While there’s certainly no shortage of bands featuring two or more vocalists, the format of dual male and female vocals is a somewhat more niche variety. There are plenty of great duets to be found, but bands that regularly trade off between two members of different genders are a bit more rare, making them all the more special when it’s done well. This week, I chose three tracks from bands that get this sort of thing done right, including two older songs and one that’s a little newer. It’s The Forecast, We Are The In Crowd, and Straylight Run, and it’s all about this special formula.
1. “We All Return To Our Roots” – The Forecast
This song. When I first heard it six years ago, I was all about everything Victory Records was putting out, and this was something that really stuck out to me. When the chorus hits, it’s one of the most powerful moments of any released from that era of music, and the layered vocals between Dustin Addis and Shannon Burns towards the end are flawless. While I never quite got into their other work as much when this came out, the song’s always stuck with me. It’s anthemic, emotional, and best played loudly as you scream along.
2. “You’ve Got It Made” – We Are The In Crowd
If you haven’t heard of We Are The In Crowd, imagine what the lovechild of Paramore and All Time Low would sound like, and you wouldn’t be too far off. While most of their stuff’s more high-energy, this song really stood out to me when they released their debut full-length last fall. It doesn’t feature Jordan Eckes quite as much as other tracks, his bridge towards the end gives the song so much more emotional pull against Tay Jardine’s parts throughout the rest of the song. If you’re into pop-heavy pop-punk, there’s no one doing it quite the same way or quite as well as We Are The In Crowd. If you’re intrigued, be sure to check out the rest of their work.
3. “Buttoned Down” – Straylight Run
From a similar place in time as the first song from this week and from the same record label comes this track. While John Nolan’s probably better known for his vocal interplay with Adam Lazarra in Taking Back Sunday, he also does a more toned-down style well. While Nolan and his sister Michelle DaRosa don’t trade off vocals on many Straylight Run tracks like the other two acts above, the way it’s done in this song is perfect. “Buttoned Down” has an intimate feel about it, and it’s certainly one of the better songs of the band’s output, rivaling their classic “Existentialism On Prom Night,” though in a completely different manner. Their sophomore release The Needles The Space features both vocalists a little more prominently, but this song dials it in just right.