While I’ve adjusted, I’m still not crazy about the kids singing to the original Motown backing tracks for this week’s iTunes recordings. At first I was totally freaked out. I’ve heard each one of these songs literally thousands of times–I could not wrap my mind around these foriegn (and in most cases inferior) vocals coming through my headphones.
With one exception, if I want to listen to these songs, I’m gonna go for the real thing. Like singers duetting with dead holograms, having the kids sing over 40 year-old backing tracks of classic songs is a gimmick.
I would have preferred the kids singing to fresh arrangements–just like they performed on the Idol stage. Kris Allen and Adam Lambert’s arrangements were especially worthy of capturing for posterity. But, oh well! Also, the kids singing to pre-existing backing tracks forced them to adapt their performance to the track, rather than the other way around. In nearly every case, the result is very karaoke like. Sorta pointless, I think.
Having babbled on for three paragraphs, finally, here are my thoughts on this week’s iTunes performances.
- Matt Giraud – “Let’s Get it On” by Marvin Gaye – Matt’s recorded voice is awesome. That is all. If he could get a handle on his nerves, he’d be killing it on the show. – iTunes
- Kris Allen – “How Sweet it Is” by Marvin Gaye – I prefer hearing Kris sing this semi-acoustic style with his guitar–his folk/soul vocal style doesn’t gel with the old-school arrangement. Nevertheless, his vocal keeps the original spirit of his live performance. Like it! – iTunes
- Scott MacIntyre -“You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes – Autotune fixes Scott’s tendency to go off pitch, but the punchy Motown arrangement only serves to highlight his bland vocals. – iTunes
- Megan Joy Corkrey – “For Once In My Life” by Stevie Wonder – Even with the pitch problems cleaned up, I’m still not liking what Megan does to Stevie Wonder. Her odd phrasing continues–“zome how I know I’ll be strong.” She throws in a random “whoo” that has nothing to do with anything. But at least she’s abandoned the bird calls. – iTunes
- Anoop Desai – “Ooh Baby Baby” by Smokey Robinson – The live performance had Anoop switching to his chest voice for parts of the song–for me that’s when his performance came alive. Here, he sings the entire song in his weak falsetto, which nearly disappears into the backing track. The comparisons to Smokey are inevitable, and not pretty. – iTunes
- Michael Sarver – “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by The Temptations – Like Matt, Michael’s vocals record beautifully, and his recorded version of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” is pretty damn good. I can’t help but hear potential here that we never got to see on the Idol stage. iTunes
- Lil Rounds – “Heatwave” by Martha and the Vandellas – Even auto-tune fails to keep Lil from sounding like a warbly mess on the recording. Her riffing over the coda at the end nearly put me to sleep. Martha Reeves she ain’t. – iTunes
- Adam Lambert – “Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson – A recording of Adam’s stripped down arrangement from the show would have been nice. But I can’t complain–Adam still manages to put his own stamp on this classic backing track. His vocal here is so sensational–passionate, assured and compelling–I’ll be putting this version on my iPod. Interesting: Adam removes all pronouns and references to gender in the second verse… Definitely the best of the lot. – iTunes
- Danny Gokey – “Get Ready” by The Temptations – I like the recording better than his live performance, which verged on shouty at times. There’s still too much rasp here for my tastes, but Danny is a much better singer when he’s calmed down. Plus, the lack of visuals really, really help. – iTunes
- Allison Iraheta – “Papa Was a Rollling Stone” by The Temptations – Sensational. My second favorite of the recordings. Her instincts at 16 years old are incredible. Her phrasing and interpretation are stellar, and her recorded vocals are just awesome. Love this girl – iTunes