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Female vocalists you can’t help but fall in love with

I’m trying to think of great female vocalists whose voices you can’t help but fall in love with. The only two I can come up with as being the prime examples are Karen Carpenter and Linda Ronstadt. To me, both of their voices have this raw feminine quality that really makes you feel what they’re singing. They both have songs where they hit these long, strong notes that completely engulf the listener which completely overtake their thoughts.

They were both very big in the 1970’s, and I struggle to think of voices which compete with theirs and have also been big on the national stage. I’m not saying that there haven’t been other big, popular female singers; there certainly has been. Ella Fitzgerald comes to mind as a great signer before the 70’s. Her songs are fun and her voice is just right for them, but it doesn’t strike me in the same way. In the 80’s there was Stevie Nicks and Madonna; both big, talented and memorable, but don’t overwhelm with the attractiveness of their voices. Late 80’s/early 90’s I can think of Amy Grant and Mariah Carey as being the strong and on the scene female vocalists, but neither quite as indelible as Karen or Linda. From the late 90’s early 00’s, only Britney Spears comes to mind as being big around that time (maybe Jennifer Lopez).

For the mid 00’s I can think of two female singers who have very strong voices: Haley Westenra and Christine Aguleria. Haley hasn’t been able to achieve national fame the way the others mentioned have, and Christine’s songs do not feel as pure as Karen’s and Linda’s; but Christine can really hit a strong, high note. (I can actually picture one more from two years back, but her name isn’t coming to me at the moment)

Am I forgetting someone? Is there another unforgettable female vocalist that seems to have achieved the peak of singing?

I just thought of one, Whitney Houston. Her voice certainly has been described as the best by more than one critic. I still feel that Linda Ronstadt and Karen Carpenter make me feel more as if I were experiencing the song than with Whitney Houston. Perhaps it’s just the songs they became popular with, it’s hard to say. Is there anyone else?

Categories: Entertainment
  1. Peter Byrne
    April 5, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Well, where to begin?

    At the top of my list would be the Canadian singer Holly Cole, especially her album of Tom Waits songs “Temptation”. Wonderful recording, one of my absolute favourite records, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Put it on after dinner one evening when you just want to do some reading or have a chat, that’s the mood for listening to it. (Sadly, I lent my copy to a former co-worker who had lost his own; he left the company without returning it, the son of a …)

    Next, perhaps Kate Bush circa “Hounds of Love”, particularly the first set of songs. “Cloudbusting” is a favourite, a simple little song about a rather sad (and odd) story sung with real conviction. The following album, “The Sensual World”, is also good, but I can take or leave the rest.

    Someone who never really lived up to their full promise, but who has a voice to fall in love with, is Hope Sandoval from the band Mazzy Star. Sadly they never really made an album I could just point to and say “you must hear this”, but there are individual songs that are just beautiful. Try “Halah”, “Fade into you”, and maybe “Five string serenade”. (Actually, on reflection the album “So tonight that I might see” is the one to start with, but you must hear “Halah” too)

    For a similar sound, but a band I’m actually not so familiar with, try Paradise Motel. I recall hearing them perform their version of The Cars’ song “Drive” on the radio once, very nice. That said, I really don’t know much about them (other than the fact that they’re from Tasmania).

    Hmm, should probably mention The Cowboy Junkies too in that same vein. But I’m not really a fan.

    Once upon a time, I would have included Tori Amos in the list. It’s funny how tastes change, but I wouldn’t rank her so highly now. I can’t put my finger on why, but it just doesn’t do it for me the same way now.

    And a singer I still can’t decide about, Joni Mitchell probably does deserve a place here. Maybe I just haven’t listened to her enough, but there are only so many hours in the day 🙂

  2. April 5, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Leona Lewis was the fourth singer I was thinking of that I couldn’t think of before.

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