Vocal Style Overview
Vocal Music Description
Although nearly all pop music involves sung vocals, in Vocal pop music, there is an exceptional emphasis on a virtuosic, solo vocal performance which carries almost the entire melody. The backing music is often a relatively simple accompaniment by chords in a lower register, although it can include lush orchestral or big-band arrangements as well. Rhythm sections tend to be very subdued, if present at all.
Record shops and collectors typically use the term Vocal in reference to mainstream, "white", "adult" English-language pop music of the 1950s and 1960s: mainly ballads and standards which continue the tradition of vocal jazz, without the improvisational elements. The style's peak coincided with the early rock & roll era, after which most Vocal pop became regarded as "easy listening" music, but it continues to enjoy waves of popularity throughout the world to the present day.
On Discogs, perhaps due to unfamiliarity with the style, the Vocal tag is not used so strictly. It is found on all kinds of pop releases from all eras, whenever a vocal solo dominates the performance. However, it should not be used on just any pop music with vocals. It is inappropriate for especially highly rhythmic pop or music which is better tagged with a regional style such as Chanson (French-language vocal pop) or a style under the Folk, World & Country genre.
Contribute to this style page