Palberta’s Playlist of “Fire Vocal Takes”

The punk trio compiles 16 tracks—and a couple controversial takes—ahead of their new album Palberta5000.

For those uninitiated, Palberta weave together the disparate influences of ’10s democore—early releases from groups like Woods and The Coathangers whose recordings reflected a first-take-best-take mentality—and turn-of-the-century riot grrrl, with the trio’s vocals interweaving on each track like Carrie Brownstein’s and Corin Tucker’s. Meanwhile, on their new record Palberta5000 (surely an homage to Powerman), the spirit of early punk briefly rears its head in the moment of repetition on tracks like “Big Bad Want” and “Fragile Place” before these eternally elongated moments spiral the recording into some bizarre ambient territory.

But let’s get back to the vocals—with group’s like OHMME as contemporaries, their music often feels distinguished by the vocal gymnastics achieved by Ani Ivry-Block, Lily Konigsberg, and Nina Ryser, who share a handful of inspirations here for the group’s “fire vocal takes”—a Palbertaism elaborated upon by Ivry-Block: “A fire vocal take is one with soul, conviction, and emotion,” she explains. “It can be very challenging to be that uninhibited when in front of the mic, but when you go there, the listener can feel that energy. This vulnerability serves as a window into the artist’s emotional state and surroundings. 

“It’s always fun to listen and determine if a singer sang it all in one take versus many spliced-together takes,” she continues. “Both can be well articulated and relate more so to the type of music being performed. But regardless of approach, the energy and conviction has got to be there. Music can be so personal, and the vocal takes are often the things that take you into the emotional realm of the singer and their song.”

You can listen to the full playlist below, and read on for Nina Ryser’s thoughts on the sixteen tracks—one for every song on Palberta5000—and for a handful of controversial takes.

Avril Lavigne, “Take Me Away”

This song is from Avril’s album Under My Skin, which is her best album (controversial statement). Palberta has spent many hours in the car scream-singing every song on this album.

The Chicks, “Landslide” 

No one can deny that this cover is better than the original by Fleetwood Mac (controversial statement). The singing and harmonies on this track are so soulful and vulnerable, it brings tears to our eyes.

Dionne Warwick, “Walk on By” 

Dionne’s vocals in this song make us cry, the lyrics are so relatable and simply put. This is a great track for karaoke.

The Roches, “Losing True”

The harmonies in this song are so lush and unique, I first heard this song in middle school and it made me want to sing and harmonize with other women—many people have compared Palberta’s vocal harmonies to The Roches.

Eve & Gwen Stefani, “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” 

This song never gets old.

Hole, “Jennifer’s Body” 

Courtney brings it in this song, her vocals feel like a punch in the stomach in a good way. 

PJ Harbey, “Big Exit”

PJ’s vocals in this song are so impassioned and powerful, her vocal range is crazy!

Lucinda Williams, “Something About What Happens When We Talk”

Lucinda’s lyrics in this track are so relatable and you can tell from her voice that she’s singing from personal experience. We love you, Lucinda.

Megan Thee Stallion, “What’s New” 

The chorus in this song is so sick, and Megan Thee Stallion is fierce as hell.

Patsy Cline, “I Fall To Pieces”

Another great karaoke track. Such a sad song. Patsy has such a deep, beautiful voice.

The Carpenters, “Superstar”

Best melody ever written.

Liz Phair, “Never Said”

Liz’s voice sounds so cool in this song in particular, we love how low-register her voice is and the chorus melody is perfect.

Donna Summer, “Bad Girls”

Donna has such cool vibrato in her voice. Best dance track ever.

Sheryl Crow, “If It Makes You Happy” 

Best karaoke song. The chorus is to die for.

Tierra Whack, “Dora”

Tierra is making some of the best, coolest, most creative music out there right now. The melody in this song is so catchy and we love the way she delivers the lyrics.

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, “Bad Reputation” 

Joan sounds tough as hell in this song, she has the perfect grit in her vocals.


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