When Elizabeth Ziman of Elizabeth & the Catapult responded back with her 10 to Spin playlist, our first one of 2012, her theme of "Awesome Broken Voices" intrigued me.
I started listening to Ziman's voice back in 2010 when we featured "Go Away My Lover," taken from her 2010 album, The Other Side of Zero, as our Jam of the Day, and the Brooklyn-based artist's voice still lingers in my head to some degree. But not because it's broken. No. Her voice sounds more like it's searching, climbing for something beautiful, something forgotten.
And in a way, that's the beauty of a broken voice: it's not perfect, and it might have been forgotten by many. And when you find one that comforts you, you never let it go.
Here's Elizabeth's 10 to Spin. Enjoy.
AWESOME BROKEN VOICES
Bright Eyes - Road to Joy
I love how he makes fun of his voice in the song, but secretly knows he kicks so much ass ("could have been a famous singer if I had someone else's voice but failure's always sounded better, let's fuck it up boys make some noise!").
David Byrne - Psycho Killer
He's basically screaming the whole time, but he still ends up sounding heller creepy.
Tom Waits - Alice
Need I explain?
John Lennon - Mother (and anything from Plastic Ono)
He always tries to cover up his voice with all these weird reverbs and plates but it just kind of highlights how cool and unique his voice is.
Karen O - Maps
She's basically talking and whispering the whole time, and it's one of my favorite vocal performances in the last 10 years.
Bob Dylan - Lay Lady Lay
It sounds like he was sleeping under a rock for a year before he sang this recording, but I love the frogginess of it, it's somehow comforting.
Bruce Springsteen - Growing Up
This guy doesn't give a shit - he's just thinking about the story he's singing.
Neutral Milk Hotel - Two Headed Boy
This recording is so sad - makes me want to curl up into a ball.
Janis Joplin - Cry Baby
She just embraces anything that comes out of her mouth, and it's all beautiful to me.
Steve Earle - Lonelier Than This
He sounds like he's having an intimate conversation with you in his living room, perfection.