It's stunning to learn that others don't share our tastes. Then again, how did an entire generation embrace faux wood paneling, shag carpets and putting thick plastic on their furniture? Well, someone thought it was a great idea!
Hey, I like Bob Dylan's voice and kept him off this list because I could! Instead, I found the ten singers most likely to make you drive off the road.
Now that's a terrible fate. Not only are you stranded in some ditch, but you're stuck listening to one of these ten singers, who it would seem are singing that way just to mock you. Oh, the injustice.
Celine Dion: I know there are millions of people who would beg to disagree, but let's get real, people. She sings 15 notes where one would suffice and turns every song into an anthem for self-empowerment. It's like getting an hour of Oprah condensed into four minutes. She sings. It's time to start the lawnmower.
John Mayer: Young people are impressionable. I'm not sure where John Mayer learned his vocal craft. I hesitate to call it singing. It's more like whimpering. And for some reason, this has become a trend not stopping anytime soon. As you'll sadly learn as we go further down this list.
Conor Oberst: As the wunderkind who leads Bright Eyes, Conor Oberst was given a certain amount of leeway since he was a young teen when he started out and his precious singing--so sensitive and intimate you could hear the post-nasal drip--was mistaken as precocious. Well, he's in his 20s now and he still sounds like he's swimming back to the womb for protection from this hard, harsh world. Come on buddy, stand up straight and stop trying to imitate the Cure's Robert Smith. He got there first. And even he must know he sounds a little silly.
Lily Allen: Contrary to this column, I want to like fresh, young talent. I want to hear singers bring true commitment to their material. The first time I heard Lily Allen I thought it was quaint. Then it seemed every young female singer was determined to sing just like her, as if they're running out of air in their lungs and have to get back to the respirator before the next verse begins. Sure, she's bouncy and spunky. But if I might quote what Lou Grant once told Mary Tyler Moore: I HATE SPUNK.
Devendra Banhart / Tiny Tim: I'm not convinced they're not the same person. Tiny Tim was a novelty item singing with that stupid ukulele something about tiptoeing through the tulips. Anyone with any half sense would know it was novelty item that shouldn't be used as the basis for an entire recording career. And for thirty years, it wasn't, until freaky-folk dude Devendra Banhart showed up and started warbling in that unlistenable, untrained vibrato the kind of nonsensical lyrics that didn't sound all that great back when people were taking the kinds of drugs you're supposed to be on in order to enjoy it.
James Blunt: All this talk in the media about whether or not waterboarding is torture is moot. Forcing anyone to listen to "Beautiful" on repeat constitutes torture. You want my darkest, deepest secrets? This guy's quivering voice gets you my social security number, my mother's maiden name, my personal PIN and any random government secrets I'm currently harboring.
Frankie Valli: Frankie Valli was a hero to some back in his day. I grant you this. He was consistent! He consistently sang in a voice designed to send dogs running for cover and perfect for breaking glass. "Rag Doll, " "Sherry," "Dawn," "Big Girls Don't Cry," the list is enormous. He very well could be tried as a war criminal. Who would object? Seriously? Who?
Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins): Yes, despite all his rage he's still just a rat in a cage. Unfortunately, that cage came with a microphone for him to transmit his Smashing Pumpkins hits to a helpless, hapless world at large. While Billy could orchestrate grand walls of guitar and write albums of endless tuneage, he insisted on singing it himself. Except this is not singing in any conventional sense, but rather the sound of a petulant, whiny child. This is what happens when parents don't tell their kids to shut up often enough. Children need to know you don't like them.
Scott Stapp (Creed): We could probably start laying the blame on Bono, Eddie Vedder, Jim Morrison and that guy from Blood, Sweat and Tears, but in the end it's Scott Stapp who epitomizes that macho bellow that sounds like a man who's gone overboard at the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet and has just received spiritual orders to let everyone know they're going to hell if they don't save themselves somehow. His spiritual torment becomes your problem. Thanks, pal.
Michael Bolton: OK, this was easy. C'mon, you knew Mr. Bolton would top the list. Who else can take a love song and turn it into a hernia? When a man loves a woman he doesn't do so by screaming in her ear--so why should it be acceptable for a man to sing a sensitive love song as if he's directing traffic for the hearing impaired? R&B classics deserve their place in musical history and should be protected from this man's desecration of all that is holy. It's only right. Let's make it a law.