Friday, October 26, 2007

James Dean Bradfield: what a singer

I was listening to The Holy Bible by the Manic Street Preachers the other day, and something stuck me: James Dean Bradfield is one hell of a singer.

Ignore for a moment the usual measures by which a singer is normally judged: the ability to hold a tune, timbre, a sense of rhythm etc. No, he goes beyond that. I'm talking about having the ability to sing lyrics like this:

he's a boy, you want a girl so tear off his cock
tie his hair in bunches, fuck him, call him Rita if you want, if you want
Now, before I continue I waant to stress very strongly that I'm in no way knocking the lyrics of the manics in this blog. The lyrics of this band are a very strong element of the band making up a significant part of their identity. But their 'singability' was definitely not foremost in the minds of Messrs James and Wire when they were writing them: the message was clearly first and foremost (actually as I understand it Richey James wrote the passage above, but I didn't want to leave Wire's significant later contributions out).

Now, this situation would be a complete and utter disaster if you were writing the lyrics for someone like, oh, let's say Craig David who doesn't seem to be capable of singing anything without first saying his own name a few times first. But if you have a singer like Bradfield in your arsenal, the difficult nature of the lyrics becomes something of a secret weapon.

As mentioned above, Bradfield can croon, hold a tune, and keep rhythm like the best of them. He can show pain, anger and sweetness: all of which are essential when singing the lyrics that the manic put into their songs. What's more, he puts music to these words and makes them into songs.

Really damn good songs too.

I'm quite strange when it comes to identifying music that I like. I have odd criteria, and tend to be impressed by strange things beyond the usual suspects such as a good beat or catchy melody. This is one of those examples: I have an appreciation for lyrical art with deliberate meaning being turned into musical art by way of pure talent without compromises on either side.
Execution needed
A bloody vessel for your peace
If man makes death then death makes man
Tear the torso with horses and chains

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