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A unique quality of Paul's vocals
28 December 2013
8.56pm
acmac
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Funny Paper said
but still, my point stands.  Paul does have one limitation to his vocals, and that is the communication of that kind of raw emotion some other singers are capable of (John, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Neil Young, etc.).  

Your point stands for you. I find Paul's singing just as (or more) emotive as those artists', though I "admit" his voice is usually simultaneously beautiful. Perhaps that is what translates into "not real enough" for you, and fair enough! But I think it's odd to treat a matter of emotion as if it is quantifiable by some objective measure.

28 December 2013
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Funny Paper
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acmac said

Funny Paper said
but still, my point stands.  Paul does have one limitation to his vocals, and that is the communication of that kind of raw emotion some other singers are capable of (John, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Neil Young, etc.).  

Your point stands for you. I find Paul's singing just as (or more) emotive as those artists', though I "admit" his voice is usually simultaneously beautiful. Perhaps that is what translates into "not real enough" for you, and fair enough! But I think it's odd to treat a matter of emotion as if it is quantifiable by some objective measure.

It's not so much that I find it quantifiable, as that I just know it when I hear it.  This particular phenomenon I am talking about here seems to be a moment where the human artist interrupts his "art" and lets his pain out.  AhhhGirl has a good point about how this type of moment doesn't necessarily have to be about "pain".  In this respect, Paul has quite a few moments of playful humanity so to speak.  But somehow, it seems that playfulness is more amenable to being artful, whereas there is something about pain that has to transcend art, even if art can be the context of its revelation.  Some theorists about acting have observed that the great actor has to have moments where he drops his mask and lets out his true self "through" the acting. 

This isn't unparadoxical; it could be that even in those moments of existential honesty, the actor is still acting, and this is what lifts his moment above just a spectacle where an ordinary human is just showing his pain.  What I like about Paul is that, for the purposes of making music, he seems to value art more than "being real" -- whereas there is a common conceit out there that when a musician is "being real" he is somehow "more authentic" and therefore a better artist.  This only applies perhaps if the artist is not a genius.  Paul has genius and he loves to play with it.  Another comparison (besides my De Niro/Pacino one) perhaps would be that Paul is like Mozart, who with a glint in his eye reveled in play, whereas John is like the more seriously ponderous Beethoven.

 

Anyway, there's something about Paul

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29 December 2013
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Billy Rhythm
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acmac said

thewordislove94 said

However, this compulsion to stretch the limits of his voice did occasionally lead Paul into some embarrassing moments, such as the "I've been waitin' here for youuuuoooo...., wonderin' what you're gonna doooouuuuuoooo...." Middle Eight of 'What You're Doing?' which makes me cringe everytime I hear it, or the "You gave me the answer to love eternalleeeeee" bit as a later example.

Aw, I like both of those. On the latter he sounds just like an old-timey singer. :)

I kinda wish he'd gone in a slightly different direction with "Here, There, and Everywhere," though.

 

 

In the case of 'You Gave Me The Answer', it's a pastiche that Paul had done before, twice in fact and much better, with The Beatles' 'When I'm Sixty-Four' & 'Honey Pie', and both are considerably better representations of the "old-timey singer", or Fred Astaire tribute.  'You Gave Me The Answer' is a direct response to 'When I'm Sixty-Four's "give me the answer, fill in the form" line but "the form" should've been left blank, in my opinion.  Sticking with the vocal spotlight, both Beatles' songs feature a much more smooth, controlled and relaxed style by Paul, which makes the oldie style feel so much more authentic, whereas 'You Gave Me The Answer' almost sounds to me like Paul doing a bad parody of himself.  When you line these three tunes up, 'You Gave Me The Answer' seems very out of place with the other two, in my opinion.

'Honey Pie' is excellent, right from the opening scratchy old 78 rpm (anyone remember those?) effect given to "She was a working girl, North of England..." to its conclusion.  If 'You Gave Me The Answer' sounds "out of place" to me when set in juxtaposition to these two, then it's an absolute blemish when I view it during Paul's otherwise excellent 'RockShow' film, that part almost makes me feel like I'm glad that I wasn't there, yikes!  I'd personally prefer just about any of Yoko's "tunes", the ridiculous horn arrangement of the song even sounds good compared to Paul's embarrassingly weak vocals..:-) 

29 December 2013
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Ahhh Girl
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Two other times I think that "Paul" shows through "Paul's voice" (ie we see a glimpse into his inner being/the mask comes off):

"If I'm wrong, I'm right" from Fixing A Hole and the whole song We Can Work It Out.

Someone talk me down off the ledge of calling him a narcissistic little prick in these two songs. I not sure which "emotion" word to use for what he demonstrates in those instances. Help me see them another way. Please. I beg of you, change my tune.

Miss Research Skills can't find something and is asking for help. I think acmac made the comment I'm looking for sometime within the past 3 days. It is about vocal quality sounding "wet" on K's and hard C's.

29 December 2013
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acmac
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Funny Paper said

It's not so much that I find it quantifiable, as that I just know it when I hear it.  This particular phenomenon I am talking about here seems to be a moment where the human artist interrupts his "art" and lets his pain out.  AhhhGirl has a good point about how this type of moment doesn't necessarily have to be about "pain".  In this respect, Paul has quite a few moments of playful humanity so to speak.  But somehow, it seems that playfulness is more amenable to being artful, whereas there is something about pain that has to transcend art, even if art can be the context of its revelation.  Some theorists about acting have observed that the great actor has to have moments where he drops his mask and lets out his true self "through" the acting. 

Sigh. I understand that you know what you're talking about when you hear it. Likewise, I know what I'm talking about when I hear it. Perhaps it is the quality, not the authenticity, of John's and Paul's respective pain that we react so differently to. Though I don't question the sincerity of John's pain, I don't care terribly much about that type of pain, perhaps because it is usually accompanied by a type of anger that kinda makes me go, "eh."

Paul's pain has a very different texture, one that resonates much more with me, is totally authentic, and "transcends art" for me in the same way John's does for you. I hear it in "You Never Give Me Your Money," "Too Many People," "The Night Before," "Let It Be," "Little Lamb Dragonfly," "Dear Friend," "Somedays," "Calico Skies," "Junk," and many, many others. That he doesn't express it as often or as loudly as John did only increases its impact and value to me. It is just as real, just as raw, just as deep as what John expresses. 

Perhaps another complication is that people who don't personally identify with John's type of pain are nevertheless very much aware of how that sort of pain is expressed, because one of its features is a will to BE HEARD, GODDAMIT. The reverse is probably not true (and that is one reason I thank God, literally, for Paul's music). In any case, once more I will ask you to extend the courtesy of considering that others' opinions on this nebulous and highly subjective issue are just as valid as your own.

29 December 2013
6.27pm
acmac
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Ahhh Girl said 
Two other times I think that "Paul" shows through "Paul's voice" (ie we see a glimpse into his inner being/the mask comes off):

"If I'm wrong, I'm right" from Fixing A Hole and the whole song We Can Work It Out.

Someone talk me down off the ledge of calling him a narcissistic little prick in these two songs. I not sure which "emotion" word to use for what he demonstrates in those instances. Help me see them another way. Please. I beg of you, change my tune.

Miss Research Skills can't find something and is asking for help. I think acmac made the comment I'm looking for sometime within the past 3 days. It is about vocal quality sounding "wet" on K's and hard C's.

LOL! I don't see "Fixing A Hole" that way at all, but "We Can Work It Out"? Definitely. "While you see it your way, run a risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone." Oh eff off, Paul. Fortunately, I suspect Jane was the sort of woman who would've told him just that. But that line is perhaps even exceeded in dickery by: "Do I have to keep on talking 'til I can't go on?" Haha, no, Paul, you don't, actually! Feel free to shut up at any time, in fact! And then there's always "Another Girl." What a brat!

But I love "Fixing A Hole," and I think his point with the "wrong I'm right" bit was about getting over the right/wrong, black/white mentality WRT being an artist -- just letting his thoughts wander, safe in his creative mind-space, where he "belongs."

And what was your question about the Ks and Cs?

29 December 2013
6.48pm
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acmac said

Ahhh Girl said 
Two other times I think that "Paul" shows through "Paul's voice" (ie we see a glimpse into his inner being/the mask comes off):

"If I'm wrong, I'm right" from Fixing A Hole and the whole song We Can Work It Out.

Someone talk me down off the ledge of calling him a narcissistic little prick in these two songs. I not sure which "emotion" word to use for what he demonstrates in those instances. Help me see them another way. Please. I beg of you, change my tune.

Miss Research Skills can't find something and is asking for help. I think acmac made the comment I'm looking for sometime within the past 3 days. It is about vocal quality sounding "wet" on K's and hard C's.

LOL! I don't see "Fixing A Hole" that way at all, but "We Can Work It Out"? Definitely. "While you see it your way, run a risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone." Oh eff off, Paul. Fortunately, I suspect Jane was the sort of woman who would've told him just that. But that line is perhaps even exceeded in dickery by: "Do I have to keep on talking 'til I can't go on?" Haha, no, Paul, you don't! Good news! Feel free to shut up at any time, in fact! And then there's always "Another Girl." What a brat!

But I love "Fixing A Hole," and I think his point with the "wrong I'm right" bit was about getting over the right/wrong, black/white mentality WRT being an artist -- just letting his thoughts wander, safe in his creative mind-space, where he "belongs."

And what was your question about the Ks and Cs?

Ah-ha! Thank you, acmac, for fixing that hole in Fixing A Hole for me. Much obliged.

I was in total awe of that statement. I had been trying to figure a way to describe that exact vocal quality, and you NAILED it for me. I think it was you.

 

29 December 2013
10.42pm
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I just got back from running some errands. While I was out and about, 60s on 6 played "I Like It" by Gerry and the Pacemakers. I can hear that vocal quality on the "k" in like, but it isn't as pronounced as Paul's.

30 December 2013
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Ahhh Girl said

I was in total awe of that statement. I had been trying to figure a way to describe that exact vocal quality, and you NAILED it for me. I think it was you.

Oh, cool! Thanks, I'm glad someone knew what I was talking about. :) It's a vocal quality I'm rather jealous of...

30 December 2013
1.43am
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acmac said

Ahhh Girl said

I was in total awe of that statement. I had been trying to figure a way to describe that exact vocal quality, and you NAILED it for me. I think it was you.

Oh, cool! Thanks, I'm glad someone knew what I was talking about. :) It's a vocal quality I'm rather jealous of...

So, did you delete the comment? I'm feeling very impotent in my searching ability because I can't find it.a-hard-days-night-ringo-14

I hope you don't get bummed by me saying this, but I just want to say that OFTEN you speak my mind. Thoughts that I am struggling to find the words for magically pop up in a post with your name attached to them. You are quite the wordsmith, acmac. Even back in August when I joined the forum, I remember being on a wavelength with you. Thanks for being a part of the BB forum.

 

30 December 2013
1.54am
acmac
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Aw, of course I'm not bummed! Thank you, that is very kind of you to say! I'm proud to be your brain-twin. I'm glad you're a part of the forum, too. 

heartahdn_ringo_09heart

 

P.S. I think the comment was in the "fragments that grab you" thread?

30 December 2013
2.24am
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acmac said
Aw, of course I'm not bummed! Thank you, that is very kind of you to say! I'm proud to be your brain-twin. I'm glad you're a part of the forum, too. 

heartahdn_ringo_09heart

 

P.S. I think the comment was in the "fragments that grab you" thread?

Yes, there is that lovely statement right there where you put it in the fragments thread.

It looks like it takes a day or two for a post to show up when using a Google search with site:beatlesbible.com/forum. Important information to know. Same thing goes for the forum search box and the BB main search box. Makes me feel somewhat relieved that I couldn't find your post. I have a sneaking suspicion that I should have known about the time lag.

While doing these searches, I also discovered that the date on which the post was made is not necessarily the date that displays on the Google results page. It may or may not be. I'll admit I'm getting in over my head now on how the back end of computer stuff works that makes the searching possible. I'm going to cross post this to the impossible to derail thread and then let this thread get back on topic.

31 December 2013
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acmac said

Funny Paper said

It's not so much that I find it quantifiable, as that I just know it when I hear it.  This particular phenomenon I am talking about here seems to be a moment where the human artist interrupts his "art" and lets his pain out.  AhhhGirl has a good point about how this type of moment doesn't necessarily have to be about "pain".  In this respect, Paul has quite a few moments of playful humanity so to speak.  But somehow, it seems that playfulness is more amenable to being artful, whereas there is something about pain that has to transcend art, even if art can be the context of its revelation.  Some theorists about acting have observed that the great actor has to have moments where he drops his mask and lets out his true self "through" the acting. 

Sigh. I understand that you know what you're talking about when you hear it. Likewise, I know what I'm talking about when I hear it. Perhaps it is the quality, not the authenticity, of John's and Paul's respective pain that we react so differently to. Though I don't question the sincerity of John's pain, I don't care terribly much about that type of pain, perhaps because it is usually accompanied by a type of anger that kinda makes me go, "eh."

Paul's pain has a very different texture, one that resonates much more with me, is totally authentic, and "transcends art" for me in the same way John's does for you. I hear it in "You Never Give Me Your Money," "Too Many People," "The Night Before," "Let It Be," "Little Lamb Dragonfly," "Dear Friend," "Somedays," "Calico Skies," "Junk," and many, many others. That he doesn't express it as often or as loudly as John did only increases its impact and value to me. It is just as real, just as raw, just as deep as what John expresses. 

Perhaps another complication is that people who don't personally identify with John's type of pain are nevertheless very much aware of how that sort of pain is expressed, because one of its features is a will to BE HEARD, GODDAMIT. The reverse is probably not true (and that is one reason I thank God, literally, for Paul's music). In any case, once more I will ask you to extend the courtesy of considering that others' opinions on this nebulous and highly subjective issue are just as valid as your own.

I already agree with you, so it would be redundant and moot for me to extend you the courtesy of considering your opinion valid!  I too prefer Paul!  I think you are confusing my acknowledgement of a deficiency in Paul, and a particular, specific superiority in John, with me somehow therefore concluding that in some overarching sense John is better than Paul or even that I think John is better than Paul.  Surely, Person X can be better than Person Z with respect to the specific qualities A and D, without that apparent fact having to threaten our love of Person Z who may be better with respect to qualities B,C, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, etc.; eh?

 

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31 December 2013
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acmac
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Funny Paper said

I already agree with you, so it would be redundant and moot for me to extend you the courtesy of considering your opinion valid!  I too prefer Paul!  I think you are confusing my acknowledgement of a deficiency in Paul, and a particular, specific superiority in John, with me somehow therefore concluding that in some overarching sense John is better than Paul or even that I think John is better than Paul.  Surely, Person X can be better than Person Z with respect to the specific qualities A and D, without that apparent fact having to threaten our love of Person Z who may be better with respect to qualities B,C, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, etc.; eh?

No, my disagreement is not about which one you (or I) prefer overall. You may in fact rate Paul higher as an all-round singer than I do? It's that you continue to speak of this "deficiency," this having "virtually no soul," this mere "simulation" of pain, as if it's an objective truth. I'm happy to acknowledge that it's a real deficiency for you, that there is a specific sort of pain that John expresses in a specific sort of way that you value and therefore find lacking in Paul. What I am saying is that for me there is no such deficiency, because Paul expresses a different sort of pain in a different sort of way that I value and identify with, and I therefore find Paul's singing just as authentic, moving, and soulful as you find John's.

I've made myself as clear as I know how.

ETA (and at the risk of giving you a side issue to focus on rather than my main point above): To return to your actor analogy, I would say Anthony Hopkins is a better analog to Paul (at least as far as expression of pain goes). Hopkins and Pacino are equally excellent, and I love them both, but the texture of their styles (and the roles they tend to play) are very different. Hopkins' approach moves me more, personally; you may find him deficient in some way compared to Pacino, but again, your feelings on the matter is just as valid as mine but not an objective truth.

The Mozart/Beethoven comparison I can't really comment on, since I prefer Beethoven and find his work moving in a way similar to Paul's (though Mozart was no slouch).

2 January 2014
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acmac said

Funny Paper said

I already agree with you, so it would be redundant and moot for me to extend you the courtesy of considering your opinion valid!  I too prefer Paul!  I think you are confusing my acknowledgement of a deficiency in Paul, and a particular, specific superiority in John, with me somehow therefore concluding that in some overarching sense John is better than Paul or even that I think John is better than Paul.  Surely, Person X can be better than Person Z with respect to the specific qualities A and D, without that apparent fact having to threaten our love of Person Z who may be better with respect to qualities B,C, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, etc.; eh?

No, my disagreement is not about which one you (or I) prefer overall. You may in fact rate Paul higher as an all-round singer than I do? It's that you continue to speak of this "deficiency," this having "virtually no soul," this mere "simulation" of pain, as if it's an objective truth. I'm happy to acknowledge that it's a real deficiency for you, that there is a specific sort of pain that John expresses in a specific sort of way that you value and therefore find lacking in Paul. What I am saying is that for me there is no such deficiency, because Paul expresses a different sort of pain in a different sort of way that I value and identify with, and I therefore find Paul's singing just as authentic, moving, and soulful as you find John's.

I've made myself as clear as I know how.

ETA (and at the risk of giving you a side issue to focus on rather than my main point above): To return to your actor analogy, I would say Anthony Hopkins is a better analog to Paul (at least as far as expression of pain goes). Hopkins and Pacino are equally excellent, and I love them both, but the texture of their styles (and the roles they tend to play) are very different. Hopkins' approach moves me more, personally; you may find him deficient in some way compared to Pacino, but again, your feelings on the matter is just as valid as mine but not an objective truth.

The Mozart/Beethoven comparison I can't really comment on, since I prefer Beethoven and find his work moving in a way similar to Paul's (though Mozart was no slouch).

Yeah, Anthony Hopkins is a good example: his performance in "Remains of the Day" is quite poignant and full of pain, and yet his acting style is strictly technical, so he himself has explained.

As for your main argument, there still seem to be some flaws in it, which come out particularly in the last part:

"What I am saying is that for me there is no such deficiency, because Paul expresses a different sort of pain in a different sort of way that I value and identify with, and I therefore find Paul's singing just as authentic, moving, and soulful as you find John's."

I'll take it piece by piece:

"What I am saying is that for me there is no such deficiency, because Paul expresses a different sort of pain in a different sort of way..."

By saying "different" (twice even) you are acknowledging that, even to you, Paul is not expressing the same sort of pain -- but that he is expressing a different sort of pain.   This would make your "because" that links your two clauses rather incoherent, since what you seem to be professing to disagree about is the one sort of pain, not one of two different sorts of pain.  I.e., your syntax is conveying that you agree with me that Paul is deficient in X, but that in addition you think he is not deficient in Xb; then, however, you link this with your "because" to a supposed refutation of Paul's deficiency in X.

"...and I therefore find Paul's singing just as authentic, moving, and soulful as you find John's."

How would you know how authentic, moving and soulful I find John's singing?  You are here claiming to know exactly how much I find those qualities in John, then saying that is equal to how you find these qualities in Paul's singing.  But you can't know this well enough to say the two are equal.  You are here claiming a knowledge of objective truth yourself.

 

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2 January 2014
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Linde
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I think I also prefer Paul's voice over John's. I often get the idea that some people think John sounds more emotional, just because his voice breaks more often and sounds more rough sometimes. I often hear that anyway, with other artists too. Most times I hear someone say an artist sounds ''soulful'', it's an artist who sounds like he smoked 40 ciggies within a short timespan. Why is that so? Why would you be more ''soulful'' sounding like a chainsmoking whiskeylover than when you sound like Paul? Do you really need to be hoarse in order to transmit the emotion through your singing?

I'm not saying any of you implied that, I just noticed I've been hearing this stuff a lot on tv and radio lately.

2 January 2014
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Funny Paper said

By saying "different" (twice even) you are acknowledging that, even to you, Paul is not expressing the same sort of pain -- but that he is expressing a different sort of pain.   This would make your "because" that links your two clauses rather incoherent, since what you seem to be professing to disagree about is the one sort of pain, not one of two different sorts of pain.  I.e., your syntax is conveying that you agree with me that Paul is deficient in X, but that in addition you think he is not deficient in Xb; then, however, you link this with your "because" to a supposed refutation of Paul's deficiency in X.

I can only apologize for my incoherent syntax. I shall try again!

Of course I acknowledge differences; differences are not necessarily deficiencies. Paul can't sing like Maria Callas (so far as we know). Maria Callas couldn't sing like Ella Fitzgerald. Ella Fitzgerald couldn't have hit an A2. John Lennon couldn't have hit an A6. On and on and on and on and on. Are these "deficiencies"? I think it would be ridiculous to label them as such. "Limitations," sure, but "deficiencies"? And as we move away from such quantifiable, technical vocal attributes (tone, style, range, etc.) and into the territory of emotion, expression, soul, poignancy, authenticity, etc., our opinions become more subjective, not less.

So yes, I think it is specious to say axiomatically that Paul has "no soul." If you have qualified your initial pronouncement that Paul has "no soul," I have not seen it. The differences between Paul's and John's singing, while certainly present, do not justify absolutisms that Paul "doesn't actually transmit any depth of tragedy," that he never "bares his soul," that he "only sounds like a forlorn or sad or resigned person," a mere "simulation of that, but not the actual thing," that he "simply doesn't have" a "'rough pained soulful' quality," that there's no "finding much of Paul singing with real emotion."

You still seem to think that I am "incorrect" by some objective standard in saying that Paul does have soul, and all of the above things, in abundance. It's a kind of soul (et al) that resonates less with you than John's, so for you it is a deficiency, and that is totally valid. But there is no getting around the crux of our disagreement: You say Paul has no soul; I say he has lots of soul. I'm happy to meet you in the middle, and respect that Paul has no soul of the kind you are talking about. It'd be great if you could respect that Paul has (or may have, if you must) lots of the kind of soul that I value and am talking about. But I guess that's not going to happen.

"...and I therefore find Paul's singing just as authentic, moving, and soulful as you find John's."

How would you know how authentic, moving and soulful I find John's singing?  You are here claiming to know exactly how much I find those qualities in John, then saying that is equal to how you find these qualities in Paul's singing.  But you can't know this well enough to say the two are equal.  You are here claiming a knowledge of objective truth yourself.

This seems like an immaterial technicality to me, but okay, sure. I don't (and can't) know exactly how moving and soulful you find John's singing. But you certainly seem to find John's (and Dylan's, and Charles', and Young's) more moving and soulful than Paul's, specifically WRT the expression of pain, which you say John can truly "let out" but which Paul can only "simulate."

15 March 2014
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Matt Busby
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Ok I've tried two long posts on this and lost each one.  Karma wants a shorter post a-hard-days-night-george-10  But hey, the italics works this time! (and the 6 paragraphs are short...the other was like had 6 run-on paragraphs)

As far as Hopkins vs. Pacino, I've got to look at Hopkins' body of work from 1950 to 1990, pretty impressive.  Then you add the Oscar for Hannibal Lecter and wow.  Pacino is a great actor but he hasn't had that seminal performance yet, so to me there's no real comparsion atm.

I like Paul and John about the same.  Each has pluses and minuses, both in terms of voice and general personality.  I'll focus on emoting, but there are also vocal range, weird or extreme sounds (like the scream to begin Mr. Moonlight, or um...help me here, all I can come up with is the bite-down, gritty, powerful first line to Why Don't We Do It In The Road?), enunciation, etc.  I'll add that emoting, or at least invoking emotion in the audience, is integral to all the fine arts, and certainly pain is not the only emotion invoked.

To me, John can emote better than anyone I've ever heard.  Mother is to me the best example, but someone pointed out that it seems an artist needs to express pain to really move people.  So I counter with A Day In The Life, in which he sings with a tinge of sarcastic humor, interest, primal sexual urges in men ("I'd love to turn-n-n-n- you-ooh-ooh-ooh on"), again sarcasm but more pointedly about the 9-5 workaday world, and finally on the last verse, boredom (who really cares how many holes it takes?).

But Paul's voice is definitely not deficient.  He can emote with the best of them, just not quite as well as John imo.  But his voice has a very unique timbre - I think you can hear it really well in Fixing A Hole.  His voice is literally like two voices, the melody and (i think) a harmony that is an octave and a fifth higher (might just be an octave though).  It sounds almost like two voices, but it's just Paul.  While other musical instruments may have richer harmonics (the strings come to mind), even other voices, I think this quality is unique to Paul in all the singers I've heard.

And they differ in other ways, but they're both tied for the two best rock/pop singers I've ever heard, in terms of overall vocal ability.

Half of what I say is meaningless...

And it's making me feel like my trousers are torn

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