Not long ago, a video of Courtney Love performing with Hole came to light. Now, I like Courtney Love as much as the next gal, but the video, which isolated Love’s mic and guitar, was downright awful. I mean, it’s just really, really bad.
I’m going to chalk it up to an off night.
That video, though, forms the basis for this week’s Top 5.
So, here are the five best isolated vocal tracks.
Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), ‘Ramble On’
I never realized how wonderfully varied Plant’s vocals were (are?) until I heard this isolated track. The way he shifts emphasis, curling his voice and driving it forward… just beautiful.
Adele, ‘Set Fire To The Rain’ -and- Amy Winehouse, ‘Rehab’
I know, I know… Having Adele and Amy Winehouse on this list is basically a cop out. Winehouse has one of the most instantly recognizable voices on the planet and Adele’s debut album was practically an a cappella showcase. These singers are auteurs. They’re vocal geniuses and their soulful and heart wrenching songs and beloved by everyone.
But to not include them would be nothing short of a travesty.
Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’
If for no other reason, this entry should go to prove that even though Cobain’s screaming sensibilities aren’t for everyone, no one can dispute the talent that he held in those apparently iron-clad vocal chords.
David Bowie, ‘Space Oddity’
Every bit as odd and fascinating as you’d expect, the isolated vocals from this Bowie hit are absolutely enchanting. Plus, the playback that you can softly in the distance just adds to the feeling of… being stuck in space.
The Beatles, ‘Come Together’
You actually get so much more out of the song from just the isolated vocals. The “shoo” that melts into the music is more pronounced and the sense of urgency in the song flares up. It’s an amazing song, and the vocals alone are making me fall in love with it all over again.
Marvin Gaye, ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’
I mean, it’s Marvin Gaye. He’s got an absolutely amazing voice, so it’s no shock that his isolated vocal track is stunningly beautiful. So, here it is for your listening pleasure.