With his new album Untouchable – a tribute to Billy Mackenzie of The Associates – sung by Heaven 17′s Glenn Gregory, pop crooners have clearly been on the mind of composer Stephen Emmer a lot recently.
“Once upon a time there existed a breed of singers who were kind of the human equivalent of AutoTune: they could bent, shape and twist their voices anyway they wanted to,” he muses. “They usually sang big songs with lots of drama and backed by extremely lush orchestration and ingenious arrangements, yet with subdued grooves that later would be sampled by early hiphop crate-diggers. Not to be confused with jazz-crooning, it usually has more of an edge, probably one of the more adventurous moments in experimental pop productions in the studio, it was pre Sergeant Pepper and Pet Sounds.
Over time it got lost and went off the pop radar but now, in a time of tv song contests, the judges themselves like Harry Connick Jr and Dave Grohl are saying: enough is enough. Listen to that stuff first; the lost art of pop crooning.”
With that in mind he’s made Q this Playlist featuring some of the most luscious voices out there.
Scott Walker – It’s Raining Today
'Credit where its due, maestro Scott mixing an existential pop ballad with avant-garde orchestration, five stars really'
David Bowie – Life On Mars?
'Having been rejected by Sinatra, this became the My Way of crooner pop with that voice'
Pulp – This is Hardcore
'Jarvis at his symphonic Barry-esque, darkest best'
Billy Mackenzie – Beyond the Sun
'Full blown and authentic son of the genre, much missed and under-recognised'
Glenn Campbell – Wichita Lineman
'Silver-tongued rendition of one of the really great american pop-songbook songs'
Iggy Pop - We Have All The Time In The World
The Igster is the popcrooners world’s most hidden gem and David Arnold agrees'
The Divine Comedy – Leaving Today
'Noel Coward nostalgia with modern pop sensibility'
Roxy Music – Bitter Sweet
'Title says it all, way before symphony with same name'
Righteous Brothers – You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling
'Authentic macho men in love despair backed by Phil’s Wall Of Sound'
Lee Hazlewood – Come On Home To Me
'Even the original melancholic baritone has his longings'