Bad news. Bad, bad news. Bradley Cooper has announced that the Jackson Maine voice that the world has come to love and obsess over is officially retired. Anyone who has seen A Star is Born, or heard "Shallow" on the radio, or knows the entire soundtrack by heart, or watched the trailer, or has bravely joined the discourse around the Oscar nominated film on Twitter, knows how powerful and significant the voice is — sorry, was. And they feel its loss wholly.
Cooper revealed the fate of the voice, which he spent months practicing and perfecting much to his wife, Irina Shayk's chagrin, to Stephen Colbert. While on the late night show, he also confirmed that his performance at the Oscars will be as Bradley Cooper. Not Jackson Maine. This depressing news arrives days after Lady Gaga's controversial rendition of "Shallow" at the Grammys where she performed the song as Gaga, not Ally. Cooper went on to say that he felt like an "idiot from Philadelphia" after listening to a recording of his impromptu live performance with Gaga last month where the two sang "Shallow" to a live Las Vegas audience for the first time. I feel like his (totally unwarranted and unnecessary) embarrassment led to his decision to kill off the voice, and for that I am in mourning.
I'd like to say a few words about the Jackson Maine voice, which many of us loved. The voice was like no other voice. It was gravely, it was thick, it was not phlegmy — but it had texture. The voice held its own against Sam Elliott's own iconic rasp (the granddaddy of goose-bump-inducing dialogue), which is a grand feat not many voices can achieve. The voice did a lot in its brief time with us — it won a Golden Globe, BAFTA, Grammy, and will likely win an Oscar. That's more than even Cooper can say. The voice lives on forever in our hearts, and in our minds, much like Maine to Ally. Let us all cry one single tear in its honor.
I love you voice. Gone, but not forgotten.
This story was originally published October 5 at 5 p.m.
A Star Is Born comes out today and it’s Bradley Cooper’s defining role — as an actor, as a director, as a writer, as a producer, and as the sexiest, scruffiest voice to ever exist in the land. Yes, the movie's as good as critics as saying. And yes, Cooper's voice is even better.
As Jackson Maine, Cooper’s voice takes on its own personality. His voice can sing, his voice can drink, his voice can argue, his voice can seduce. You want to know the one issue with Cooper’s A Star Is Born voice is, though? That Cooper has neglected to make it his everyday voice.
The origin of the voice is simple: the voice is the love child of Eddie Vedder’s rockstar growl, and Sam Elliott’s husky baritone. But unlike Lady Gaga's Ally, whose star is born and soars beyond her wildest dreams, this star of a voice's lifespan is confined the film's run time. Lady Gaga wholeheartedly agrees, saying that the first time she heard him sing in the voice she was "blown away." Same. I miss it.
It’s not that Cooper’s real-life voice is bad, per se, but it’s kind of like cheap gin versus top shelf. It'll do the trick, but it's not the good stuff. To Cooper's credit, the voice is apparently painful to maintain, and it took him literally years to get it right, but that doesn't mean I can't mourn the loss of the Best Voice of the Year.
Now, I can't prove my point without proving my point, so here goes.
Exhibit A: Cooper singing in A Star Is Born.
Exhibit B: Cooper talking in a A Star Is Born.
Exhibit C: Cooper using his normal voice in an interview this week.
Exhibit D: Cooper's voice in Wet Hot American Summer.
Exhibit E: Cooper's saying "I just wanted to take another look at you."
Grade: A +++++++++.
And finally, exhibit F: Cooper saying he hopes to one day sound like Jackson Maine IRL.
Just bring back the voice, Bradley. Please.