Somebody Lied to You: People Who Swear They Can Sing But Really Can’t

December 7, 2011  |  
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You know, when I flip through my parents’ records and listen to their old albums, I can say they didn’t own one with a singer with a questionable or crappy voice. Back in the day, singers could SANG, and I’m sure if they couldn’t, someone would have told them to sit down. But in this new era of music, where you’re no longer trying to sell your voice but your a** in too-little designer clothes, just about anybody can claim they’re a singer. Well, you might claim it, but baby, that doesn’t make it so. Here are some folks that I think are great people, but should leave singing responsibilities to the real singers out here (I see you MTA performers!).

Jennifer Lopez

Lopez is definitely a woman that has worn many hats. While that is commendable, I must say that carrying a note is something she should give up on. She’s a great entertainer otherwise, but we all should have been real with her after “If You Had My Love.” If there is any one thing that has solidified for me that her pipes don’t work, it should be those wretched Fiat commercials where she is driving around in the Bronx with one of her new songs playing the background.  There is a high note she DOESN’T hit that kills it all for me. I haven’t hated a commercial more since JHud in those Weight Watchers joints.

Pharrell Williams

I love this guy, and I even bought his solo album, In My Mind where he both sings and raps. But it took me a few years to come to the conclusion that if he really thinks he can sing, he’s got to be playing crazy. His vocals can sound okay one second and then piercing the next. And while they are always memorable for their catchiness thanks to some well-written lyrics (“Beautiful, I just want you to know!”), they would probably give your dog a fit. You’re still cute though Skateboard P!

Ciara

This girl could teach me how to do the matrix any day, but if she offered to sing something for me live, I’d probably pass on that. I’ve always thought that Ci-Ci sings in that fake voice we all have–the one that is waaaaay higher than our actual voice and sounds like a bootleg Minnie Ripperton with a cold. Maybe that’s why her career hasn’t been as successful as it could have been–aside from the dancing, she isn’t bringing much to the table that’s different, and some fast footworking can’t distract folks for too long. Well, unless you’re Janet, but her tracks were at least bangers…

Kanye West

Anybody that knows me knows that I stand by Yeezy on almost everything. He’s pretty awesome in my book. However, as much as I liked the content on 808s & Heartbreak, even auto-tune couldn’t save that voice, okay? He’s acknowledged that he loves to sing and “harmonize,” but just because you like to do it doesn’t mean you’re doing it well. But fake it until you make it, boo!

Rihanna

Well, of course. The consummate singles artist, Rihanna is known more for her foot-tapping jams then her voice. It’s pretty paper thin. Thinner than one-ply toilet paper, son. I thought for the most of the time that her star has been rising that she wasn’t all that bad of a singer, just needed some more feeling and soul in her tracks. But after hearing “Run This Town” with ‘Ye and Jay-Z, she sealed her singing fate. Damn near almost broke my car windows on that song…kidding!

Diddy

That Diddy-Dirty Money album wasn’t bad, but Diddy’s attempts at getting his emotional emo (a la Drake) singy-song on had my ears bleeding. Check out “Loving You No More” or “Angels” on the album Last Train to Paris and you’ll see what I mean. Getting other R&B singers like Trey Songz and Chris Brown to perform on his songs might just be Diddy’s best move, because when he tries to harmonize himself, it’s like…it’s like me and my nasally voice getting on a track–but at least I know better. Let’s just be real, he should have spent less time pretending to sing and rap and let the ladies of that group have more time to shine–their voices were definitely worth hearing.

Nicki Minaj

For the most part, Nicki spends more time rapping really fast and saying things like, “I’m a star: SHERIFF’S BADGE,” and “If you could turn back time: CHER,” in really loud and charismatic voices (keyword: voices). But every once and again, she tries her hand at singing. In fact, she’s on a majority of her songs trying to sing the hook. Man, the studio and some expensive equipment can really have folks sounding great, but get them on stage and it’s another horrible, just HORRIBLE story. I’ve seen her perform “Super Bass” about 30 times in the past few months, and every time the bridge comes in–See I need you in my life for me to stay–she actually tries to sing it on stage. Too bad her voice wounds up sounding like someone out of breath who just got hit in the nose: MARCIA BRADY. Oooooh, you like how I did that, right?

Paula Abdul

I’ve been wanting to say this for years, and I know she doesn’t sing anymore, but how did Paula Abdul get to put out all the albums she did? They didn’t even try to use some studio tricks on her voice, they just put it out there in all of its tired glory. Seriously, out of all the people eligible to host a talent show and tell people that they can or can’t sing, how did she end up on BOTH the American Idol and X Factor panels??? I guess it really is all about who you know…straight up (*winks*).

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