Great vocal tricks in pop music

Falsetto, robot voices, orgasms

Some pop songs need a little flourish to go from being good to great. A lot of times, it's not what you say, but how you say it, and changing a song's delivery or adding a few human-produced sound effects can be just the thing. The following list of vocal tricks are guaranteed to add a little push-up in any song's bra:

1) Black female backup singers: Music 101 teaches that flanking the lead performers with some sistas automatically adds soul to even the most vapid lyrics.

2) Falsetto: Men who sing in high-pitched voices rule. See the careers of Justin Hawkins (formerly of the Darkness), Jake Spears in Scissor Sisters, and of course, the Brothers Gibb of the Bee Gees.

3) Laughter: Aging divas such as Mariah Carey often pepper tracks with a giggle to emphasize their girliness, but a good cackle can also add a sinister touch, such as in Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" and even on Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

4) Robot voices: Thank Robert Moog for this one, folks. And Kraftwerk. And Herbie Hancock. And a lot of other folks in the '70s. Hell, even Cher believes in songs with vocoders.

5) The female orgasm: The contributing vocalists aren't usually credited in liner notes, but the lady moans of disco diva Donna Summers' "Love to Love You, Baby," yowls in Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf," and the building screams of Guns N' Roses "Rocket Queen" gave those songs a delicious finishing touch.

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