Falsetto Is Here to Stay

I hate falsetto. That doesn’t mean I hate you unless you also hate falsetto. De gustibus. But to me it sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. So naturally I was curious when Vox put up a video claiming to chart the popularity of falsetto in pop music over the years.

You’ll have to watch the video if you want the whole story, including the difference between falsetto and a naturally high voice, but in the end they came through. They used Pandora metadata to score all the Top 10 songs since 1958, and then tossed out everything (mostly hip hop) that didn’t include any singing. Once that was done, here’s what they came up with:

I was born in an unusually falsetto-less year, but since then there’s no real trend to speak of. The ’70s were a strong decade for falsetto and the aughts were a weak decade, but that’s about it.

Unfortunately for me, they also discovered that falsetto songs charted better and longer than other songs, so it’s here to stay. Oh well.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.