I’m pickin’ up good vibrations
For a good portion of my life, I sang.
I still sing these days—in the shower, in the car, while strolling down the sidewalk—but for years, I sang in organized groups, in front of audiences assembled to hear us. I don’t do that anymore (a variety of ailments have seriously destroyed my voice) but when I did, I was a proud second tenor, and even more proudly, a second tenor with a fairly impressive falsetto voice.
All singing is, at its core, a series of vibrations. Falsetto voice, the ability to “sing notes beyond the vocal range of the normal or modal voice,” is different in the sense that it is caused by different kinds of vibrations: vibrating only the ligamentous edges of the vocal folds while leaving each fold’s body relatively relaxed.
This month’s theme for The Mixtape Concern is “Good Vibrations,” and understandably, I began humming the Beach Boys tune as soon as I learned of the theme. What the Beach Boys did, better than so many other bands, was to use their falsetto voices in harmony to great effect.
Thinking about “good vibrations” got me thinking about falsetto voices, and the vibrations we make when we sing. My submission for The Mixtape Concern this month, then, is mainly made up of falsetto performances that inspire and excite me, and that make me long for the days when I used to sing, when I used to produce these good vibrations, too.
- I Wanna Be Your Lover, Prince
- The Eraser, Thom Yorke
- My Old Man, Joni Mitchell
- The Fall, Rhye
- All I Want Is You, Miguel
- Tired Of Being Alone, Al Green
- Fantasy, Mariah Carey
- Sleepyhead, Passion Pit
- Just My Soul Responding, Smokey Robinson
- Alika, Genoa Keawe
- Still Not Falling, Shy Girls
- Tornado, Jonsi
- Counting, Autre Ne Veut
- Lovin’ You, Minnie Riperton
- Taste, Rhye
- Let’s Groove, Earth, Wind, and Fire
- Cavalier, James Vincent McMorrow
- Good Vibrations, The Beach Boys