The Four Best Album Vocal Performances of All Time
Maynard James Keenan – Tool, Lateralus
Maynard might have the smallest range on this list, but he more than makes up for that with his character. He manages to capture your attention no matter the context with his eerie vocal tone, using slow weaving, tight melody pockets, close harmonized layers, and esoteric lyrics to reinforce his unsettling vibe. Maynard has locked his position as one of the most polarizing figures in rock by taking such an interesting and subtle approach. I feel this album is his best display of all these things.
Freddie Mercury – Queen, News of the World
There isn’t anything I can say that hasn’t been said about Mr. Fahrenheit. He is one of the most theatrical rock singers on record and has one of the most ridiculous ranges. One of the main reasons I fell in love with large vocal arrangements was because of the way Freddy presented them. He creates a larger-than-life experience that draws you in and forces you to listen. On this album he hits every end of the spectrum and does so with ease. Hands down one of my favorite performances.
Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
I catch a lot of flack for my undying love for Frank’s Channel Orange release, but to me it shows some of the most interesting and promising vocals on an album that I’ve heard in a long time. He does a great job of cycling through different vocal tones and range to create new atmospheres, which makes it feel like the music is always moving somewhere. Mix that with the pictures he paints with his tongue-in-cheek lyrics and you get the interesting end result that is Channel Orange.
Jonsi – Sigur Ros, Takk…
“Other-worldly” is really the only way I can describe the vocals on this album. Sometimes Jonsi makes you feel like you’re floating through a sea of clouds guided by a voice you can’t translate but throughly understand. Other times you feel like you’re around a campfire in Middle Earth being serenaded by a whimsical creature. This performance changed my outlook on how the voice can be used. A great listen for anyone who enjoys beautiful sounds.