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August 04 2008

The Best Whedonverse Singers. Girl nerd site The Park Bench evaluates the best singers from the Whedonverse, with a comparison between 'Once More With Feeling' and 'Dr. Horrible'.

Andy was mentioned. The article was just focused on the musical episode OMWF and Dr. Horrible.
Ah. I only read the list part of it. Silly me.
Why not count Noxon and Fury? Don't they each now have more total lines in Whedon-related musicals than Hannigan? (And I can see in Fury's eyes that he's ready to take on even more. Fury's a man in need of more songs to sing.)
Yeah, it's a bit much to say Andy doesn't count because he wasn't a series regular. He was, and he does. Especially since the author references characters singing elsewhere. If you're gonna make a list, you may as well do it right.

Still, I agree that NPH and ASH belong right up there, but I think Amber and Nathan both deserve to be higher on that list. There was an awful lot of manipulation of SMG's voice, and JM didn't exactly overwhelm me, either.

(Quickly changes topic)
Hey, I never knew the Murray Head who sang 'One Night In Bangkok' was Tony's brother. I was grounded for life by my parents when I was 10 for accidently singing the wrong lyrics to that song. I'd love to be let outside again... ;-)
Why can people settle for the rules of exclusion she set out? She specifically listed Andy as not included, because he wasn't in a strictly musical episode. She acknowledged him, which was more than enough. (Plus, I hate to say this, but Andy is overrated. I find his crooning a bit annoying at times.)

Murray Head also played Judas on the original "Jesus Christ Superstar" album. I knew he existed long before I knew Tony existed.
I think the main problem lies with the title the author has given for the article- 'The Best Whedonverse Singers'.

It really should be 'The Best Singers in a Whedon Musical, that is, providing they're regular characters and not special guests and/or members of the production staff, oh and can I add that this is an entirely subjective list from someone who got a copy of the OMWF soundtrack, like, yesterday, and so this opinion may be liable to change without notice.'

Yeh, that'll do it. ;-)

ETA- Ironically, today is Andy's 33rd birthday. Since I don't have any news I won't do a separate post.

[ edited by missb on 2008-08-04 15:11 ]
To me, Amber Benson is the best on the list. She has great range (both high and low) and powerful voice. When I first heard her sing, "Under Your Spell" I was really taken aback by her talent. I'd probably rank NPH second and ASH third.
I'm surprised James wasn't higher on the list. But then, we don't see Spike singing all that much, and the coffin-surfing was one of the most incongruent parts of OMWF (Funeral? At night? In SUNNYDALE?!), compared to "Under Your Spell" which seems to resonate emotionally with more folks.
I also find this list curious but for different reasons. I think a lot of folk are fairly hard on SMG when I find that she has a lot of emotional weight to her performace in OMWF. Whereas I found Nathan Fillion's voice a little... dull in Dr Horrible. I'm not ragging on him for not being a great singer but he didn't really emphasise much when he sang, which is essential in telling a musical story.

I'm in agreement with everyone else otherwise: ASH, NPH and Amber are the ones that deserve to be up top.
I really liked Sarah's voice in OMWF, she has a natural talent. I wasn't overwhelmed with Felicia's singing but she did carry it off well.
Well, the fact of the matter is several of our Buffyverse actors have great pipes. The two stand outs are Amber Benson and Antony Head. I could listen to those two sing all day. Wonderful.

James is good in a rock style mood. Also must include Andy and our beloved Marti. Again, good pipes.
I, OTOH (to Simon), thought Felicia Day's voice the big surprise. I found her delightfully like a young Joni Mitchell, without the pyrotechnics. Very pleasant, stuck in my mind.

The Head/Benson duet was still the most wonderful of all.
My personal favourite voice is probably Amber's, just very strong, clean and pure tones to my ear. ASH also did a decent job with a more folky style and I liked JM's performance, he has a great rocky/folky club voice, not sure if he could really belt it out though (cue 10,000 fellow JM fans telling me all the times he belted it out in concert ;). I thought everyone that sang in OMWF did a bang-up job though, especially considering they were under some time pressure. And the slightly less polished performances in the cast still worked in context (why would Buffy or Xander necessarily be flawless singers ?) and both SMG and NB really attacked their numbers and made them work.

Re: Dr H, NPH I couldn't fault, very expressive voice and face, Felicia's voice was perfectly suited to Penny and her songs (i'd love to hear her sing some slightly rockier songs to see if she could carry it) and Nathan, ah Nathan ;), just a brilliant performance. Singing for laughs strikes me as among the hardest and he carried the songs while really performing as Hammer, his inflections, mannerisms etc. just great. Maybe not the best voice in Dr Horrible but probably the best performance IMO (today anyway ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2008-08-04 16:55 ]
I adore Felicia Day but I agree with Simon. I liked her singing but I'd rank Amber and SMG above her.
ASH has the voice I most like to listen to, but not because it has more range or power or beauty than the others. I just love the sound of it.
"...am I leaving Dawn in danger, is my Slayer too far gone to care?"


ASH's voice just resonates with that line. So full of emotion and rich, solid tones.

Agreed about Amber and her clarity. Beautiful voice, and probably THE best singer in the 'verse, imo.
Amber is amazing, as is ASH. I'm not sure I'd rank SMG above others for singing (well, Nick and Allyson ;)). Other things, sure, but singing, no. That's not a slam on anyone, most of these folks just aren't singers and they all did admirably.
Yeah, I think everybody on OMWF did an amazing job, above and beyond. As far as the best singers, I would say ASH and JM.
ASH is my absolute favourite singer in the verse. However JM doesn't come too far behind. His solo version of "Smile" (from "Civilized Man") is... just... wow.
I think everybody on OMWF did an amazing job as well. You know, that had to be very intimidating for the cast. I think the Giles/Tara duet was the best song too.

My favorite is, of course, Christian Kane. Following him would be ASH, although I haven't heard much of his singing other than what he did on Btvs. What can I say? I love low, sexy voices.

I enjoyed JM's song in OMWF but I'm not very fannish on his singing. It just doesn't do much for me. But Andy Hallett is great. His voice has an awesome range to it. I think my favorite moment of him singing on Angel was when Lorne sang "The Star Spangled Banner" in the lobby of the Hyperion.

[ edited by menomegirl on 2008-08-04 19:28 ]
After reviewing "the lIst", I would agree that missb's title would fit.

I would also say that this seems more like a list, and not a list of ASH is #1, NPH is #2, etc...

To me, it reads more of an analysis of the people in the musicals, and how they contributed to the awesomeness that is.
I liked Sarah's voice. I know it's far from perfect, but I can't help but melting every time I hear that girl speak or sing. It's one of my favorite things about her.
I think the competition should be opened up - my son just burst out into song with: "Whedon-Joss-Whedon" (to the tune of Viva Las Vegas) - very proud Mom
I suspect that Alexis Denisof is the great unheard voice in the 'verse. I guess just because his speaking voice is so musical. Could be wrong.
"Pretty as a picture"

Yes, it would be a sin not to include Christian's "LA Song". Beauiful piece.
Let's pretend we aren't following the article's author's rules for this post.

I think that Tony Head is great, and certainly deserves a high spot, but "Standing" I wasn't a fan of, as his voice seemed to be almost downplayed. Contast that with his vocal performance in his duet with Amber...so much more power, so much better. Love it.

Amber was probably the biggest surprise for me. Such a clear tone, such a wide range. Completely surprising, and very impressive.

Felicia I was sort of dissappointed by. She's got a great tone, and not a bad voice by any means, but there was no power behind her voice. Based on that she'd have to be down a little lower on my own list.

I love Andy's voice, it is so perfectly suited to karaoke/Vegas singing. Probably not for mainstream listening, but certainly a very 'show-y' voice.

Finally, I really have to give it up for Nick Brendon and Emma. Their voices worked well together as both contrasting ("I'll Never Tell") and harmonizing in "I've Got a Theory" and "Where Do We Go From Here." For me they are the underrated performers of "Once More, With Feeling."
I loved ASH's voice so much in OMWF (especially his duet with Amber) that I bought his "Music for Elevators". Unfortunately, a lot of the music is not as much to my taste, but his voice is still great to listen to - and I like the words for a lot of the songs.

I thought Felicia's voice suited her character - she wasn't supposed to be powering out - but I believe someone mentioned in another thread (possibly the 1,000+ post one) that they had heard her sing something with a very powerful voice, so I look forward to hearing that from her some day.

Felicia's duet with NPH sends shivers up my back every time I hear it - even in my sleep! ;)
I think Neil's voice is my favorite so far, with Felicia's a close second - both of them have extraordinarily true voices, I think, and I'd like to hear Felicia's voice unleashed in a different kind of character - the voice is there, I'd betchya, but still untapped in the Whedon'verse. Penny just wasn't gonna be a belter.

I love ASH and Amber and Nathan and all - there's nobody in either OMWF or DHSAB that I don't like to hear - but Neil and Felicia were dee-lightful surprises to me, and they give me the shiverses and the tearing-up I get when I hear special singing... that kind of purity just gets me.
Yes, in Felicia's solo, whenever she sang the word "ground"...just, guh. Love it. And On The Rise is probably my favorite song from either musical, not that all the others weren't fabulous.
Amber and Tony and James are all, quite simply, trained and practiced at it.

SMG did a good job considering her inital reluctance and how new it was for her. Fine except for what she did to those defenseless whole notes every now and then, but I guess they're used to it. Besides, given Buffy 's mental state perhaps havignt he singing less than perfect was part of the characterization.

Wish I knew more about AMber 's mini-album. Would any of her songs work as voice-over music in a montage scene of two d etectives investigating a series of murders?
Thanks, hacksaway. "ground" is earth-shakingly beautiful. She really grips you there.
I love SMG's voice, and it always annoys me when people pick on her.
Neil's definitely my favourite -- certain lines in Act II just send shivers down my spine when I hear them. That said, you can't really fault ASH or Amber either. SMG always surprised me, for someone not having a background in music, she really sung well. And as for Nathan, I'll just echo what others have said, in that he can not only sing, but sing and be funny too.
I'm gonna be an outsider here (again) and say that I suspect that the newness of it all is what got NPH and FD the 2 & 3 spots (and, in fact, if I was giving them the #2 & #3 spots, I'd reverse them, as Felicia had the better voice.) But AB & ASH (in that order, IMO,) take the top two slots among the regulars, and after hearing Felicia, I'd probably put her at #3 behind ASH. For the others, all of them can more or less sing, but I don't really find any of them particularly outstanding, including JM - which is okay, 'cause I've sure heard a lot worse singers than any of them...
Rowan Hawthorn: I'll have to very much disagree with you there. Your newness point might be valid, but Felicia better than NPH...? NPH is clearly a professional, he's been in broadway musicals too - he is definitely better. I do still like Felicia's voice though.
I realize he's been in Broadway musicals (so have other people who were not particularly outstanding singers,) but I'm judging solely on what I've heard. Note that I'm not saying there was a vast difference, nor that I might not change my mind given a chance to hear more from them (I also think Amber's voice sounds better singing in the range Joss wrote for her than what I've heard from her singing in the lower range that she says she's more comfortable with - and I'm not all that crazy about soprano.)
That's fair enough. Personally speaking, I just couldn't get over his performance, especially that song at the end of Act II. And the one after he's been unveiled in Act III. They just took my breath away. Felicia was good, and she was fantastic in that duet too, but she didn't have the affect that NPH did -- just my opinion, o'course.
NPH is the best singer of the lot, followed by ASH and Amber. Everyone else is average at best. And Nathan Fillion should never sing again.
crossoverman: I think that's a little unfair to Nathan. I'm not saying he's great, but his singing was perfectly acceptable. Or, to put it another way, I've heard plenty of bad singing, people who really never should sing in public again, and it'd be absurd to put Nathan in that category.
I'm surprised more people haven't mentioned Emma Caufield. The Anya/Xander number has always been my favorite, but her Bunnies solo was a knockout.

(cue 10,000 fellow JM fans telling me all the times he belted it out in concert ;).


OK saje, since you used the term "belted it out", I'll bite, and offer up GoTR's Goodnight Sweet Girl as exibit A. And Civilized Man (the song, not the whole CD) as evidence that JM does fine with blues, as well (there are other blues examples but this is my personal favorite and I'm less impressed by his more recent stuff).

But my Golden Pipes award for Whedonverse alumni goes to Christian Kane, who has a voice that turns me to mush. (Wish he'd do more blues, not being a C&W fan).

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