Michael Bolton – When a Man Loves a Woman

First Hit #1: November 23, 1991

Michael Bolton isn’t that different from Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. Witness When a Man Loves a Woman, a cover of a Percy Sledge song, which Bolton approaches by deciding to sing all the notes. He also does a Carey-esque trip into the upper regions of his range at the end, a bit of show that doesn’t quite need to happen but did anyway. The song is otherwise pretty simple, but Bolton decides to make it about his voice, and his dedication to singing about love is shown through how much effort he’s putting into the song. He also had big curly hair like Carey.

Honestly, he sings way too much. In the original, Sledge alternates between singing big and the dialing it down, and the contrasts make the song work. Bolton never really dials down, and he’s never willing to go subtle on the verses. He tries, bless his heart, but he’s still trying to push the song through, and he still draws out all the words and pushes it full force into melodramatic territory. It makes it kind of tedious, because there aren’t really any contrasts. Michael Bolton wants everyone to know he’s a big impressive singer, but instead we kind of get sick of him.

This entry was posted in 1991 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Michael Bolton – When a Man Loves a Woman

  1. RBerman says:

    Music is all about modulation. Start in one place, and go somewhere else in as many ways as possible: melody, volume, speed, instrumental textures, lyrical intensity, etc. As you note, when you start at full blast, there’s nowhere to go but down. Instead, Bolton just stays at full blast, thus going nowhere. Just because he can, that doesn’t mean he should. Thus have Whitney and Mariah brought out the worst tendencies in showboat singers of the last twenty years.

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