Sunday, April 1, 2012

Disapperance of the male FALSEtto?

While this collection of articles was interesting, I highly disagree with the fact that the male falsetto voice went out of style in popular music. I can point to many popular artists with male falsetto voices from almost any era; Frankie Valley from the Four Seasons, the Beegees, Michael Jackson in the Jackson 5, Freddie Mercury in Queen, Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys or Justin Timberlake from N*SYNC, Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts, Adam Levine from Maroon 5, and Justin Beiber. I think that the high pitched male singing voice has always been popular and has made adoring fans weak in the knees, just like the singers with more masculine voices as the author points out.

I can see the author’s argument about Glee’s ability to innovate modern pop songs to breakdown gender norms, for example their rendition of “Defying Gravity” or “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” However, I wouldn’t say that Glee brought back the male falsetto. If anything, Glee re-popularized the acapella genre; I can see that being more reminiscent of the all male groups of the 1920s or of Duwop of the 50s and 60s. I would also agree that the character of Kurt, in both his sexuality and singing range, has helped rethink the gendering of diva ballads or the Broadway number. I very much appreciate that about his character and particularly like the fact that Kurt is often looking for a powerful female singer to belt out a tune with him.

In regards to Blaine, I also have trouble seeing this author’s side because I disagree with the author’s point about the stigmatization of the “crooner” especially when it comes to Blaine. Blain is a dominant male personality within the show, attractive because he aligns with the masculine beauty ideal (unlike Kurt), and at one point in the show questions his own sexuality because he makes out with Rachel Berry. All in all, I see Blaine as a male lead because of his maleness and Kurt as a male lead because of his sexual orientation; this distinction, I think, highly affects this author’s argument about which of these characters brings power back to a high-pitched singing voice.

And in case my vast knowledge of male falsetto singers doesn't prove my point, look at Nick Pietra who has 27 million + views as he does the Jasmine part of "A Whole New World" from Disney's "Aladdin."  Even before Glee, millions of people were fascinated by the fact that this guy can actually sing THAT high.

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