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.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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