Let’s have some fun with this. Yes, lists. Based of course on my personal preferences, although the last 3 at the end are not only my favorites but also illustrate exactly what i’m going for with the new track. However, instead of just a list of 3, which i could and should have done, let’s do an entire top 10.
We’ll start with a song that is actually one of the best of the list. It’s number 10 not because it’s the 10th least best, but because it is SO good it deserves to open the mix:
10. Israel Kamakawiwo’ole: Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Who gives a crap about the original? Some do, i don’t. At all. But when Mr. Kamakawiwo’ole does it…. O. M G. Who can actually sit through and not just…. melt. Cry, stare wistfully out the window… this is one of the greatest falsetto recordings ever. It takes a song i feel nothing for and makes me ACHE… ache.
9. Curtis Mayfield: ANYTHING, but we’ll pick Pusherman
A group of friends and i used to have an ongoing drinking conversation. You sit at a bar and someone throws out a name, usually musician but it grew to include other mediums. Everyone at the table then shouts out “soul” or “no soul”. occasionally a good drunken debate will occur.
Curtis Mayfield IS soul. He doesn’t HAVE soul… he bloody well IS soul.
8. Beck: Debra
I LOVE this song. LOVE it. It is SO much fun. And it’s quite funny and wonderfully silly. Beck rules.
7. The Lion Sleeps Tonight
You HAVE to include this song. You just have to. It’s hands down the most famous falsetto songs in popular music and it deserves it. Who doesn’t love this tune? What kind of shmuck you gotta be to not love this?
Although made famous in 1961 by the Tokens it was first written and recorded in 1939 by Solomon Linda and The Evening Birds, a south african group. (for an interesting comparison, their original can be heard here.
We’re going to play The Nylon’s live performance of it. This song is best when done as acapella doo wop as possible.
6. Scissor Sisters: Don’t Feel Like Dancing
I could have gone with several Scissor Sister’s tracks. They are super fun, super awesome, super catchy, and their retro feel means that we can give a nod to the disco groups from the 70s who used heaps of falsetto (the Bee Gees are the most well known). But the fact is i’d rather listen to Scissor Sisters than old 70s disco (although give me a bunch of alcohol and what not in a club and i’ll dance to old 70s disco just fine) so here they are:
5. Prince: Kiss
Kiss is one of the most iconic falsetto songs out there. Finding a Prince video to use is near impossible as Prince is obsessed with not having anything of his on YouTube. However, a TV appearance of this song is already out in the public domain, so here it is:
4. Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons: Walk Like A Man
With the Big 3 approaching this last slot would have gone to a number of singers and bands (like Miko or Sparks), except it is simply a crime against humanity to have a conversation about great falsetto songs and not mention the group that defined the entire concept for decades: The Four Seasons. Frankie Valli’s falsetto is unparalleled, truly. They reigned over 50s doo-wop and with all the other falsettos trying to compete for his title, Frankie leaves them all in the dust.
The Big 3.
Now we get serious. This is what i’ve been talking about. Falsetto used to achieve an otherworldly-ness. Beyond gender, beyond the base, beyond animal and material…. transcendent:
3. Sigur Ros. EVERYTHING. But we’ll go with Svefn-G-Englar.
Sigur Ros is one of the my all time favorite bands. The beauty of their music is beyond words.
This award winning video by the band and film maker Agust Jacobsson features a troupe of people with Down’s Syndrome performing to the song.
2. Bon Iver: Stacks.
I don’t know if i can listen to this song without crying. i don’t know if i’ve ever attempted to. I’m not about to start now. It’s that beautiful. It stops me dead in my tracks and brings me to my knees.
1. Jeff Buckley: Corpus Christi Carol
I mean… Jeff Buckley. Do i need to say anything more?