A portmanteau of “yodel” and “warble,” yorbeling is a particuarly awful vocal style endemic mostly to 1990’s rock and especially alt-rock. It is defined by an exaggerated and repeated movement of the tongue into the upper palate in a way that causes the vocal timbre to gyrate like a drug-addled, underaged concertgoer in a mosh pit, often obfuscating the actual diction to the point that you can’t understand what the fuck the singer is actually saying.Refined through the heavy drug use and post-Cold War optimism that birthed the glory days of grunge, post-grunge, and alt-rock, yorbeling owes at least a minor debt to the legendary (or notorious) 80’s rock phenoms like Brian Johnson, David Lee Roth, and Joe Elliott, and was championed in the 1990’s by the diverse likes of Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Adam Duritz (Counting Crows), Scotts Stapp (Creed) and Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots), Darius Rucker (Hootie and the Blowfish), and others. It is thought to be limited to male singers, especially male singers struggling with deficiencies in charisma or self-esteem, but it notably transcends genres.Other singers like Rob Thomas (Matchbox Twenty) sometimes yorbel, but yorbeling is definitively tongue-dependent and should be differentiated from singing styles that simply manipulate the embochure (the shape of the mouth), like those of 1990’s rock legend Art Alexakis (Everclear).The term is thought to have originated from some Mennonite musicians in Pittsburgh circa 2011.
That show was great! I haven’t heard someone yorbel like that since I saw Pearl Jam in ’94 in Miami. I couldn’t understand a single word, but man, did they rock!