Ben's Voice after Ben Folds Live/and a Piano Tour

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Offline Terp02

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Re: Ben's Voice after Ben Folds Live/and a Piano Tour
« Reply #45 on: January 15, 2010, 09:29:29 AM »
I think the singing from the reunion was either from nerves, adrenaline, time of day, etc.  He performed some of the same songs in Boston this fall with a much better vocal performance.  If you want to compare using performances that were specifically filmed, then take a look at when BFF did Brick on Saturday Night Live in the 1990s - he was struggling with the vocals, during his 'prime.'
Agreed, good point.

And from experience, the vocals at the reunion were great. I hardly noticed anything bad, but then again I was in the balcony and I couldn't hear everything that well. Ben also forgot the words to more than just "Regrets" so I'm thinking it was just nerves combined with forgetting the songs.

Also, I'm not saying his voice hasn't changed. It has, it's better now. He's not completely nasally and high pitched anymore, not to say that didn't fit the music then. Now, it's just as the man and the music has matured so has his voice and it's better now.

I'm just in total disagreement with you guys right now. He's MORE nasally now that he was back in the day. His voice is not nearly as strong as it was ten years ago, and his range isn't the same. Like I said it happens to all singers. I just don't know what else to say.
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Re: Ben's Voice after Ben Folds Live/and a Piano Tour
« Reply #46 on: January 15, 2010, 10:03:27 AM »
I agree with you. I think he's voice was best around 1999-2002. He had his peak there.

Re: Ben's Voice after Ben Folds Live/and a Piano Tour
« Reply #47 on: January 16, 2010, 07:45:43 PM »
I don't actually mind the change as his voice still sounds good and all, though imagining his latest songs but with his 2000-2002 younger self singing them makes me sad. Just imagine Picture Window, Levi Johnston's Blues or especially Belinda...

Re: Ben's Voice after Ben Folds Live/and a Piano Tour
« Reply #48 on: March 09, 2010, 11:36:50 AM »
Resurrecting this thread.  The change in Ben's voice has really bothered me lately, because I used to wish I had a voice like his...but now it sounds so weak and nasally.  I got my vocal training in musical theater many years ago, and have been in a couple of rock bands....just to give some background.

I decided to take an old Ben Folds Five version of Mess and line it up with the reunion version of mess...and some other recent versions where he's solo.  He's using his head voice almost all of the time now.

He's going 'nnnnnnnnn' at the beginning of a lot of lines.

'nnnnn' oh this mess I have made.
'nnnnn' all alone as I've learned to be
'nnnnnnnnn' all the untested virtue....yadda yadda.

Does it in a lot of songs these days. 

There is a time for head voice, just not all the time.  He seemed to know when to use it years ago, but now it seems like he has fallen into the bad habbit of relying on it all the time.

I firmly believe the old voice is still there, he has just fallen into some really bad vocal habits.  He has to stop using the head voice as a crutch and dig down into his chest and throat vocal techniques.  Maybe he thinks this voice sounds pretty, but it doesn't...it's just sounds very wobbly and weak.

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Offline Gareth_Glasgow

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Re: Ben's Voice after Ben Folds Live/and a Piano Tour
« Reply #49 on: August 11, 2010, 02:29:08 PM »
A good example of Ben's voice changing is the two versions of Rockin the Suburbs from RTS in 2001 and Over the Hedge in
I think 2006. His voice in the newer version sounds really weak and strained. I think he's picked up a few bad habits over the years, which is a real shame as he had a great voice in his prime about 1999.
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Re: Ben's Voice after Ben Folds Live/and a Piano Tour
« Reply #50 on: August 11, 2010, 08:14:39 PM »
His voice has changed quite a bit. I think that his voice during the VERY early days was probably its worst, mainly because he hadn't really figured out HOW to sing just yet. Some of the stuff on the ST BFF album sounds a little whiny and pitchy to me (though not bad for sure.) Still, he had power in his voice. From that point, he got better at learning how to use the voice that he naturally had. I personally think that he mastered his voice around Reinhold Messener. His vocals on that album are fantastic.

Rockin' the Suburbs is the final record where we got to hear Ben's original sounding voice. I think he was still at his prime at this point, with this album and the Live album being two of his finest as far as vocals go.

The EPs are often overlooked in this case study, but they are the turning point. His voice was still good, still had power, but it was deepening. I think this was still a prime vocal era for him, and had his voice staying this way, I would have no complaints.

SFS came around, and it was evident that he had no only obtained a deeper voice, it was a slightly weaker voice. I personally think his voice stayed about the same as far as power and range goes since then. He knows how to sing for sure, but he doesn't have that powerful youthful vibe anymore. Its sad, and I hate saying this, but he could pull of songs like RTS before because his voice was powerful and almost had a smartass vibe to it at times. Hearing the over the hedge version, the voice just can't pull off the song anymore, and I don't just mean from a vocal range standpoint. He sounds older, and listening to an older guy sing a song like that just makes you cringe. To us it doesn't matter, we know and love Ben, but if you played the album version of RTS at a party you could get away with it. Play the Over the Hedge version (forget the lyric changes) and I'm sure someone would say "who the hell is this?" It just doesn't fit the music.

At one time, Ben did have an above average voice. That being said, it was never, EVER his voice that carried his music, and never, EVER his voice that made him famous. Ben is a masterful piano player. He knows how to use this gift to creative complex, compelling, touching music that is above and beyond what most anyone is doing in music to this day. He's a clever guy, and knows how to match music and words in a way that can touch your soul, make you laugh, or make you think. He's also a brilliant producer, and knows exactly what each one of his songs needs during every second to make it perfect. So if someone was to ask me "what would you consider Ben Folds to be?", my first answer would naturally be "a piano player." My second answer would be "a songwriter."  This would be my answer in 1995, and still is my answer in 2010. His voice has weakened, like many others before him. But it doesn't change my opinion on his musical abilities at all, because I think we can all agree that while his voice definately has a unique charm to it that fits his style, his real musical muscle has always been in his brain and in his fingers. He hasn't lost that talent at all yet. Lesser vocal abilities or not, a Ben Folds song still is as quality as they were back in 97. We're lucky to have someone as talented as him share his creations with us.

Re: Ben's Voice after Ben Folds Live/and a Piano Tour
« Reply #51 on: August 11, 2010, 09:13:53 PM »
Resurrecting this thread.  The change in Ben's voice has really bothered me lately, because I used to wish I had a voice like his...but now it sounds so weak and nasally.  I got my vocal training in musical theater many years ago, and have been in a couple of rock bands....just to give some background.

I decided to take an old Ben Folds Five version of Mess and line it up with the reunion version of mess...and some other recent versions where he's solo.  He's using his head voice almost all of the time now.

He's going 'nnnnnnnnn' at the beginning of a lot of lines.

'nnnnn' oh this mess I have made.
'nnnnn' all alone as I've learned to be
'nnnnnnnnn' all the untested virtue....yadda yadda.

Does it in a lot of songs these days. 

There is a time for head voice, just not all the time.  He seemed to know when to use it years ago, but now it seems like he has fallen into the bad habbit of relying on it all the time.

I firmly believe the old voice is still there, he has just fallen into some really bad vocal habits.  He has to stop using the head voice as a crutch and dig down into his chest and throat vocal techniques.  Maybe he thinks this voice sounds pretty, but it doesn't...it's just sounds very wobbly and weak.

I really don't think anyone singing songs sings falsetto because they think it sounds better than a normal voice -- it is used out of necessity.  People's voices deteriorate over time.  It's not as noticeable among the greats becuase, they're, well, great.  Even if your voice is good to begin with, if it's not amazing (like Mr. Folds') the changes over time will be more noticeable.

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Offline HVH

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Re: Ben's Voice after Ben Folds Live/and a Piano Tour
« Reply #52 on: August 12, 2010, 12:36:25 PM »
I'm going to have to go back and listen to some of these suggested examples again and think about the change.  I think a man's voice should stay good at his age, it's not until your late 50s or 60s it really starts to deteriorate (think about Frank Sinatra).  However, Ben did have pneumonia in 2004 (the gig I was meant to see got cancelled until the next year) so maybe that effected it?  He also does do an awful lot of gigs - the strain must be getting to it!
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Offline Iheartpiano

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Re: Ben's Voice after Ben Folds Live/and a Piano Tour
« Reply #53 on: August 16, 2010, 05:03:12 AM »
I noticed the difference too. I actually prefer ben's voice now. I mean he was good in bff but I like his voice low.
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Offline franknbeans120

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Re: Ben's Voice after Ben Folds Live/and a Piano Tour
« Reply #54 on: August 16, 2010, 05:30:08 AM »
I've heard a change in his voice over the years as well but I really don't really prefer it a certain way. The Over the Hedge version of "Rockin' the Suburbs" does sound a lot whinier and strained but that's about the only one that bothers me. I consider the change in voice to be a result of many years of being a musician and I'm sure pneumonia did not help. It's not a pleasant disease (I had it when I was a kid).

Re: Ben's Voice after Ben Folds Live/and a Piano Tour
« Reply #55 on: August 19, 2010, 06:50:43 PM »
Finally we have a definitive answer!

Ben recently said on twitter that he had tension dysphonia and struggled with part of his range for a few years. He said the doc told him his vocal chords weren't permanently damaged and also said his range was slowly coming back with some relearning!

Yay :)

Re: Ben's Voice after Ben Folds Live/and a Piano Tour
« Reply #56 on: August 20, 2010, 07:48:45 PM »
he said 7 years of stress caused it to happen..hmm..