I don't feel the same way. I am glad it's (pretty much) only James on the albums now, and I actually wish it was only him on Scenes and everything else. If I had to have another voice, I would prefer JP over MP. I think JP's voice just goes better with JL's voice than MP's does, and I like his voice better too. When I listen to Scenes with headphones and I'm listening very intently, I feel that it would be that much better without MP's voice. I think we're the opposite here - there are things that I miss about MP, a lot, but I don't miss his vocals at all - not on the albums and certainly not live. I was very upset when he left, but when I started coming to terms with it, my first "look on the bright side" thought was that maybe the vocals would be left to James in future. When the new drummer candidates were announced, I was hoping it would not be Peter Wildoer and I looked to see if any of the others also sang. As much as I loved MP, and I really did, I could only put up with his vocals at best, and at times really hated them.I disagree with you to some extent. I think what MP brought to SFaM was excellent. I love how, unlike IaW, it was possible for the band to replicate live what the vocals sounded like on the album. But I will agree that some of MP's vocals, particularly his pseudo-cookie-monster vocals on ANtR were completely unnecessary, and that's one thing that I was glad they got rid of. And for that reason alone, I too was hoping Wildoer wouldn't get the job for fear they'd capitalize on that style of vocal even more.
We're agreed on the Nightmare vocals for sure. His vocals were the biggest detracting factors in SC and Black Clouds for me. I could live with them on the albums before - especially when listening to the albums while doing something else at the same time. They just bugged me when I was listening very intently, but not to such an extreme where I didn't like the albums as much. I still prefer Scenes over Images and Words, for example. SC and Black Clouds really took it to a different level and one that (for me), detracted from the music. When the super duper deluxe version of Black Clouds came out, even though I have never used any kind of music software in my life, I was looking forward to using the stem tracks to make myself an MP-free version of the album. Sadly for me, the vocals were just one track and you couldn't separate his vocals from JL's. But that's just me.
Live - I didn't think the backing vocals were all that good. On some parts, I really think it would have been better if it was just JP singing, or even just MP. "There can be no turning back..." never worked for me with the two of them singing together, for example. On the Dramatic Turn tour, when James sang it himself - I really thought it just sounded so much better. I'm not trying to put MP down with these comments, though it may seem that way. He is quite possibly my favorite drummer, he has written some great lyrics, and been involved in the writing of great songs and albums. He is an amazing musician, but singing is just not his gift (imo of course).
I also don't care that much about backing vocals being prerecorded. I know some people hate it, but for me, I don't care. It's not important to me to have multiple voices on an album or in a live performance. MP always liked to remind us how many great bands had multiple singers, and so they did, but those bands had multiple *good* singers, and there are probably more great bands who had only one singer anyway. If it's King's X, then yeah, bring it on. If it's Rush, no, no thank you. The only voice I want to hear is Geddy's, and their system of Alex singing with his mic turned way down while Geddy's vocals are piped in is a-OK with me. (Especially after hearing a bootleg where you could really hear Alex's vocals loud and clear). I feel about DT the way I do about Rush, or Riverside, or Iron Maiden, or plenty of other bands; I don't need other voices.
With TSOAD, I think it's interesting that he says it's the album of his career but he doesn't know anything about the story. I've seen two interviews where he just said that was all Neal's department. He even admitted one or two other guys in the band had read the book it was based off of. Just seems like if this truly was the album of his career, he would know a little bit more about the thing that actually makes this a concept album. I don't find it so hard to believe. The man has never been all about the lyrics, unlike JP. Yeah, he wrote some, and certainly he was heavily involved in directing the story of SFaM. But otherwise, he seems to have a pretty hands off approach to lyrics. I think for him (and I believe he's made comments in interviews stating this), it's all about the music - the lyrics don't mean much to him. That's one of the reasons why he can be doing all sorts of stuff with NM and still love Slayer and all sorts of other bands that are diametrically opposed. And I don't think he's much of a book reader either - he's all about movies. So for that reason, when he says he knows little about the story that makes up this album of his career, it's really not surprising or strange.
Hey this is a really good point. I can totally see that about him. As a fan I'm in between him and those who put very high importance on lyrics; better lyrics make for a better experience for me, but if I like the music enough I can (almost always) get past bad ones.