PDA

View Full Version : Is there a name for this hyper-annoying singing style?


Pages : [1] 2

MeanOldLady
01-02-2014, 10:55 AM
I'd like to be able to more easily dismiss it.

It seems every indie/faux-indie singer-songwriter girl under the age of 30 is singing with a remarkably annoying, breathy voice with an unnecessary twang in it that is at times punctuated with scratchiness. They sing softly and every vowel sounds like "ow," as though the singer is suffering as much as I am every time I hear it.

Example (youtube.com/watch?v=sKbMRVFyjW8&t=30s) - Nataly Dawn
Example (http://youtube.com/watch?v=R4jVVpHfvRE) - Nataly Dawn annoying me again
Example (http://youtube.com/watch?v=2j6qLdx0dmk) - Wild Belle
Example (http://youtube.com/watch?v=s34bnIM-rcs) - Kat Edmonson

If it has a name, I'd like to know so that next time someone attempts to recommend one of these types of songs to me, I can just wave my hand and say "I will not listen to [blank] singing style." A friend of mine tried to recommend to me yet another white girl with a guitar singing in this highly infuriating style, and I had to explain to him what precisely about it irritated me. I'd like to save time.

Thanks.

Inner Stickler
01-02-2014, 11:08 AM
Hmm, I don't know if there's a single word that encapsulates all of that, or if there is, I don't know it. (And to be honest, I thought Wild Belle was rather different and much more interesting to listen to.) If you pressed me, I'd say, "Quirky white girl with an acoustic guitar and too much vocal fry."

RickJay
01-02-2014, 11:11 AM
This appears to be almost universally referred to simply as "indie singing style." It's very widely remarked upon.

Copycat singing styles are a pretty common thing in pop music. A lot of pop-punk singers imitated Billy Joe Armstrong's unusual vowel shifts; listen to the way Avril Lavigne pronounces "you" as "yeaou," as if she was from Nebraska instead of Ontario. It's a direct connection to the style Armstrong started.

Indie singers are just imitating the accepted indie style - and it helps that it's a very easy, narrow-range style so anyone can do it.

If you want to come up with a specific name for it it'd be a good thing to figure out who most popularized it. Not sure who that'd be.

Amateur Barbarian
01-02-2014, 11:13 AM
It's the companion style to "I'm going to drone over a 3-note range that's slightly out of my own range for 3:25 and call it angsty."

Why so many performers today have to act as if they're bored, deeply depressed or afraid someone will shoot them for using a fourth note is beyond me.

MeanOldLady
01-02-2014, 11:47 AM
(And to be honest, I thought Wild Belle was rather different and much more interesting to listen to.)The Wild Belle was the least annoying of them, and is something I could actually like if she weren't singing that way.

This appears to be almost universally referred to simply as "indie singing style." It's very widely remarked upon.Simple indeed. Almost too simple and a bit unfair to indie singers who don't engage in this silliness.

If you want to come up with a specific name for it it'd be a good thing to figure out who most popularized it. Not sure who that'd be.Hmm, if I could figure out who started it, that'd be an easy way to describe what I'm talking about. Also, so that I can send them hate mail. No, I jest. I'm sure it wasn't so bad when just a handful of imitators were doing this, but now that it's the default of indie folk singers, or whatever, it is driving me beyond nuts. It's gotten to the point where the term "singer-songwriter" is a bad word to me when used to describe young white girls. Before I even hear them, I know what they sound like and just cannot deal with it.

Trom
01-02-2014, 12:18 PM
...

Hmm, if I could figure out who started it, that'd be an easy way to describe what I'm talking about.
...

Cat Power (http://youtube.com/watch?v=pS614A5GzEw)?

Ferret Herder
01-02-2014, 12:24 PM
No idea, but I'll nominate Nellie McKay as another perpetrator. It only took the episode of NPR's "Ask Me Another" (shouting out to another thread here) where she was the guest star for me to really not like listening to her speak and sing. (Maybe it was the format or something, but her interview seemed to turn the breathy up x10 and bring out an awful lot of "golly gosh! personality" in her.)

LC Strawhouse
01-02-2014, 12:30 PM
How about "waify"? (aka "I'm a poor helpless orphan in a harsh world") College aged folks seem to find that style extremely attractive, though.

aruvqan
01-02-2014, 12:46 PM
Hmm, I don't know if there's a single word that encapsulates all of that, or if there is, I don't know it. (And to be honest, I thought Wild Belle was rather different and much more interesting to listen to.) If you pressed me, I'd say, "Quirky white girl with an acoustic guitar and too much vocal fry."
Same reason I avoid a lot of 'celtic' music that copies Enya - weak unsupported drifty wispy voice. Would it kill her to take a good breath, stand up straight and belt out a song? I want to do the poke the stomach thing and mention 'breath support'.:rolleyes:

wedgehed
01-02-2014, 12:54 PM
To my untrained ears, it kind of sounds like the result of people, who imitated people, who imitated people, who imitated Rickie Lee Jones.

Son of a Rich
01-02-2014, 01:00 PM
This appears to be almost universally referred to simply as "indie singing style." It's very widely remarked upon.

Copycat singing styles are a pretty common thing in pop music. A lot of pop-punk singers imitated Billy Joe Armstrong's unusual vowel shifts; listen to the way Avril Lavigne pronounces "you" as "yeaou," as if she was from Nebraska instead of Ontario. It's a direct connection to the style Armstrong started.



I had no idea Greenday was so influential. But then, I'm old.

wolfman
01-02-2014, 01:01 PM
I've always thought of it as "Lilith Fair wannabe" style. Like it seems a hell of a lot of the Sarah McLachlan, Lisa Loeb etc. crowd songs use it for intro and coda(sometimes bridge), to wrap the more dynamic stuff.

But these lightweights have no dynamic ability to build to, and just meekly let the whole song leak out of their vocal cords that way.

Diceman
01-02-2014, 01:18 PM
A lot of pop-punk singers imitated Billy Joe Armstrong's unusual vowel shifts;
He's the Green Day singer, right? So, what do you call his (also annoying) style of singing? I swear it sounds like his tongue has swollen up. Any time I Walk Alone comes on the radio I think, "Dude! Isn't there a medicine you could take for that?"

Flywheel
01-02-2014, 01:22 PM
A lot of pop-punk singers imitated Billy Joe Armstrong's unusual vowel shifts;

He's the Green Day singer, right? So, what do you call his (also annoying) style of singing? I swear it sounds like his tongue has swollen up. Any time I Walk Alone comes on the radio I think, "Dude! Isn't there a medicine you could take for that?"

"Hunger dunger dang" (http://urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Hunger%20Dunger%20Dang)

MeanOldLady
01-02-2014, 01:27 PM
Cat Power (http://youtube.com/watch?v=pS614A5GzEw)?Huh, this might be the oldest example of this that I've seen. This nonsense started cropping up like weeds (or at least I first heard it) a good decade ago, and then it became unbearable several years later. I'd hoped people would grow sick of it, but it appears to be getting worse.

No idea, but I'll nominate Nellie McKay as another perpetrator.Very annoying. She's on my list. (Not the good one.)

How about "waify"? (aka "I'm a poor helpless orphan in a harsh world") College aged folks seem to find that style extremely attractive, though.Heh, I like that and what's funny is if I said "She has that damn waify singing voice," I'll bet most people will know what I'm talking about.

RickJay
01-02-2014, 01:31 PM
He's the Green Day singer, right? So, what do you call his (also annoying) style of singing? I swear it sounds like his tongue has swollen up. Any time I Walk Alone comes on the radio I think, "Dude! Isn't there a medicine you could take for that?"
I just call it "pop punk," there being no particular word for it.

It's basically a subset of the modern "unaffected" rock/pop singing style in which the singer sings in as clear and, well, unaffected a style as is pretty much humanly possible, the impression being one of rawness and simplicity; Weezer is a famous example of this. The punk thing adds the weird Midwestern diphthong thing Armstrong popularized.

've always thought of it as "Lilith Fair wannabe" style. Like it seems a hell of a lot of the Sarah McLachlan, Lisa Loeb etc. crowd songs use it for intro and coda(sometimes bridge), to wrap the more dynamic stuff.
Lisa Loeb's a good example but Sarah McLachlan, if you meant her personally, is a terrible one. Sarah McLachlan has a very unusual and distinctive singing voice and she sounds very, very different from the examples provided this far. I'm not a fan of her music but I'll give her this, she sounds like no one else.

velomont
01-02-2014, 01:37 PM
I know exactly the singing style you're referring to. I call it Feist-lite (no offence to Feist intended btw). A classic example is the Prius ad with the song "A Prius for Everyone". There's an "Ads I hate" site that has a discussion about that ad and its "breathy baby" sound. There does seem to be a lot of it out there unfortunately.

Peanuthead
01-02-2014, 01:53 PM
I noticed this style several years ago and there is no way I can distinguish one from another. They all sound the same. I call them "sleepy girl" singers.

That Wild Belle song doesn't seem to fit the category. She's more of an Amy Winehouse clone. (at least in that song. I've never heard anything else by her)

Bryan Ekers
01-02-2014, 02:15 PM
Ted: Look at me, I'm every singer in the 90s! Thay'er's nuthin' I can doooa, I oahnlea wanna beah with youaieiai.....

Tangent
01-02-2014, 02:36 PM
I don't watch anymore, but several years ago it seemed that about half of the female American Idol contestants (including those in the tryout rounds) were singing in this overly affected style. Very annoying.

Here are some more examples:

Corinne Bailey Rae (https://youtube.com/watch?v=oWQl00LWEwE)

Nelly Furtado (https://youtube.com/watch?v=roPQ_M3yJTA)

The Weepies (https://youtube.com/watch?v=dzmJrYUtvjE)

Colbie Caillat (https://youtube.com/watch?v=AWGqoCNbsvM)

and so on.

drastic_quench
01-02-2014, 03:43 PM
Precious and moribund. I first noticed how much I hated it when a Pomplamouse video covering Beyonce's Single Ladies went viral in 2009.

Missy2U
01-02-2014, 03:52 PM
I hate it with a passion. It's one reason I won't watch singing competitions on TV anymore. I end up with a freakin' headache.

Ponch8
01-02-2014, 05:50 PM
Somebody on the SDMB got me hooked on a podcast called Coverville (http://coverville.com/), in which the host plays cover versions of various songs (some well-known, others not). Generally I enjoy listening to the podcast, but it seems like every other song they play fits the OP's description. The host goes on and on about what a marvelous version of the song it is, what a beautiful voice the woman has, etc. All I'm thinking about is how much the singer sucked the life out of each song.

A perfect example: the host's 5th-favorite cover of 2013 was a cover of Daft Punk (https://youtube.com/watch?v=5NV6Rdv1a3I)'s "Get Lucky" by Daughter (https://youtube.com/watch?v=T5Cp55MvX54). Listen to the bridge (starting about 0:31 or 0:33 in each version). The cover artist makes no attempt whatsoever to sing "we've...come too far...to give up...who we are" with more than one note. It completely destroys the spirit of the song.

Quimby
01-02-2014, 06:08 PM
I think of it as a "Yodel" and yeah it can be annoying...

Jophiel
01-02-2014, 06:27 PM
Thanks to all these YouTube links and the Google Omnibus Account thingie, Google Play is now certain that I want to buy a bunch of mp3's through Google Music by breathy pixie-cut indie waifs :p

you with the face
01-02-2014, 07:44 PM
Does Regina Spector's "All You've Got Time (http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hAyFRgdjKU8&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DhAyFRgdjKU8)" (theme from Orange is the New Black) fall in your category, MoL? I really really want to like this song, but I find it impossible to do so because of her singing style.

Simplicio
01-02-2014, 08:01 PM
Eh, I like it, but it is kinda over-used.

The breathiness presumably is just a fairly natural way to sing a slow song with little instrumental accompaniment.

But the affected accent thing is pretty interesting. Can anyone come up with an earlier example then Cat Power?

I guess it isn't really any different then Country singers taking on a strong southern twang when singing, or Irish folk singers dialing the brogue up to 11 when singing. But in those cases the origin is obvious. Not so much here.

MeanOldLady
01-02-2014, 08:38 PM
Precious and moribund. I first noticed how much I hated it when a Pomplamouse video covering Beyonce's Single Ladies went viral in 2009.God, yes, this is a perfect example! It was this shitty cover that made me officially declare myself sick of this trend that needed to stop yesterday. An already stupid song covered in this whiny-ass singing voice. Great.

A perfect example: the host's 5th-favorite cover of 2013 was a cover of Daft Punk (https://youtube.com/watch?v=5NV6Rdv1a3I)'s "Get Lucky" by Daughter (https://youtube.com/watch?v=T5Cp55MvX54). Listen to the bridge (starting about 0:31 or 0:33 in each version). The cover artist makes no attempt whatsoever to sing "we've...come too far...to give up...who we are" with more than one note. It completely destroys the spirit of the song.Ugh, I wish I hadn't clicked on that. Truly annoying, and now like Jophiel, my YouTube thinks I want to listen to more of this waify crying into the microphone.

Does Regina Spector's "All You've Got Time (http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hAyFRgdjKU8&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DhAyFRgdjKU8)" (theme from Orange is the New Black) fall in your category, MoL? I really really want to like this song, but I find it impossible to do so because of her singing style.She has traces of it, but isn't over the top annoying with it. I'll let her live.

Saintly Loser
01-02-2014, 08:45 PM
I hate this style of singing. I call it the "I'm just a girl" voice. Makes me nuts.

Sailboat
01-02-2014, 08:49 PM
Regina Spektor sometimes sounds close to that, to me...maybe in Fidelity (http://youtube.com/watch?v=wigqKfLWjvM&list=SP45FE615740733CF8)?

Anyway, if she qualifies, her Wikipedia entry says her music is associated with the "anti-folk scene (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-folk)," although that seems to be about ironic content, not sound per se.

MeanOldLady
01-02-2014, 09:02 PM
Regina Spektor sometimes sounds close to that, to me...maybe in Fidelity (http://youtube.com/watch?v=wigqKfLWjvM&list=SP45FE615740733CF8)?

Oh dear god, that is annoying. I didn't know that song had a name or a singer. I thought it was something created by marketing geniuses to be played in commercials or whatever. Like they just blended literally every damn song by every woman over the past decade. But no, there's a person singing it, and she is terrible. I was going to let her live, but I've changed my mind. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

Jophiel
01-02-2014, 09:56 PM
Regina Spektor sometimes sounds close to that, to me...maybe in Fidelity (http://youtube.com/watch?v=wigqKfLWjvM&list=SP45FE615740733CF8)?

Anyway, if she qualifies, her Wikipedia entry says her music is associated with the "anti-folk scene (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-folk)," although that seems to be about ironic content, not sound per se.
Regina Spektor frankly seems to make an attempt to sound differently in every song she sings. The same woman singing Fidelity also sings (from the same album) Apres Moi (https://youtube.com/watch?v=QbeHq1CLqJ8) and Samson (https://youtube.com/watch?v=p62rfWxs6a8&list=SP45FE615740733CF8). I don't love everything she does (mainly because she changes so much there's bound to be a good number of songs that don't click with me) but I don't think she can be accused of purely having a breathy three-note range like the previously mentioned singers.

Equipoise
01-02-2014, 10:55 PM
I think of it as a "Yodel" and yeah it can be annoying...Say what? How'd you get that from breathy, tremulous, fake-scratchy singing? THIS (http://youtu.be/UXpvvZ_QIvM) is (http://youtu.be/B00nfVc4FPI) Yodeling (http://youtu.be/oBap800E8Lw)! (even when non-flashy, it can be georgeous (http://youtu.be/4GSOw7YhvDc)!)

Ellis Aponte Jr.
01-03-2014, 12:54 AM
I agree it's an annoying style. I think of it as "people who can't really sing pretending they can sing."

As far as the Green Day singer goes, though, I always thought he basically copied the singer of The Dickies, a band which predated Green Day by about 15 years:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=7c37GdAzgQo

Wendell Wagner
01-03-2014, 08:09 AM
The term "vocal fry" has already been mentioned, but let me give a video illustrating it:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=UsE5mysfZsY

It's a vocal characteristic of some young American women in recent years. It overlaps with the various indie singing styles in the videos given here. As you can see from the video, this way of speaking irritates many people.

velomont
01-03-2014, 01:02 PM
It's almost as though they are trying to sing with the minimum possible expulsion of air. The most effort they put out is probably in producing the mandatory "oh oh oh oh" line in the song.

From the "Commercials I Hate" forum about the Prius ad there is a great quote: "HATE this trend of breathy baby singing by grown women. I imagine the singer looks something like Zoey Dechanel and puts bird silhouettes on everything imaginable in an attempt to look whimsical and artsy. STOP IT AMERICA!"

MeanOldLady
01-03-2014, 01:53 PM
The term "vocal fry" has already been mentioned, but let me give a video illustrating it:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=UsE5mysfZsYThere's definitely vocal fry in it, but it's not just the vocal fry that makes up this irritating style. It's also the out of breath soft whining and the completely ridiculous twang.

From the "Commercials I Hate" forum about the Prius ad there is a great quote: "HATE this trend of breathy baby singing by grown women. I imagine the singer looks something like Zoey Dechanel and puts bird silhouettes on everything imaginable in an attempt to look whimsical and artsy. STOP IT AMERICA!"
Yes! This person is oh so very right on. We need to start a strangling campaign to end this. I'll bet they'd try to record a song during the strangulation. "These constricted airways are doing wonders for my singing voice!"

RickJay
01-03-2014, 03:07 PM
Of course, using a particular method of singing to hide one's lack of talent is not exactly a new thing or restricted to Indie Voice. Men have been using the Frank Sinatra/swing voice for decades - a voice that allows you to sing passably well within a range of about three, maybe four notes. A kid made it to like the final six or seven contestants on "American Idol" one year solely with that gimmick.

Inner Stickler
01-03-2014, 03:19 PM
From the "Commercials I Hate" forum about the Prius ad there is a great quote: "HATE this trend of breathy baby singing by grown women. I imagine the singer looks something like Zoey Dechanel and puts bird silhouettes on everything imaginable in an attempt to look whimsical and artsy. STOP IT AMERICA!"Interesting. I definitely don't think of her as being someone who epitomizes this sort of singing. Affected yes, but breathy and waify, no.

GargoyleWB
01-03-2014, 03:59 PM
As far as the Green Day singer goes, though, I always thought he basically copied the singer of The Dickies, a band which predated Green Day by about 15 years:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=7c37GdAzgQo

This is what I noticed immediately when Green Day came out. To a tween generation that missed The Dickies (and John Lydon of P.I.L.), Billy Joe probably sounded fresh and distinctive as a vocalist. To me, they have always felt too deliberate and manufactured to me, "Hot Topic" punk.)

As to the OP, I've always thought of the waify singing style as "Grey's Anatomy Soundtrack Filler"

BurnMeUp
01-07-2014, 06:11 PM
A friend of mine dubbed it Twee-tarded

PK58
03-25-2014, 08:58 PM
I call it just off the boat from Ireland sound lol Drive me nuts!!

Trick Rider
03-25-2014, 09:27 PM
This is one of the many things I hate about a lot of indie music. It's always sounded to me like the singer has a throat full of phlegm.

installLSC
03-25-2014, 09:32 PM
Regina Spektor sometimes sounds close to that, to me...maybe in Fidelity (http://youtube.com/watch?v=wigqKfLWjvM&list=SP45FE615740733CF8)?

Anyway, if she qualifies, her Wikipedia entry says her music is associated with the "anti-folk scene (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-folk)," although that seems to be about ironic content, not sound per se.
Well early in Regina's career hear recordings were almost all piano and voice, and her singing style had much more range. Check out this song. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=oiGLex6jcDg) (By the way, what genius produced "All You've Got Time"? Where did he get his backing track from, rejected Toto sessions?)

Lukeinva
03-25-2014, 10:20 PM
They are compensating because they can't sing. Country music twangers use a similar technique.

wonky
03-25-2014, 11:22 PM
Annoying as it is, I think I'd still take it over the nose singing. You know, the ones who sound like they are doing impressions of Pee Wee Herman.

Gestalt
03-26-2014, 12:30 AM
I call it Starbucks music

gwendee
03-26-2014, 01:03 PM
Heh, I like that and what's funny is if I said "She has that damn waify singing voice," I'll bet most people will know what I'm talking about.

Sign me up! Down with waify.

I watch The Voice, and whenever a contestant sings like that one of the coaches will say she (it's invariably a female singer) has a "quirky" voice. They'll often also say that "there's no one out there like that right now" which makes me want to throw something through the TV screen.

Dale Sams
03-26-2014, 01:47 PM
As long as you all leave Kristin Hersh out of this convo, no one will get hurt.

Jamie Douglas
09-29-2014, 01:23 PM
I'd like to be able to more easily dismiss it.

It seems every indie/faux-indie singer-songwriter girl under the age of 30 is singing with a remarkably annoying, breathy voice with an unnecessary twang in it that is at times punctuated with scratchiness. They sing softly and every vowel sounds like "ow," as though the singer is suffering as much as I am every time I hear it....



Hahaha! I found this forum by doing a Google search about "folk girls sound the same" to try to get a similar answer! :D

Wile E
09-29-2014, 02:15 PM
Since this thread got revived I will post this link about a song in a commercial that I hate that uses this singing style.
http://tvcommercialssongs.com/fancy-feast-cat-food-love-served-daily/

The most annoying thing about it is that it's a commercial so it plays constantly, although I admit I am seeing less of it lately. It's not so much the breathiness but the mispronounciation of words that drives me nuts. Here's the lyrics:

I must confess when I wear this dress
I feel like dancing the whole night with you
‘Cause you are the one I could see having fun with
Not just for the night but for the rest of my life
Doo doo doo…

On "confess" and "this" she stretches out the "s" sounds so it sounds like she's a singing snake.
Then "dress" which normally rhymes with "confess" is pronounced "drey-ess".
"With you" is more like "wit-oo"
And the "of" in "rest of my life" is more like "o" and then "life" is drawn out.

Also, I just feel like the song is a weird choice for a cat food commercial.

Ellis Dee
09-29-2014, 02:20 PM
A perfect example: the host's 5th-favorite cover of 2013 was a cover of Daft Punk (https://youtube.com/watch?v=5NV6Rdv1a3I)'s "Get Lucky" by Daughter (https://youtube.com/watch?v=T5Cp55MvX54). Listen to the bridge (starting about 0:31 or 0:33 in each version). The cover artist makes no attempt whatsoever to sing "we've...come too far...to give up...who we are" with more than one note. It completely destroys the spirit of the song.No joke about that being a perfect example. It's so over the top as to be indistinguishable from parody.

GrumpyBunny
09-29-2014, 02:24 PM
I hate this style of singing. I call it the "I'm just a girl" voice. Makes me nuts.

Ok, now I know exactly what you mean. (I refused to listen to any of the clips because, well...)

I can't decide if this annoys me more or less than the mini-divas going "whoh-oooh-oh-oh-ooaaaah-oh" in their songs. Also, "I'm so Fancy", because it's stupid and an earworm.

Oops, sorry. Back to the Breathy Sad Girls.

You know, as a legit asthmatic who took vocal lessons to try to not sound breathy, those breathy chicks annoy the crap out of me.

GrumpyBunny
09-29-2014, 02:28 PM
A perfect example: the host's 5th-favorite cover of 2013 was a cover of Daft Punk (https://youtube.com/watch?v=5NV6Rdv1a3I)'s "Get Lucky" by Daughter (https://youtube.com/watch?v=T5Cp55MvX54).

That version of the song makes me want to throw myself into a well.

She made "Get Lucky" depressing, which is quite a feat.

dropzone
09-29-2014, 10:57 PM
Very annoying. She's on my list. (Not the good one.)You have a good list? ;)

Vashbul
09-30-2014, 12:50 AM
The style has deep roots. You could say Barbara Mason (https://youtube.com/watch?v=2JGPcOkebXc) and Julie Driscoll (https://youtube.com/watch?v=VXH56hotLSA) were predecessors, though neither leaned on this trick exclusively.

Listen to Dusty Springfield (https://youtube.com/watch?v=wyCVxPEPx5Y) demonstrate how to sing like a sad girl but also like a real singer.

koeeoaddi
09-30-2014, 10:35 AM
I dunno, I don't love this singing style, but it's almost a relief coming on the heels of all the melisma girls. What I want to know is how Kat Edmonson got ahold of the dress my gandmother gave me for Christmas in 1966?

I cried for a week.

MeanOldLady
10-02-2014, 10:29 AM
The style has deep roots. You could say Barbara Mason (https://youtube.com/watch?v=2JGPcOkebXc) and Julie Driscoll (https://youtube.com/watch?v=VXH56hotLSA) were predecessors, though neither leaned on this trick exclusively.I see what you;re getting at, but I would never describe these women as singing like Sad Breathy Girls.

Alessan
10-02-2014, 10:48 AM
Wait... does Suzanne Vega (https://youtube.com/watch?v=0df0racc3vk)also count? Because I like Suzanne Vega.

Cara mel
10-02-2014, 11:23 PM
I hate this style of singing. I call it the "I'm just a girl" voice. Makes me nuts.

I will call it this from now on. Thanks!

I used to listen to ABC Radio National (Australia) every morning, loved everything about it, but the "musical interludes" exclusively became "I'm just a girl" type songs. It's as though they were seeking out the most bland, inoffensive and generic music for people who don't really like music, but still attempting to be hip in some way.

I started dreading when Fran Kelly would introduce a song. Sometimes it would even be a boy singing. Always with the lone guitar, or even worse, a ukelele. Eventually I switched to News Radio - no music at all.

And to banks and insurance companies, please stop using these songs to make you seem all floaty and whimsical. It's so irritating.

The style has deep roots. You could say
Listen to Dusty Springfield (https://youtube.com/watch?v=wyCVxPEPx5Y) demonstrate how to sing like a sad girl but also like a real singer.

I don't think this is really the genre - this is a beautiful sad song by a top singer, with violins and piano.

Thank you OP, for giving me this chance to vent. :)

The Chao Goes Mu
10-04-2014, 08:34 PM
I liked this style the first time I heard it back in the late 1990's when I saw Erin McKeown live. http://youtube.com/watch?v=HmAde0kLYVs
Now I hear so many women sing like this that I can't tell them apart and it drives me batshit nuts. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

Elephantfarts
10-22-2014, 01:01 AM
Just listen to this travesty: https://soundcloud.com/musings-2/help-beatles-cover-with-ally-subak

It shouldn't be legal to do this to the Beatles.

Ponch8
10-22-2014, 08:56 AM
Just listen to this travesty: https://soundcloud.com/musings-2/help-beatles-cover-with-ally-subak

It shouldn't be legal to do this to the Beatles.

That's so bad, it's a parody, not a cover version.

Elephantfarts
10-23-2014, 01:19 AM
Yeah it really would be perfect parody of this style of singing, but unfortunately it has been made unironically. I heard it and it was last straw for me, prompting me to Google "indie girl singing," which led me here. Had to share.

MeanOldLady
10-24-2014, 07:34 PM
Ha ha, yes, Elephantfarts. Share the hate!

b_t_
10-27-2014, 09:55 PM
I also got to this forum via a google search - a search for "annoying style of singing" got me to this thread, and it was exactly what I was trying to figure out! I think I've sort of noticed it for years, but tonight my wife is listening to "the voice" and hearing one of the contestants made it click. I too associate it with Grey's Anatomy. Not only does that show feature these kinds of singers, the contrived writing seems a good match with this affected singing style.

MeanOldLady
10-28-2014, 08:00 PM
I absolutely love that people share my hate. :) I especially love that people are irritated enough to Google "what the hell is this annoying shit called anyway?" Makes my smile

People here have (unnecessary) attitude about bumping old threads, but every time I see this one bumped, I think with glee "YES! Another hater."

Saintly Loser
10-28-2014, 10:28 PM
Just listen to this travesty: https://soundcloud.com/musings-2/help-beatles-cover-with-ally-subak

It shouldn't be legal to do this to the Beatles.

That is an obscene profanation of a piece of actual music.

And of course there's a ukelele involved.

squeegee
10-28-2014, 11:14 PM
the weird Midwestern diphthong thing Armstrong popularized.Wait, what? Green Day started in Berkeley CA, and Armstrong's vocals sound very much urban-Californian to me (though a different strain than Moon Zappa's older LA take). A slacker-California accent. What here is "midwestern"?

Ranger Jeff
10-29-2014, 12:36 AM
I can see "waify" used to describe this vocal style. It strikes me that they're not belting a song out, they're singing at a speaking volume and letting the microphone do the work, which may not be a wonderful thing. But on the other hand, the vocals sound clean, they're not over processed or auto-tuned or compressed. You'll never hear Britney Spears singing into a clean mic.

I'm not crazy about the popping up a 5th or so in the middle of a measure for one note and then dropping back down to where they were before, but I guess that's just the style.

Ellis Dee
10-29-2014, 01:14 AM
Just listen to this travesty: https://soundcloud.com/musings-2/help-beatles-cover-with-ally-subak

It shouldn't be legal to do this to the Beatles.My head just exploded from the awfulness.

Ranger Jeff
10-29-2014, 07:49 AM
My head just exploded from the awfulness.

Slowly rocking the volume pot on the lead singer's mike for a lousy tremolo effect? Didn't Tommy James and the Shondells teach everyone about tremolo on lead vocals?

shuckslbj
02-25-2015, 03:55 PM
Holy shit. I'm so glad people are noticing this fucking coy, misophonia-inducing STD of a vocal style. I started picking up on it about 7 years ago. My girlfriend and I call it the "sick cat" voice. The "Help" cover on soundcloud might be the best (worst) example I've ever heard, so props to whoever found that.

It kind of gained steam via Cat Power and (to a lesser degree) Erin McKeown, who've been mentioned, and fucking Colin Meloy from the Decemberists. The worst offenders I've found are Laura Gibson, Keaton Henson and Lorde. Lorde is a little different from the breathy, wispy style we're mostly talking about, but she does a lot of the same ass-raping of vowels, and it has nothing to do with being Australian.

It drives me insane to see shit like that Get Lucky cover (posted above) getting widespread acclaim. I'm thinking "NOBODY THINKS THIS STYLE IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT OR EVEN NOTICES THE TREND?"

I know I'm late to the party, but I have a few names to contribute.

Colin Meloy - Crane Wife 2
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes - Mother
Goldbloc feat. Solei - Days Are Dreaming
Kate Davis & Postmodern Jukebox - All About That (Upright) Bass
Keaton Henson - To Your Health
Laura Gibson - La Grande
Laura Gibson - Spirited
Lorde - Team
Sylvan Esso - Coffee (great music, but the voice gets to me)


I am king hater of this nasty shit. I could get cancer of the ear canal just thinking about it. Anyone is welcome to hit me back with more hate. If you despise it as much as I do, let's be friends - facebook.com/shuckslbj

stillownedbysetters
02-25-2015, 08:25 PM
I kinda hate to say this, because I like both of these singers, but you can hear early iterations of this style in Joni Mitchell and Suzanne Vega. Obviously both of these ladies could actually sing, but they both could and did use a breathy delivery for effect in a fair amount of their output.

So for my two cents on the subject, I think this all got started when some girls that couldn't really sing decided to amp up the breathiness that they heard in these previous singers. Then when one of these non-singers got popular somewhere along the way, others picked it up and did it intentionally in imitation of the non-singers, not the original singers.

In any case, it should leave town on the next train. Like many of the rest of you, I find so much 'twee-ness' exhausting.

Askance
02-25-2015, 10:06 PM
Lorde is a little different from the breathy, wispy style we're mostly talking about, but she does a lot of the same ass-raping of vowels, and it has nothing to do with being Australian.
Indeed, nothing whatsoever, as she's from New Zealand.

WOOKINPANUB
02-25-2015, 10:16 PM
Though she does more upbeat, dance style tunes, as opposed to slow, folky stuff, I'd like to add Ms. Ellie Goulding to the list.

Next up, let's talk about singers who sound like braying asses. Rhianna(and Madonna before her) I'm talkin' to you girl.

Stringbean
02-25-2015, 10:29 PM
Breathy-pretentious-waify-shit

bartenational
02-26-2015, 03:14 PM
1. fauxsoul
2. plastic despair pop or P-D-Pop
3. annoy-o-sound
4. "I am faking it like a whore faking an orgasm" pop,
5. whore-tone

MeanOldLady
02-27-2015, 02:07 AM
Whore-tone, yes!

Man, every time I see this thread bumped, I am filled with glee knowing someone Googled "What the fuck is this bullshit, anyway?" and I rejoice. Rejoice, brothers and sisters. Feel the hate!

bucketybuck
02-27-2015, 05:06 AM
I call this style, "silly little girl singing in her bedroom with her eyes closed, wiping her bangs from her eyes and dreaming that shes singing in a coffee shop with a hundred hipster fuckwits hanging on her every word".

Broadway Baby
03-01-2015, 05:12 PM
I am so happy I have found people who understand how terrible this genre is. It makes me so angry when I hear it. People often praise people who 'sing' like this by saying they're voice are so wonderfully 'unique'. It's not! It's all over the place!

I have a friend who does this and sings in dingy bars with her portable keyboard where we live. Everyone praises her. It sounds like a cat dying, slowly, painfully...

I will never understand this style of 'vocal's.

What happened to legitimately trained singers?

swazzyswess
03-01-2015, 06:51 PM
I found this board by googling "annoying twee girl singing." I've developed an irrational hatred of this singing over the last few years. I can't take it anymore! Combine this singing with a "ohh ohhhh ohhhhh" group singalong chorus, maybe throw in a glockenspiel or something, and you've stumbled upon the perfect formula for faceless commercial music. except some people actually listen to it on their own for enjoyment. these are dark times.

Octarine
03-01-2015, 07:29 PM
Well early in Regina's career hear recordings were almost all piano and voice, and her singing style had much more range. Check out this song. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=oiGLex6jcDg) (By the way, what genius produced "All You've Got Time"? Where did he get his backing track from, rejected Toto sessions?)

Yep - Regina Spektor is a prime example of an unusual artist who, after getting big, was pop-ified. I actually like most of her stuff, old or new, but I agree that her early stuff is far more sit-in-your-dark-bedroom-and-take-it-all-in than later pieces. Pavlov's Daughter (http://youtube.com/watch?v=s7mPppJYUwI), Daniel Cowman (http://youtube.com/watch?v=uhk_S0HyQp4), and, to a lesser extent, Us (http://youtube.com/watch?v=xzrC72Xv6pE) are all far more anti-folk than songs like Fidelity.

MeanOldLady
03-02-2015, 11:54 AM
I am so happy I have found people who understand how terrible this genre is. It makes me so angry when I hear it. People often praise people who 'sing' like this by saying they're voice are so wonderfully 'unique'. It's not! It's all over the place!They're clearly using some definition of "unique" that I'm unfamiliar with, because they insist on using this term while referring to something irritatingly ubiquitous. Maybe their definition means "every goddamn place and totally fucking stupid."

It sounds like a cat dying, slowly, painfully...A cat dying would be more enjoyable to listen to.

Helena330
03-02-2015, 02:16 PM
I listened to that Beatles travesty and immediately thought "dying animals".

outlierrn
03-02-2015, 02:22 PM
I call this style, "silly little girl singing in her bedroom with her eyes closed, wiping her bangs from her eyes and dreaming that shes singing in a coffee shop with a hundred hipster fuckwits hanging on her every word".

Not bad, but I'm gonna go with waif pop, for the sake of brevity.

Azurenex
03-12-2015, 09:42 AM
Goddamn, it feels great to find a thread of people hating this style as much as I do. I started to think maybe the similarity was just in my head.

I gotta add though: I dont think its just girls singing like this. I Think there are guys doing exactly the same rubbish.

Passenger
Hozier
Woodkid
Greg Laswell

and probably tons of other trash.

Chefguy
03-12-2015, 10:57 AM
Breathy-pretentious-waify-shit

This music isn't waify. This (https://youtube.com/watch?v=5KULqX2UqYg) is waify. Claudine Longet was annoying people back in the 60s and 70s with her breathy bullshit.

Groobus
03-15-2015, 11:07 AM
I hate this crap!! It seems every advert on tv these days has some annoying girl murdering a classic tune in this super-twee-asthma-girly-pop style. Its like a female version of hunger-dunger-dang.

There are so many of them out there these days but Diana Vickers has to be the worst perpetrator of this style, she took it and turned it up to eleven

Tangent
03-15-2015, 03:19 PM
Man, this thread attracts new posters like flies to honey.

Boyo Jim
03-16-2015, 12:04 AM
...
If you want to come up with a specific name for it it'd be a good thing to figure out who most popularized it. Not sure who that'd be.

There'd be no point unless you could go back in time and kill them.

Boyo Jim
03-16-2015, 12:05 AM
This music isn't waify. This (https://youtube.com/watch?v=5KULqX2UqYg) is waify. Claudine Longet was annoying people back in the 60s and 70s with her breathy bullshit.

Now I know why she was shot!

foolsguinea
03-16-2015, 01:38 AM
Is this, "Ladies who sing like Duffy"?

bucketybuck
03-16-2015, 04:28 AM
There are so many of them out there these days but Diana Vickers has to be the worst perpetrator of this style, she took it and turned it up to eleven

Don't tell me she is still around? I remember her from the X factor but that was years ago now and I assumed she had fucked off back to obscurity. She was definitely the poster child for this, with bonus points for always holding a hand up by her face while trying to squeeze words out her nose.

foolsguinea
03-16-2015, 04:51 AM
Wait, no, I was misled by one of the OP's links, and I thought this was the Duffy/Winehouse/MarkRonson axis of soul. Lot of sorta-soundalikes there, too.

This is the Regina Spektor wannabe brigade, and the not-actually-singing-because-we're-folky part of it, and the bit of how you can take any composition and redo it in generic indie style and people might praise you for making it sound...generic and coffeehouse.

OK.

No, Suzanne Vega sang, kids. But I can see how you get from Vega to Spektor to this trend.

With some decent arrangements, you can make breathy work. Sóley does all right, I think, though she's not everyone's cup of tea. But that's in doing more interesting instrumentation. https://youtube.com/watch?v=xqH-q-u-zZQ

CGav8r
03-16-2015, 09:50 AM
I don't mind a *teensy* bit of breathiness every 5 or 6 songs on your album, but I don't want it to be 95% of your style. Same with vocal fry.

But I don't know why so much of this stuff drives me freaking batty. Perhaps it's cuz I'm in my mid-40's and it's generational, but every time my 22 year old niece posts a Pamplamouse video on Facebook, I find a rising irritation as I watch it. I'm not even sure why the style gets under my skin.

Now, I enjoy some of Ingrid Michaelson's music ("Won't Die Alone" is a catchy l'il earworm that I'll turn up when it comes on Pandora), but her version (http://google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCAQyCkwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fyoutube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D5sQeQC4hT10&ei=Rt4GVd3FEoHggwSf3YDoCQ&usg=AFQjCNHb3Wiap9OwGDdvral2hP6BtOD8gQ&bvm=bv.88198703,d.eXY)of "Can't Help Falling In Love With You" will make my usually-ice-cold blood boil, (she plays with a ukulele fer Chrissakes!)

I will say that there are plenty of singers mentioned that I enjoy (I've been known to go on a Cat Power trip), but there are others who get under my skin with that quirky stuff. And I'd put the breathy waifs at an even tie in irritation-inducing with the melisma-istas that are all over "The Voice".

Equipoise
03-16-2015, 02:43 PM
Now I know why she was shot!I think that was a joke, but just in case others take it seriously, she wasn't shot. She shot and killed her boyfriend (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claudine_Longet), Olympic Skier Frances "Spider" Sabich, and totally got away with it, paying a small fine and spending 30 days in jail. People love you and don't think you're a raging maniac when you're adorable and sing adorably.

foolsguinea
03-16-2015, 05:04 PM
I think that was a joke, but just in case others take it seriously, she wasn't shot. She shot and killed her boyfriend (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claudine_Longet), Olympic Skier Frances "Spider" Sabich, and totally got away with it, paying a small fine and spending 30 days in jail. People love you and don't think you're a raging maniac when you're adorable and sing adorably.Spider's mother was named Frances. His name was Spider (or Vladimir Peter). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider_Sabich

Equipoise
03-16-2015, 05:32 PM
Spider's mother was named Frances. His name was Spider (or Vladimir Peter). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider_SabichYou're right. I read it too fast.

Monkeywrench
04-04-2015, 09:19 PM
First, thanks for introducing me to Corinne Bailey Rae. She does the voice a bit, but it's minor and only for a line or two a song, and she uses it as a technique among a huge range of technique. She is awesome in my opinion.

I think that cover of Help is the best example. It's more the accent that these girls are singing with that bothers me so much. I don't mind a little vocal fry. It's the cutesy scary white girl version of a black jazz singer with an English accent teenage cat lady accent that bothers me so much. It's just so overused. I go to open mic nights and its seems 90% of women sing like this, especially if they are pretty and not especially talented. It works on people who think "oh she sounds like the girl who is on the car commercial so that's valid. also she's hot."

What is with the male version of this, that's not so quiet but still has the accent and overused vocal style? Mumford and sons, Avett Brothers, Fleet foxes, M ward, Tallest man on earth (some of who are awesome, but fit in this example). I don't mind the male version as much for some reason. Look both these guys are doing it https://youtube.com/watch?v=j38NBRvhDGI

Octarine
04-05-2015, 09:25 AM
What is with the male version of this, that's not so quiet but still has the accent and overused vocal style? Mumford and sons, Avett Brothers, Fleet foxes, M ward, Tallest man on earth (some of who are awesome, but fit in this example). I don't mind the male version as much for some reason. Look both these guys are doing it https://youtube.com/watch?v=j38NBRvhDGI

Even though guys doing the waif-y thing aren't as irritating, I think there's a parallel for them. Although it's not the same, the "annoying overused vocal style that takes no talent" for men would be what I call monotoning. It's used a lot in indie/emo styles, and it's basically writing a song that has two or three notes, then droning badly written "look at my SADNESS" lyrics over them.

BwanaBob
04-06-2015, 01:24 PM
Would the opening theme song from the British crime drama "Luther" count as an example? I loathe that singer with a passion.

mamalama
04-13-2015, 07:40 AM
I hate this singing style as well, it literally drives me completely mad. I found this forum by doing a google search. I wish there were a name for it too. They always a let a bunch of them in on American idol, and praise their "unique" style. There is nothing unique about it, because every young girl singer is doing it! No one sings like that naturally, it is all put on! For awhile there, everyone was copying Kelly Clarkson's singing style, and now it is this. Can't wait until fad goes away, I hate it!!!

Gatt
06-14-2015, 12:33 AM
I got here by Googling "female singers today all sound alike."

And I too cannot stand this type of singing...especially any semblance of vocal fry which is so popular with girls today.

IMO, this singing style mirrors the lazy, passionless way that young people go on about their lives these days and it comes out in the music of "artists." And since it's popular, the record company whores have no intention of fixing something that's not broken.

This style of music annoys me to a point way beyond just having to hear it in the supermarket or a restaurant. It defines a generation of young people that I cannot understand as they are so different from Generation X. I know I'm making a blanket statement here by calling this Millennial generation lazy and passionless, but that's what I feel when I hear this crap. It may not define everyone in this age range, but I feel it's a fair generalization.

I miss music that feels genuine; music that had emotion, power, feeling to it. These days, I'm not hearing that.

drad dog
06-14-2015, 01:13 AM
Good thread.
My feeling is that in the beginning of these things it's always someone with real talent. The imitators make a sham of it. Cat Power is great, to me. No problem.
Nelly McKaye: I was ready to like her. Seems a shame that something so smart could be that annoying on second listen. Weird.

I've been a fan of Juliana Hatfield since she started. Saw the Blake Babies half a dozen times. I noticed over the years that chick singers were reminding me of her. I even once heard a beer commercial with Juliana chords and vocal style. Anyone else hear it in relation to this sound? We're going back to late 80's here.

How about Dave Matthews and David Gray? Off topic or just as annoying? Did I touch a nerve?

Here's a chick who does NOT sing that way, to cleanse your palate perhaps: liz Phair. First LP is a monster IMO.

Sid Krinkle
07-18-2015, 01:03 PM
Hi folks first post here...%^#%@$#

I was googling this affectation -trying to zone in on what it is and found you guys. Trying to figure out if there were others that found this thing to be annoying, pretentious and downright baffling.

..I have a friend, a girl, who has an amazing voice. But. She started singing in this affected, annoying style in the last year and it kills me to hear it.

I don't have the heart to jump out and tell her to stop fuckin' doing that!

I think a certain amount of imitation is healthy for young singers but after awhile I want to hear a person in their own voice.

I think a lot of this comes from some sort of melding of pop that's, like.."oh man that's poppy but jazzy isn't it?"

I always hear a copping of Billy Holiday and a few other old school jazz singers in there..thrift some clothes and kick it old school or some shit.

The OP posted examples of singers who clearly have decent gifts...the affectation murders it though.

Sid Krinkle
07-18-2015, 01:08 PM
Precious and moribund.


YES!!

thank you.

Sid Krinkle
07-18-2015, 01:22 PM
I wanted to edit my previous post to include some thoughts after reading this whole thread..couldn't edit??

Anyhow, saw some great names for this style in this thread..hilarious.

-waif girl
-precious and moribund
-twee girl
-fucking coy
-Starbucks music

Sure I missed a few and happy to know that I'm not alone in despising this tread shite.

GrizzyLyn
07-20-2015, 12:59 PM
The Taco Bell ad with a cover of "Mad World" is what finally sent me over the edge. The original version by Tears for Fears along with the beautiful cover by Gary Jules are enough. To have this song literally insulted by Halsey makes me so sad.

SlackerInc
07-29-2015, 06:05 PM
Can anyone come up with an earlier example then Cat Power?

I'm clearly a sucker for this affectation, because I love Cat Power and most of the others cited (including some I hadn't previously heard, so thanks for helping me expand my music library).

But doesn't this singing style (or a precursor of it, anyway) go back at least to Blossom Dearie (https://youtu.be/A0r63K_wYu4?t=98), nearly a half century before Chan Marshall entered the music scene?

drad dog
07-29-2015, 07:05 PM
I'm clearly a sucker for this affectation, because I love Cat Power and most of the others cited (including some I hadn't previously heard, so thanks for helping me expand my music library).

But doesn't this singing style (or a precursor of it, anyway) go back at least to Blossom Dearie (https://youtu.be/A0r63K_wYu4?t=98), nearly a half century before Chan Marshall entered the music scene?

I can't see cat power being part of this. She seems to have some artistic integrity thats missing in it.

Evil Captor
07-29-2015, 08:12 PM
I came across the thread (not by Googling) and I recognized the style. I have always thought of it as "Whiny-Ass White Girl singing." I was sorry to hear Nataly Dawn and Pomplamoose cited but on further listening, she fits in. However, the arrangements of the songs in Pomplamoose takes it right out of the WAWG territory. I dare you to listen to their cover of Telephone (https://youtube.com/watch?v=2vEStDd6HVY) and declare it pompous and moribund.

Ecstatictruth
07-30-2015, 01:49 PM
I came across this thread today (by Googling) and had to join the forum out of excitement.

Daughter were mentioned, who I initially liked, but have since become a huge ear repellent. Nataly Dawn, who I hadn't heard of until now, typifies it very well. That rising, slightly croaky 'why' at the 00:34 mark (first clip) is a particularly wince inducing affectation. It's the trying too hard to be subtle that grates.

It was definitely popularised by Zooey Deschanel in Elf for me and has become the vocal equivalent of 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl'. It is very moribund in some cases as mentioned, but also vaguely jazzy. It seems to come out of the West Coast of America a lot, but is rife in the UK too. There are examples of it that I'm drawn to and enjoy (Sylvan Esso being a recent example), but we have definitely reached critical mass for these types of singers.

I should note that I listen to a lot of female vocalists which is why I'm sensitive to it. Absolutely no mysogynist undercurrents.

As a contender for earliest example, I'd offer Astrud Gilberto and even suggest she was the pioneer on The Girl From Ipanema.

PhosphorusReclamation
08-11-2015, 11:40 AM
Glad I found this thread after a simple search!

Questions for anyone in the social sciences: has there been any ethnomusicological research on the persistence of this style? Anything to do with 'authenticity'? Has it eclipsed hyper-melisma in popularity?

SlackerInc
08-11-2015, 06:41 PM
Interesting questions! Can even the haters acknowledge that it is far easier to listen to than hyper-melisma?

Noogah
08-13-2015, 05:17 PM
Hello fellow haters of what I will now call the 'waify' style (thanks LC Strawhouse for this very descriptive correlative).

I made an account just for the purposes of reveling in our mutual ire at this atrocious fad, and to offer a theory I have regarding its nature. I first noticed this style with Regina Spektor and Pomplamoose; then yesterday at work, I heard something that absolutely drove me crazy:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=r0bS-YnLf4s

The amount of irritation I feel listening to this song is not rational. Not only am I irritated by the selfish, flippant lyrics, but the absurdly childish manner in which the song is sung. We have an adult singer, in an adult body, singing in a whiny style that is reminiscent of toddler-speak. If you bother to watch the associated video, you will note that the singer is also engaged in a number of childlike behaviors - like sitting on a kitchen counter licking a popsicle.

It is evident to me that there is an association with this style, and a kind of child-like vulnerability on the part of the singer. I do believe the 'waify' style is a western incarnation of what the Japanese call 'burikko' (ぶりっ子). Burriko is a disposition adopted by many Japanese females, which involves speaking and singing with an affected pronunciation in order to evoke pre-adolescence, carrying oneself with childlike posture, and misusing honorifics in a manner that imitates schoolchildren.

This may not be the primary reason that artists choose to sing in this way. I do agree that many have adopted it only because it is popular - but I also think it is an underlying aspect of this style, and it is certainly the primary reason why I hate it.

I don't understand why someone would want to sing with an accent and stress that does not resemble the way anyone speaks in real life, including the artist. It seems like an attempt to easily develop an original 'style', when it's really just sloppy pronunciation. It also feels very disingenuous, and not like a real expression of feeling on the part of the singer, because of course, everyone knows the singer doesn't really sound like that.

Everything the 'waify' style touches turns to ash.

drad dog
08-13-2015, 05:27 PM
Yeah that last one is apotheopoetic.

Does anyone here dislike Gwen Stefani and her singing as much as I do? I have felt like I was in an alternate universe ever since she became (Popular?) I find it hard to write that.

SlackerInc
08-14-2015, 05:07 AM
Thanks for posting that video, Noogah. I was starting to wonder if I was completely knee-jerk contrariwise to everyone else in this thread, a sucker for anything with this vocal style. But that song is boring, and the singing doesn't fit with the electronica accompanying it. Total fail.

MeanOldLady
08-17-2015, 03:08 PM
Noogah, I like you. I feel like we should go on a date.

Himezakura
09-29-2015, 01:58 AM
Oh boy. Before I found this thread, I thought I was the only one who felt this way about these singers! I listen to Korean and Japanese music, and a couple singers have made it big with this style... Sometimes (and depending on the artist, often times) I like the song itself, but the singing just creates a terrible itch in my nerves, and I start hunting through the interwebs for people who agree, so I can validate that I'm not the only one who is aggravated by this.

Now, I can understand an occasional wispiness for stylistic effect, but these people sing, all day long, for every song in this way. The thing that just puts me over the edge? People who say how "unique" that singer's voice is. In fact, today someone I know remarked how a certain singer's voice "is so unique, that once you hear it once, you'll never forget it." Uh huh. Riiight. So unique. So unique that I couldn't even remember what she sounded like, just that she sounded really generic. When I passively commented, "Really? I don't really think her voice is that unique...," I got a cold stare. I'm sure other singers could sing in this way too, if they wanted, but they actually know how to sing to preserve their voices and breaths. In fact, many of these girls sound just AWFUL live because they're basically leaking air and can't breathe well.

What's more, these girls are often accompanied by looks. If these girls were the opposite of attractive and young, nobody would listen past the second measure. When googling this phenomena, it appears that studies have actually been conducted about peoples' preferences(http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0062397), suggesting that breathiness is associated with softness and gentleness.

It seems that this singing style combines with a small, delicate frame to provide an image of gentleness and weakness some people like.

A Korean singer, er pop idol IU sings like this, and people LOVE to talk about how unique her voice is blahblahblah, but when she accidentally posted a photo if herself with a half-naked guy, suddenly they didn't like her voice so much anymore.

Also, YUI. https://youtube.com/watch?v=YGYj5F1OD9w I'm sure there are others, but I can't think of them off the top of my head.

Not too familiar with male singers, so I can't really comment. Sorry.

bucketybuck
09-29-2015, 03:44 AM
The Rugby world cup is currently taking place in England and the channel ITV are showing most of the games. Which is a shame because this is the fucking travesty that they are using as the intro/outro music before the show and around the ad breaks.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=e0m-YnH0j78

Paloma Faith absolutely butchering "World in Union", every time I hear a clip it makes me want to rip my ears off and bolt some sound deadening pads in their place. Nasally waify bullshit that takes a great song and makes it unlistenable, who the hell thought that was a good idea. :mad:

amanset
09-29-2015, 04:57 AM
Maybe it is that I grew up listening to Shoegazing (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoegazing), but I seem to have always liked this sort of stuff. Slowdive, for example, employ it for both their male and female singers. Take this track (https://youtube.com/watch?v=sRYAOAd6iJQ) from 1991 or from a completely male take, this one (https://youtube.com/watch?v=8eR3sv_RgBE) from 1994.

I'd take it over the vocal masturbation of the types you get on TV "talent" shows any day of the week.

SlackerInc
09-29-2015, 11:23 PM
I love me some shoegazer music too, although I wonder if this is the kind of singing meant by the OP.

McDoogins
09-29-2015, 11:37 PM
I love me some shoegazer music too, although I wonder if this is the kind of singing meant by the OP.

Only shoegaze music I know is Explosions in the Sky and M83.

Chicken Fingers
09-30-2015, 12:53 AM
I think Suzanne Vega (now in her 50s) was the original annoying waif voice for me. Loathe her, loathe her less talented waif-daughters even more.

caligulathegod
09-30-2015, 01:25 AM
But doesn't this singing style (or a precursor of it, anyway) go back at least to Blossom Dearie (https://youtu.be/A0r63K_wYu4?t=98), nearly a half century before Chan Marshall entered the music scene?

THAT'S who I was thinking of. I was trying to find some School House Rock videos that she did to demonstrate it was much older than the 90s but I was having no luck.

I do have to admit a cheesy affection for Donna Lewis, who did the same style.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=SqdWTeXWvOg

SlackerInc
09-30-2015, 03:09 AM
Whoa, that is a pop song I had long forgotten existed but now recall that it was indeed a guilty pleasure of mine as well.

Glad to hear someone agrees about Blossom Dearie! It's fun, kind of like researching the origin of slang words, to feel like you've found the earliest cite. :)

amanset
09-30-2015, 05:26 AM
I love me some shoegazer music too, although I wonder if this is the kind of singing meant by the OP.

It was more the very breathy style. Not all shoegazing is like that, but the likes of Slowdive were. In my opinion.

amanset
09-30-2015, 05:28 AM
Only shoegaze music I know is Explosions in the Sky and M83.

Explosions in the Sky are post rock. Quite different.

SlackerInc
09-30-2015, 05:31 AM
It was more the very breathy style. Not all shoegazing is like that, but the likes of Slowdive were. In my opinion.

Without speaking for the OP, my sense of the music s/he posted is that the style involves spare instrumentation and a kind of meandering, almost halting, vocal style. Shoegazer is very flowing and far from spare.

Novelty Bobble
09-30-2015, 05:50 AM
The Rugby world cup is currently taking place in England and the channel ITV are showing most of the games. Which is a shame because this is the fucking travesty that they are using as the intro/outro music before the show and around the ad breaks.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=e0m-YnH0j78

Paloma Faith absolutely butchering "World in Union", every time I hear a clip it makes me want to rip my ears off and bolt some sound deadening pads in their place. Nasally waify bullshit that takes a great song and makes it unlistenable, who the hell thought that was a good idea. :mad:

Oh yes, this. A thousand times this. She seems a lovely young lady but I fear I might happily kill her with fire.

It is a modern pestilence that needs stamping out. There is no song that is actually improved by covering it in this fashion. Jose Gonzalez dig a decent job with a waify-style cover of "heartbeat" but the original was far better.

But possibly the worst example, and I hesitate to inflict this on you all, is this (http://theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/nov/08/renault-zoe-thats-entertainment-advert) fucking travesty.

Paul Weller created one of the greatest songs of misery, despair, hopelessness and urban decay. Possibly the most sarcastic title of any song ever and it gets turned in a helpless, gutless little ditty to sell a Renault. I get the feeling that when that came out and Weller saw it, he spent some considerable time just staring into space, clenching and unclenching his fists with his eyes twitching occasionally. I know I did.

bucketybuck
09-30-2015, 07:25 AM
But possibly the worst example, and I hesitate to inflict this on you all, is this (http://theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/nov/08/renault-zoe-thats-entertainment-advert) fucking travesty.

Oh for fucks sake, thats just awful, I'd rather not have known about that. :mad:

Novelty Bobble
09-30-2015, 07:41 AM
Oh for fucks sake, thats just awful, I'd rather not have known about that. :mad:

I am truly sorry, but it is better that you know such things exist, sunlight is the best disinfectant and all that.

SciFiSam
09-30-2015, 08:34 AM
But possibly the worst example, and I hesitate to inflict this on you all, is this (http://theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/nov/08/renault-zoe-thats-entertainment-advert) fucking travesty.



That one really needs the word "not" added before entertainment. Or maybe after a la Wayne's World.

Tangent
09-30-2015, 09:08 AM
This thread has got to be in the lead for 'Most times resurrected by someone who joined SDMB just to post in this thread.' Will that fit on a trophy?

amanset
10-13-2015, 04:02 PM
This popped up recently in my Facebook timeline:

http://buzzfeed.com/reggieugwu/what-is-indie-pop-voice#.kiNvNYwRg

SlackerInc
10-13-2015, 04:25 PM
Great article, amanset--thanks. Interesting to me that those examples seem more "pop" than "indie" to me, whereas most of those offered earlier in this thread are more toward the other end of the spectrum. Wouldn't be the first time a trend has worked its way in that direction.

AHunter3
10-13-2015, 04:36 PM
I sympathize but it's not like affected singing styles is something new to the world of pop. The first trend to get on my nerves (about 45 years ago if you're curious) was the ersatz-countrified pronunciations by rock and pop artists. Sexxeh for sexy, singin' for singing, sugaah for sugar,
that sort of thing.

Lex1
12-01-2015, 09:40 PM
Yet another person who found this thread by Googling. In my case I used "annoying little girl voice." Bingo.

Thank God I am not alone in despising this hellborn affected style. I draw strength and consolation from my fellow haters.

I have no clever rationale to explain its popularity. I can only share more examples.

First, a song I thought I liked. The Cowboy Junkies cover of Lou Reed's Sweet Jane.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=x4XVJj4jER4

My excuse for liking it is that it was years ago and I'd never heard the style before. The CJ's were virtually alone at the time in using it.

Then about a year ago I watched an iPhone ad entitled Parenthood. The combination of cloying video and a little girl voice singing in the background nauseated me. My first thought was that Steve Jobs was going to rise from his grave and rip off the head of Tim Cook.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=rv9q_61anHk

And finally, at the start of this Christmas season Dick's Sporting Goods started running an ad featuring a cover of the Beatles From Me to You.

http://popisms.com/TelevisionCommercial/116836/Dicks-Sporting-Goods-Commercial-2015-pres.aspx

Effing awful.

SlackerInc
12-02-2015, 06:55 PM
The second and third links are perfectly serviceable examples of the style (although I don't hate them since I am one of the only dissenters on this thread). I am at a loss to understand, however, where you are getting the idea that the Cowboy Junkies cover fits. :confused:

WOOKINPANUB
12-03-2015, 10:48 AM
The second and third links are perfectly serviceable examples of the style (although I don't hate them since I am one of the only dissenters on this thread). I am at a loss to understand, however, where you are getting the idea that the Cowboy Junkies cover fits. :confused:

I lovvvvve that CJ cover, and even I must admit that Ms. Timmins is waifin' it up. I also think that, like Lex 1, that was the first song that I remember hearing the singer using that style and it was new and oh so sexy (and I'm a straight chick). Sadly, if I were hearing it for the first time today, I might not like it as well.

Lex1
12-03-2015, 12:10 PM
I lovvvvve that CJ cover, and even I must admit that Ms. Timmins is waifin' it up. I also think that, like Lex 1, that was the first song that I remember hearing the singer using that style and it was new and oh so sexy (and I'm a straight chick). Sadly, if I were hearing it for the first time today, I might not like it as well.

That's the way I feel about it. The song gets a pass because of when I first heard it.

That song in the Parenthood as, is especially vile. You only got to hear 60 seconds of it in the ad. The full song is much, much, worse.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=XepF45x_Lbk

Julie Doiron, waif singer.

Abner Ravenwood
12-03-2015, 01:54 PM
How about indie-riffic?

Monkeywrench
12-19-2015, 10:39 PM
https://vine.co/v/OTg0nO2mFKU

Watch this guy make fun of what I call the Indie Witch-Girl singing style. It's when girls think they sound like an old timey jazz singer but actually just sound like a dying cat or a cutesy old british woman.

And how about Daughter? https://youtube.com/watch?v=gzI_GrBP2HM

SlackerInc
12-20-2015, 12:48 AM
Another good song! Regardless of the intent, I have added a number of good tracks to my Apple Music playlists thanks to this thread. :p

And yes: that Vine guy is clever, and funny. But just because something can be parodied does not inherently make it bad.

pulykamell
12-20-2015, 01:39 AM
That's the way I feel about it. The song gets a pass because of when I first heard it.

I just heard this on the radio the other day again, and it doesn't quite have the same kind of overly affected singing style that I associate with the music mentioned in the OP. It's whispery and sexy, but doesn't having the annoying idiosyncratic inflections and vowel contortionism that I associate with the "indie chick" vocal styling. Margo still sings it pretty straight, but in a whispery register.

SlackerInc
12-20-2015, 01:44 AM
Yes! Thank you. I thought I was losing my mind, with everyone claiming it fit.

BigT
12-20-2015, 05:30 AM
And finally, at the start of this Christmas season Dick's Sporting Goods started running an ad featuring a cover of the Beatles From Me to You.

http://popisms.com/TelevisionCommercial/116836/Dicks-Sporting-Goods-Commercial-2015-pres.aspx

Effing awful.

Wow. That one is especially vile because of the people singing with her. The guy tries to harmonize with her whisper and can't even stay in tune. And then the full "choir" comes in and absolutely cannot blend with her voice.

I mean, while it's not my usual cup of tea, I can appreciate that voice when it's used for an appropriate reason. But it just sounds awful here.

BigT
12-20-2015, 05:34 AM
I just heard this on the radio the other day again, and it doesn't quite have the same kind of overly affected singing style that I associate with the music mentioned in the OP. It's whispery and sexy, but doesn't having the annoying idiosyncratic inflections and vowel contortionism that I associate with the "indie chick" vocal styling. Margo still sings it pretty straight, but in a whispery register.

I concur. That's not the style at all. She's just using a bit of whisper to add a smokey quality to her voice. It's not high and thin like the indie-girl voice. It's airy to add a bit a sexiness, not a wistful tone. The upper harmonics are still present, and she's got a bit of a speak-sing tone.

In short, she still sounds like a strong woman, not a waif.

shuckslbj
01-29-2016, 10:27 PM
Although Father John Misty doesn't sing in the sick cat voice, I find him annoying as a person. BUT - I'm pretty sure he's talking about what we're talking about in his song "The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment":

We sang "Silent Night" in three parts which was fun
Til she said that she sounds just like Sarah Vaughan
I hate that soulful affectation white girls put on


A lot of people who sing like this seem to think they're doing a jazz thing, like a Billie Holiday style. Let's not demonize the accidental godparents of this style, though – Mr. Bungle shouldn't be blamed for Korn, for instance. Ya dig? Just wanted to highlight that someone in the world whence most of these singers spawn is aware of, and dislikes, that style.

pulykamell
01-29-2016, 10:57 PM
Although Father John Misty doesn't sing in the sick cat voice, I find him annoying as a person. BUT - I'm pretty sure he's talking about what we're talking about in his song "The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment":

We sang "Silent Night" in three parts which was fun
Til she said that she sounds just like Sarah Vaughan
I hate that soulful affectation white girls put on


A lot of people who sing like this seem to think they're doing a jazz thing, like a Billie Holiday style.

That's not quite what we're talking about, at least not what I interpret those lyrics to be describing. That soulful affectation is trying to add thickness and growl to the voice, to make it sound stronger. The "indie chick" singing style is pretty much the opposite: making the voice sound frail and thin, with affectations that I would call "quirky" and "cutesy" rather than soulful or jazzy. The indie chick style is definitely not trying to channel Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday. Or, who knows, maybe I'm wrong and they are and just going way, way off the mark.

SlackerInc
01-30-2016, 03:10 AM
I hope it's not, because I love me some Father John Misty ("I'm Writing a Novel" (https://youtube.com/watch?v=ga0ksTIagsg) is priceless), but I also like those "waifs".

Tangent
02-04-2016, 10:45 PM
Ugh. (youtube link to a relevant Discover Card commercial) (https://youtu.be/_8zD2lzhjdI)

shuckslbj
02-10-2016, 06:47 AM
The indie chick style is definitely not trying to channel Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday.

I'm pretty positive Billie Holiday is The Lord Thy Goddess to the "waifers". Not that that incriminates Lady Day at all.

Inner Stickler
02-10-2016, 09:38 AM
I hear very little similarity between Billie Holiday's style of singing and indie chick singing, myself.

wonky
02-10-2016, 10:01 AM
I hear very little similarity between Billie Holiday's style of singing and indie chick singing, myself.

Yeah. While Holiday's voice is not strong, it's all edges and angles, not wispy and waifish.

CGav8r
02-10-2016, 10:33 AM
This thread has got to be in the lead for 'Most times resurrected by someone who joined SDMB just to post in this thread.' Will that fit on a trophy?

I picture this thread living on, a beacon in the darkness to those who google "shitty female singers who whisper their lyrics" and "why do waif-style singers suck so bad". Will this thread single-handedly double the posters on these boards?

Maybe.

Willart
02-12-2016, 02:37 PM
You mean like Cat Power, Fiest and Norah Jones? I can't figure how punk or Green Day have anything to do with this.

Seductive enlightened weary dark nerd-girl-poet smokey-voiced coffee house hipster songstress. Or indie girl contestants on The Voice.

SlackerInc
02-12-2016, 02:55 PM
You mean like Cat Power, Fiest and Norah Jones?

I disagree that any of those three fit.

milesaway
02-17-2016, 10:52 PM
I call them the starbucks singer song writers. I cringe every time I hear that annoying accent they all do.

Annoying Buzz
02-18-2016, 09:22 AM
How about "waify"? (aka "I'm a poor helpless orphan in a harsh world") College aged folks seem to find that style extremely attractive, though.

After Apple used this kind of singer for several of their ads, I started referring to the style as iWaif.

LC Strawhouse
02-19-2016, 06:46 PM
I wonder if this was partly inspired by Sade (remember her?) - she made a career out of that flat breathy style. Here's a characteristic example (https://youtube.com/watch?v=UfzmVUrZplw)

Tangent
02-19-2016, 08:02 PM
This commercial (https://youtu.be/v2IkZZmd6RA) makes me want to put a bullet in my brain.

SlackerInc
02-19-2016, 08:59 PM
I wonder if this was partly inspired by Sade (remember her?) - she made a career out of that flat breathy style. Here's a characteristic example (https://youtube.com/watch?v=UfzmVUrZplw)

No. I'm sorry, but Sade has nothing whatever to do with the subject of this thread. Tangent's submission just below yours is an excellent example, though. Compare and contrast to see the difference.

SlackerInc
02-19-2016, 09:10 PM
The idea behind this "waif" style is that you picture someone being reticent, hesitant, quirky. Maybe she is even twirling her finger in her hair and kind of looking up and away from the crowd or something like that. She is partially "talk-singing" and will kind of trail off at times like she's not sure of where she's going. The sound is underproduced, minimalist, like she made the song up off the top of her head as she was sitting at the coffee shop. A confident, assertive singer and dancer like Sade, with a big backing band that delivers a lushly produced sound, is just not conjuring up that sort of image of all.

And I like both styles, FTR, although I like Sade more. I still listen to her all the time, so I didn't have to "remember" her.

LC Strawhouse
02-19-2016, 10:04 PM
I'll agree that Sade projects more confidence and the music is nothing like a lot of the "waif" examples. But I think they have a lot in common too - in both cases the singer projects the image of being basically a bored, distant, breathy fashion model (not that there's anything wrong with that...)

AndyVan1
03-30-2016, 02:24 PM
This commercial (https://youtu.be/v2IkZZmd6RA) makes me want to put a bullet in my brain.

I've never before had reason to register for comments on the Straight Dope, but after a search this morning for "annoying wispy singing trend", I found my people, first hit on Google.

I just quit my own band because of this, and of course so did everyone else immediately thereafter. My two female singers kept sinking down into the muck of "cute porn" in many of our songs, while I kept trying to pry Grace Slick out of them, so they could be heard over my acoustic guitar. We had some great covers, some nice music, which I tried to insist be stepped up in our own style, like with "volume?"
I failed so miserably I shot my own band in the head.
I'm going to call it "Wispy Waify Wastoid". Does anyone remember the thrift store quality paintings of cartoonish depressed alley cats? "Awww, they're sooo cuuute". Sad, mumbling, cutesy, stoners they are... I seriously began to wonder if they were showing up for practices, (WHEN they showed up), after sucking down balloons of nitrous oxide.

I grew up with Progressive Rock, my vocal range and volume (AND CLARITY!) close to Greg Lake's. They kept telling me I was singing too loud. We never even had mics.

Thank you for giving me this place to vent.

SlackerInc
03-31-2016, 03:41 AM
Welcome, Andy. This ought to be renamed the SDMB Recruitment Thread.

Napkin Sandwich
03-31-2016, 04:34 AM
https://vine.co/v/OTg0nO2mFKU

Watch this guy make fun of what I call the Indie Witch-Girl singing style. It's when girls think they sound like an old timey jazz singer but actually just sound like a dying cat or a cutesy old british woman.

This makes a perfect parody of every single Joanna Newsom song ever. She is the very embodiment of the woman-who-sounds-like-a-pigeon-toed-waif-glancing-up-through-her-bangs-like-Princess-Diana.

Be warned: https://youtube.com/watch?v=jzD3x-mXvnI

AndyVan1
04-01-2016, 08:57 AM
This is exactly the image I get when I hear the wispy waify girls:

http://ebay.com/bhp/pity-kitty

wolfman
04-01-2016, 03:24 PM
This makes a perfect parody of every single Joanna Newsom song ever. She is the very embodiment of the woman-who-sounds-like-a-pigeon-toed-waif-glancing-up-through-her-bangs-like-Princess-Diana.

Be warned: https://youtube.com/watch?v=jzD3x-mXvnI

That's completely obnoxious but not only much for waifiness but because every note she sings seems to have random duration, volume and tonal inflection.

pulykamell
04-01-2016, 03:34 PM
That's completely obnoxious but not only much for waifiness but because every note she sings seems to have random duration, volume and tonal inflection.

Holy crap. What was that? Yeah, that goes beyond the wispy waif indie style to so intentionally quirky and annoying that I can't understand how anyone can enjoy that style of singing.

wonky
04-01-2016, 03:45 PM
Holy crap. What was that? Yeah, that goes beyond the wispy waif indie style to so intentionally quirky and annoying that I can't understand how anyone can enjoy that style of singing.

I clicked on it an my cat went weird. Weirder. He bit my ear. I turned it off.

SlackerInc
04-02-2016, 02:04 AM
Holy crap. What was that? Yeah, that goes beyond the wispy waif indie style to so intentionally quirky and annoying that I can't understand how anyone can enjoy that style of singing.

I couldn't tell you. I was very curious to click on this one because so many of the previous songs, I've ended up either finding passably decent, or good enough to actively add them to one of my Apple Music playlists. So I thought "this one's either going to be the best yet, or just too far". The guitar sounded promising, but then...no. Too far, even for this fan of the waif style.

MrDibble
04-02-2016, 04:02 AM
The guitar sounded promising
That wasn't guitar (https://youtube.com/watch?v=Jv4A6_EPo9o)...

SlackerInc
04-02-2016, 04:18 AM
Oops. I guess it won't shock anyone to hear that I do not play any musical instruments and never have.

She's definitely nicer to look at than to listen to.

WordMan
04-02-2016, 07:59 AM
She's a bit precious, to be sure. Her stuff has gotten a tad more accessible, but yeah, she is still a hippy-dippy harpist with a waify voice.

She's married to Andy Samberg of SNL and Brooklyn 999.

SlackerInc
04-02-2016, 11:18 AM
Aha.

BwanaBob
04-04-2016, 09:43 AM
This commercial (https://youtu.be/v2IkZZmd6RA) makes me want to put a bullet in my brain.

I was convinced this was Zooey Deschanel (the girl who sings in ELF) doing an awful parody of herself. This is the type of "singing" that your elementary school teacher is supposed to nip in the bud, telling your parents that you have no business ever joining any chorus or choir.

Trom
04-04-2016, 10:28 AM
This commercial (https://youtu.be/v2IkZZmd6RA) makes me want to put a bullet in my brain.

RIP Tangent (https://youtube.com/watch?v=aBWxjAiO_KQ&t=25)

Tangent
04-04-2016, 12:07 PM
That did indeed cause mortal wounds.

Wendell Wagner
04-04-2016, 10:04 PM
BwanaBob writes:

> . . . Zooey Deschanel (the girl who sings in ELF) . . .

This is a strange way of putting it. Do you only know her from the movie Elf? She's been in a lot of movies and TV shows and has sung a lot of songs (as part of She & Him, which you can find on YouTube). She's also considered the ultimate model of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

MeanOldLady
04-05-2016, 02:49 PM
RIP Tangent (https://youtube.com/watch?v=aBWxjAiO_KQ&t=25)I couldn't get past seconds of this. Her voice is the worst thing that has ever happened.

SlackerInc
04-05-2016, 06:41 PM
I couldn't get past seconds of this. Her voice is the worst thing that has ever happened.

The first woman singing...yeah, agreed. But it wasn't really the style we are talking about in this thread. However, the second woman, starting nearly a couple minutes in, (https://youtu.be/aBWxjAiO_KQ?t=109) nails the style (and sounds much better to me).

pulykamell
04-05-2016, 07:40 PM
The first woman singing...yeah, agreed. But it wasn't really the style we are talking about in this thread. However, the second woman, starting nearly a couple minutes in, (https://youtu.be/aBWxjAiO_KQ?t=109) nails the style (and sounds much better to me).

I'm confused. That link is to the first woman singing (plain white, possibly light blue, top)--the one who seems to be trying to channel some of Bjork's quirkiness without quite the strength of voice. The other one is the woman (with flowers on her shirt) who is singing in a more conventional style. Which one are you talking about? I assume it must be the quirky singer, but she is the first singer, unless I'm missing something.

Empire
04-05-2016, 08:09 PM
OMG, you are my people! I absolutely cannot stand Cat Edmonsons' singing and that eventually landed me here. I registered here soley because of this thread. As I read each entry, each one is different but describes this horrible singing style to a "T".

Tangent
04-05-2016, 08:30 PM
We got another one! Welcome to the boards, Empire!

SlackerInc
04-05-2016, 09:44 PM
Yes, welcome!

Just out of curiosity, has anyone noticed if the newbies attracted by this thread continued to post in other topics?

Pulykamell, I will take another look when I am in a Wi-Fi zone.

Jackmannii
04-05-2016, 11:56 PM
I couldn't get past seconds of this. Her voice is the worst thing that has ever happened.That is beyond excruciating. Whoever decided that style is cute and sexy should be fed to starving baby elephants.*

*Obscure Fugs reference.

SlackerInc
04-06-2016, 01:35 AM
I'm confused. That link is to the first woman singing (plain white, possibly light blue, top)--the one who seems to be trying to channel some of Bjork's quirkiness without quite the strength of voice. The other one is the woman (with flowers on her shirt) who is singing in a more conventional style. Which one are you talking about? I assume it must be the quirky singer, but she is the first singer, unless I'm missing something.

You are right. I guess somehow the first time I watched it, the video started a minute in or something and I didn't catch it.

The one who is emulating Bjork is the one I would agree is most relevant to this thread. I don't mind her singing, although I certainly understand that anyone who doesn't like the style would particularly hate this rendition.

The woman with the flowers on her shirt is not singing in the style of this thread, although I wouldn't call it conventional style singing either. She is the one I find it really painful to listen to.

Velocity
04-06-2016, 01:57 AM
I have to wonder: Do these women naturally have this voice (in which case it's OK,) or are they deliberately trying to muster up a husky, throaty, annoying voice in the belief that it is endearing?

Evil Captor
04-06-2016, 12:02 PM
You are right. I guess somehow the first time I watched it, the video started a minute in or something and I didn't catch it.

The one who is emulating Bjork is the one I would agree is most relevant to this thread. I don't mind her singing, although I certainly understand that anyone who doesn't like the style would particularly hate this rendition.

The woman with the flowers on her shirt is not singing in the style of this thread, although I wouldn't call it conventional style singing either. She is the one I find it really painful to listen to.

They are both offenses to human ears.

AndyVan1
04-06-2016, 01:17 PM
I don't look at any other threads or topics, I'm too busy with life. I came here solely for this thread, which tells you how much I fucking HATE the subject of it.

My question now is, what can we do to end this horrible plague on music?

Biggirl
04-06-2016, 03:44 PM
Oh God, that Phoenix University commercial! Die you smug, gargle-voiced, twee bitch. Anyone with microcephaly can go to college and sing insufferably, apparently. I joined this board in 2000 just so I can complain about the horrible singing in this commercial.

pulykamell
04-06-2016, 03:58 PM
You are right. I guess somehow the first time I watched it, the video started a minute in or something and I didn't catch it.

The one who is emulating Bjork is the one I would agree is most relevant to this thread. I don't mind her singing, although I certainly understand that anyone who doesn't like the style would particularly hate this rendition.

The woman with the flowers on her shirt is not singing in the style of this thread, although I wouldn't call it conventional style singing either. She is the one I find it really painful to listen to.

Well, "more conventional" in relation to the first singer. She at least is trying to hold notes and the such. She does have her own brand of quirk, though, but not of the wispy waify kind (as you note.)

Shooby
04-06-2016, 05:21 PM
I'm gonna go against the grain and say that there's nothing wrong with waif-y singing, or whatever you wanna call it. Music is all about using your instruments (voice included) to produce a desired effect. Sometimes the best tool is a classically correct singing style, but sometimes the waif voice sounds better for the situation. I love Regina Spektor, Feist, and Daughter, but I also need my Janis Joplins and Aretha Franklins. Good songs are diverse in their styles.

drad dog
04-06-2016, 05:49 PM
I'm gonna go against the grain and say that there's nothing wrong with waif-y singing, or whatever you wanna call it. Music is all about using your instruments (voice included) to produce a desired effect. Sometimes the best tool is a classically correct singing style, but sometimes the waif voice sounds better for the situation. I love Regina Spektor, Feist, and Daughter, but I also need my Janis Joplins and Aretha Franklins. Good songs are diverse in their styles.

Waify is an affected tone, usually reflecting an artistic deficiency. The first girl to sing waify probably had every reason to do it, but this many iterations down the rabbit hole, it's awful.

A song that "needs" to be sung waify would be like a speech that "needs" to be done in baby talk. It doesn't happen in nature anymore.

But I exempt anyone who has something to say from my definition. Regina Spektor can say something some times. Cocorosie is a true tasteless abomination. I want to grab them and shake the truth out of them that they're really just infantile narcissists who are on this for the ride. I dislike them so much I have to listen to them. I just went through 4 songs of theirs. The one that has pipes uses them in the most pretentious way, and the other one is trolling like Donald Trump is basically.

pulykamell
04-06-2016, 06:12 PM
I'm gonna go against the grain and say that there's nothing wrong with waif-y singing, or whatever you wanna call it. Music is all about using your instruments (voice included) to produce a desired effect. Sometimes the best tool is a classically correct singing style, but sometimes the waif voice sounds better for the situation. I love Regina Spektor, Feist, and Daughter, but I also need my Janis Joplins and Aretha Franklins. Good songs are diverse in their styles.

I don't always mind it...I mean, Bjork goes into manic pixie mode a lot, but I think it works great for her music, especially when she contrasts it with her more full voiced, yet still quirkily emotive, passages. And sometimes it can project an atmosphere of childish innocence or vulnerability or something of that nature. It can certainly work, and I do tend to like non-traditional types of voices (see, for example, Beth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins. Hell, I even like a lot of pitchy twee stuff like Cub). But a lot of it just sounds so copycat and quirky-for-the-sake-of-being-quirky-and-cute to me, especially when it's paired with a sparse acoustic guitar and toy instruments kind of background. It's completely subjective, though. For some artists it conveys naiveté and sincerity to me, but for others it just sounds like a calculated affectation.

SlackerInc
04-07-2016, 12:09 AM
I'm gonna go against the grain and say that there's nothing wrong with waif-y singing, or whatever you wanna call it. Music is all about using your instruments (voice included) to produce a desired effect. Sometimes the best tool is a classically correct singing style, but sometimes the waif voice sounds better for the situation. I love Regina Spektor, Feist, and Daughter, but I also need my Janis Joplins and Aretha Franklins. Good songs are diverse in their styles.

I'm with ya!

Pulykamell, isn't much or most singing a "calculated affectation"? Take two very famous female singers whose styles are (were, in one case) on the far end of the spectrum from the "waif" style: Amy Winehouse and Adele. Aren't their styles a calculated affectation, every bit as much as the waifs'? You can't tell me they'd have sung anything like that if they had grown up in a cabin in the Yukon, cut off from all pop cultural influences. Or if they had lived in the 19th century or even early 20th.

I think it's really just which affectations you do or don't enjoy the sound of, simple as that. :cool:

pulykamell
04-07-2016, 01:13 AM
I'm with ya!

Pulykamell, isn't much or most singing a "calculated affectation"? Take two very famous female singers whose styles are (were, in one case) on the far end of the spectrum from the "waif" style: Amy Winehouse and Adele. Aren't their styles a calculated affectation, every bit as much as the waifs'? You can't tell me they'd have sung anything like that if they had grown up in a cabin in the Yukon, cut off from all pop cultural influences. Or if they had lived in the 19th century or even early 20th.

I think it's really just which affectations you do or don't enjoy the sound of, simple as that. :cool:

Yes, you can make that argument, of course. It's just that some sound more "sincere" to me than others. It's like an instrumentalist being able to "swing" or "rock" or not. There's some that just sell it and make it sound perfectly natural and believable, and others that it feels like they're trying too hard. In the end, it's subjective, sure, but there's just some performers where I "feel" it, and others I don't.

SlackerInc
04-07-2016, 04:51 AM
I find it a little weird when white women demonstrate that they have managed to uncannily imitate a singing style developed by black women. At least the "waif" thing is more authentically "white girl"...

Empire
04-07-2016, 06:20 AM
The one that drives me absolutely nuts is the Ohio.org commercial. I believe its Cat Edmondson that sings it. Pomplamoose is the other band (i use that term loosely) that absolutely makes me want to vomit.
I really hate the waif and hipster movements.
Fuck, maybe I am just old.

SlackerInc
04-07-2016, 06:32 AM
The one that drives me absolutely nuts is the Ohio.org commercial. I believe its Cat Edmondson that sings it. Pomplamoose is the other band (i use that term loosely) that absolutely makes me want to vomit.
I really hate the waif and hipster movements.
Fuck, maybe I am just old.

Ah yes, this commercial (https://youtube.com/watch?v=Oi0vI2WwYag) is definitely a good example of the genre. I find it pleasant.

WordMan
04-07-2016, 06:48 AM
Yes, you can make that argument, of course. It's just that some sound more "sincere" to me than others. It's like an instrumentalist being able to "swing" or "rock" or not. There's some that just sell it and make it sound perfectly natural and believable, and others that it feels like they're trying too hard. In the end, it's subjective, sure, but there's just some performers where I "feel" it, and others I don't.

Oh yeah, spot on. I remember when Sinead O'Connor first came out with Mandinka. Man I loved that song and how she put a hitch in her voice in an Irish-y way in key phrases.

But the song hit, and for a few years that hitch became a featured effect, like the pennywhistle from Titanic. Hearing the difference in delivery from Sinead - she's a whackjob of the highest order, but is a sincere whackjob with a brilliant voice - vs. folks just doing it as an effect was hard for a while. (note: I thought Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries used this vocal effect well, too).

LC Strawhouse
04-07-2016, 08:57 AM
I find it a little weird when white women demonstrate that they have managed to uncannily imitate a singing style developed by black women.

Have I ever got a song for you (https://youtube.com/watch?v=JL4cfJLY2N0).

SlackerInc
04-07-2016, 09:00 AM
Funny, that's not normally her style.

WordMan
04-07-2016, 09:02 AM
I find it a little weird when white women demonstrate that they have managed to uncannily imitate a singing style developed by black women. At least the "waif" thing is more authentically "white girl"...

I dunno. Styles come from everywhere and should be available to anyone. I would never question Bonnie Raitt's commitment to the Blues, or Wynton Marsalis' winning Grammys for his work in Classical Music* as well as Jazz.

*hey, that's "white people" music!! nice to see that a guy like Marsalis can "uncannily imitate" it! ;) ;)


Now: do people of all races try to master a vocal style and can't yet inhabit it, so it sounds inauthentic? Yes. The point to this thread is that folks like Mariah have the chops, but don't know now to inhabit a vocal and get inside the lyric vs. treating the song like an Olympics Floor Exercise tumbling run of vocals...

drad dog
04-07-2016, 01:16 PM
I dunno. Styles come from everywhere and should be available to anyone. I would never question Bonnie Raitt's commitment to the Blues, or Wynton Marsalis' winning Grammys for his work in Classical Music* as well as Jazz.

*hey, that's "white people" music!! nice to see that a guy like Marsalis can "uncannily imitate" it! ;) ;)


Now: do people of all races try to master a vocal style and can't yet inhabit it, so it sounds inauthentic? Yes. The point to this thread is that folks like Mariah have the chops, but don't know now to inhabit a vocal and get inside the lyric vs. treating the song like an Olympics Floor Exercise tumbling run of vocals...

I agree. It all comes down to taste, who is "real" and who isn't basically. A style isn't unreal. It's individuals. There are a lot of ways to be an "asshole" singer. Hence the popularity of this thread. The waify style though sounds emotionally manipulative, and isn't aspiring to copy an older great style. It's decadent.

Amy Winehouse is flat out genius. She was just a kid and sometimes really chewed the hell out of a syllable, but it was real, as demonstrated by strong original material. Adele, I see as a bandwagon jumper, and a mainstream compromise/accommodation.

The only bone to pick with you Word is that Wynton is no less culturally attached to classical music than any white american, by being black. Both he and Miles Davis went to Juilliard, studied it all with the rest, and later Miles had not much Jazz at all in his record collection. It's not an analogue to blues or soul, at least to me. Wasn't Beethoven 1/16 black?

WordMan
04-07-2016, 01:39 PM
I was merely trying to go for a silly shock extreme - questioning Wynton's badassness is so silly that I was hoping it made my point.

I agree with your follow up. And yeah, Amy Winehouse could sing the fuck out of a song. I like Adele, but she only has a few settings on her dial that she does really well. Amy had finesse.

Her phrasing was so effortless. That's what you hear in that first clip of her singing Happy Birthday at age 14 (?). That's Michael Jackson singing Who's Lovin' You good.

Her example, like Aretha, Mavis Staples, like Whitney at her best - they should stand out as examples of how to correctly approach this otherwise-hyper-annoying singing style.

SlackerInc
04-07-2016, 04:00 PM
I am not a musician, just a fan of music, but it somehow seems different to me to sing like someone of a different race as opposed to playing an instrument in a style from outside your ethno-cultural background, whether that's a white guy playing jazz or a black guy playing classical.

Note that even the rare white rapper does not sound exactly like a black guy.

Dmoney16
04-07-2016, 06:57 PM
My belief after a couple of years of wanting to claw out my eardrums with my own fingernails whenever I hear this lazy, irritating, talentless tripe is that the Nora Jones style has somehow combined with the worst of what the alternative rock world had to offer in the 2000's and has morphed into this incredibly annoying sound. As much as I like some of Nora Jones' older stuff, I am certain that she's at least partially to blame for this sad state of affairs.

WordMan
04-07-2016, 07:56 PM
I am not a musician, just a fan of music, but it somehow seems different to me to sing like someone of a different race as opposed to playing an instrument in a style from outside your ethno-cultural background, whether that's a white guy playing jazz or a black guy playing classical.

Note that even the rare white rapper does not sound exactly like a black guy.

Jeez, whatever you do, do NOT tell that to Elvis Presley, okay?

keiths
04-29-2016, 09:02 AM
Have only just found this thread. I've been banging on for years about breathy singing - and trebly production settings which exacerbate it. In my youth I was a church chorister and my choirmaster said that people want to hear the voice, not the breathing. In the choir we had to breathe out of sync with each other - and you needed to take a good breath in order to SING and project your voice, not vocalise with a mic shoved down your tonsils.

The accentuated treble setting in production seems to have come in with Cliff Richard's saccharine Christmas offerings, and has been universally taken up.

Matt Bellamy of Muse uses the inward breath presumably to impart emotion - at his worst I find him unlistenable-to, not quite drowned out by the sound of my choirmaster whirling in his grave.

...or maybe it is my grumpy old man hearing that is affecting the sound equalisation, but I think not. Listen to some singers of the past - Sandy Denny springs to mind from the female side - who could do range and emotion without puffing and panting! Freddy Mercury was another Can Belto. I guess its just poor, lazy technique with technology affecting the sound even further.

After lighting the blue touch paper, I'll retire hastily!

WordMan
04-29-2016, 09:21 AM
keiths, welcome to the SDMB. I have only heard the Britishism "lighting the blue touch paper" because David Hare entitled his memoir with it, and explained it meant lighting the fuse.

No fuse lit here. I am a journeyman guitar player and music geek; my vocal experience is selling songs to drunk dancing crowds with much enthusiasm.

Isn't your observation about a breathy voice a byproduct of recording? Like the difference between acting on stage for the back seats vs. acting close-up for film? I doubt anyone would've cared about Mariah Carey's near breathless head voice super-high notes if it wasn't mic'd to give it enough body to sound credible.

I prefer vocalists that have a foundation of technique, but their own thing, too, so we aren't merely dazzled in an operatic sorta way. Someone like Bonnie Raitt stuns me - Broadway schooled (her father was a star), authentically blues - she's earned her voice. She is the only person I have heard hold the stage with Aretha Franklin, do her own thing and pull it off. That made me listen harder.

choie
04-30-2016, 08:52 PM
This thread continually makes me grin, especially the number of new folks who come across it because the singing style is driving them fucking bonkers. It really is an affectation infestation.

And yet I have to admit something. Despite my dislike of the style, there's a song by a singer who I think falls close to the line... Bulimic Beats (https://youtube.com/watch?v=6AxONvWhOVo), sung by Cerys Matthews from the Welsh group Catatonia. This came out in 1999.

I'm not sure it's the same affectation, or even affectation at all. She is certainly waify, but that sense of helplessness/inability to be seen is kind of the point of the song. (It's about a woman who feels invisible due to her partner's negligence, and falls to eating/purging for consolation and/or self-destruction. Matthews had/has an eating disorder herself, so it's at least partly autobiographical.)

Regardless of her voice, I think the song is fucking gorgeous, especially the orchestral sweep at the end.

Just curious what others think. Does she fall into the category, or is it a legit use of style to get a meaning across?

SlackerInc
05-03-2016, 04:54 AM
I like a lot of the waify stuff, but I'll take a stab at it. This singer sounds like those others at some moments, but not others; and overall, the style of the song doesn't fit IMO.

WordMan
05-03-2016, 06:21 AM
I find it a little weird when white women demonstrate that they have managed to uncannily imitate a singing style developed by black women. At least the "waif" thing is more authentically "white girl"...

That view of "authenticity" is what kept blacks from singing Opera, and why Marian Anderson, the amazing African-American singer, sang at the Lincoln Memorial (she had been barred from the Met so her supportors arranged for that performance).

Good singing knows no color. Hyper-annoying singning knows no color.

nightshadea
05-03-2016, 02:23 PM
heh try a cover of bizarre love triangle by frente for an example of this style although don't personally hate it as long as it dosent sound like that "if I only had a brain commercial "

drad dog
05-03-2016, 08:08 PM
This is a perspective/positive post, about the Blake Babies.

It was Julianna Hatfields band and I saw them a lot. To me she was the origin of all the waify sounds we hear, as far as it went through the rock and alt scenes. These records go back to 1988 and I would like to know if anyone can cite earlier examples of this sound to correct me.

Of course she was a great songwriter and rocked like crazy. She isn't responsible for the aftermath. The whole oeuvre is worth checking out.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=ETZkpICU_UU

https://youtube.com/watch?v=rokFhSymbQM&list=PL5QmUeEgD_TaWR6L2Nl4ig-ffnV3fcVpI&index=8

https://youtube.com/watch?v=7EKqU7iHCNc

SlackerInc
05-06-2016, 04:37 AM
This is a perspective/positive post, about the Blake Babies.

It was Julianna Hatfields band and I saw them a lot. To me she was the origin of all the waify sounds we hear, as far as it went through the rock and alt scenes. These records go back to 1988 and I would like to know if anyone can cite earlier examples of this sound to correct me.

Of course she was a great songwriter and rocked like crazy. She isn't responsible for the aftermath. The whole oeuvre is worth checking out.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=ETZkpICU_UU

https://youtube.com/watch?v=rokFhSymbQM&list=PL5QmUeEgD_TaWR6L2Nl4ig-ffnV3fcVpI&index=8

https://youtube.com/watch?v=7EKqU7iHCNc

I was only familiar with Hatfield from her song "My Sister", though I have heard of The Blake Babies. Those songs you linked sound pretty cool, but I don't think they sound waif-y.

And I still think my 1950s cite of Blossom Dearie is the earliest yet put forward.

lyrahowl
05-07-2016, 04:54 PM
Another one to register here just because of a Google search. Mine was "I hate indie girl sound", ha. I recently stumbled upon some article about the rising female musicians of 2016 and 9 out of 10 were singing in that style. Makes me wanna jump out of the window.

What's worse, this shit is not going to stop. Kids love it. I go to a music school and they put a student's concert every couple of months, and everyone under the age of 18 seems to perform those little sad songs on acoustic guitar whispering into a microphone in a sad, uber-sugary voice, girls and boys alike. They terrify me.

JKellyMap
05-21-2016, 08:32 AM
Adia Victoria, "Howlin' Shame" (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RZiAunRCr4U). She can also sing in a more pleasant, blues/rock/funk/soul style.

Ponch8
05-22-2016, 10:19 PM
Yesterday I heard an abortion that was supposed to be a cover of Nirvana's "Come As You Are". I will spare you the horror and not provide a link or the name of the "singer".

pulykamell
05-23-2016, 12:24 AM
I was only familiar with Hatfield from her song "My Sister", though I have heard of The Blake Babies. Those songs you linked sound pretty cool, but I don't think they sound waif-y.

Yeah, Blake Babies and Juliana Hatfield have kind of an honest, unadorned sound to the singing (I'm not entirely sure how to describe--it lends a certain kind of young, emotional nakedness to the song) but it's not what I think of when I think of the singing described by the OP, and I don't find it waify, either. The waify style of singing as described by the OP is hyper-affected and a good bit theatrical (depending on the performer), which is a bit different than what I hear in Blake Babies and Juliana Hatfield, which I find more going for a plain, though consciously girlish, delivery.

JKellyMap
06-03-2016, 05:48 AM
heh try a cover of bizarre love triangle by frente for an example of this style although don't personally hate it as long as it dosent sound like that "if I only had a brain commercial "

Frente! is definitely an early example -- good call! I got into them (especially the song "Labour of Love") when I visited Hong Kong in 1994 -- they were big in their native Australia and not far beyond at the time. Not quite hyper-annoying, but the basic singing style is there.

SlackerInc
06-03-2016, 06:15 AM
Yeah, it's funny to go back and listen to that song. At the time, it really sounded noticeably "waifish" (is I guess the word we are using). Frente pretty much had that segment of the indie scene nearly all to themselves. But by the standards of where that style has evolved, it sounds now like comparatively straightforward singing.

WordMan
06-03-2016, 07:03 AM
I hate that version because it....it just makes me wanna smash the guitar Bluto style. Sorry.

But I love the version for how it showcases New Order's songwriting - strip all of their layered dance synth-grooviness away, and the song stands up just fine. It holds up under Twee. I respect that.

JKellyMap
06-03-2016, 08:29 AM
I hate that version because it....it just makes me wanna smash the guitar Bluto style. Sorry.


No need to apologize. ;) I don't like it either. I DO like several of Frente's original numbers, though -- The Marvin Album and the Labour of Love EP are worth a listen.

Velocity
06-03-2016, 08:39 AM
I think the only thing that can get this super-irritating singing style out of fashion is if someone who uses this form of singing loses some nationally televised talent show or singing competition in front of a large audience precisely for using this singing style. That may be the only thing that will do the trick.

WordMan
06-03-2016, 08:50 AM
I think the only thing that can get this super-irritating singing style out of fashion is if someone who uses this form of singing loses some nationally televised talent show or singing competition in front of a large audience precisely for using this singing style. That may be the only thing that will do the trick.

You're overthinking it - what you are saying is that its popularity will die out. Yep, can't wait. Same with Autotune as an out-front effect.

I had to wait years for that '80's clean+chorus guitar tone to fade away; same with Hair-metal'ers who focused on the exactly wrong parts of Eddie Van Halen's playing. Would you hurry up and sound dated, please?! ;)

Older Meaner Lady
06-23-2016, 01:27 AM
This needs to stop. I searched for "Please tell me why all girls sing the same. Thank you", because I'm old and I'm polite. But this is f-ing annoying as hell. For real. Thank you.

drad dog
06-23-2016, 01:03 PM
There has to be an honorary male violator here and I nominate the guy who sings in the ads "I've been a poor man I've been a king, blah blah barf"

He is the winner apparently of a scandinavian "the voice" type show.

Guest-starring: Id!
06-23-2016, 08:49 PM
On some songs Suzi Quatro's yelling could be bothersome.

dada2fish
06-26-2016, 08:52 PM
Grace Vanderwaal (https://youtube.com/watch?v=eNxO9MpQ2vA)

I immediately thought of this thread and pictured Mean Old Lady having a coronary watching this episode of America's Got Talent.

The audience ate it up and the judges all drooled over it, even Simon and she got a Golden Buzzer which is like reaching the tallest ladder in Chutes and Ladders game.

This 12 year old does waify, but she also turns into a Irish Lass with the sudden change of accent mid-song. of course, the ukulele is standard.

This type of singing isn't going anywhere. :smack:

SlackerInc
06-30-2016, 12:06 PM
That was fantastic! (Am I really the only one who uses this thread to get awesome music recommendations?)

BTW, I recognized three of the four judges, but I'm curious as to the identity of the other one (between Howie Mandel and Heidi Klum). Anyone know?

drad dog
06-30-2016, 12:34 PM
That was fantastic! (Am I really the only one who uses this thread to get awesome music recommendations?)

BTW, I recognized three of the four judges, but I'm curious as to the identity of the other one (between Howie Mandel and Heidi Klum). Anyone know?

I do think that kid is pretty incredible and is way ahead of the game for growing into an artist with taste some time, maybe even soon. You can't blame kids for sounding like others that young. Anyone here have great taste when they were 12?

She reminds me of Bjork a little.

Cigardener
07-08-2016, 04:38 PM
Another new registration brought in by a Google search: "where did this breathy baby-doll female vocal style come from?", prompted by Grace Vanderwaal.

I used to like it; I still find it somewhat appealing, but have grown tired of all the wannabees who use the affectation so extremely and self-consciously. CocoRosie, for example.

Several years ago, when it first started emerging in it's current form, I thought the songs I was hearing were all the same vocalist and I kind of liked it. It was cute and girlish, but sexy in a wholesome, fresh, innocent way. I could understand the animal appeal.

If I may, I think there are a few elements that need to be present to call something the Indie-Pop-Waif sound: intermittent breathiness, a rounding of vowels, and an either natural or affected tween-age voice, combined with a sort of Gelfling cuteness.

I think I know how the style evolved; I wouldn't want to draw a flow chart, but I think this is where the elements came from. It looks like a revival of "baby-pop", a sort of which has been going strong in Japan for quite a while with the whole "Lolita" thing.

I believe Melanie Safka (1968) (https://youtu.be/nSiG_Y7XwK4) pioneered this particular breed of childlike innocence. Unless you want to count France Gall (1965) (https://youtu.be/s3RwVOSpcVo).

The Cranberries (1993) (https://youtu.be/G6Kspj3OO0s) lent the Irish hard R's and round vowels, and Björk (1993) (https://youtu.be/7Z5aPaDwAkU) added some peculiar Icelandic accents to the emerging sound.

If I had to commit, I'd say the current phenomenon probably started with Björk, and it just snowballed from there, with successive artists imitating and exaggerating it more and more, till you have bizarre chimeras like CocoRosie and Joanna Newsom. There was another woman I heard about 5 or 6 years ago, but I can't remember her name. Something Italian, maybe. Sang about sunshine or daydreams or such.

Anyway, there's my $0.02.

Ellis Dee
07-10-2016, 08:18 AM
Goddamn, it feels great to find a thread of people hating this style as much as I do. I started to think maybe the similarity was just in my head.

I gotta add though: I dont think its just girls singing like this. I Think there are guys doing exactly the same rubbish.

Passenger
Hozier
Woodkid
Greg Laswell

and probably tons of other trash.Jesus Christ, you're not kidding. I somehow missed this post the first time around, so up until just now I was blissfully unaware that men also perpetrate this atrocity.

I'd never heard of Passenger, and just now I happened to be checking out the video for Let Her Go (https://youtube.com/watch?v=RBumgq5yVrA). It starts off promising; I was thinking this might be one of those popular "hidden gems" that everyone else knew about but went under my radar.

Then, at 26 seconds into the song, I ran from the room screaming and lit myself on fire.

NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

WordMan
07-10-2016, 08:29 AM
Hozier is a great singer, even if I giggle a bit at his name. Love the sound of his voice.

Jinx
07-10-2016, 11:11 PM
To me, it's kinda like the folksong fad from many decades ago. I agree...I don't like it.

SlackerInc
07-13-2016, 05:16 PM
Another new registration brought in by a Google search: "where did this breathy baby-doll female vocal style come from?", prompted by Grace Vanderwaal.

I used to like it; I still find it somewhat appealing, but have grown tired of all the wannabees who use the affectation so extremely and self-consciously. CocoRosie, for example.

Several years ago, when it first started emerging in it's current form, I thought the songs I was hearing were all the same vocalist and I kind of liked it. It was cute and girlish, but sexy in a wholesome, fresh, innocent way. I could understand the animal appeal.

If I may, I think there are a few elements that need to be present to call something the Indie-Pop-Waif sound: intermittent breathiness, a rounding of vowels, and an either natural or affected tween-age voice, combined with a sort of Gelfling cuteness.

I think I know how the style evolved; I wouldn't want to draw a flow chart, but I think this is where the elements came from. It looks like a revival of "baby-pop", a sort of which has been going strong in Japan for quite a while with the whole "Lolita" thing.

I believe Melanie Safka (1968) (https://youtu.be/nSiG_Y7XwK4) pioneered this particular breed of childlike innocence. Unless you want to count France Gall (1965) (https://youtu.be/s3RwVOSpcVo).

The Cranberries (1993) (https://youtu.be/G6Kspj3OO0s) lent the Irish hard R's and round vowels, and Björk (1993) (https://youtu.be/7Z5aPaDwAkU) added some peculiar Icelandic accents to the emerging sound.

If I had to commit, I'd say the current phenomenon probably started with Björk, and it just snowballed from there, with successive artists imitating and exaggerating it more and more, till you have bizarre chimeras like CocoRosie and Joanna Newsom. There was another woman I heard about 5 or 6 years ago, but I can't remember her name. Something Italian, maybe. Sang about sunshine or daydreams or such.

Emiliana Torrini's "Sunny Road"? (https://youtube.com/watch?v=MyuL1z2tejs) Great song.

While I've defended the style, I agree that CocoRosie is a bit much. (Same with Newsom, and I wonder if Samberg is ever tempted to mock her.)

In general, I like your definition and musical forensic "flow chart", but once again: what about Blossom Dearie? She predates everyone you mentioned.

Jesus Christ, you're not kidding. I somehow missed this post the first time around, so up until just now I was blissfully unaware that men also perpetrate this atrocity.

I'd never heard of Passenger, and just now I happened to be checking out the video for Let Her Go (https://youtube.com/watch?v=RBumgq5yVrA). It starts off promising; I was thinking this might be one of those popular "hidden gems" that everyone else knew about but went under my radar.

Then, at 26 seconds into the song, I ran from the room screaming and lit myself on fire.

NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Yeah, that doesn't work.

velomont
07-17-2016, 12:19 PM
I was listening to some talk radio this morning and then, for an interlude, they played "New Soul" by Yael Naim. I think that it falls beautifully into this horrific category.

Yael Naim

https://youtube.com/watch?v=XgEfYGzojcA

And while listening I had an epiphone. A lot of this stuff sounds like children's music -happy, light, comforting etc, and I started wondering if this is music designed for the "safe space" generation.

wonky
07-17-2016, 12:40 PM
And while listening I had an epiphone.

Perfect typo for this topic.

velomont
07-17-2016, 12:45 PM
Perfect typo for this topic.

I would like to claim credit for a brilliant pun but I honestly thought that that was the word and that there was a point to the musical instrument manufacturer's name (I even have one of their guitars). Well, lesson learned.:smack:

Baker
07-17-2016, 01:44 PM
They are compensating because they can't sing.

This is what I came in to say.

BrainPolice
09-02-2016, 11:28 PM
I too joined this message board after bumping into this thread from a google search. What I typed into google was more general though: "indie folk sucks" and "indie sucks". What's talked about in this thread is one aspect out of many that bugs me about what I would call the generic trendy sound of contemporary "indie", especially on the folky and poppy end of "indie". The problem is that for most cases, it's just a put on and is something copied as a style without people truly developing their own sound.

There are plenty of parallels to this in other styles of music and not just as a question of singing. For example, it is cliche to me as a guitar player that there are legions of white blues or blues/rock players who go out of their way to sound just like Stevie Ray Vaughn. Then you have the Hendrix clones. What's grating to me about this is that it's all a put-on act in which the person has focused so much on being just like someone else that they exude a serious lack of authenticity and personal creativity. They're *trying too hard* to sound a certain way. Same with the waify-indie-chick-singing.

To some extent, the very nature of any genre involves imitation of one's influences. You could say "it all sounds the same" toward just about any genre. However, some contexts are more egregious about this than others, and when we are talking about commercialized popular music in the modern age, there is a much more intense trend of "generic-ness" in which everything is produced to sound the same and artists go out of their way to cater to what is perceived to be the "hip" sound. Hence legions of artists with this "waify" female vocal style and the "whiny" male vocal style, and legions of generic sounding folk-pop and indie-rock groups that all meld into a tapestry of annoyance to my ears.

My issue isn't simply that I find this vocal style an annoying trend, but I find the musical content of much of what is being called "indie" to be an annoying and generic trend. I also think it involves a low barrier to entry for talent. To some extent, what is going on here is simply that *the sound of people who just can't sing that well or play their instruments that well* has been normalized as a trend. It was perhaps a little more cute and authentic in the 80's and early 90's when it genuinely was just post-punk rockers doing their thing, and then some of them becoming famous more by accident than design. Then by the mid and late 90's it became a commercial trend. People do it to be cool and to give off a vibe (a vibe that's prefabricated).

So I will take solace, as a good music elitist, in my jazz, fusion, progressive rock, and classical music.

Lacy Loy
09-26-2016, 12:53 AM
I have had the same opinion for a while now but didn't know how to describe the voice. I was just trying to explain this to a friend and simply googled "tired of female singers who sound like" in hopes I'd find someome else who could help me explain. Sure enough 4 results down was this magical post from a fellow hater! Sadly Grace Vanderwaal, the 12-year-old who won the newest America's Got Talent sounds like this in her song "I Don't Know My Name". She's really talented and kind of has her own style in some songs but sadly she's fallen victim to influences that sing like this. "Oy doint knoy moy name"! If there is a god, please make this stop! :smack:

Perisphere
10-01-2016, 07:32 PM
Oh no, I hear you say....not another whackjob that joined here due to this bleedin' thread! But I saw a link via the Steve Hoffman Music Forum, so maybe I have a little credibility after all.

Agreed with everything here about the melismarrhea and all those shaky singers as well. (Have heard the version of 'Baby it's cold outside' with Cerys Matthews and Tom Jones, and it's about as easy to take as a toothache.)

I wonder what you think of this singer? She died 17 years ago today, suffered for years with many of the same things that plagued Karen Carpenter. She namechecked Shirley Bassey as a favourite singer when Johnny Carson had her on the Tonight Show in 1974 at age 10.

Lena Zavaroni, who sounded like anything but a waif despite her tiny size (4'10" fully grown)....

At age eleven: https://youtube.com/watch?v=-2UvRNAz4xg

At age 16: https://youtube.com/watch?v=FFwXgduxCUc

Perisphere
10-01-2016, 07:33 PM
(Accidental repeat post.)

Shooby
10-04-2016, 08:00 AM
I tend to like this style of music, and I also have been looking through this thread for recommendations - thanks haters! I'm looking forward to see how Grace Vanderwhal matures as an artist and finds her own voice.

To be fair, I think there's a ton of a crap in this style of indie/indie-pop, but not any more so than in any other genre of music. I guess some of you may actually hate the entire genre, but that would mean missing out on the Regina Spektors of the world, which makes me legitimately sad for you.

Best Topics: prednisone cough korean 100 won shows like fargo walmart breadmaker little leather library breastfeeding and masturbating jake breaks swear symbols gcd em songs floater days arm garters taking medicine anally hdpe gasoline bomb disposal suit ant smell insane instrumental gloryhole spots mild household detergent drain opener acid joker dies battle cats snl susan spungen jefferies tubes prepopik vs suprep ezra protocol neimoidians racist overdose on nyquil slang for balls dumb pollock's first amendment symbol apposable thumbs lactase supplements abraham lincoln black hawk war where is riverboat gambling legal in missouri cost of new chimney liner 60 day notice for apartment ziggy stardust guitar hero loyal order of moose racist best response to what's up why are girls bikes different how long does it take plumbers putty to dry mech games from the 90s kenny wayne shepherd while we cry straight dope message board cafe society first class postage to norway nerve coming out of nipple workers compensation investigation questions what chinese food should i order why do storms cause power outages clowns getting out of car snow crab vs king crab legs tk421 not at his post mythbusters reverse engineering car slept good or slept well best otc athletes foot treatment watch out for that first step it's a doozy i drink a bottle of wine a day on the first day of christmas parody why does mulder wear a wedding ring feral cat heating pads caffeine in chocolate covered espresso bean how to frost a wine bottle is mahi mahi a dolphin creative answers to how are you