Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"I say the ride is so smooth, you must be a limousine."*

   I have been AWOL for the last few days…weeks? Months? And it’s not just because I was moving. No, friends, believe it or not I’ve had a social life for the first time in ages that has filled up my free time with fun time. Hooray! I deserve it. I haven’t felt this popular since I was prom queen.**
   In the offing of some of said free time, I’ve been thinking a lot about important things like whether or not I should return the blue pants I bought, or if there really is a god, or if I’m ever going to have chiseled abs. Answers: “yes”, “dunno,” and a decided “most likely not,” respectively.
   But mostly I’ve been thinking about male singers and this list my buddy Gabe and I made in high school, working long hours at 13th Street Coffee Company in Downtown Omaha. Our coffee shop had a work log that we were asked to add entries to during the work shift. These entries, made in a spiral-bound notebook, tended to run the gamut from “we’re out of Colombian roast” to “the hot guy from the Bemis stopped in this morning.” I'm not sure if our employer, an Italian named (yes) Sergio, found it useful, but it was a nice outlet for artistic doodling and discussion among the baristas.
    But one afternoon, while listening to our favorite cable radio station, coming down from what was probably close to 12 shots of espresso and 8 hours of work, Gabe and I decided to start making a list in the log of the top falsettos of all time. I think about the list from time to time when a great song featuring a great falsetto comes on the radio, and Saturday was no exception. I drove down to Carlsbad, CA, to visit my high school friend Rachel and listened to portions of Rolling Stone's Greatest 500 Songs of All Time. Songs like “Kashmir,” “Dream On” and “Little Red Corvette” got me thinking about the list again. So I’ve decided to remake a portion of it here.
    In no particular order (except the first two names):
1.     Robert Plant: If Robert Plant’s voice were a man, I would try to make it love me and hold it in my arms all night long. I would stalk it like a psychopath and watch it through its windows when it undressed at night. Immediate examples of where this gorgeous falsetto makes me the happiest are “Whole Lot of Love,” “Immigrant Song,” and “What Is and What Should Never Be.”
Robert Plant at his sexiest. Seriously, don't look at current photos!

Okay, fine, here he is. Time isn't always kind to the beautiful.

2.     Freddie Mercury: Now I’ve mentioned Freddie before, because I adore the man, the voice, the music and the persona. That man’s voice was out-of-this world beautiful and I’ve known sopranos who can’t belt like this man could. Favorite tunes backing up this theory: “Bohemian Rhapsody” (duh), “We Are the Champions” and “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy.”
3.     Prince (“Little Red Corvette” or anything, really. He's the smallest/sexiest man of all time.)
Prince. Sigh.

    4. Beck ("Debra")
   5. Michael Jackson
   6. Justin Timberlake
   7. Steven Tyler ("Crazy"...I mean, holy shit.)
   8. Smokey Robinson
   9. Art Garfunkel (or was his entire singing range in the falsetto?)

    10. Axl Rose
         11. James Brown
    12. Adam Levine
    13. Steve Winwood
    14. Pete Townsend
    15. Frankie Valli***
    16. Sting
    17. Michael McDonald
    18. Jackie Wilson
    19. Eddie Kendricks
   I’m sure this list will be updated a bunch of times. I called Gabe to weigh in, and she reminded me of several of the above-mentioned names. We also discussed how we shouldn’t count men whose voices have such a high octave range that they were never required to sing in falsetto. That’s cheating. Also, if a dude is screechy or whiney at the falsetto range, he’s disqualified (Mick Jagger). And if we don't like the man or his music, he is also not in the running (think Kanye West).
     But, I’d also like to include some honorable mentions. This is the list of men who really tried to hit the high notes, and maybe shouldn’t have, but did an admirable job nonetheless:
1.     Paul McCartney
2.     Trey Anastasio
3.     Steven Page
  You got others? Please let me know!
  Okay, so this isn’t an important issue, really, but there’s something supremely sexy about a man hitting those high notes. Kind of like how Tim Curry in Rocky Horror Picture Show is superlatively sexy dressed as a woman. It’s that whole gender-bending phenomenon, without the tights and the wigs. I’m somewhat tempted to put Robert Smith on this list, but I won’t because I’m pretty sure I only think his voice is high because he wore lipstick all the time.
*"Little Red Corvette" by Prince. Just sing that line to yourself. Can you hear that falsetto in your mind?
**I was never prom queen.

***Thanks for the reminder, Mom.

1 comment:

  1. I cannot believe you did not mention Frankie Vallee of the 4 Seasons. You and Lizzy sang along to his repertoire for the first five years of your lives. "Let's hang on to what we've got!" and "Sherry Baby!" etc. Love your list, and love you more! xoxo