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For me, rock music is all about the voice. The musicality of the song: optional. Well written Lyrics: who needs ’em! Production quality of the song: don’t care! If you have the voice of a God, even a minor deity, you can sell the song.

Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Steve Perry (hey, say what you want, but the guy’s got pipes), Robert Plant and his primal scream, where’d they go????

Modern music is producing artists whose voices are weak. And I can deal with weak if the voice is at least interesting, but I’m barely hearing even that. These pissy, girly, pre-pubescent voices as of late seem only to showcase that both the music and the lyrics suck as well. Need an example? How about Rhianna and that ridiculous “Umbrella” song? Let’s see: stupid lyrics? check. bad music? double check. weak-ass voice? check, check and more check. How the hell is this crap so popular?

Only 2 current singers come to mind to pick up the gauntlet I am throwing down: that freaky guy from The Darkness, and Gretchen Wilson, who by the way sang a kick-ass version of “Baracuda” during a Heart tribute concert. Seriously, it made my jaw drop it was so good, but she still insists on singing that watered-down, crap, country garbage she calls music. And okay, maybe Christina Aguillera, but here’s the thing with X-tina: you can’t hit it out of the ballpark every single time you open your mouth, it’s boring and it’s facist. Christina could wield the Ring of Power, she could be that person, but she needs more variety and control, and until she learns it, she’s an overblown beat-box running amuck on the airwaves.

I long for an Otis Redding type voice in a song. A great voice that is neither strong nor pretty, but has that magical quality that can still make you tear out your heart and smash it with a rock 40 years later. Or Janis Joplin with her 7 octave oscillation, no one ever made sounding like 80 year old crack whore so sexy. Those were transcendental voices.

But the powerhouses? How about the Wilson sisters from Heart. And Robert Plant, mahhh maaaaaaaan…play me “Immigrant Song” and my toes are curling up through my shoes and over my head, every stinkin’ time.  

Ooooh, even better, remember when the Wilson sisters reformed in the 90’s as the Lovemongers and covered Led Zeppelin’s “Battle of Evermore”? Talk about the perfect lovechild. My heart stops just a little thinking about it.

I hear the original Van Halen crew is touring again, and I for one am happy for the return of Diamond Dave. So that’s something. Hey, when is AC/DC touring again? Anyone know? No? damn.

So here I languish. No rock-gods for me. So. Un. Happy. I’m willing to concede that maybe  it’s me. Maybe I’m just stuck in the 90’s and mourning the demise of Jane’s Addiction a little too much. Jeff Buckley promised to pick up the mantle and carry it into the new millenia, but he died 10 years ago and there’s always Chris Cornell but he just isn’t living up to his potential.

Sigh. To quote Bonnie Taylor: I need a hero. Until such time one appears, you can find me watching School of Rock.

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