Sing along with Madame Weebles

Madame Weebles —  March 11, 2013 — 167 Comments

Like many of you, I sing along when I’m listening to music.  It’s not pretty, but I do it anyway.

There are a lot of singers I can’t keep up with—their voices are either too high or too low for me.  Usually I get around it by going down or up an octave.  Or if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll harmonize.  But sometimes I feel stupidly ambitious and try to hit the actual notes.  The other day I tried to match Pat Benatar.  That was a mistake.  I sounded like I had my ovaries caught in a vise.

I don’t fare any better when I try to match someone with a really deep voice—Elvis Costello at his deepest, for instance.  I sound possessed, and it makes my vocal chords itch.

But there are some singers with vocal ranges that I can almost always match perfectly.  I call them Goldilocks Singers:  Not too high, not too low.  Juuuuust right.  For a chick, I have a relatively low-pitched voice; I’d most likely be a contralto if I were a legitimate singer (I have no problem singing comfortably well below middle C).  And for whatever reason, I find that I sing along best with Michael Hutchence from INXS (RIP, sir).  Most of my Goldilocks Singers are men but there are women on the list as well.  Sadly, the vast majority of my favorites aren’t Goldilocks (Geddy, honey, I’m so sorry but you often sing too high for me).

Here’s a partial list of my Goldilocks Singers:

Michael Hutchence
Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day
Peter Murphy (except when he hits those basement-level notes)
Elvis Costello (ditto)
Billy Joel
Richard Butler, Psychedelic Furs
Dave Gahan, Depeche Mode
Pink
Shirley Manson, Garbage
Fiona Apple
Chrissie Hynde
Stevie Nicks

Okay, I’ve showed you mine.  Now you show me yours.

167 responses to Sing along with Madame Weebles

  1. 

    When I sing, birds and butterflies flock to my side eagerly.

  2. 

    I walk into our home office, procure one of my wife’s medium-sized binder clips — those black metal ones — open it, fasten it to my testicle, voilà! Geddy Lee!

  3. 

    I find my voice getting lower as the years slip by….but I like to try to harmonize as well. It makes me feel like I can actually sing…probably because of something my dad once said. But I’m with you….I’m better at songs with male vocals. Although Diana Krall and Nora Jones are two on the list of females that I can keep up with.

  4. 

    I think you may also be able to master PJ Harvey judging by the list.

  5. 

    Papa Smurf when he’s had one of his big tablets – oh and more recently Lana Del Ray/Adele – pub singers to perfection. “Isha Skyfall, hic, when use carumble, hic…….”

  6. 

    You can do a Stevie Nicks! I gotta here that. We demand a vlog! Oh and yes, do as Speaker7 says and do PJ Harvey, she’s one of my faves, I’ve pushed her out of the way running to the toilet backstage once, I was mortified, I didn’t know it was her

  7. 

    I don’t like to brag, but during “Part of Your World” in The Little Mermaid, Ariel and I have been known to have quite the harmony going on.

  8. 

    When I sing, I usually make up my own lyrics.

  9. 

    Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder…
    HA! TOTALLY kidding.
    Cats fighting in a metal trash can – that’s me.

  10. 

    Ohhh you must have a similar range to me because most of that list are on mine too (the ones I know) I will always give the high notes a shot when I’m on my own because I remember the days (sans cigarettes) when I could reach them!
    Sing like no one’s listening and turn the music up so you can’t hear yourself..it’s the only way to always be note perfect ;)

    • 

      Mel! You and I need to sing together. We’ll have to go to a smoky bar or pub and belt out a bunch of songs. I could never reach the high notes even though I never smoked. And you’re right about turning up the music so you can barely hear yourself–I always sound fabulous that way.

      • 

        It’s a plan! The hardest thing will be finding a smokey bar now adays…maybe in France? I’ll settle for somewhere dark and with the music blaring so we both sound fabulous lol.

  11. 

    I can’t sing for shit, but I like to sing along with Pink.

    • 

      Oh pish, Mary. The issue is not whether we can sing well—I certainly don’t sound good when I sing—it’s about who’s easy for us to sing to! Pink is a lot of fun to sing with. I love her voice so much.

  12. 

    I think this merits a video.

  13. 

    I like going low, like Johnny Cash ‘Ring of Fire’ low. Unfortunately, every time I sing, I get panties thrown at me which pisses off the mrs.

  14. 

    Sing away … well, as long as you are better than Mrs. Miller

  15. 

    This comment is either really, really, really, really, really funny or heart breaking.

  16. 

    If it’s got a high voice, I’m in tune. Or rather, you can’t tell that I’m out of tune.

  17. 

    I like th – wait – you…. want me to…. show you…. mine…..??

  18. 

    I’ve got a pretty deep voice myself—mama sings bass. But to me, it’s more about the song than the singer, and I’ll drop an octave if I have to. I can work with Cake (esp. in Short Skirt/Long Jacket) bc. they basically talk (and shout) through it. Yes! To anything having to do with Stevie Nicks. And, this is embarrassing, but for you, Weebles, I’ll spill it—I can’t resist “Brick House” and I’ll sing along with anyone who’s singing “Mustang Sally.”

  19. 

    Will you sing Bauhaus songs to me when we’re hitched?

  20. 

    I can only sing with men usually. Michael Buble andJim Morrison bring out some of my best. Otherwise I can harmonize with anyone. And I do. I hope we hang out sometime and sing some stuff.

  21. 

    This is so pop-catchy that I hate to admit I fall for it every time, but I can’t help but try to sing along with the Kings of Leon:

  22. 

    And I have to post this to recover my self-respect:

  23. 

    Tom Waites, Bob Dylan, or any other professional singer who can’t sing.
    Except Macy Gray.

  24. 

    Pink, Gwen Stefani, Stevie Nicks….uh Edith Pilaf but I can’t sing the words.

  25. 

    Most of mine are country singers. I have quite a few of them, but Garth Brooks, Clay Walker, and Joe Diffie come to mind. There are a lot of rock bands that I can sing along with such as 12 Stones, Daughtry, Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, Three Doors Down, and Seether, just to name a few.

  26. 

    I write the song that make the whole world sing. Okay, maybe not the whole world, but the voices in my head have a good time.
    My Goldilocks singer is Barry Manilow. Oh, and Weird Al Yankovic.

    • 

      Ha, Barry and Weird Al, that’s one heck of a pair, Honie! Barry has a really easy voice to sing along to, I hadn’t thought of him but he’s a great one for that. And I don’t like to brag, but the ONE time I did karaoke, it was Copacabana.

      • 

        I am fascinated by Barry Manilow’s career. Jingle writer for Band-Aid AND State Farm Insurance. Plus, a consort of the Divine Miss M? OMG – My parents belonged to the Columbia House Club and Manilow was the get it for a penny artist that summer in the ’70′s when I danced around our living room singing with the 8-track. Oh yeah!
        We saw him in concert at the Pepsi Center in Denver. I was THRILLED. Of course, my co-workers thought I was the geek-a-loria of elevator music, but I did not care. Rico went a bit to far, Tony sailed across the bar at the Copa. I was all over it!

  27. 

    I sing better when I sing in the voice of a character, so musical theatre gives me a vocal range I can’t achieve with my own voice. This was always true, and was why, in my lily-white suburban high school, I was cast as the voice of Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors. I have the original Off-Broadway cast album at home and my boy is convinced that Ron Taylor’s voice is my own. A greater compliment there never was nor ever will be.

  28. 

    Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, Karen Carpenter. I always wished I could sing like Janis Joplin, but one day I came to the saddening realization that it’s never going to happen.

  29. 

    I can’t resist singing along to just about anything. Tenor is a comfortable range for me. There is no comfortable range for my listeners. Maybe ten miles away would be about right…

  30. 

    Exactly what part of your body were you trying to sing with???

  31. 

    I sound like The Shaggs when I sing.

  32. 

    I think my best singing occurs when the music is turned WAY up, when I am wearing headphones (with music turned way up), or when everyone around me is drunk.

    Other than that, um let’s see… Run DMC, Eminem, and Public Enemy. (Yeah boy!) Though RuPaul is fun too.

    • 

      Yeah girl! You could collaborate with Mr. Weebles, he’s quite a fan of Run DMC and Public Enemy as well. He knows all the words to all their stuff. And RuPaul is definitely fun to sing with—those songs are so fucking catchy.

      • 

        I met Flava Flav on a plane once as I was going to visit my mom. He even held up all the folks deplaning to pray for her–and not just a quick “God bless” but a “take you to gospel church” type of prayer. It probably pissed off the people trying to get off the plane, but it was no shit one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me. He and his Public Enemy crew will always be cool in my book. :)

        Me and the Mister would bring the karaoke house down with “Fight the Power” and “My Adidas”. :D Ask him if he remembers The Fat Boys.

  33. 

    This is a topic I think about quite a bit, actually. Like you, David Gahan is right within my range. However, Elvis Costello can run too high. “Oliver’s Army” tests my range.

    • 

      Elvis is too high for you?? Wow. Well, yeah, there are songs where he goes into an unusually high range for him, although Oliver’s Army isn’t one of the ones where’s he’s super high. Dave Gahan doesn’t usually go too high, he’s got a comfortable range. I bet you do think about this a fair amount, Smak, given your work. I used to work with a documentary guy who hired voiceover artists and we talked about pitches, timbre, etc. And he was telling me about how he categorizes certain male voices: water, sand, and gravel. I find all that stuff really interesting.

      • 

        Oliver’s Army isn’t very high on the whole, but it has points that go outside my comfort range. It might be the last chorus, but he goes up a bit on “I would rather be anywhere else but here today,” and it’s too high for me to hit it cleanly.

        • 

          Okay, I see what you mean about that line. It’s a little higher, yeah. Your voice is pretty deep, I guess that might be difficult to hit. In terms of water, sand and gravel, I’d say your voice would qualify as water. Very clear. Maybe a teeeeeeeeeeny bit of sand. Which is desirable.

  34. 

    I like your new font, Weebs! Hmm…I like singing to Stevie Nicks now that mention her. I always sing to her, and I know those words. I’m sure there are others, just nothing hitting me.

    • 

      Thanks Bumble—although now I feel bad disappointing you because I switched the fonts again. :( Yeah, I love singing along with Stevie–she has a great voice and I know all the words too. I bet you’ve got a bunch of others, you’ll realize it when you start singing!

  35. 

    LOL :) i think you should all do a song together ………………….. seriously – i think everyone can sing to some extent – studies have shown ……:) ……………… cute post :)

  36. 

    11 months ago, I couldn’t even sing middle C, it was too low for me. However, nearly a year of plain chant unaccompanied singing and I appear to be getting my contralto range back! Fortunately I can still whack out the top A’s when necessary (although too many of them rob me of my ability to speak the following day, never mind sing). I love the music of Mary Chapin Carpenter but she sings too low for me. Most of what I listen to these days is Christian pop. If you’ve heard of Lou Fellingham, her range fits mine quite well (and of course she’s got a cracking first name as I’m also a Lou).

    • 

      Ah, your name is Lou! I think I just assumed your name was actually Faith, which was silly of me. I guess most chants tend to be in lower ranges then? You must have a naturally lovely high voice if middle C was too low!

      • 

        It all depends on how much singing I’ve been doing as to what my full range is. But I can now get somewhat below middle C – the A below is achievable, which it wasn’t for ages – and I have been known to hit a top C, so I’ve got a good couple of octaves in me. Not as phenomenal as say, Julie Andrews (in her hey-day when she had something crazy like three and a half or four octaves; not now when she has three and a half to four semitones) but still pretty cool.

        Plain chant isn’t written to a set note. There are two clefs, the F clef or the C clef, and basically that just tells you where “Doh” is. Plain chant is on a four-line stave not a five-line stave, and the notes don’t have tails, they look rather more like someone’s spilt some tealeaves on your book. So basically it ends up being pitched where the majority of people can sing, not at true pitch. As the majority of Sisters in the Order are older, their voices are lower, and so it all happens at the lower end of my range and it has been a struggle at times.

        My “Lou” is short for Louisa; my name in community is Louisa Ann. I use “Faith” on here because on one my LiveJournal I gave my account the title of Faith, Hope & Chocolate, and so decided to have that as my username for my WP account. And the reasoning behind it is because generally, I run on faith, hope and chocolate!

  37. 

    Dearest Madame,
    Where is the audio portion of this blog? I’d love to see you go toe-to-toe (neck-and-neck? vocal-to-vocal?) with Rush. How does he pinch his voice off so much to get so high?

  38. 

    Stevie Nicks, Cheryl Crowe. Wait, that makes it sound like I can sing. Scratch those.

    • 

      Nah, JM, don’t be silly. I mean, just because I can sing along with Stevie Nicks doesn’t mean I’m any *good* at it… I like Sheryl Crow’s voice but she’s way too high for me.

  39. 

    Could we get your Goldilocks Singers in vlog format please? You know, you singing along with them?…

  40. 

    Oh goody! i only know about a third of the peeps you mentioned. Yay! Work ta do!
    My faves:
    Amel Larrieux
    James Vincent McMorrow
    The Shins
    India Arie
    St Vincent
    * these are the smallest fraction of my faves, but ones that I think you will like too (:

  41. 
    writerwendyreid March 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    At work they have the radio blaring all day and I sing along to every single song I know. So far nobody has told me to shut up. :-)

  42. 

    My favorite Goldilocks singer for me is Sara Bareilles.
    I’m also good at Ewan’s parts in every Moulin Rouge song.

  43. 

    Kelly Clarkson. Frank Sinatra. Bobby Darin.
    I want you to sing Pat Benatar Wuthering Heights for me.

    • 

      Mags, you have no idea how much it tickles me that you mentioned Bobby Darin. I LOVE HIM. At our wedding, we danced our first dance to “More” as rendered by Bobby D. I can sing along with him and Frank pretty well, but Kelly’s pipes, as great as they are, are way too high for me. As for me singing Wuthering Heights, well, that would be pretty comical. Also pretty tragic. But here’s a question: whose rendition is higher, Pat Benatar or Kate Bush? Because they’re both high enough for dogs to go apeshit over.

      • 

        I only found out from blogging that WH is a Kate Bush song. I think they both shatter crystal. I forgot about Kelly’s high notes, I can sing the beginnings of her songs before she gets really tragic. That girl doesn’t have one happy song, she’s like the female Rob Thomas.

        Bobby Darin…Beyond the Sea. C’mon!

  44. 

    I don’t sing along very often, Madame… my singing is atrocious and I don’t know all of the words – so usually I have to make them up… and the tune and rhythm for that matter. Nah. Not good. It’s good fun though!

  45. 

    I was thinking, Stevie Nicks, as I was reading, and voila! She’s on the list. I think our vocal ranges are similar. My favorite places to sing are definitely in the car and in the shower. And for some reason, I love to sing the various harmonies. Sometimes the third, or even the fifth- or I’ll jump around as I please.

    • 

      Mariner! How are you, sister?? That’s the fun thing about harmonizing–you can choose from a few different options, whichever one(s) you feel like singing. And doing a successful harmony always makes me feel like I can actually sing. Even though anyone listening would probably disagree.

  46. 

    Since I am only capable of dropping a tune, my mute button is on 24/7.

  47. 

    Male country singers seem to have a good range for my squawks. Ugh, did I just admit that? :)

  48. 

    It’s not so much a singer I sound like, it’s more like the beautiful screech of a needle sliding across vinyl with the speakers turned to 11.

  49. 

    When I sing, all living creatures within earshot crumble to dust. True story.

    • 

      Oh dear. I seem to recall reading some news reports about mysterious dust piles in areas where people and animals used to live. Mystery solved, I guess. That’s a bummer, maedez.

  50. 

    What happened to the lineup? My power wanes so quickly…you should randomise them; I’m sure you must have a few, but I am a big fan of the hatchet job one; she looks so completely innocent!

    Oh, and, umm, Leonard Cohen…early rather than late, I can’t get that low as I no longer smoke.

    • 

      I had such inner turmoil trying to decide what to do about the banner, sir, as I didn’t want to disappoint you. I wanted to see what the hatchet job one would look like with a customized title. The lineup will be back soon, I promise. Leonard is a tough one–getting that deep without prolonged booze or nicotine would be a challenge.

      • 

        Well so long as you had some inner turmoil I will let you off. And the hatchet job one does look good with the customised title. And if the lineup one is coming back soon…all is well.
        I don’t actually have any of his newer stuff, so I’m essentially pointing out problems that don’t exist…but one must be prepared.

  51. 

    Oh please Weebles, let me know when you get to Zack de la Rocha, then we can talk. I’m am singing that right now. Or you know, try Phasors on Stun by FM, cause it’s not exactly Geddy Lee but it’s close and it is Canadian, and that makes it all right yo.

    • 

      “Yo”?? Are you trying to be straight street, Lewin? Yeah, I can’t manage Zack de la Rocha. Me trying to sing “No Shelter,” for example, is just unfortunate. I can’t get that deep gutteral yell down. I don’t know FM but I shall investigate Phasors on Stun. If I don’t like it, though, I’m blaming you.

      • 

        I have massive street cred, Weebles, it comes from being a non-Quebecer Canadian. Come on, go for “Killing in the Name” or “Ashes in the Fall” or something, just pound it out. FM is a one-off one-hit-barely-wonder, but the song’s on You Tube. It’s a weird bit of 80′s flavour.

  52. 

    Roseanne singing the National Anthem

  53. 

    Everyone’s so much more knowledgeable than me in singing. The best I’ve ever done is with Patsy Cline, the song One Night in Bangkok and I’m So Sexy, but I have to be wearing a white shirt.

    • 

      Patsy Cline had good good stuff. I can’t quite sing with her. I love One Night in Bangkok, that’s a fun one to sing along to. Now, when you sing I’m So Sexy, do you have the moves down too?

  54. 

    We share the same vocal range, my dear! you can add David Bowie, Tom Petty, Bobby Darin, Patsy Cline, Annie Lennox, Hank Williams, Sr. and Bruce Springsteen to your list. In my car? i AM Pink!

  55. 

    Oh sistah, I am so with you on this one… I sing everywhere! Whether other people like it or not.
    Stevie Nicks (for sure!); Pink (I’ve been known to sing a few of her songs publicly, but on in Vegas); Joan Baez; Howie Day; Peter Gabriel; Metric; Annie Lenox… oh such a list I could make. I’ve written quite a few posts about music and love that you are out there doing the same thing!

  56. 

    Unfortunately my Goldilocks list is much shorter than yours – I can sing the heck out of Anne Murray & Bonnie Raitt. If I don’t want to sing out loud I can match just about anybody!

    • 

      Anne Murray, I haven’t thought about her in a long time—she’s a smooth one. Bonnie Raitt is good too. And yeah, if you’re not singing out loud, or just daydreaming about it, you always sound awesome!

  57. 

    Weirdly, I can sing along with Diana Ross and the Supremes very well, and sometimes I can match ABBA, but otherwise I’m as tuneful as a banjo with no string!

  58. 

    I’m the real singer behind Milli Vanilli…true story.

  59. 

    There’s no one I actually sound good singing along with, but I’m especially fond of Tom Petty and Shawn Colvin. It’s not quite Goldilocks, but I feel pretty comfortable with them.

  60. 

    Hmmm… can only think of recent examples, and that’s Kimbra. Also, *obscure musical reference* the singer from the Polish new-jazz / trip-hop band Mikromusic.

  61. 

    Whoa! I have a post all set to go about my fave male singers. Too weird! I have a very low voice, bordering on baritone, so I love to sing along with Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks for SURE. Also LOVE Green Day. I’m a big fan of most rock alternative from the early 90s, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden. So I sing very well to any of those tunes.

  62. 

    I think we are voice twins.

  63. 

    I find my singing voice works best when I hit the mute button and try to copy that. I ain’t much of a singer.

  64. 

    You know I Read this post but did not comment ’cause I was trying to think– did you smell the wood burning? Then today, Billy Squier came on while I was driving, and I TRIED to sing. mmmm he is a tough one. Fun but impossible. How about Joan Jett? Love and Rockets?
    Well anyways.. Hello there.

  65. 

    Oh my gosh I’m the same way!!! I have kind of a low voice for a chick, so you need the Goldilocks singers. Mine are:
    Beth Ditto (unless she hits the real high notes)
    Allison Mosshart
    Jack White
    Elvis Costello (unless it’s super super low)
    I know there are more out there but right now my boyfriend has a Turkish radio station on and it’s hard for me to imagine other music!

  66. 

    Great list (with addition of Bonnie and Janis)…but please Stevie Nicks, no dancing – not anymore, please, let me just have the memories – even if smoke dazed

  67. 

    my singing voice is very similar to Kermit the Frog’s–cute for him but not me. when I left a choir I belonged to, the choir leader gave me a frog–no joke–and it is not like I did not get the significance

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