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Bruce's Voice


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I keep getting drawn back to this thought in my head, so I thought I'd throw it out there and see what people think.

I think Bruce has a fantastic singing voice, his range is phenomenal, his tone, his ability to change it to suit different styles, etc.

However, I personally don't think that it's quite as good now as it used to be, not knocking the man, he's still got a great voice, but it's inevitably going to start to fade.

For me, the best display of his voice is on the Live in New York album/DVD. I think it's so powerful, rich, just completely under his control for whatever he wants to do with it, and this is for someone who has never had proper basic training. If someone was to say to me, "I don't think Bruce can sing", I'd send 'em to listen to this album, 'cause it really proves otherwise.

Do people agree? Or do people think his voice is better now?

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I think his voice is still just as good, it's different types of songs now.

He still nails Badlands live etc, so ...

His voice is fucking fan tas tic.

Yup, his voice is fantastic, but to be fair, I wouldn't think Badlands would be the most vocally demanding! It's not too broad in terms of range, is what I mean...

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There is no way Bruce's voice is as guttural or primal as it used to be, ending of Backstreets to name one out of a gazillion examples, but in ways it has gotten better. He mentions that himself in the recent NPR interview. His voice was so damn incredilbe last tour, I don't think many expected that. That said, every year he gets older who knows how long he can keep his great voice up. Perhaps it won't even be as good for the upcoming shows.

I love Bruce's voice early career and I love it later career. Think he sounds simply fantastic on the whole Wrecking Ball album and High Hopes too.

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I think he took voice lessons and possibly had a surgery in the mid-'90s. His rock voice was shot by '95; check out the Sony studios performance. The songs he was writing were all in the lower register of his voice: Streets of Philly, Secret Garden, etc. By the time I saw him on the Joad tour, he had really perfected his falsetto (Across The Border) and was displaying greater range. During the Reunion tour, I could tell by the way he was emoting that he had had some training, plus he was actually singing the notes, rather than bellowing them. If someone told me today that he couldn't sing, I would play them Lift Me Up.

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I was listening to Bruce on New York State of Mind recently from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concerts (2009?) and was blown away with how well he sung it. He often almost doesn't care on some songs live and even on record occassionally (I think Glory Days has some flat notes on BitUSA) as that reckless type of singing can fit the song (and I am not knocking that because it works) but on New York State of Mind you could tell he was focussed on hitting all of the notes. It showed just how good of a singer he actually is.

I am sure he has lost some of his range, but its very very good for someone who is 64! Quite frankly, it would be very very good for someone who is 50!

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There is no way Bruce's voice is as guttural or primal as it used to be, ending of Backstreets to name one out of a gazillion examples, but in ways it has gotten better. He mentions that himself in the recent NPR interview. His voice was so damn incredilbe last tour, I don't think many expected that. That said, every year he gets older who knows how long he can keep his great voice up. Perhaps it won't even be as good for the upcoming shows.

I love Bruce's voice early career and I love it later career. Think he sounds simply fantastic on the whole Wrecking Ball album and High Hopes too.

Yeah, the intro to Spirit in the Night on the first leg really blew me away. I couldn't believe how he could still stretch his voice like that, unbelievable.

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Jolly, agree on Spirit, could not believe my ears at Wrigley two summers ago when he launched into that.

The screams, "can you feel the spiiiiriiiiiiiit...."


Always play the LINYC version of The River for someone who thinks Bruce can't sing or that he sucks period.

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If someone told me today that he couldn't sing, I would play them Lift Me Up.

YES! Can't think of a better song to play for them, other than the live 'River' with the falsetto at the end.

If you have Joad tour boots, the falsetto at the end of Across The Border is great also.

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Jolly, agree on Spirit, could not believe my ears at Wrigley two summers ago when he launched into that.

The screams, "can you feel the spiiiiriiiiiiiit...."

Always play the LINYC version of The River for someone who thinks Bruce can't sing or that he sucks period.

Brought my brother to his first show in Dublin last year. I looked at him when Bruce was doing the intro, thought I was gonna have to pick his jaw off the ground for him.

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His voice is still incredible. It's the best instrument on that stage.

I still prefer the rawness of it in his youth. Listen to an 85 or even 88 version if BITUSA for example. Incredible power.

Prior to that on the 78 tour it's pure rage. Punk influenced that delivery.

I'd say he sings the ballad and mid tempo stuff better now.

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That Spirit intro was one of the best things about the Wrecking Ball Tour. When he opened with it at Rome, starting quiet offstage and then striding on with a towering "Can you feel the spirit?!?" I knew it was going to be epic.

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He just sounds older. To me, just as good. When he wants to he can nail the 78 Darkness sound.

But do you not think he's doing an impersonation of his '78 sound? To me, it sounds like he's doing an impression of someone doing a mind-blowing impression of him from '78.

(Does that make any sense at all?) : )

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I'm not sure. I was listening to a show from the Tunnel of Love Express tour the other night and Bruce was really struggling with Born in the USA, as well as some of the other rock songs. All I can say is his voice seemed in immense shape when I last saw him, at Queen Elizabeth Park last year, despite having played Paris the previous night.

However, what I find very frustrating on his more recent studio albums is that he seems to put on other voices, whether it's a strangled Dylan voice or a country accent which is really distracting when his normal voice is so good. Also, that he seems to hold back on the rock songs now so the album versions are robbed of some of their possible power. I have to disagree with some of the fans here too - I can't bear that falsetto!

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One of the things I am enjoying most about the High Hopes album is the fact that, in my opinion, Bruce's voice sounds bloody amazing on this album... Different on each track due to the time span, but that just makes it better for me.

I think it might not have the mid Eighties power but I think his voice is better than ever...

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