3 Voices I Can’t Stand

…and I’m talking about singing voices, not (say) political screeching like that of Hillary Clinton.

When these guys start singing, I hit the Mute or Skip buttons:

  • Bob Dylan (any song except Lay Lady Lay, which I can get at least halfway through before hitting click)
  • Steve Tyler (Aerosmith; Dream On is the most egregious offender)
  • Van Morrison (Brown-Eyed Girl… OMFG kill me now, but everything he sings is horrible)

And let’s not forget the chicks:

  • Joni Mitchell (I’d rather listen to blackboard fingernails ad infinitum  than any one of her songs)
  • Joan Baez (preachy bullshit, and that vibratissimo… ugh)
  • early Dolly Parton (until she stopped warbling and started singing)

Don’t get me started on the modern chick singers;  you all know about them.


  1. The only Dylan toon I can tolerate is “Tangled Up In Blue” cause I like the story and the way the rhyming plays out.

    The only Baez toon I can tolerate is “Diamonds And Rust”, again, cause I like the story and the way the rhyming plays out. Also, her story is about Dylan. Isn’t that funny? LOL

  2. It’s not too late yet to hear recordings of Schwartzkopf singing “Sei Lob und Preis,” like a Super Heavy burning through the cloud deck.

  3. Solid pick of atrocious voices. Many people can’t stand Axl Rose’s alleged singing either.

    I didn’t think Van Morrison was that bad at all. Perhaps not the best but not near the list of worst either.

    1. My mother studied light opera in St. Louis before moving to California where she married and had three loutish boys. She could detect the work of a sound engineer out of a pocket transistor radio, and most of the — entertainers with bands in the sixties had voices tremendously assisted by the sound engineer. There were only two singers she thought could actually sing. One we all know is Dean Martin, and the other was a high school alumnus, a Bass-Baritone, Jubilant Sykes. Both have CD’s available on Amazon and Ebay.

  4. I honestly don’t pay much attention to singers’ names, and I don’t listen to music I don’t like, so I can’t really say I know too many names. That said, some things do get overplayed enough to seep into my consciousness, so….

    On the male side:

    Bruno Mars. He just sounds like he’s whining, not singing. I’ve heard others cover his songs and sound perfectly fine, so it’s definitely his voice that I find offputting.

    On the female side:

    Alannis Morisette
    Avril Lavigne

    Both of these ladies just…. nah. Something about their voices just grates on me.

    Conversely, I have favorites. They aren’t “big names” though. Such is life. For males:

    Geoff Castelucci
    Nathan Pacheco
    Peter Hollens

    For females:

    Kim Sohyang
    Morisette Amon
    Gigi de Lana

    The females aren’t American, which is why they aren’t well known here — 1 is Korean, the other 2 are Filipinas. For the men…. 2 I found through YouTube (Geoff and Peter) and they have decent followings there, but outside of that internet niche, no. Nathan I “discovered” when he was a guest artist with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir a decade or so ago, and I just enjoy his voice and wish he was more popular.

  5. Bono
    Rage against the machine (whoever sings it)
    Too many others to mention.

    Taylor Swift (I have a hard time disliking her as a person, her songs are mostly just whining)

    Its actually rarer when I find a chick artist I do enjoy.

      1. Check out Benedetta Carretta
        She does a cover of Unchained. Melody which is excellent. On. Youtube

  6. Male the Most Irritating Voice:
    Michael Bolton – I just know every recording of his had an uncredited performer – the guy squeezing the channel locks on Bolton’s nuts.

  7. I’ve always had 3 criteria for liking a song – a snappy tune (vague, I know…), sung by someone with a decent voice (ya, vague-ish), and lyrics that make sense. That’s why I’ve never liked The Who, or the Rolling Stones, Steely Dan, etc. Nowadays I can’t listen to more than an album side of Led Zepplin before Robert Plant sounds like he’s just shrieking into the mic. And that’s just the guys…

  8. I disagree on Van Morrison & Joni Mitchell. With you on the rest.

    Steve Allen used to do a hysterical bit on the Tonight Show (was he the first host?) where he’d read pop lyrics as poetry. Joni Mitchell is one of the few whose lyrics can survive that kind of scrutiny sans the music & energy to prop them up. I submit Amelia as exhibit A.

    Jon Bon Jovi figures prominently on my list. His voice has a strained quality that makes him sound perpetually constipated, and his lyrics sound like they were written by a 10 year old with a rhyming dictionary.

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