We measured pop music’s falsetto obsession Inside Hong Kong’s cage 1 day ago   16:31

From Justin Timberlake to the Bee Gees, we charted the popularity of men singing high.
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It’s nearly impossible to turn on the radio and not hear a male artist singing really high. Likely he’s a tenor, and more often than not he’ll sing in falsetto. Think Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Drake, Charlie Puth, Shawn Mendes, Adam Levine, Sam Smith ... the list goes on and on and on.

This isn’t a trend — it has been the status quo for decades.

Using the data diving know-how of The Pudding, and drawing on the expertise of Anthony Roth Costanzo, a professional opera singer, I dig into the world of the high male vocal range by tracking how pervasive it really is across the decades.

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Here's a Spotify list of 65+ songs that have some pretty fun falsetto moments: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0nUxhLp94vGOARoCJKkV0k?si=sGtRcGPtQ_-Dktcc5H_Thg

And here’s the same Pandora playlist: https://www.pandora.com/playlist/PL:1688849921711361:7344

The articles referenced in the video can be found here:

The Evolution of the Male Falsetto: https://frieze.com/article/evolution-male-falsetto

What does it mean when The Weeknd hits a high note: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/what-does-it-mean-when-the-weeknd-hits-a-high-note/2016/12/01/4969c506-b65b-11e6-959c-172c82123976_story.html?noredirect=on

Active Child, Prince, and the Science of the Male Falsetto: https://pitchfork.com/thepitch/794-active-child-prince-and-the-science-of-the-male-falsetto/

Why Are There So Many Tough Guys Who Sound Like Ladies On The Radio?: https://www.npr.org/2016/02/15/466404515/why-are-there-so-many-tough-guys-who-sound-like-ladies-on-the-radio

Earworm is a series where Estelle Caswell takes you on a musical journey to discover the stories and sounds behind your favorite songs. More videos can be found here:

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Comments 1950 Comments

Thanks so much for watching the video! It was a challenging task figuring out the songs I wanted to feature in the story - there were thousands to choose from. So, I made.... a Spotify playlist (sorry Pandora). It's called "Give Me a Falsetto," and you can find it in the link in the description box above or by searching for it in the Spotify app. What's you favorite falsetto heavy song?
Clarification: Pandora's library is comparable to other music streaming services. 2 million refers to the number of songs that have been analyzed through their Music Genome Project
Hope Evans
In the intro of this video, what was the song that played right before "take on me"?
aikee causing
Swilko Barfington III
Philip Bailey. Hands down.
Ivan Bigelow
Not enough Prince.
El Ultimo Pibe Piola de Internet
Olga Nesterowicz
Men who sing in falsetto: exist.
Geddy Lee: hold my bass guitar.
I wonder if this included Garrett Borns, though I doubt it with all that's been going around him.
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Tristan Williamson
Lol I wonder who's gonna win the copyright battle of this video
Nathan Hanna
This terminology is strange... "Vocal register score" and "falsetto score"? Are these based on specific ranges of pitch? You would have to look at the notation of all of this music to grasp how one song's vocal register is related to the next.. I'm not convinced that these "scores" are based on any factual musical analysis... I mean, it could be, but this video gives no definition of what these particular "scores" even mean. The charts are nice and all, but they kind of mean absolutely nothing if the source of the data is arbitrary and uses undefined terminology. Explain to me the difference between a song with a "vocal register score" of 7 verses a score of 8, I have a feeling that there is no answer to this..
Mattia Fioravanti
As an Italian, everytime I hear the word "falsetto" uttered here, this video instantly becomes more fun.
Nitzan Ezra
"George! You're back!" I just DIED 🤣🤣
While I don't like corporations pretending to be real people, I did like the content
Ginger Powder
Basses wya
tt Morgan
weak data, messy presentation, proved pretty much nothing.

a disappointing video from one of my favorite video series on yt
All i can think about is dance gavin dance
Anyone else notice they didn't play the shown notes on the keyboard
G Mac
The reason why so many hit songs have falsetto is because the more range of notes a song has, the more chances it has to reach the top. Males then most likely have to go into a falsetto to get the high notes.
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Inside Hong Kong’s cage We measured pop music’s falsetto obsession 1 day ago   09:54

When houses are the size of parking spaces.
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With original music by Tom Fox: https://m.soundcloud.com/user-416166523

Hong Kong is the most expensive housing market in the world. It has been ranked as the least affordable housing market on Earth for eight years in a row, and the price per square foot seems to be only going up. The inflated prices are forcing Hongkongers to squeeze into unconventionally small spaces that can affect their quality of life.

Tens of thousands of Hongkongers are living in spaces that range from 75 to 140 square feet. To put that in perspective, the average parking space in the US is about 150 square feet. And in the most extreme cases, Hongkongers have resorted to homes the size of a coffin.

I spent some time exploring the living situation in Hong Kong to find out why housing has become so expensive and spaces so tight.

To understand how Hong Kong’s housing market turned out this way and see how it’s affecting people’s lives, watch the final episode of Borders Hong Kong.

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Vox Borders is an international documentary series by Emmy-nominated producer Johnny Harris exploring life at the edge of nations. For more, visit vox.com/borders.

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