Author Topic: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?  (Read 1020 times)

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Offline hockeydude25

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Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« on: June 05, 2018, 09:33:53 PM »
IMO he has no overrated performances, but I think his ACOS studio version singing is underrated.

Thoughts, opinions?

Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2018, 09:37:57 PM »
Underrated, possible - I don't how how it is generally 'rated' - is In The Presence of Enemies, particularly Heretic and Slaughter of the Damned.

Overrated, his live performances in the early 90s. There is way, way, way too much screeching and straining.
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Offline Ninjabait

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2018, 07:29:21 AM »
Underrated: BMUBMD in terms of sheer range. He screams a few G5s out in that song, which first off holy crap and second off holy crap. Far from Heaven in terms of expression. Fatal Tragedy for a bit of both--that is NOT an easy song to sing. ItNoG is another one.

Overrated: Uh. Awake maybe? idk. JLB is just a good singer all around imo.

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2018, 07:37:14 AM »
This is a really good question. For an underrated song, I was going to say something from The Astonishing because of all the hate it gets, but people who like TA tend to give props to James as one of the outstanding performers. So... maybe something from Falling Into Infinity. I feel like nobody ever, ever talks about his performance on Take Away My Pain. I never even bothered listening to that song regularly until many years ago when it came on shuffle - by the end, James's delivery of the lyrics and melody made me misty-eyed.

Overrated... that's tough. I think Voices, maybe, because I find the vocal lines and his delivery in that song to be SUPER obnoxious and unnecessary, and actually takes away from the song. So yeah. Voices. PROTECTING MAAAAAAAAAY
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Online mikeyd23

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2018, 07:52:40 AM »
Underrated - Definitely TA, it seems to get a lot of crap from some, but James' performance was really great.

Overrated - Nothing I can think of honestly, James doesn't get that benefit often  :lol

Offline bosk1

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2018, 08:23:01 AM »
Underrated - Definitely TA, it seems to get a lot of crap from some, but James' performance was really great.

Overrated - Nothing I can think of honestly, James doesn't get that benefit often  :lol

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2018, 09:05:02 AM »
Underrated - Definitely TA, it seems to get a lot of crap from some, but James' performance was really great.

Overrated - Nothing I can think of honestly, James doesn't get that benefit often  :lol

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Offline pg1067

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2018, 09:24:27 AM »
Underrated - Definitely TA, it seems to get a lot of crap from some, but James' performance was really great.

I have never heard James's performance on TA get anything but praise.  In fact, where the album itself is discussed in less than stellar terms, James's performance is typically singled out as a highlight.

As far as the original question, these types of questions typically result in folks equating their personal opinions to an "overrated" or "underrated" label.  For example, "I love how he sounds on Blabbedy-Blah!  He is so underrated."  Or, "Blabbedy-Blah II: The Return of Blah is just terrible; his performance is way overrated."  That said, James's recorded performances are generally given high praise, which I believe is well-deserved.  Therefore, neither overrated nor underrated.  Live performances tend to be all over the map, but the harshest criticisms seem to be overly harsh and, therefore, some live performances may be underrated.
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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2018, 09:25:52 AM »
I personally thought The Return of Blah was pretty good!
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Offline pg1067

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2018, 09:28:11 AM »
I personally thought The Return of Blah was pretty good!

It's quite underrated IMO.   :biggrin:
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Offline Architeuthis

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2018, 11:50:03 AM »
The best version of Blah is Alex Lifeson's acceptance speech at the RRHOF.... :lol
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Offline Mladen

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2018, 12:11:02 PM »
I would never say that the performance on The Astonishing is underrated. Even the people that hated the album give the tip of the hat to James for his singing on it.

I'd pick the entire Systematic Chaos as underrated. I'm having a hard time picking an overrated performance, though.

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2018, 12:25:20 PM »
I have never heard James's performance on TA get anything but praise.  In fact, where the album itself is discussed in less than stellar terms, James's performance is typically singled out as a highlight.
I would never say that the performance on The Astonishing is underrated. Even the people that hated the album give the tip of the hat to James for his singing on it.

Huh, maybe I'm remembering wrong, but when that album came out I believe I remember a good amount of folks here and especially other places online bashing the album and the performances as a whole, including James.

Either way, I feel like in 20 years when we look back on what was DT's catalog - TA won't be picked out as a big band or James highlight. But I think it's some of his best work.

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2018, 12:59:47 PM »
JLB is usually the one who gets picked on the most so I'm not sure what song he is really over rated for, but under rated would probably be TA.  He was just amazing all around and a lot of the fan base didn't really like the album. 

Offline Madman Shepherd

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2018, 02:11:07 PM »


Overrated, his live performances in the early 90s. There is way, way, way too much screeching and straining.

Agree.  He was great in the 90s, no doubt, but seem people think he was untouchable, flawless, super human.  Yes, at times he was all of those but he still had some performances he struggled through.  There were times where he couldn't hit those Killing Hand notes as flawlessly and it was more screechy (but to be honest, it was still awesome...just not as awesome)

This is a really good question. For an underrated song, I was going to say something from The Astonishing because of all the hate it gets, but people who like TA tend to give props to James as one of the outstanding performers. So... maybe something from Falling Into Infinity. I feel like nobody ever, ever talks about his performance on Take Away My Pain. I never even bothered listening to that song regularly until many years ago when it came on shuffle - by the end, James's delivery of the lyrics and melody made me misty-eyed.

Yes, that whole song is underrated.  I really don't like the demo version/arrangement or the OIALT Kenny G version.  Album version is freakin amazing.  Anna Lee is also incredibly underrated, especially if you delve into the lyrics and examine them.  James said it was about child prostitution and right around the time I was getting into this song and read that, I had just seen some National Geographic special about these guys that go rescue a bunch of girls from some Southeast Asian country.  As they raided the place and took these girls out they were reaching for their captors, the only people they had known, and were scared of these strange men that took them.  Eventually they were holding on to their rescuers and crying and wouldn't let go.  I always remember those haunting images as I hear the lyrics. 

I say this often but LET JAMES WRITE MORE LYRICS!!!

Offline TAC

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2018, 02:31:17 PM »
I'd pick the entire Systematic Chaos as underrated. 

James is FLAWLESS on SC. FLAWLESS.
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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2018, 07:13:24 AM »
I'd pick the entire Systematic Chaos as underrated. 

James is FLAWLESS on SC. FLAWLESS.

I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again - James is the MVP of that album for me. Honestly, I'm not sure I'd say that about any other DT record. Maybe TA.

Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2018, 10:08:22 AM »
I have a hard time evaluating James on SC. On the one hand, he is indeed amazing, and I listed ItPoE2 as my most underrated James performance. On the other hand, CM and TDEN have such horrible vocal lines, I can't distinguish between how poorly they are constructed, and how James' performed them.
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Offline The Presence of Frenemies

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2018, 10:07:18 PM »
Overrated-Hmm, not a whole lot, as he does to get picked on a bunch. I guess I'll say I'm not as high on the TA performance as some. There are a number of sections on there where that thin, warbly tone of his worse live performances starts to creep in. I do think the vocals on the album are passionately done and tell the story well, but technically speaking I think they're a bit spottier than a lot of his other work.

Underrated-As people have said, SC (esp. ITPOE, Forsaken, TMOLS, even PoW). Another latter-day one that really sticks out to me is the Stargazer cover. Anytime James brings that edgier upper-midrange in it really gives things a different dimension. And IWBY; I don't really care for the song but I think the vocals really carry out what they were trying to do.

Also I actually think many of the Winter Rose vocals are amazing.
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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2018, 06:50:45 AM »
Underrated-As people have said, SC (esp. ITPOE, Forsaken, TMOLS, even PoW). Another latter-day one that really sticks out to me is the Stargazer cover. Anytime James brings that edgier upper-midrange in it really gives things a different dimension. And IWBY; I don't really care for the song but I think the vocals really carry out what they were trying to do.

James' work on that BC&SL covers disc is killer - he sounds fantastic on all those tracks.

Offline Evai

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2018, 01:49:01 PM »
Overrated - ACOS. It's the only DT studio release with vocals that are off-pitch enough to be distracting (to my ear). And a very strained high note towards the end of the song... Makes me wonder what could have been, if they had recorded this song as part of I&W, when the vocals were beyond perfect.

Underrated - Chaos In Motion. If this was released today, people here would be praising the vocals and consider it a good performance for JLB nowadays.
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Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2018, 02:08:42 PM »
Underrated - Chaos In Motion. If this was released today, people here would be praising the vocals and consider it a good performance for JLB nowadays.

I cannot image that ever happening.
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Offline RoeDent

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2018, 02:20:20 PM »
BMUBMD is definitely underrated. He hits notes higher than the revered Learning to Live F#, a full 19 years on from that. That surely deserves more plaudits than it gets.
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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2018, 05:39:12 PM »
Underrated - Chaos In Motion. If this was released today, people here would be praising the vocals and consider it a good performance for JLB nowadays.

I cannot image that ever happening.

I agree. I tried watching it a couple months ago, actually, because I was looking for a certain performance, and holy cow it's bad.
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Offline Adami

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2018, 05:47:53 PM »
BMUBMD is definitely underrated. He hits notes higher than the revered Learning to Live F#, a full 19 years on from that. That surely deserves more plaudits than it gets.

Why?
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Offline The Presence of Frenemies

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2018, 05:48:50 AM »
Yeah, I mean, BMUBMD is fun, and it was cool to see those grittier high notes he busts out live actually make it on a record, but the fact that it's a bit higher really isn't super crazy, especially because they're really short staccato notes and it's not like he replicates it live (where it actually would be challenging because it's at the very top of his range). I love a good high note as much as anyone, but there's this real mythos around super-high notes; truth is, once you actually learn how to sing, they really aren't hard. It's the upper midrange stuff that's really tough to get controlled (which is why we see James struggle with that stuff live a lot, whereas he usually gets the LTL F# without much difficulty).
Yeah, I have no idea what the cakeless person in that analogy is meant to be eating. If he's got some sort of cake substitute, it should really have been worked into the narrative at some point. As it stands, the options are:

  • Hoard a cake just to stare blankly into its doughy edifice.
  • Make futile chewing motions with your mouth while starving to death.

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #26 on: June 18, 2018, 03:58:27 PM »
BMUBMD is definitely underrated. He hits notes higher than the revered Learning to Live F#, a full 19 years on from that. That surely deserves more plaudits than it gets.

Strangely, this is one of the many less liked DT songs that I never skip.  :tup
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Offline Evai

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2018, 05:01:40 PM »
David Lee Roth hits notes an octave higher than the F# in LTL, maybe he should be singer next  :D
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Offline Eldomm

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2018, 12:36:58 AM »
Overrated, his live performances in the early 90s. There is way, way, way too much screeching and straining.

This. absolutely this.  :hefdaddy

Offline Madman Shepherd

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2018, 04:51:03 PM »
Underrated - Chaos In Motion. If this was released today, people here would be praising the vocals and consider it a good performance for JLB nowadays.

I cannot image that ever happening.

Just listened to this and it reminded me of how odd the vocals are.  I don't think this is a James problem as even Portnoy's vocals sound thin and tinny.  A while back a poster suggested that the problem was with a lazy autotune job.  I don't know enough about that but his reasoning sounded like it had merit. 

Anyway, James sounded fine on the tour and probably sounded fine on the original recording but somehow the final production screwed it up. 

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2018, 04:54:33 PM »
Underrated - Chaos In Motion. If this was released today, people here would be praising the vocals and consider it a good performance for JLB nowadays.

I cannot image that ever happening.

Just listened to this and it reminded me of how odd the vocals are.  I don't think this is a James problem as even Portnoy's vocals sound thin and tinny.  A while back a poster suggested that the problem was with a lazy autotune job.  I don't know enough about that but his reasoning sounded like it had merit. 

Anyway, James sounded fine on the tour and probably sounded fine on the original recording but somehow the final production screwed it up.

Everything sounds pretty crappy on that release, that's why it's my least favorite.  It looks and sounds more like a bootleg.  I haven't touched it in years though, maybe I would enjoy it more now.

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #31 on: June 20, 2018, 04:22:52 AM »
Funny, I really don't know how the man is rated by general consensus. Bending the rules of engagement I'd say:

Too Much Fuss About: the F# Totem. I feel it's very unfair to let a wonderfully gifted singer and crafty accomplished vocal actor be defined by an athletic milestone.

Not Praised Enough: Six Degrees, Disc 2, dress rehearsals for The Astonishing. Lyrics and genres variety aside, it's James' interpretation that believably builds the whole mental specimens premise.

Offline Adami

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Re: Most overrated and underrated JLB performance?
« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2018, 04:26:36 AM »
Too Much Fuss About: the F# Totem. I feel it's very unfair to let a wonderfully gifted singer and crafty accomplished vocal actor be defined by an athletic milestone.


Yup! Dude is a great singer. Has nothing to do with high notes.
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