Wednesday, October 6, 2010


As you may know (hopefully not, because your life is so full of engaging real-world-type activities), I've been using my Facebook status to quiz people on their musical tastes. My most recent question was "What singer makes your heart most melty?" I got a lot of great responses... and still, I can't help but take this opportunity to spread the gospel of my own heart's reigning meltmasters.

Ultimate Queen of Meltiness: Billie Holiday

Of all the wondrously melty things about Billie's voice, my favorite is her phrasing. It's like nobody ever told her you're supposed to sing those specific notes in this very melody, as written, at the recommended time.

King of Meltiness: Ray Charles

Whereas Billie is melty in a roast-my-heart-on-a-skewer-like-a-marshmallow way, Ray is melty in a can-I-take-off-my-pants-now? way.

High Priestess of Meltiness: Nina Simone

A lot of people in this world don't love Nina Simone's voice. These must be the same people who think "Benjamin Button" was a brilliant film, and that Steven Colbert is actually a right-wing Republican. To these people I say: go back to your own planet.

Chief Ass-Kicker of Meltiness: Aretha Franklin

Aretha is like Michael Phelps. She is a freak of nature, born to excel at one craft, beyond the range of human capacity as it was previously understood. These people come from another planet also, but they can stay.

Meltiest Singer You Never Heard Of: Josh White

Josh White was popular from the 1930s through the early '50s, when he was blacklisted by the MacCarthyites for being a communist (which he wasn't, by the way. He was a civil rights activist. Oops!), which irreversibly damaged his career. His voice is, obviously, like warm honey being dripped into a clawfoot tub full of hot chocolate, velvet and kittens (we're talking supernatural kittens whose adorable fluffiness is not harmed by hot chocolate or honey).

Josh White

**Runners up, for those with too much time and an emusic account on their hands: Sam Cooke ("Peace in the Valley" with the Soul Stirrers), Snooks Eaglin ("Who's Loving You Tonight"), Pops Staples ("Down in Mississippi", from his 1990s album (produced by Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne... what?!)), Oliver Wood ("Chocolate on my Tongue"), Victoria Spivey ("Dope Head Blues"), Amos Lee ("Skipping Stones").


  1. MmmMmmmm ... delicious analysis, Carsie. I've got a lot to listen forward to. Yeah, Billie.