The clash: Are you pro- or anti- musical whistling?

  • "I'm thinking about whistling right now."
"I'm thinking about whistling right now." (HANDOUT )
December 15, 2011|RedEye

This week: Chicago singer/songwriter/violinist Andrew Bird performs Dec. 21-22 at the Museum of Contemporary Art. He’s known for whistling in his songs.

The question: Do you enjoy musical use of whistling, or does it drive you nuts?

I enjoy it:

Would the Scorpions’ monster rock ballad "Winds of Change" take you to the "magic of the moment” without the legendary whistling? Uh, no. There's no wind. There'd be no change. Just like the cowbell, we need more whistling! Of course, what we really need are artists that master the craft and know exactly how and when to use it. Andrew Bird has found that perfect balance, using the whistle as an extension of his string section to add a bit of quirk to create his signature sound. – Mike Rich

It drives me nuts:

So Andrew Bird can whistle. You know who else can whistle? My friend’s grandpa. That drunk guy on Clark Street. Your CTA conductor. It’s not an easy task to whistle on key, and kudos to anyone who can make it sound better than my colossally pathetic attempts, but it’s too gimmicky for me to take seriously as a musical talent. Bird incorporates his other amazingly natural talents in his work, but whistling seems like the last-minute decision of a lazy producer who needs some filler.  –Jessica Galliart, @redeyechicago

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