Today we celebrate International Women’s Day – hells yeah! And as it’s GigSlutz, I’m all about the women in music, so travel with me down my road of feminine musical joy…
Growing up as dance kid, who loved all things high-kicks and sequins, I quickly succumb to the world of the Britney’s and Christina’s as it was back in the day. Many an hour was spent in front of the TV memorising hair flicks, pirouettes and jumps (hell, give me enough gin on Tuesday and you may find me in front of YouTube high kicking wildly to ‘You Drive Me Crazy’). But as my pre-teen idols grew up, threw off their PG outfits in favour of latex chaps and dry humping walls…well I was growing up too, and I wasn’t really finding myself quite as comfortable donning bra-tops on mufti day singing about how ‘dirrrttttaaay’ I was going to get. Well that, and Catholic Comprehensives have a rather strict uniform policy…
So I started on a subconscious musical journey, one I’ve been on ever since, to find female artists that I could grow with, that would stick with me, that would speak to me. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with the artist as ‘agent provocateur’; getting a little bit raunchy in a video or having a sing about something a little sexy. You do what you need to do mate, it doesn’t bother me. But for me, really good music finds a little corner of your soul, grabs hold of it and talks directly to it and gets you through whatever’s going on in your life – sticking 2 fingers up to the bad stuff and celebrating the good times. And for some reason, that means a little more to me when it comes from a sista.
I probably put too much pressure on what I want from my female artists, but that’s because those I love I am so intensely connected to. Their music has become like the words of friends The women I love in music give me something real; being themselves on record, telling it like it is. No bullshit. And ultimately no excuses, no validating lyrics or image with the whole ‘I’m just owning my sexuality’ bollocks.
I turn to my female artists for things I can’t get from the men. If I really hate my job that day, Valerie does too. If I’m looking forward to seeing my guy for some nookie tonight, Christine get’s it. If I’m not sure what the f*** is going on and I’m feeling a bit drama, Brody knows. For me that’s what makes an artist enduring, if it feels like they’re speaking to just you and your situation.
So here’s a few of my personal favourite all time women in music. I’d love to hear who’s your girl and why, let us know on here or on Twitter.
Women musicians of the world – I salute you!
Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks
These two are the ultimate duo and have stood the test of time. In the turbulent, spoon-feeding cocaine and epic breaks world of Fleetwood Mac, these legends powered through, ignoring the loss of marriages and lovers, to make some of the best music ever. They are the angel and the devil on your shoulder, and listening to both sides can make for a lot of fun.
With McVie, you initially here her soft and soulful voice. Listen to the lyrics and you realise she’s ballsy as hell with a naughty streak. Her songs take you on a journey as to where she’s at with her love life, and it’s always a little dangerous and Libertine. She charms like the best lotharios, and mourns like them too. From the 70’s porno tone of You Make Lovin Fun to the ballsy Think About Me McVie where’s her heart on her sleeve in the coolest way.
Stevie, well Stevie’s a free spirit. She’s a little more rational with her feelings, as proven with Dreams and Sara where her ‘that’s life’ approach to relationships kicks in. However, this is still the woman who wrote the haunting Rhiannon, which for me is an ode to the rebel in every girl.
Nicks and McVie for me have been sorting me out for years. Completely unapologetically with their approach, they’ve taught me that whatever I go choose in life it’s totally ok, just try avoid your ex writing a chart topping single about you… (Stevie still looks pissed when the ‘packing up, shacking up’, line happens in Go Your Own Way…)
My Favourite Tracks – ‘Rhiannon’ and ‘Over&Over’
Listening to Winehouse brutally pour her heart out on track after track was cathartic for many of us. Not only was it an emotional roller coaster of how really bloody bad breaking up with someone is, the relatable factor made it wickedly funny. So much has been written about her voice that there’s not much I can add to it. For me it was the way she went from a kind of ‘nervous mumble into wine glass’ into a gorgeous crescendo of vocal prowess, on songs like Back To Black and Just Friends. She basically taught me that I wasn’t the only person at the end of relationship feeling utterly crap and continuously finding myself at the end of another bottle of wine. I miss the confessional beauty of her songs and that warm personality on record.
My Favourite Tracks – ‘Tears Dry On Their Own’ and ‘You Know I’m No Good’
P!nk is awesome! Like the rest on the list, she unashamedly tells us what’s on her mind. But rather than twisting her words in to beautiful poetry, if P!nk wants you to f*** off, she’ll tell you to f*** off. Particularly relationship wise – one of her most recent offerings, True Love, describes how no matter how much she loves her husband, he does her head in and she’d strangle him in a heartbeat – and who hasn’t felt like that eh?! And for me, that level of directness is something I only get from a mate. And she’s also got some cracking party tunes! So cheers P!nk for being a homie!
My Favourite Tracks – ‘True Love’ and ‘Leave Me Alone’
When I push play on Young Crazed Peeling and Brody asks me if I’m ready to be liberated, the feeling never changes. For any of us whose childhood/parents/upbringing/life was anywhere along the sliding scale of ‘slightly different’ to ‘really f***ing weird’ and felt a bit awkward about it, Brody had your back. For me she’s been flying the flag for anyone who’s ever felt like ‘normal’ is far too constricting ever since she picked up a guitar. As much as she sings about life’s challenges, the great thing with Brody is that she never wallows, every song contains catharsis, hope, that you might feel utterly awful right now but it WILL get better. The most positive punk I know,a true maverick!
My Favourite Tracks – ‘Young Crazed Peeling’ and ‘All Babes Are Wolves’
No list of mine is complete without a bit of the blues, and Val for me is where it’s at right now. As an woman who lives a rather nomadic existence, it’s high time a fellow female wrote about life on the road – maybe that’s why I’ve bonded with her tunes so quickly. Her instruments are bluegrass rootsy, her voice cuts through you like butter and leaves scars. Live she is utterly compelling. And she really is, as her album says, pushing against a stone. Working Woman Blues is a gorgeous conversational piece about how she’s picked the road over traditional female roles, Shotgun a perfect murder ballad usually heard only from the likes of Nick Cave. Quite simply, the lady can sing the blues.
My Favourite Tracks – ‘Shotgun’ and ‘Tennessee Time’