Five Great Singers in Bad Bands
A couple of months back, we discussed how so many great bands have ended up with some pretty bad singers in them, usually because they couldn't find a decent lead singer around when they started or they started off playing a wildly different style and eventually took a detour that forced their front person to start crooning.
Photo by Violeta Alvarez Hayley Williams of Paramore
This time we'd like to take a look at the flipside: bands that are pretty awful but somehow managed to land an awesome singer up front. It's a little bit tougher, because bad singers are often the reason a band sucks, but we've come up with some truly terrible bands whose singers would be so much better fronting just about anyone else.
Marilyn Manson (Marilyn Manson)
It really sucks that Marilyn Manson painted himself into such a corner with his Alice Cooper wannabe stuff, because he's really an interesting musician with a lot of great influences behind him. I bet if he was free of trying to live up to his own image he might have attained the sort of post-angst late-career acclaim that his old buddy Trent Reznor has.
Besides all that, though, Manson has always had a great voice, especially for the kind of music he does. It's dark, seductive, scary and intense all at once. Ever the showman, he twists and contorts his delivery in exceptional ways to convey so much in single lines. With so much in his favor, he should have been a favorite of hipsters everywhere, but instead fell prey to commercial interests over artistic integrity. What a shame.
Justin Vernon (Bon Iver)
Here's the thing, Justin Vernon is just a boring songwriter. There's nothing interesting that he puts into his music. It's all airy, spacey bullshit folk that cleverly appeals to log cabin hipsters while missing out on anything that made folk an appealing style of music in the '60s. Go listen to Bill Callahan if you want to hear some good modern folk music.
He does have a great voice for singing pop hooks though. Check him out on Kanye West's records. He's brilliant there. I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed what he did to "I'm In It," "Monster," and "Lost in the Woods," the latter of which hilariously samples one of his exceedingly boring tracks and makes it good through the power of Yeezus. I would not mind if he just quit doing music on his own and lent his talents to singing Kanye's hooks full-time.
Hayley Williams (Paramore)
Now carving out a niche for herself as a pop star singing the hooks for rap songs as well as the front woman for teen-emo-pop-punk rockers Paramore, Hayley Williams has proved her chops as a singer. No more questions on that. The problem is her choice of music; Paramore is such a waste of her talents.
Far be it from us to discourage someone from singing in a punk-rock band, but Paramore is about as punk as 2 percent milk. The most punk thing they've ever done is butchering an At the Drive-In song at their live shows. Frankly, Williams has already shown us she could be a great pop songstress, and we'd love to hear what she could produce under that guise. Unfortunately, she's stuck in a terrible band, like this generation's Amy Lee. It's a shame.
List continues on the next page.