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Pop's Most Impressive Voices

by Rachel Devitt

Pop's Most Impressive Voices

About this playlist

In the pop world, there are two kinds of female singers. You've got your belters, big voices capable of melismatic acrobatics that are in the business not so much of singing as of making bold, brassy vocal statements, honey. And then you've got your baby voices, ladies who can break your heart and turn you on with just one small, subtle coo. OK, so there are way more types of pop singers, but lately, it seems like the charts have been overrun with vocalists who adopt one or the other of those two singing strategies. So we decided to break them down then pit them against each other in an Epic! Singer! Showdown!

This week, we've got the pop belters. We trace the history of these heavyweights back through old-school soul and early rock 'n' roll. In the process, we touch on genres that have been friendly to ladies with big voices (for instance, country and R&B), as well as those who haven't quite known what to do with them (we're looking at you, dance pop). Despite their ability, finding the right sound and, especially, the right audience for belters in certain eras can be a daunting task. This playlist showcases some of pop's most impressive voices, some beloved and familiar, some not.

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