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We measured pop music’s falsetto obsession

From Justin Timberlake to the Bee Gees, we charted the popularity of men singing high.

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.

Falsetto, which comes from the Italian word for false voice, has been around for a very long time. However, there have been few attempts to track its popularity in pop music. We teamed up with the Pudding to change that. We analyzed 20,000 songs that charted on the Billboard Hot 100 using vocal data sourced from Pandora’s Music Genome Project to figure out just how popular falsetto singing actually is.

The video above reveals the biggest trends in men singing high, from the chart-topping falsettos of ’70s disco to the belting high notes of ’80s hard rock. And for extra credit, here’s a 65-plus-song playlist of some of the best falsetto moments in music.

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