Doesn't anybody ever know... That the world's a subway, subwayyeeeeEEHIEI!
The distinct voice of Raine Maida, lead singer for Our Lady Peace, always gets a reaction from first time listeners. Ranging from extremely high to ultra-sonic mind-numbingly high, his singing has attracted and repelled many fans. The unique voice he possesses is applied in many unusual manners, like the example above from Superman's Dead. Here is an attempt to present, in onomatopoeia form, some of the more notable
sounds Maida makes as well as give an elementary
explanation of how to make the noise yourself.
- Yeaheeyeah -
Although "Yeah" is the perfect pop rock singing cliché, Madia uses it with taste and dignity. By adding a bridge of meaningless vowels, musical phrases such as "YeahyeahyeahheEEE" and "Yeaheeyeah, yeaheeyeah" are born. Starseed and Do You Like It? include wonderful renditions of the long standing tradition that
- Oh/ooh/hooo/hawo/whoaooaoo - These formless words are somewhere half way between singing and humming. They quite easy to produce; just open your mouth in an ovular shape, then sing the desired noise in any comfortable pitch. This is the most common noise that Maida makes; it can be found in every OLP CD to date. This vocal technique is not exclusive to just OLP, however. Other modern rock bands like Weezer and Live incorporate "whooaaooo"s and "Haaawooooo"s regularly. OLP's most in-depth exploration of this can be found in Are You Sad?, off Spiritual Machines. The harmonic, church-like vocals croon these interjectionary song phrases touchingly throughout the song, especially during the outro.
- Whoo oo Ooo Whoo OOO ooo - A somewhat
ghostly noise created by both Maida lyriclessly singing and a synthesizer playing along, forming a homophonic texture. While it is sung completely in falsetto, the synth effect distorts the voice to have an organic, breathy quality. An exact human reproduction of this isn't possible because of the electronic enhancement; "Whoo"s that people yell at sports games are not unsimilar however. Adding a bit of controlled musical pitch will come fairly close to replication. It appears in several tracks of
Clumsy, especially in the background, and was heavily used in Happiness. The blasting "Whoo oo"s in Is Anybody Home? and Lying Awake are a definitive examples of this.
WHEEREIARALLLTUOREEZIIIIEN'EGD - This
particular noise is exclusive to The Birdman off the Naveed CD. Following the guitar solo/interlude, a crescendo leading back into the chorus ends with this mammoth of a grunt-scream. Some have speculated that Maida is trying to say something (like a coherent sentence) at this juncture in the song. I disagree. If you are used to screaming along with Foo Fighters or Disturbed, this one is a piece of cake to duplicate. Otherwise, you probably want to leave this one alone.
Hiei - Hiei is the most celebrated of all Madia's noises; it is his trademark. Ridiculously high pitched, slightly disturbing, and fun to sing along with, it sounds like a combination of a cat in heat and a baby crying. Sometimes hiei is preceded by an extended note in the form of a vowel, thus forming variants such as "eeeHIEI" or "ooouuUHIEI". Smile wide, open your mouth as if to yawn, then say "Hi" as high pitched as you can manage. If done correctly, it will transform from a simple greeting into a musical abnormality that will leave your teeth chattering for more. One might think that the screechy noises during the guitar solo in Automatic Flowers are techno or distorted guitar noises... In truth, it is the very "Hiei" I speak of. I have seen it performed live several times and it ranks higher than
NIN or Marylin Manson on the freaky, twisted, frightening scale. "Hiei" is fairly common on every OLP CD except Gravity.
It may seem like the vocal noises of Raine Madia are all but impossible for most humankind to achieve. However, with a minimal amount of practice, you too can be wooing your romantic interest with window-shattering improvisation between slightly coherent words! HEEEEEIIAAAYYYYeeEAH!