does...he can take ya there. I mean I can't imagine his voice would be good on say...Sound of Music with that doe a dear blah blah blah.......
Alrighty..there's my input...

Oh yeah I know this is for people that can't sing..but I gotta mention Ed Kowalczyk of LIVE....nice!

08-25-2003, 05:58 PM
The first person that came to my mind was Dave Matthews. I just don't get him.


El Chuxter
08-25-2003, 06:25 PM
There's a lot of folks I think are incredible musicians, but when it comes down to it, they can't sing.

At the top of the list (and I'm surprised he hasn't come up yet): Tom Petty. Possibly the greatest rocker in the world, and he couldn't sing his way out of a paper bag.

08-25-2003, 06:27 PM
:crazed: Faith Hill can't really sing?!! Dude(Derek)..I gotta disagree with ya there. Now I will agree about Jennifer Lopez and Britney..well she's so obvious it needn't even be posted. But bro...Faith Hill..nahhh..I've seen her on several live shows and she's got it all her range is incredible. Maybe you saw or heard her on a bad day or something.

i recall seeing her twice, once on VH1 divas and once on the latest grammy or oscars, and both times i was really disapointed in her vocal range.

on the "Divas" show, singers like aretha franklin just blew her away.

everyone has listed quite a few singers and i think they misread the intent of my original post(or didn't read it at all). sure, a lot of the singers listed don't have the greatest voices, but i'm mainly interested in discussing the differences between their recordings and what they really sound like. ;)

folks like tom petty, bob dylan, eddie vedder, scott stapp, ed kowalczyk, dave matthews, puffy, and just about everyone else listed all sound pretty much the same on CD or live, but puffy is just lame all around.

kool-aid killer
08-25-2003, 07:21 PM
Rappers are notorious for having a poor live performance. I dont hate J. Lo but i just wish she would get over the "Im still ghetto despite my riches" act. You arent ghetto if you roll around in a limo or demand that a room have this color curtains, this amount of flowers, this type of food etc. If she was "ghetto" she would have a bus pass and be pleased with having something from Burger King's 99 cent menu as a meal.

Lowly Bantha Cleaner
08-25-2003, 11:29 PM
I think we should seriously have legislation that forbids any Hollywood movie star from crossing over to music and vice versa for that matter. The latest offender is Hilary Duff, a young actress that is all over the Disney Channel (she was in a recent teen movie, the name which escapes me). She just released an album titled, "Why Not?" which got bad reviews. Either stick to acting or singing, don't torture us with both please. Very few people out there excel at both.

08-26-2003, 12:44 AM
Sorry D-

But Dylan sounds MUCH better on record than he does live (if you can believe that). If you are not intimately familiar with the lyrics to his songs, you stand ZERO chance of understanding his lyrics live.

08-26-2003, 01:52 AM
ok.. howabout Lisa Marie Presley.. granted, shes smokin - but she cant sing. bottom line. live or studio... It just doesnt matter

08-26-2003, 04:31 AM
Most of the vocals on J-ho's Play we're so heavily augmented by Ashanti that she should have the credit for the song :D Another J-ho song (i forget which) got the same treatment - this time with Christina Milian's vocals. I think she is patronising the ghetto lifestyle and glamourising it for her own ends. Okay so it is about money but she needs her forehead pressed very hard with my fingers until she screams in agony and passes out. (just my fantasy :D )

If any of you have heard Victoria Beckahm (the starved-carnivore, dark entity attachment to our soccer star David Beckham - okay, his wife, then) you would level the same criticism to her. A pipe-thin, reedy voice that comes from an angular weasel like face.

If you want to sing well live, then don't dance. If you want to dance, then mime. Simple equation.


08-26-2003, 08:00 AM
Sorry D-

But Dylan sounds MUCH better on record than he does live (if you can believe that). If you are not intimately familiar with the lyrics to his songs, you stand ZERO chance of understanding his lyrics live.

i don't know......i've seen him in concert and have a few of his "live" CD's and i have no complaints. of course almost anyone is going to sound a little better in the studio versus a live peformance, but not many pro singers could of sounded as bad as jennifer lopez does live. she was so bad i kinda felt sorry for her.

08-26-2003, 08:54 AM
Hey LBC, you hate actors with albums?? A few years ago my friend, who works in studios, recorded a second "Bruno" album with bruce willis...

It got shelved indefinitely, but it exists, THAT's the scary part....
'nother mention whom no-one's mentioned, Mick Jagger... he also would die in the proverbial wet paper bag, live or studio

08-26-2003, 09:32 AM
Britney Spears,Christina A.,Boy Bands,Hillary Duff,Pink,Rappers all sound bad to myself live.I guess the pop/R&B cant cross over live.Just about any actor/actress-turned-singer is bad as well,stick with something you know how to do:p

good shot jansen
08-26-2003, 09:33 AM
roland gift of fine young canibals, had an amazing studio voice. every track they did, he sounded magnificent, truely amazing.

however, having had the chance to see em' live on several occasions in the mid to late 80's, each of the shows i saw, his voice sounded like crap. off key, very weak, just pure rubbish. not anywhere near how he sounded on disc.

i know he became more interested in becoming an actor, but i always wondered if the reason why the band has been dormant for over a decade now, is due to the fact that gift just doesn't have a voice left to sing with.

08-26-2003, 09:35 AM

You must have attended/listened to some of his "good days". I'm a HUGE Dyaln fan, know most of his catalogue, but have been to shows where I've been severely disappointed, unable to understand a mumbled word. Of course, I've also seen shows where he's sounded absolutely brilliant (in relative Dylan terms, of course).

08-26-2003, 10:01 AM
Ironically I saw some article on TV yesterday about a "magic" device that can make anyone's voice sound perfect in the studio.. DUH!!!
There've been "magic" devices like that for a long time, there was even analog stuff that could do a pretty good job of it...
I think that's the problem with the industry... the Label makes most of it's money off of album sales, the artist moreso off of concerts... as long as an album can be released that sounds good enough to move mass units, it's done its job... when folks come out and realize that the artist stinks on ice, they figure it was mebbe an off night or whatever... no-one wants to believe that a fave artist is really just a fraud... our lady peace is TOTALLY like that... Sad truth, mainstream music is made for folks who don't even understand music...
This might explain the discrepancy between golden-throated studio stuff and utter caterwauling live that so many here have noted
Being a good musician (or singer or whatever) has nothing to do with mainstream popularity, so don't be surprised if bands don't sound "just like their tape", cos most "music" is more fantasy that performance

Metal RULES!!!! \m/

good shot jansen
08-26-2003, 10:56 AM
Dylan sounds MUCH better on record than he does live (if you can believe that). If you are not intimately familiar with the lyrics to his songs, you stand ZERO chance of understanding his lyrics live.

my favorite dylan comparison song, just to see how bad his voice had become, is to listen to "it's alright ma, i'm only bleeding" from the concert for bangladesh album, then listen to him sing the same song on the bob dylan 30th anniversary album............yoiks! jar jar could do better :eek:

"id awrigh mah immmmmmm uhly beedin'"

huh? :confused:

Arrogant Arse
08-26-2003, 12:05 PM
GET Jennifer Lopez THE H*** OFF THE RADIO!! She has Absolutely no vocal range. The notes/tones she sings don't vary much on the musical scale. She is horrible!

I agree with Jeddah who said she should stop saying she is simple, and from the Ghetto. When I first heard her "my love don't cost a thing" song I thought she said "My Love Don't Come for Free." After hearing about her personal life, it appears that that her love DOES cost something. .

"I'm just Jenny from the block."-Bull S***


08-26-2003, 12:41 PM
Ironically I saw some article on TV yesterday about a "magic" device that can make anyone's voice sound perfect in the studio..

Mab, remind me to retype the essay I just lost on the heavy reliance on the Antares Autotune in todays music (all genres). If I get time at work tomorrow I will repost.


Exhaust Port
08-27-2003, 09:59 PM
I just wish that all these flash in the pan artists would stop calling themselves MUSIC ARTISTS when all they do is sing someone elses songs. For crying out loud, is it too much to ask that you play at least one instrument?

Over the decades very few music acts have standed the test of time when no one in the group plays an instrument. Sure acts like The Supremes are considered classics but they are a very small percentage of the artists out there. For their time The Beatles were a "boy band" but they wrote and played some killer tunes. Now these modern versions are thinking of themselves as the same caliber but they bring nothing to the industry other than a pretty face and that will fade over time.

08-28-2003, 02:03 AM
Don't forget that despite writing some of the best music ever, the Beatles were generally regarded as a studio band and not so good live.

08-28-2003, 11:26 AM
Ironically I saw some article on TV yesterday about a "magic" device that can make anyone's voice sound perfect in the studio..

Okay, my repost about the Antares autotune…

This unit was introduced a few years back for around 799.00 and was most commonly known amongst other musos as the unit responsible for the odd effect used on Cher’s vocals in Believe. (in addition to a vocoder and filter). Since then it has been used to correct the reedy thin vocals of poor singers and to retune tuneless singers. It then went through a period of creative overuse, especially in teeny pop songs and has kind of become naff now. (I was saddened and disappointment to hear it used creatively on one line in the fabulous UK Soul singer Lemar’s debut single.)

The thing with Autotune is that it can be detected by the discerning ear (mwauh hah hah) :evil:. If you listen to the likes of Bunton (Baby spice from the Spice girls), Atomic Kitten and a plethora of other plastic bands, you can hear the artefacts of its use all over the vocals. It comes with a detune, vibrato and other presets and so it can be used painstakingly to subtly correct vocals. Because it has such a low latency, it has a good application when used in live work to help a vocalist out when competing with nerves, and a lack of breath when singing/dancing which can make the notes harder to come out tunefully. The problem is that sometimes the formant-preserving pitch shift algorithm that is used to recognise and correct the signal can sometimes get it wrong and so a slightly out of tune note (in cents as opposed to tones and semitones) can be forced to a horrendously out of tune note. I have used this to great effect on some of my tracks :D :D :D

The thing that annoys me is when a live vocalist relies too heavily on a vocal gate. This is basically a situation where you have the vocal track running simultaneous to the vocalist's singing, and synced up to the instruments (or, if they are live, a SMPTE click sync track). When the vocalist sings below a certain threshold volume, the gate lifts and the pre-recorded vocal comes through at a volume that will bring the vocals level up to the correct volume. This is useful especially for singers like Madonna or Janet who dance on stage which I think is an acceptable trade-off when they are offering such showmanship. What annoys me is when the lazy or worried vocalist stops singing or purposefully sings really low - the gate lifts and lets the full pre-recorded vocal through. Anyone who has seen J-ho perform ‘live’ on Top of the Pops will be able to see this. One giveaway of this trick is to listen out for sections in the song where there is a spoken sequence or the artist is talking to the crowd in a breakdown. As the singer begins to speak into the mic, there is a short moment where the gate on the pre-recorded vocals has to close and pump the real vocals back. So the artist sounds very quiet for a few split seconds before the respective gates have raised and lowered. I nearly fell out my chair when I saw J-ho on TOTPs and she says the line “DJ, I’ve asked you 3 times, now please play my song” (or something) and it was so quiet. Then at the end when she said “thank you” to the mic, it was like it had been switched off.

So, yeah.


good shot jansen
08-28-2003, 04:50 PM
Don't forget that despite writing some of the best music ever, the Beatles were generally regarded as a studio band and not so good live.

actually the beatles were quite good live, and prided themselves on their tight stage performances.

they're 1st 3 albums were recorded live in the studio, (please please me, with the beatles, and a hard days night), and in some notable instances, songs were completed in one solitary take (twist and shout is the most famous of those single take recordings)

the 1st album where they began overdubs was the beatles for sale. (ringo's timani and george martins piano on what your doing)

they only became sloppy after beatlemania had hit big time, and during the course of their performances, no one, (not even themselves) could hear a note over the constant screaming.

they were forced to perform night after night, (sometimes two shows a day), all over the world, to a mass audience who didn't care how well or how sloppy they played.

it eventually became a major grind, and of course the tightness of the group suffered.

Exhaust Port
08-29-2003, 10:40 PM
Very interesting information Jeddah, thanks for sharing.

08-30-2003, 08:48 AM
Copy that, well presented and fun for all...
I tried to PM my thoughts but someone has a full mailbox....

09-01-2003, 03:29 AM
Thanks guys, my complete pleasure. :) And Mab, isn't PMing a little unsociable to the rest of the board users :evil: ;) (j/k)


09-02-2003, 12:08 PM
I dunno what's more unsociable, actually, PM-ing smart comments or letting yer "mailbox" get so full that anyone who tries to send stuff gets error messages :D
Who knew that one Cher song would give music a new "direction"...
At least it's better than the late 90's when the "singing into a mic through a megaphone" craze was upon us...

09-06-2003, 11:20 PM
Definitely Christina Aguilera... every time she goes to one of those low notes, she does that hideous grunting noise that some female singers do. I hate it.

03-21-2008, 08:26 PM
ok.. if Caesar cant say it.. I will .. Billy Corgan!

Thanks, I hate that whiny c**t's voice. :thumbsup: