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Who is the Greatest Diva of the Last 25 Years? We Offer Scientific Proof!
September 9, 2010 7:41 AM   Subscribe

Who is the Greatest Diva of the Last 25 Years? We Offer Scientific Proof! The Awl discusses divas.
posted by chunking express (85 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Almost all of this is Beyonce’s fault. After dumping Kelly Rowland and Michelle T, the BORG of Beyonce has gone on to swallow up everything diva, going as far as to portray former divas like Etta James in really shitty movies, thereby scrapping together whatever excuse she needs to cover songs and convert them into her own specific brand of catchy, alluring, but ultimately plasticine pop music.

Yes. YES.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:55 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


So they mention Cher, and then without an explanation, don't include her in the diva rankings. That's sloppy.
posted by millipede at 7:59 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


That was very funny and also mostly true.

Mariah fails for me personally in the ability to sing stakes but I think that's just because I can barely stand her voice, because experts keep saying she can sing. Beyonce should technically fit them all but doesn't for some reason, it's all too perfect - almost alienating because she's so slick.

Brilliant article.
posted by shinybaum at 7:59 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Whitney’s chronic inability to muster up much stank was her Achilles heel. She could always blow away the other diva, but was always vulnerable to the other diva just getting nasty and out-stanking her."

Also:

MetaFilter: How heh is your heh?
posted by hermitosis at 8:02 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, how can you have an "Aging into a drag queen/wearing insane hats" axis and not include Cher?

Unless, of course, she completely blows the scale out of the water and they couldn't fit her bar on the chart.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:03 AM on September 9, 2010


The omission of Cher is way too WTF to take any of this seriously, which is a shame, because DIVAS ARE SRS BSNS.

Also:

Metafilter: an endless line of talentless smut merchants
posted by desjardins at 8:03 AM on September 9, 2010


Whenever I hear the word diva, my mind automatically goes that moment (highlighted in the link under "Upstaging Presence") when Aretha and Carole King were supposed to sing together and Aretha went from "It's so lovely that I get to sing this with the woman who wrote it" to "Sorry, honey, it's MY song now." in two seconds flat.
posted by amarynth at 8:04 AM on September 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Aretha rules. Everyone else is fighting for second place, at best.

Fun to watch, though.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:06 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Which is more difficult: rocket science or rockin' science?

"And all the science, I don't understand. It's just my job five days a week. . ."
posted by Dr.Rhetoric at 8:10 AM on September 9, 2010


Mariah fails for me personally in the ability to sing stakes

In fairness to Mariah, most of the problem there is that her albums are terribly overproduced and all the songs suck. Hit up her excellent (as in, I can actually stand to listen to it) Unplugged and learn the truth.

(I'm more of a Jill Scott/Erykah Badu kind of guy when it comes to R&B, which TBH I mostly stay away from.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:10 AM on September 9, 2010


... Aretha went from "It's so lovely that I get to sing this with the woman who wrote it" to "Sorry, honey, it's MY song now." in two seconds flat.

Being a Queen has its prerogatives.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:14 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


i still like carole king
posted by shakespeherian at 8:17 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Celine remains in exile in Las Vegas. (For some reason, every time I think about Celine’s cage underneath the Bellagio, I picture her sitting cross-legged in a pile of hay. A little rat sits in her hand, and, in her butchered pygmy French, Celine tells the rat that everything will be alright….)"
That little gem right there alone was enough to make reading this worthwile...
posted by OntologicalPuppy at 8:20 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't care about "divas" one whit, but Aretha completely rocks. The really sad thing is she'd be stuck as a backup singer if she started today because of how she looks.
posted by DU at 8:23 AM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Actually I really respect their classic definition of diva (which is to say the pop culture classic version, not the original operatic prima donna definition) and thus, their omission of Cher. While it is true that she would get so many points " scale to be lon the "aging into litereally off the charts, I really don't believe her behavior (both on stage and off) would merit her getting very many points in the other categories (with the exception of having multiple farewell tours); most of her off stage diva behavior happened in the Sonny and Cher days, and that is outside the scope of discussion. (previous 25 years)

I really appreciate everybody taking this so seriously. It makes me feel like I've found a place in the world.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:24 AM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, Maria Callas is turning in her grave....

I love me my Aretha and all, but I dislike that the word "diva" has been repurposed and discussion of what makes a diva now excludes the original musical form responsible for the term.
posted by zizzle at 8:27 AM on September 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


the numbers showed a slight edge to Whitney Houston. Exploring deeper, the crack team discovered that the edge was mostly culled from the incalculable importance of Whitney’s Super Bowl performance.

I see what they did there
posted by I am the Walrus at 8:28 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


see this I don't get. I'm reading the headline, and I think "Aretha. Don't even front. Aretha. Shut your filthy mouth. Aretha."

then I read the charts, and Aretha is far and away the dominator in the beginning, and I think "see, this is as it should be."

then I read more charts, and qualities like "Hand Gestures" show up, and I'm like, "come on. hand gestures? What about pure Stank?"

then I see the Stank chart, and Aretha is the winner and I think "see, this is as it should be."

then whitney houston wins because she is a drug addled lunatic.

I SUSPECT FAULTY CHART WEIGHTING.
posted by shmegegge at 8:29 AM on September 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


If there had been a "going after the high note like it owes you money" category, Celine would have cleaned up.

Although, come to think of it, Whitney would have come in second on that, too, so I don't know what would have changed.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:29 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


DU: The really sad thing is she'd be stuck as a backup singer if she started today because of how she looks.


You think? Aretha gets to look the way she looks now and still be on stage because she's Aretha. But back in her youth, I still think her looks helped (or at least certainly didn't hurt) , and I think if somebody who looked like this showed up with Aretha's voice on American Idol, she'd do just fine.

(Please don't ignore this opinion because I used American Idol as an example; it's the rest of the world's fault, not mine.)

posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:32 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I couldn't figure out why my local supermarket here in Salt Lake City would stock a book by Gladys Knight. Then I found out she joined the Mormons in '97. Plugs them in her stage show, apparently.

Made me wish it would rain.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:32 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


most of her off stage diva behavior happened in the Sonny and Cher days, and that is outside the scope of discussion.

What about the marriage to Gregg Allman? The parade of younger boyfriends, including 80s-era Tom Cruise? Transexual child Chaz/Chastity Bono? David Geffen? The 22-year-old bagel baker? Drama aside, as mentioned above, the very existence of the aging into a drag Queen/wearing insane hats category demands Cher's inclusion.
posted by deanc at 8:33 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, an essential quality of Divaness is an unquestioned imperiousness. Celine is too daffy, Cher is too nice. Whitney is too sad.

Basically, if you can't imagine them calmly ripping around someone's heart while still holding that note, then they can't attend true Divahood.
posted by The Whelk at 8:34 AM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


"And all the science, I don't understand. It's just my job five days a week. . ."

There's your problem-- rockin' science requires eight days a week.
posted by InfidelZombie at 8:34 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


ripping out.

Ripping around would be fun to watch.
posted by The Whelk at 8:35 AM on September 9, 2010


It appears that the Streisand throne is being usurped by the morbidly shrivelled and schoolmarmish likes of Celine Dion, who, despite her sexual handicap of being the most wholly repellent woman ever to sing songs of love, totally capsized the vocal world by trembling with pain over the eye-bleeding Titanic ballad, at one point the #1 favorite song of weepy teenagers and pan flautists all over the world. Celine is constantly surrounded by candlelight and weeping symphonies, and regularly engages in unctuous mewling with Blind Italian Opera Guys in loud emotional primary coloring guaranteed to choke up even the least sensitive or discriminating music listener. (Christ, that was so bee-yoo-tee-ful! get me a lotion-flavored Kleenex! My angina!)

Celine Dion is one of the most freakishly mutated creatures the Streisand Machine has ever coughed out onto society. The stretched-out hair, the terrible bones under the angora, the black-buttered eyelids. The insane plucking and starving and discipline-greedy self-abnegation that she represents. I think most people would rather be processed through the digestive tract of an anaconda than be Celine Dion for a day, once they realize what a brutally unpleasant wasteland her interior universe needed to be to host such a deadly amount of the Fame virus.

posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:35 AM on September 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


We Offer Scientific Proof!

I dont think that word means what you think it means...
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:37 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay, game time.

Match the various Super Divas to their appropriate historical rulers.

I'll start.

Tina Turner - Empress Maria Theresa.

Celine Dion - Queen Marie Antoinette.
posted by The Whelk at 8:39 AM on September 9, 2010


Did you know that Whitney Houston's debut LP, called simply Whitney Houston, had 4 number one singles on it? Did you know that, Christie? It's hard to choose a favorite among so many great tracks, but 'The Greatest Love of All' is one of the best, most powerful songs ever written about self-preservation, dignity. Its universal message crosses all boundaries and instills one with the hope that it's not too late to better ourselves. Since, Elizabeth, it's impossible in this world we live in to empathize with others, we can always empathize with ourselves. It's an important message, crucial really. And it's beautifully stated on the album.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:39 AM on September 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


in her butchered pygmy French

What does that even mean? I have a feeling "pygmy" is supposed to be "pidgin," though in that case the "butchered" is somewhat redundant, and besides, Céline is a native francophone, and actually speaks French pretty dang well. Well, okay, it's Québécois, which is...well, it's not quite French French, granted. But then again, there are indeed plenty of French-speaking pygmies, many of whom have been butchered, so who knows?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:40 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


". . . I dislike that the word "diva" has been repurposed and discussion of what makes a diva now excludes the original musical form responsible for the term."

That's the thing, Callas is the eternal form of which the others are merely imperfect, transient imitations. It would be an utterly unfair contest.

It's apples and orange-that-want-to-be-apples.

Also, effing hell that woman could sing.
posted by oddman at 8:41 AM on September 9, 2010


I don't see how Aretha and Celine scored at near-parity in upstaging presence when Aretha took Celine to school in the finale of the first Divas Live concert.
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:43 AM on September 9, 2010


Needs more Patti. (Must watch the last minute to truly understand the cosmic alignment of stank, hand gestures, hair, wardrobe, the works.)
posted by hermitosis at 8:44 AM on September 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


Miss Aretha Franklin's looks?

Just fine, thank you.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:47 AM on September 9, 2010


Also - ahem hand gestures.
posted by The Whelk at 8:47 AM on September 9, 2010


Dear God that Patti LaBelle video. It's like she is literally wearing Christmas.
posted by The Whelk at 8:50 AM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Needs more Patti .

I expected this to be Patti Smith, and while I didn't understand the connection to the concept of diva, I was wholly intrigued.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:53 AM on September 9, 2010


I enjoyed the article and completely agree with the omission of Cher from the calculations.

And I'm from Detroit and have nothing but the utmost respect and affection for Aretha Franklin.

However, ahem, any singer who needs a microphone when performing to anything smaller than a stadium is not a diva.
posted by The World Famous at 8:56 AM on September 9, 2010


Did . . . did anyone else watch that Celine video of "I Drove All Night"? Because I did, and now . . . guys, I think I need help. I need . . . a hug? Something. Human contact of some sort, something to make the world geometrically sensible again. That was like something out of Lovecraft, and I'm utterly unmoored and I think I'm turning into a fishperson
posted by Skot at 8:57 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I expected this to be Patti Smith, and while I didn't understand the connection to the concept of diva, I was wholly intrigued.

the cosmic alignment of stank, hand gestures, hair, wardrobe, the works

(For slightly more literal interpretations of "stank.")
posted by Sys Rq at 8:58 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, why does Cheryl Crow need Miley Cyrus's help to badly sing something that she wrote and sang better in the first place?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:03 AM on September 9, 2010


The hair, the body, the wardrobe and your own amusement park. Dolly.
posted by pianomover at 9:11 AM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


They need to drop out weight fluctuations- WTF does that really have to do with diva-ness?

Style, attitude and singing - weight is irrelevant.
posted by yeloson at 9:12 AM on September 9, 2010


Who is the Greatest Diva of the Last 25 Years?

Elton John, of course.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:15 AM on September 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


deanc: What about the marriage to Gregg Allman? The parade of younger boyfriends, including 80s-era Tom Cruise? Transexual child Chaz/Chastity Bono? David Geffen? The 22-year-old bagel baker? Drama aside, as mentioned above, the very existence of the aging into a drag Queen/wearing insane hats category demands Cher's inclusion.

You're right; Cher did have a lot of diva-like personal life characteristics post-Sonny. However, and I don't mean to drive this point home too hard lest we all feel old but I believe all of this, with the exception of Chaz1 and the bagel baker (which despite his lack of fame is only a 2 year difference with Demi and Ashton), happened outside the scope of discussion (past 25 years). Her marriage to Allman certainly was, and Tom Cruise as well. Even her showing off her ass on the deck of an aircraft carrier is 22 years old.

I can't believe I'm standing up for Cher's dignity, but to be honest, that Simpsons joke where the guy comes out of the coma and can't believe that Cher won an Oscar and Sonny in in Congress seems super-dated every time I see it.


1 I personally don't consider that a point towards divaness anyway. Insisting your daughter publicly change her gender identity to get you extra press -- that would be diva behavior. Publicly supporting him once he's done so is just decent
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:26 AM on September 9, 2010


While the word diva has found its way into common usage, the actuality of the diva... has been sold off in favor of an endless line of talentless smut merchants (Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Justin Bieber)...

Katy Perry? Smut merchant. Ke$ha? Also a smut merchant. But Justin Frickin' Bieber?! The only things he's selling are generic overproduced pop music (similar to Perry and Ke$ha in that regard) and bad haircut styles. I feel bad for the kid, really, it's obvious that his handlers micromanage every facet of his life from songwriting to "swagger coaching." Any suitably fresh-faced preteen could be in the same position regardless of natural talent — the producers and Auto-Tune do all the work. All Bieber has to do is show up an hour early to get dolled up by his stylists, smile for the cameras, belt out a couple average-quality vocal tracks, and hope nobody asks him questions that require opinions.

But I digress.

Most of the Pop Music Industry is highly sexualized, usually smut merchantry. But Bieber, corporate puppet that he is, is an exception.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:28 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Elton John, of course.

Honestly, though: Eminem.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:31 AM on September 9, 2010


Even her showing off her ass on the deck of an aircraft carrier is 22 years old.

To the cheering of hundreds of lusting sailors when she was old enough to be their mother. Just wanted to throw that out there.

Fair point, though: it's possible to argue that Cher has gone from diva to domestic.
posted by deanc at 9:32 AM on September 9, 2010


Also if we're talking about Cher and divaness then I have to mention this totally exists in the real world right now.

It's like someone decided to remake The Girl In The Gold Boots.

"I wanna be the one who jumps off the stage!"
posted by The Whelk at 9:34 AM on September 9, 2010


Cher must be excluded for the same reason that Madonna is excluded:

"We did not include Madonna because for a diva to really be a diva, the majority of her career must be built on the strength of her voice."
posted by The World Famous at 9:34 AM on September 9, 2010


Whelk, thank you so much for bringing up Dusty. Sigh.

I readily admit to being a pretty big Cyndi Lauper fan, but her version of "I Drove All Night" is completely amazing - maybe the sexiest recorded performance I can think of. I can't get my head around that Celine rendition even a little bit.
posted by mintcake! at 9:37 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also if we're talking about Cher and divaness then I have to mention this totally exists in the real world right now.


OMG! Please tell me that Paul Verhoeven directed that.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:45 AM on September 9, 2010


yeloson: They need to drop out weight fluctuations- WTF does that really have to do with diva-ness?

Style, attitude and singing - weight is irrelevant.


While I won't argue that it's not offensive, I think you're confusing the word "diva" as used by many, including VH1 in their specials -- a label many women would certainly want -- and the word as it is used by The Awl, and similar pop culture critics -- particularly a large part of gay popular culture. Their version of the diva is a stylish, talented, larger than life figure but is also somewhat tragic figure (that started, as many things did, with Judy Garland).

This version of diva has a lot of characteristics that wouldn't be considered admirable other contexts (control issues, unreasonable demands, a more-than-messed up personal life, addiction issues and mental imbalance) but are excused by their admirers as part of the package (for example, they need control because despite their outer appearance of strength they have crippling stage fright so things must be 'just so' -- see Streisand, Barbara), and it not only makes them more diva-like, but also more identifiable.

Given our society's obsession with skinny, "weight fluctuations" are the new pill popping.

Obviously, it's not an inoffensive thing. But that's the thing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:55 AM on September 9, 2010


It's hard to choose a favorite among so many great tracks, but 'The Greatest Love of All' is one of the best, most powerful songs ever written about self-preservation, dignity. Its universal message crosses all boundaries and instills one with the hope that it's not too late to better ourselves. Since, Elizabeth, it's impossible in this world we live in to empathize with others, we can always empathize with ourselves. It's an important message, crucial really. And it's beautifully stated on the album.

Yeah but it still sucks though.
posted by goethean at 9:58 AM on September 9, 2010


The hating on Beyoncé is a little excessive, especially when they're ranking overhyped and underwhelming wanna-bes like Mariah and Celine so highly. I'm no major fan of Beyoncé, but "Crazy in Love" is one of the four or five best R&B songs of the last 10 years.

The rankings are suspect. The last real "diva" of any consequence was Whitney and even she was retreading ground that had already been walked upon and stomped into a pulp by Aretha and Diana and Gladys, not to mention her mother Cissy and her severely underrated cousin Dionne Warwick.

There are other divas that they don't even mention with more than a passing glance. Any diva ranking that doesn't contain copious prose about Miss Ross is completely lacking in credibility, "strength of voice" notwithstanding.
posted by blucevalo at 10:11 AM on September 9, 2010


"Divas Live: Battle Royale" would have been even better. Simply put, if you are on the stage with another diva, how badly do you blow that other bitch away?

This should be a thing.

Seriously.
posted by quin at 10:11 AM on September 9, 2010


This version of diva has a lot of characteristics that wouldn't be considered admirable other contexts (control issues, unreasonable demands, a more-than-messed up personal life, addiction issues and mental imbalance) but are excused by their admirers as part of the package (for example, they need control because despite their outer appearance of strength they have crippling stage fright so things must be 'just so' -- see Streisand, Barbara), and it not only makes them more diva-like, but also more identifiable.

Seconded. You need the weakness to make the strength all the more beautiful and terrible. Style, attitude, singing, without imperfection is repellent, because inhuman; there's no chink to let you in a give you something to sympathize with, only something to admire. It's the same reason so many people hated Martha before her troubles. Ever since she went to pokey she's become much less a hate figure.
posted by Diablevert at 10:11 AM on September 9, 2010


Whitney, I'm really happy for you and I'ma let you finish, but Nina Simone is the greatest diva of all time. Of all Time!
posted by dgaicun at 10:16 AM on September 9, 2010


You can't use Nina Simone. She's a ringer from another, considerably more interesting universe. It's like if your winning move in chess is shoving a bishop into your opponent's eyes while screaming. It's not fair.
posted by The Whelk at 10:18 AM on September 9, 2010 [18 favorites]


Oh, Dusty. It makes me sad that Shania made the list, but Dusty didn't.

She's not the only Brit who got shafted, though. I have nothing more than a passing familiarity with Sarah Brightman, admittedly, but surely she's a contender in every category except "commercial success," (with the unvoiced "in the US" qualifier)?
posted by EvaDestruction at 10:20 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sarah Brightman has zero stank.
posted by hermitosis at 10:23 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah but it still sucks though.

Do you like Phil Collins? I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where, uh, Phil Collins' presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums.
posted by Babblesort at 10:29 AM on September 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


I have nothing more than a passing familiarity with Sarah Brightman , admittedly, but surely she's a contender in every category except "commercial success,"

She is disqualified, like Cher, on the same basis as Madonna.
posted by The World Famous at 10:30 AM on September 9, 2010


Do you like Phil Collins?

Phil Collins' solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:34 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


yeah, Nina's not so much a Diva as she is The Grand Pooba of another dimension where people have so much Soul it comes screaming out of their eye sockets and would blind us if we weren't completely incapable of even perceiving such dense overpowering Soul in the first place.
posted by shmegegge at 10:42 AM on September 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


also, if Sarah Brightman is a Diva then I am a world champion Pole Vaulter.
posted by shmegegge at 10:44 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why include Jordin Sparks and not Jennifer Hudson? Was the purpose to cleanse the palette, not unlike the inclusion of Irene Ryan on that Wayne's World top 10 list of babes?
posted by MegoSteve at 10:45 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why include Jordin Sparks and not Jennifer Hudson?

Read the article. Jordin Sparks was the non-diva control group, based on how much she sucks.
posted by The World Famous at 10:56 AM on September 9, 2010


Do you like Phil Collins?

I have two ears and a heart, don't I?
posted by Joe Beese at 11:10 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Nina's not so much a Diva as she is The Grand Pooba of another dimension where people have so much Soul

Well, her nickname was The High Priestess of Soul. But yeah, she's not a diva, quite; she has almost all the necessary attributes except the superficiality. Imperious, to be sure, but that's not quite the same as angry, she was very angry. I wouldn't want to meet the woman who sang Pirate Jenny in a dark alley if I'd done her wrong. I'm not sure which bits of me would be left to roll out to the sidewalk. Plus musically she crosses too many genres; she encompasses to much, is a little to complicated, to be a proper diva.

And Dolly Parton's too nice. "Country" and "imperious" don't quite go together, somehow.
posted by Diablevert at 11:14 AM on September 9, 2010


There's no bigger Nina fan than I, but while she definitely comports herself as a diva she really doesn't have the voice to compete in this arena. It's just not what she does -- her singing was always of incidental interest to her.
posted by hermitosis at 11:33 AM on September 9, 2010


she really doesn't have the voice to compete in this arena

ahem


Her voice may not be nearly as polished as Whitney or Mariah, but on a continuum that includes Aretha Franklin and Etta James, Nina still fits. Plus she makes up for it with Stank. She has stank coming out all over the place. She's at least two standard deviations above someone like Celine Dion when it comes to Stank. She's like the 1972 Chirstmas Bombings of Stank.

I still don't think she should be considered a Diva, but not because of her voice.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:16 PM on September 9, 2010


Most of the Pop Music Industry is highly sexualized, usually smut merchantry. But Bieber, corporate puppet that he is, is an exception.

I think that's wrong. I think Bieber is ALL about sex. It's sex packaged for young girls. Non-threatening, androgynous, safe sex for girls who are just discovering their sexuality. This is not new. It's a whole industry that goes back through all the Coreys, through the Bobby Shermans, hell even through the early Beatles and beyond.
posted by Trochanter at 12:28 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Courtney Love is the greatest diva of the last 25 years.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 12:36 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aretha Franklin's inauguration hat FTW.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:17 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Trochanter - Bieber may be sex, but he's not smut the way Ke$ha and co is.

And I am all about Aretha. Nobody can touch her. Though many do come close, to my aural delight.
posted by sandraregina at 1:25 PM on September 9, 2010


Courtney Love is the greatest diva of the last 25 years.

you misspelled "grossest."
posted by shmegegge at 1:37 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm totally stunned that Christina Aguilera was somehow disqualified/excluded from this, but even moreso TINA MOTHEREFFING TURNER.

Do you SEE/HEAR this 70-year-old woman dancing and singing her heart out?

Yeah, she got robbed here.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:58 PM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry, as this article defines it, Diva begins, ends, and lives on forever here.

I suddenly feel like eating 4 fried chickens and a coke for dinner.
posted by thanotopsis at 2:03 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


'The Greatest Love of All' is one of the best, most powerful songs ever written...

like, 'If You Could Read My Mind" ?.
posted by ovvl at 5:15 PM on September 9, 2010


Celine Dion is amazing
Celine Dion is better than you
Celine Dion is still amazing
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 5:47 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have always disliked using 'diva' to describe pop or R&B singers, and this article makes me hate it even more so.

For me diva applies to operatic singers, specifically the most distinguished, or prima donna. Casually tossing the word around dilutes the meaning (and is possibly insulting to actual divas).

We need a different word to bestow upon the ladies mentioned, except for Aretha Franklin, since "Queen of Soul" says it all.
posted by bwg at 6:09 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Beyonce seems to think a Diva is a female version of a hustler. I must misunderstand what a diva is or what a hustler is, one or the other.
posted by shinybaum at 6:35 PM on September 9, 2010


I wish they'd take a diva off a cliifa, already.
posted by jonmc at 7:27 PM on September 9, 2010


a) Nina Simone might be the greatest interpretative singer of the last half of the 20th century--have you seen her recording of feelings--that contempt is the defintion of imperious. see here
b) Country can be imperious, and it can be angry. Dusty is a country diva, so is Loretta (cf Fist City and You Ain't Women Enough to Take My Man), Patsy, and in the youngest generation Carrie Underwood is starting in that way. I love Dolly, I love when Dolly gets angry ( the rooster to the hen line in 9-5) and there are divas who can be kind, but she is too grounded. She is a broad, which is different then a Diva. (in the same category as Sophie Tucker, Rusty Warren, Bette Middler, and the like)
c) Aretha's sartorial choices make me happy in a way that I cannot describe.
d) the Whelk is a genius in this thread.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:53 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


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