Kpopencarta here. I know it’s been a while since my last blog post, but I’ve been super busy the last few months. I wish I had time to do recaps again, but alas I don’t think that’ll be the case. Instead, I guess we’ll have to go back to my random musings on the world of kpop. And so, without further ado, I present to you my rankings for the best vocalists in the world of female idols.
*Note before we start this. 2NE1 and Brown Eyed Girls were excluded from these rankings because I don’t really have enough exposure to them to judge.*
For me these 3 are unquestionably the best of the current idol singers. All of them have amazing range and control, and are versatile enough to tackle multiple genres. The degree of separation between them in terms of vocal ability is so minute that I’m giving them a collective tie for first place. They’re in a tier of their own with few coming close.
Being soloists, it’s not surprising that these two have amazing voices. Unlike with a group, you live or die by your voice. With IU, she had to claw her way up from releasing songs like “Boo” and Marshmellow”, which was a criminal misuse of her talents. It wasn’t until “Good Day” that she was finally recognized and started being able to release songs more suitable for her. With Ailee, her talent was never in question and was a Youtube sensation even before being discovered by Wheesung. Her performances on Immortal Song 2 only solidify her position of being one of the best voices of this generation.
Song Ji Eun(Secret): A
Kang Min Kyung(Davici): A-
It might be my own personal bias showing here, but Jessica for me is the tops of this tier of singers. The only thing that really holds her back from being in the tier above is that her live performances can sometimes be lacking. Joining her on this tier is the rest of SNSD’s vocal line: Tiffany, Seohyun, and Sunny. Each of them could easily be main vocal in a different group, but alas they’re stuck behind the crazy talented Taeyeon and Jessica.
Two other SM-trained artists also make the A-tier cut in Soyeon and Luna. Soyeon was famously part of SNSD at first, but then left prior to their debut due to personal reasons. She’s long been one of my favorite singers and many times I feel she’s wasting her talents on some of T-ara’s songs. I keep hoping that she’ll eventually make it onto Immortal Song 2, which is where Luna was able to really showcase herself. The style of music that f(x) doesn’t really let her voice shine, but even still it’s evident that she’s their best vocalist by far.
With Ji Eun, you have another idol for whom Immortal Song 2 was a big reason for her being so high on the list. She’s also had enough solo activities to show off just how good a vocalist she is. In some ways, I feel she’s one of the most underrated vocalists there as she doesn’t get much recognition for it. In comparison, I feel Kang Min Kyung is a bit overrated. She is still a fantastic vocal, but she is clearly overshadowed by her partner Lee Haeri, who I already ranked earlier.
Raina(After School): B+
Eunji(A Pink): B+
NS Yoon G: B
Min(miss A): B
Suzy(miss A): B
Yenny(Wonder Girls): B-
Sun(Wonder Girls): B-
Lee Hi: B-
Baek Ah Yeon: B-
Not surprisingly this ended up being the tier with the most members. Everyone here is solid vocalist, but have some obvious limitations in my mind. Let’s start with the B+ members. After School’s Raina and T-ara’s Hyomin I feel are both on the cusp of hitting the A-tier group, but they both lack the vocal range to keep up with those above them. They’re both able to do multiple genres and are more than capable of carrying a song, but nothing about either singer really wows me.
The lack of a wow factor could also be said for the other three B+ members. G.NA and Eunji both have powerful voices and decent range, but don’t quite have the same versatility as the A tier singers. In the case of Gayoon, it might be an exposure problem for me. Like the others in this tier, she has a decent but limited range. I like her in the 4minute songs, but she could definitely use more stage presence when she’s solo. Fortunately, she has Jiyoon as her complement and the two work very well together. Their subunit’s main track of 24/7 is actually one of my favorite of the year and in fact the album itself is fairly solid.
Out of the 3 miss A members that make up this tier, I think Suzy has slowly made her way to the top. Initially, Min was unquestionably their best vocalist, but recently Fei and Suzy have caught up. None are very special in terms of singing ability, but they cover each other’s weaknesses very well and they pick songs that play to their strengths. Suzy’s last few drama OSTs have impressed me slightly and even though this was still a mistake, I’m sure she’d do much better at it now. Taeyeon’s solo for “Genie” is definitely not for everyone.
Krystal is an interesting case. She’s definitely behind her sister in terms of development at similar points in their careers, but at the same time she’s also had more opportunities to shine on her own as well. While she does lack her sister’s range she displays good control over what she is capable of and she’s shown her ability to handle different genres. NS Yoon G and T-ara’s Eunjung are the same. Neither have exceptional range , but display good control over what they can do.
Another pair that complements each other very well is Yenny and Sun from the Wonder Girls. With Yenny on the higher notes and Sun on the lower notes, the two cover everything you need. Which is fortunate because the other three members are fairly weak vocally.
The last duo that I’ll discuss are two of the top three finishers in the Kpop Star season 1. Thekoreanjjang can speak to their abilities more, but from what I’ve seen both are talented vocalists, but very limited in terms of what kind of genre they can do. Both are very young in their careers though so I’m sure they will be able to show more later on. For now though, there are very specific roles that I feel they excel in, which are reflected in their respective albums.