Quality. The criteria that separates true Queen of Pop from basic fame whores.
We’ve seen in one of our King of Pop assessments how lack of quality was Justin Bieber’s main downfall (despite his undeniable popularity and success). Who of our Queen of Pop contenders will fall this round, and who will come on top?
Note: This analysis refers ONLY to the period spanning 2000-2013, from the new millennium to the time of writing. No, pre-2000 achievements are not counted here. That’s why it’s called Queen of Pop of “THIS” millennium.
Industry Accolades: Beyonce
Queen Bey (#1) is easily the most well-respected woman in the industry right now. She has everything that makes her a constant favorite on award shows. Another Grammy magnet, Adele (#2) is just slightly behind. Other excellent artists are Gaga (#3), Alicia (#4) and Gwen (#5).
Taylor (#6) and Carrie (#7) are of course the overwhelming favorites for any country-related categories, so there’s no surprise seeing them doing well. Pop stars Rihanna (#8), Katy (#9), Madonna (#10) and Christina (#11) have a few industry nods through awards and nominations. To a lesser degree, Mariah (#12), P!nk (#13) and Kelly (#14) as well.
Not doing very well are Nicki (#15), Nelly (#16), Britney (#17), Shakira (#18), Avril (#19), Fergie (#20), Leona (#21) and J.Lo (#22). Last place is a tie between Miley and Ke$ha, who has never received even a single Grammy nomination in their life.
Critical Reception: Shakira
I’m happy to see underrated artists like Shakira (#1) getting her dues here. I personally disagree with Taylor (#2) ranked so high, but rock critics suck up to her (probably because of the catchy melodies and her safe choice traditional rock-based arrangement) so we’ll just have to accept it.
Adele and Madonna tie at #3. P!nk’s (#5) has been increasingly well-reviewed especially in recent years, while Alicia (#6) was a critical darling during her early years. Beyonce, Rihanna and Nelly navigate between occasional triteness and occasional brilliance, resulting with #7 ties. Gaga, Nicki and Ke$ha all are genius artists who have received praises, but get bogged down to #10 with their choice of dumb-pop music (or in Gaga’s case, over-ambition).
Next are a string of good artists who are not so concerned about experimenting with their music, hence mediocre critical reviews. Carrie is #13. Kelly, Avril and Britney all at #14. Gwen (#17) does experiment with her music, but her occasional attempts (i.e. Hollaback Girl) sometimes backfire. Leona (#18) is just sort of there.
Next comes the punching bags who have received negative reviews most of their career. Mariah continues to emphasize her sex appeal and overlook her own vocal talent, while Miley continues to shock the public without much purpose, both tying at #19. Christina always gets slammed for her oversinging, while Fergie symbolizes the urban-pop nightmare of mid-2000s, both tying at #21.
One step lower than that is J.Lo (#23), who jumps around from trend to trend with bland pop music. But All-American girl Katy Perry (#24) is the only one whose score hit below 5, whom according to the critics, symbolize everything that is wrong with today’s pop music (or what Madonna would term as “reductive”).
Overall Quality: Beyonce
Beyonce (#1) sits right on top of the throne, followed by Adele (#2).
Other acclaimed artists in the top 10 are Gaga (#3), Alicia (#4), Gwen (#5), Taylor (#6), Carrie (#7), Rihanna (#8), Madonna (#9) and P!nk (#10). Vocal divas Christina (#11) and Mariah (#12) follow next. Shakira, Kelly and Katy tie at #13. Nicki (#16), Nelly (#17), Britney (#18), Avril (#19) and Leona (#20) hasn’t made much impact.
Critically panned are Fergie (#21), Ke$ha (#22), Miley (#23) and J.Lo (#24).
Is Beyonce really the best female artist out there? Who else do you think belong there on top?
All Posts on the King of Pop and Queen of Pop series:
- Introducing the New King of Pop – Part 1: Background
- Introducing the New King of Pop – Part 2: Success
- Introducing the New King of Pop – Part 3: Popularity
- Introducing the New King of Pop – Part 4: Quality
- Introducing the New King of Pop – Part 5: The Also-Rans
- Introducing the New King of Pop – Part 6: The Top Seeds
- Who is the Queen of Pop of This Millennium? Part 1: Background
- Who is the Queen of Pop of This Millennium? Part 2: Success
- Who is the Queen of Pop of This Millennium? Part 3: Popularity
- Who is the Queen of Pop of This Millennium? Part 4: Quality
- Who is the Queen of Pop of This Millennium? Part 5: Also-Rans
- Who is the Queen of Pop of This Millennium? Part 6: Top Seeds