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Charlie Hatton
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Call My Singing ‘A Crapella’

I’m finding there’s an upside to this cold I’ve had the past few days. If I pay close attention to my condition, and am very careful with my CD selection, my singing along with songs in the car sounds much more realistic.

Before we argue that point, though, let me first point out that I have no native musical talent whatsoever. I can’t play an instrument, I couldn’t carry a tune in a reinforced metal bucket, and my singing voice sounds disturbingly like a castrated hyena. Some might say a hyena, during the actual act of castration. It’s not a pretty sound.

So when I ‘sing along’ to songs in the car, you can be sure three conditions have been met:

1. I’m alone in the vehicle.
B. The windows are shut, to protect innocent passersby, and
iii. The music is mo-fuggin’ cranked up, to protect me from my own earwrenching caterwaulery.

“I can’t play an instrument, I couldn’t carry a tune in a reinforced metal bucket, and my singing voice sounds disturbingly like a castrated hyena.”

To be honest, I usually can’t be very sure I’m actually ‘singing’, per se. Certainly, I feel like I’m shouting along, near the top of my lungs. But all I hear are the dulcet tones of Mike Doughty, or Dave Matthews, or Bob Mould. Some of whose tones are more ‘dulcet’ than others, perhaps, but you get the idea.

Occasionally, one of my raspy warbles will sneak through the music to assault my ears, and I’ll spend a few songs whispering along to the music instead. Even I don’t want to hear that shit, and I’m the one it’s coming out of. If that tells you anything.

So finding a way to better match my humble harmonizings to real music is a godsend. And for me, it seems a mild illness is the answer. Here’s what I’ve found so far:

Severe Nasal Congestion is perfect for singing along with Billy Corgan. Your nasal whine and stuffy whistling should fit nicely into a Smashing Pumpkins song like, say, ‘Today’ or ‘1979’. If you’re light-headed and puffy, the Punkins are your friend.

If, on the other hand, you’re suffering from Chronic Wheezing, you’ll want to try something raspier. I’d suggest one of Alex Alexakis’ numbers from Everclear. If you can approximate ‘Heartspark Dollarsign’ or ‘You Make Me Feel Like a Whore’ without hacking up a lung, then you’re a craftier crooner than I. I hear Alex keeps a ‘loogie bucket’ in the recording studio, just in case.

Finally, if you’ve got a Persistent Sore Throat and Cough, then you’re in for a treat. You’re ready to emulate, for instance, just about anything David Lowery ever sang with Cracker. Sure, their big hit ‘Low’ is reasonably melodic, but his really good shit is far edgier. I defy anyone to listen to the outstanding ‘St. Cajetan’, for instance, and tell me Lowery doesn’t sound like he’s in the advanced stages of tuberculosis. In the best, most musically kick-ass way possible, of course.

Smoke a few fat stogies on top of that whooping cough, and you might even be able to pull off a Tom Waits song or two. Just have the oxygen tank and transplantable lung at the ready. Safety first, young kareoke Jedi.

And if you can sound anything like Courtney Love during her Hole years, you’ve gone too far. I enjoy her music a bit more than I’m really comfortable to admit, but I would still swear that she sings through one of those electronic voicebox gizmos they give to laryngectomy patients. That, or she’s humming through a stoma.

(Come on, it’s Courtney Love. Just look at the woman; you know she’s got one somewhere.)

Of course, for most of my cold I’ve been hopped up in a NyQuil haze. So while my voice might’ve worked for many of the above bands, I rarely had the energy to manage more than a mumble.

Which turns out to be ideal for singing along with early R.E.M.! Bless you, Michael Stipe; bless you and your unintelligible gibberish. You’ve made this virus sing!

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “Call My Singing ‘A Crapella’”

  1. Elisson says:

    Courtney Love? Of course she’s got a stoma. Why, even her old band was called “Hole.”

    Someone oughta plug that stoma. With a dick. Just not my dick.

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