Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Canon Review List-A-Mania, Top 5 Female Vocalists

 Recently, a reader named Ben W. gave me an idea. He asked for a list of the top female vocalists. I'm not really sure how one quantifies who is the best singer, but I'll give it a shot. Thinking about this list made me realize one thing, and that is most of the songs I like are sung by men. However, there are a good bit of female vocalists that I like listening to, so the list wasn't that hard to put together. I decided just to rank my favorite five female singers, so I'm absolutely sure that your top 5 would be completely different from mine. Normally, I don't really like making arguments about music, because it's one of those things that's almost completely subjective. But, since this blog is basically nothing but opinion, and I accept all challenges, I've decided to do it anyway. Like I said, I'm sure that there will be some disagreements with this list, so if you feel your favorite female singer was omitted, than feel free to let me know. Now, onto the list.

5. Sheryl Crow

While I may not agree with her politics, I must say that I do like her music, ever since I heard Crow's "Leaving Las Vegas" back when I was a wee lad in 1993. I'm not exactly sure how to label Crow, as she's not quite rock, not quite country, and not quite adult comtemporary, but most of her songs are very good. I'd say that her stuff in the 90s were better than anything done in the 21st century, but if there is a Sheryl Crow song on the radio, I will not change the channel.

4. Stevie Nicks

Lately, I've been on a bit of a Fleetwood Mac kick, so that might explain Nicks' placement on the list. However, I always felt that she was the perfect singer for that band, and I like some of her solo stuff like "Edge of Seventeen" as well. There may be singers with more powerful voices, but there's a reason why every prominent female vocalist over the last 20-25 years have listed Nicks as a major influence.

3. Gwen Stefani

Gwen's placement on the list is mainly due to the fact that I've always been a No Doubt fan, as I'm not really into her solo stuff that much. I will also admit that there are probably more talented singers than her, such as Whitney Houston and Christina Aguilera, that did not make this list. But it's my list, and for whatever reason, I've been a No Doubt fan since 1995, so Gwen Stefani makes the list. Personally, I can't imagine anybody else singing for No Doubt other than Stefani, as her voice seemed to suit their ska-pop-rock style perfectly.

2. Janis Joplin

I've also been on a bit of a Joplin kick lately, I don't know why, but I just am. The best way to describe Joplin's style was raw. She somehow had the ability to convey all of her emotions into every lyric she belted. Joplin was heavily influenced by blues music, and that influence definitely shows up in her songs. Simply put, Joplin was one of the most influental female vocalists of all-time.

1. Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart)

These women not only rock, they can also really sing. I have no problem admitting that I'm a Heart fan. From their early songs like "Barracuda" and "Crazy on You", to their eighties songs like the power ballad "Alone" and "These Dreams" and even their 1993 hit "Will You Be There(In the Morning)" it's all good. While Ann is the lead singer on most of the songs (she's particularly great in "Alone"), Nancy is the lead on quite a few songs, and more than holds her own, although Ann is probably the better singer. Bottom line, you can't go wrong with Heart, at least in my opinion.

Well, I've got to get ready for work now, so that's all the time I have. Thanks for reading, and if you're favorite female vocalist isn't on my list, or if you think my list, than feel free to let me hear about it. So until next time, stay cool.


  1. You should listen to Florence and the Machine and tell me what you think about her voice. She's amazing!

  2. Never heard of them, but I'll check it out and tell you what I think tomorrow.

  3. Well, I listened to their entire album (Lungs) last night while blogging. I guess they're ok, and I liked a couple of their songs, but I could have done without listening to a few of them as well. I will say that the singer does have a good, strong voice. Overall, I'd give them a 5 out of 10.