Showdown of the Singers, Round Two: The Baby Voices

Last week, right here in this little space, we posited that there are (at least) two kinds of singers in the pop world. First, there are the belters, musical heavyweights who sing out, showing off all that those impressive instruments are capable of. We recapped the musical history of powerhouse vocals, touching on genres (like R&B and country) that have been friendly to such brassy boldness and melismatic acrobatics, as well as those in which bigger vocal figures have struggled to fit in. See our Belters post to have a listen.

In this round, we've got the other end of the spectrum: the baby voices, ladies with little voices who make them work for them. Instead of trying to bulk up or stretch them into something large and in charge, these vocalists stylize smallness. In their capable hands, little coos become come-ons, breathy tones beguile and not-so-careless whispers caress your ears. In this playlist, we recap the history of small-voiced sirens, homing in especially on the indie and pop trends that have cultivated this style. Lean in close and let every little whisper wash over you.

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