“Unplugged” is the true test of a voice

todayNovember 12, 2023 131

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Consider two voices…both males who fronted bands who, in their own way, were at the forefront of music at different times. Their voices are in a different register, have very different timbre and were, in the original versions of the songs that made them famous, great in their own way. On one hand the tortured, nasal, almost whiny voice of Kurt Cobain singing the “theme track” of Grunge, Nirvana’s “Come As You Are”. On the other, Morten Haarket’s clear vocals in that 1986 anthem of 80’s pop by a-ha, “Take On Me”. Both very distinctive but to some extent hidden by the instrumentation. So how good are those voices? Put it to the “unplugged” test, and the true genius of both emerge. Here they both are – Different? Very. Unique? Unquestionably. Genius? Hell yes… Proof that, only when all the layers are peeled back, true vocal brilliance is revealed. How many current “vocalists” will pass the “unplugged” test? Not many I fear…

Nirvana “Come As You Are” from MTV Unplugged 1994 (check out Dave Grohl!)

a-ha “Take On Me” from MTV Unplugged 2017 (Harket was 58 when that was recorded!)



Written by: Deon v Rensburg

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