Everyone has voices that they get hooked on, and I’m no different. There’s something about certain voices that just grab you and make that whole “he/she could sing the phonebook, and it would be great!” cliche come true. They may not be the greatest voices, but they’re the ones who tug at your hearts the most.
For me, the list includes Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys (repressed but palpable heartbreak felt in every carefully enunciated syllable), Stevie Nicks (vibrates right into the brain), Mindy Smith (the voice is just so damn pretty!), and a young gentleman by the name of Rufus Wainwright.
Rufus is a special member of that list for a rather dubious distinction. He’s the only one who hasn’t come up with a truly, TRULY great track. I like “Across the Universe,” “The One You Love,” and “I Eat Dinner” just fine, but they all run out of gas somewhere in the category of “Good” or “Solid.” But thanks to the existence of bootlegs, the magic of Rufus’s voice has not only been realized but captured for us to finally revel in.
I’m refering to the performance of “Careless Whisper” recorded at a Ben Folds concert. Ben sounds perfectly fine on this live duet, but Rufus is the undeniable star here, his operatic voice working WONDERS with what was already a great song. To whomever that managed to record and share this, I can only say “Thank you.” Ditto to Rufus Wainwright.