Even 28 years after his last hit, Michael McDonald can still trigger laughter and tears. Though he's still a fixture on the R&B/soft rock nostalgia circuit (catch him with Toto and Kenny Loggins this summer), that sui generis voice has been touring without him, so to speak, for decades. Recently, the ersatz McDonald popped up at an East Village karaoke bar, via the vocal cords of indie rock troubadour Mac DeMarco, who attempted "What a Fool Believes" as part of a Wondering Sound feature:
DeMarco's Michael McDonald impression, it will surprise no one to learn, is uproarious, a series of alarming grunts and man-rock noises that, six Stellas in, is simply the funniest thing any of us have ever heard. But then his voice hits falsetto on the chorus, and the bartender… is touched, muttering to his friend, "Every time I hear this song I just die." Six Stellas in, I am convinced it is the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.
Even via karaoke, the Janus-style potency of the man's voice and music is impossible to miss. The husky robo-soul of the "Fool" verse melody ascends on the chorus, and giggles turn to goosebumps. Then, when the falsetto hits on the "wise man has the power" part, it's back to knowing chuckles.