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!