Thursday, December 23, 2010

Music Thursday: All the ladies in the house say "Yeah!"

Yesterday, something moved me to revisit my favorite 80s/90s female singer/songwriters: Natalie Merchant, Ani DiFranco, Alanis Morisette and Fiona Apple. I know these women get derided a lot--mostly because music by and about women (especially angry, righteous ones) gets little respect--but damn it if they don't make amazing, unique music with powerful lyrics and messages. I find myself playing their songs more and more these days. Maybe it's cause we GenXers are getting old and that's what you do when you get old. Or maybe it's because this sort of female singer is all but absent in the current Katy Perry climate.

One more thing...I started to include Sarah McLachlan in this tribute, but frankly, that ASPCA commercial with the shivering puppies set to her "Angel" song has traumatized me beyond comprehension.

10,000 Maniacs (Natalie Merchant) - "Eat for Two"

Who else could sing so passionately about the horrors of teen pregnancy? This song still scares the crap out of me.

Ani DiFranco - "Not a Pretty Girl"

I am not a maiden fair and I am not a kitten stuck up a tree somewhere...

Alanis Morisette - "Perfect"

Bet you thought I was going to post "You Oughta Know." I love that song and it is quintessential Alanis, but "Perfect" is one of my favorites, too. I think of it every time I see a promo for "Toddlers and Tiaras."

Fiona Apple - "Criminal"

Oh, Fiona...she of the self-righteous award acceptance speeches and on stage meltdowns. I don't care what anyone says, "Criminal" is bad ass and few current female (or male) artists write lyrics that are this raw and defiant. I also love her experimentation with retro sounds like in "Extraordinary Machine." Fiona--shine on you crazy diamond!


blind irish pirate said...

I didn't "live" the 80's and 90's like most people my age, being raised by bluegrass musical hippies, but these women really had an influence on me in the early 00's - kind of a 90's revival.

What just drives me nuts - it's fine for a man to be an angry musical artist, but for a woman? And many, many people adored Mary Travers, who was an influential female music artist who sang about world issues and social justice... so what's the problem here? Because we expect women to twitter like a bimbo? Blah. Count me out.

Thanks for sharing - these days, I'm still under my folk/bluegrass rock. Katie Perry scares me.

iamthelizardqueen said...

I'm right there with you--love all of these songs! Thanks for posting them.

AndreaPlaid said...

I love Fiona Apple's jazzed-out voice! I'm just catching up with her "First Taste" track, which has got to be one of the sexiest songs about sexual desire, esp. a woman's desire.

Natalie Merchant...*sigh.* The nostalgia, that voice. And watching her move into a visually "sexy" woman via her attire was fascinating to watch.

And Ani? I'm still at her lines: "I can stop on a dime/and give you five cent change." And backed it up w/ some of the best guitar playing ever? Yeah, she's totally one of my faves.


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