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Shut Your Head Gash: A Polite Defense of Women’s Music

Ladypalooza came at a weird time for me this year. South by Southwest was last month, which led to me writing extensively about music for a few weeks. Compound that with my fervent attempts to get EVERYONE! EVERYWHERE! to listen to my favorite band by writing what amounts to little more than musical erotica about their latest album. I was slightly burned out on writing about music. This would be only my second post on the The Beatdown AND there were a lot of great people signing up to write AND I had nothing. I panicked. Then I went to sleep. The answer would come to me tomorrow.

I’m very much like Scarlett O’Hara.

I decided I needed to write about one woman I admired, one that I hadn’t written about yet. But after reading the comments on Silvana’s piece (and looking at the moderator queue for all of the real assholes) I had a somewhat different topic: women’s voices. Male critics ran to the comments to let it be known that they didn’t like women’s voices. When called on this batshittery, they cried “YOU CAN’T TELL ME I’M WRONG. It’s just my opinion!” That is your defense? Look, I know all art is fundamentally subjective and unknowable, but give me a fucking break. There is a big difference between saying something like Ringo is your favorite Beatle and DISMISSING AN ENTIRE GENDER’S CONTRIBUTION TO MUSIC.

I LOVE women’s voices. Always have. Every since the first time I heard Tori Amos sing “Happy Phantom.” I realized that there was this thing called ladymusic, and this thing felt like a secondary vibration of my own soul. I’ve spent nearly a decade listening to every conceivable permutation of the female voice, and have found them marked by infinite variety. Every woman’s voice is shaped by her environment, and her history, and her genetics. Different women handle phrasing differently, clipping lines into tight stanzas or unrolling verses out as long as they need to go. Female musicians BREATHE DIFFERENTLY for christ’s sake.

My favorite type of voice is the contralto. You hear the term most often in discussions of female Opera singers – contralto is the range below alto. But oh, other ladies have this magic too. Marianne Faithfull, Annie Lennox, Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane. Nina Simone used to go as low as Baritone. WHICH IS WHAT I SING.

That’s just my favorite. Lady musicians vary in range. Some ladies don’t even sing. Some ladies scream. Some ladies ROCK YOUR SOCKS RIGHT THE FUCK OFF YOUR FEET. There is no excuse for hearing “Heatbeats” by The Knife, or “I Will Always Love You,” or “Oh Micky You So Goddamn Fine” and pretending you don’t feel anything. Don’t act like it doesn’t make you want to smile, or dance, or sing along.

EVERY FEMALE MUSICIAN HAS HAD TO WORK HARDER THAN HER MALE COUNTERPARTS. When a woman makes music, she is struggling against a culture than doesn’t accept her as an equal. As a result, the music that women make has a lot more riding on it, and is marked by the complexity of this struggle – giving it a higher bandwidth. Low-bandwidth music takes a long time to transmit a simple message – what Silvana called “dude music.” High-bandwidth music is the kind of music that forces you to spend hours carving out emotional narratives in the lyrics, going back weeks later to find they’ve caved in, closed themselves off to you and exposed new passages that run for miles.

This is what draws me back to my favorite band, Beach House. Their music is perfectly designed for deep, emotional analysis. I’ve spent entire days playing the song “Master of None”, just to hear Victoria Legrand say “Jack of all trades, Master of none, Cry all the time, ‘Cause I’m not having fun.”

Isn’t that just every asshole you’ve ever dated?

This music is high-bandwidth. This is music that transmits a complex message. I like some male musicians, love Elliott Smith, but I tend to bond with ladymusic. Because whether it’s Nina Simone, or Janis Joplin, or Karen O – women can’t afford to leave anything on stage. They can’t fall back on their gender privilege and coast for a few albums.

So, to all the entitled, douchy, holier than thou MUSIC DUDES out there, we entreat you to shut your head gash. We “The International Alliance of People With GOOD Taste in Music” veto your attempts to ridicule us. It is YOU who has shitty taste in music. We, the IAPWGTM (that’s one unruly fucking acronym) don’t want to hear another word from you on what makes good music. We got this covered, thanks.

49 Comments

  1. Kathy wrote:

    “My favorite type of voice is the contralto.”

    A lot of my favorite artists have deep, bold voices: Grace Jones, Joan Armatrading, Tanita Tikaram…

    I had a friend — a guy — who told me he only liked “sweet-voiced singers.” I don’t know what to make of that. On one hand, here’s a guy who admittedly digs female artists, but only if they sound like children?

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 6:07 am | Permalink
  2. K. wrote:

    So, to all the entitled, douchy, holier than thou MUSIC DUDES out there, we entreat you to shut your head gash. We “The International Alliance of People With GOOD Taste in Music” veto your attempts to ridicule us. It is YOU who has shitty taste in music. We, the IAPWGTM (that’s one unruly fucking acronym) don’t want to hear another word from you on what makes good music. We got this covered, thanks.

    HAH, I love this!

    I also love the distinction you make between high bandwith and low bandwith music. As someone who listens to a lot of music, I realize that I probably listen to equal parts high and low bandwith music, but feel like I have a distinct and pointedly emotional appreciation for the high bandwith stuff (like Mirah’s album Advisory Committee or Tattle Tale’s Sew True.)

    & as far as voice goes, I went back in time on my tumblr because a lot of what you said here reminded me of this amazing quote from Beth Ditto that I felt like I just had to share with you on the offchance that you hadn’t heard it before:

    “Girls, playing any instrument is hard. But when it is attached by muscle and tissue to your body, like your voice is, there is no comparison to just how personal it is. Your instrument is your body. And being a part of this world, we all know that hardly anything is subject to more criticism than the female body. The whole thing: the feet, the hands, the face, and the mind. When you sing, you claim your body back. Everything goes out of your throat, over your tongue, and through your teeth, out into the world. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. It’s caught in the ears of others.”

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink
  3. Beth wrote:

    I love Ann Wilson’s (Heart) voice because it’s powerful and just plain gorgeous.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 10:44 am | Permalink
  4. Pan Da wrote:

    Sady,

    I just finished reading your essay on Pinkerton, and it was the first thing I’ve read in months that made me stop and shout “Ahoy!” and “Eureeka!” – both exclamations being rather archaic, you can imagine how embarrassed and old-timey I felt. At any rate, I own an unwieldy blog about my life in China. I don’t write none too good, but you’d probably find it interesting. It’s mentioned in the aforementioned link, but in case that doesn’t work, you can find it at http://expatriateact.blogspot.com. I wish you well in all that you do.

    - Keith

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink
  5. gatecrewgirl wrote:

    “High-bandwidth music is the kind of music that forces you to spend hours carving out emotional narratives in the lyrics, going back weeks later to find they’ve caved in, closed themselves off to you and exposed new passages that run for miles.”

    High bandwidth music never gets old. And isn’t that the point? To continue to challenge the listener even after the Nth listen? I’d rather listen to someone who has had to do it better, faster, harder (or softer), and smarter. Which we’ve mentioned the ladies have to do in music. At least then we know we’ve got a better product! Also it is awesome.

    Stevie Nicks is my favorite contralto. Oh she just rips out my soul and makes me face it.

    PS I had never heard of Beach House but I think they just got a new fan!

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 11:24 am | Permalink
  6. Shinobi wrote:

    I’m a contralto! It actually kindof sucks because there isn’t a lot of great music written for women with lower voices in the classical arena, and a lot of pop music is too high for me to sing along with.

    In other news, the girl band that made me love girl bands was, of all things Bow Wow Wow. My favorite song is Louis Quatorze.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 11:28 am | Permalink
  7. Mercer Finn wrote:

    Lovely post. Being a hip-hop head, would just like to put in a word about female RAPPERS. One of my favourite songs of all time over here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JvtctAsmGg

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Permalink
  8. juicepockets wrote:

    Yes yes yes! I love this post. I am a lady, and I sing soprano in my local community chorus. (I’m a good musician, if I do say so myself.) And I LOVE lady singers! My favorites have voices in a register that I can sing along to — Dar Williams, Neko Case, Jenny Lewis, Suzanne Vega, to name a few. But I also love Nina Simone and Sharon Jones, even though I could never in a million years sing like they do.

    And K., that Beth Ditto quotation is amazing.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Permalink
  9. mir wrote:

    Sinead O’Connor is the thief of my heart, musically and through sheer personality. The first vinyl I ever bought was ‘The Lion and the Cobra’ and I’ve never looked back.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink
  10. madaha wrote:

    Annie Lennox! Shocking Blue!

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Permalink
  11. Kathy wrote:

    @K.
    “Girls, playing any instrument is hard. But when it is attached by muscle and tissue to your body, like your voice is, there is no comparison to just how personal it is. Your instrument is your body. And being a part of this world, we all know that hardly anything is subject to more criticism than the female body. The whole thing: the feet, the hands, the face, and the mind. When you sing, you claim your body back. Everything goes out of your throat, over your tongue, and through your teeth, out into the world. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. It’s caught in the ears of others.”

    Thank you for this. If women’s contributions to rock are devalued, they are devalued even more as singers. (Or at least written off as the “girl singer;” i.e., not a real musician.)

    Re: Nina Simone
    GarlandGrey, can you give me an example of Nina Simone singing baritone? I’m trying to imagine what a woman would sound like singing in a man’s lower range. Or any others? I am not a professional singer, but I’m definitely at the lower end of contralto.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Permalink
  12. Maud wrote:

    There is a big difference between saying something like Ringo is your favorite Beatle and DISMISSING AN ENTIRE GENDER’S CONTRIBUTION TO MUSIC.

    Uh-huh. “I just don’t like women’s voices” – all of them, in their infinite variety – really means “I just don’t like listening to women” because I might hear something that’s unflattering to me, I might hear something that’s not about me, I might hear something that does not reinforce my dudeliness, which needs constant reinforcement lest it crumple at the sound of a woman’s voice.

    Also, I am a third-generation contralto lover. My grandmother’s favorite singer was Marian Anderson, my mother’s was Ella Fitzgerald, and I fell in love with Mahalia Jackson at the age of 6, despite the fact that we were by no means a religious household. It wasn’t the subject of her singing that I loved, it was the glory of it. (For those of you saying, “Who, now?” You can look them all up on allmusic.com)

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink
  13. GarlandGrey wrote:

    @K That Beth Ditto quote was utter perfection. You win, for life.

    @Gatecrewgirl I am so glad you said that. I am such a superfan. If I had time I’d go door to door asking people if they knew about Beach House.

    @Mercer Finn My hip hop knowledge consists of sagely nodding whenever Jay Smooth says anything, but considering that female rappers are the absolute embodiment of this – women moving in a male-dominated world – I need to do more research. Can you (or anyone) post a link to a great female rap blog?

    @Kathy: It seems that I can find a slew of references to her baritone singing, but cannot find a single specific song as evidence. I will listen to a lot of Nina (starting with my favorite Simone song “Either Way I Lose”) to see if I can find any evidence of this.

    @Maud: Jackson’s “It is well with my soul” is my favorite rendition of that song – even though I’m devoutly secular.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink
  14. GarlandGrey wrote:

    I’m sure that it goes without saying, but every person that has commented so far is amazing and wonderful and I’d totally run down the beach, eat cotton candy, and share a milkshake with you in a “falling in love” montage.

    Two straws. Let’s not get nasty.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink
  15. Vee wrote:

    I’m a bit too exhausted to contribute anything beyond yes, this, a million times this.

    Also, I saw Regina Spektor sing live, and the shit she can do with her voice, it is goddamn impressive, I cannot even tell you. She gets relegated into Nice Lady With Piano category (and not that there is anything wrong with that kind of music, but doing so rather obscures how sharp she can be), but she’s–yeah. Too tired to be coherent and all, but her range and her versatility–that is one impressive instrument.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Permalink
  16. Lee Brimmicombe-Wood wrote:

    What on Earth would Gimme Shelter have sounded like without Merry Clayton’s astonishing voice zinging across the top, rising and breaking at the exertion? It would have been a diminished work. It took a woman’s voice to make that sound apocalyptic, to send a thrill down my spine.

    Her cover version is pretty amazing, if you ever have the chance to hear it.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink
  17. Sady wrote:

    @Lee: TELL ME MORE ABOUT THIS COVER VERSION.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink
  18. Lee Brimmicombe-Wood wrote:

    Oh, can I give a mention to Kate Bush? I’m not sure how to describe her voice other than it seems quite unique to me.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink
  19. Lee Brimmicombe-Wood wrote:

    @Sady Sample it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCyTqnizcvI

    FUCKIN’ A!

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Permalink
  20. Shira wrote:

    Dude. “Happy Phantom” opened up worlds and worlds for me too. Delightful.
    Can I get a shout out to Kate Bush somewhere up in here?

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  21. Sarah TX wrote:

    Let’s take this out of pop music for a second.

    There was a woman in my church choir as a kid who had a big ol’ ribcage and a strong diaphragm, and had a lovely and powerful low tenor voice. Just stirring – she almost always took the tenor solos and sounded great in harmony.

    We got a new music director, and one of his first acts was to declare, “Women don’t have the correct timbre to sing tenor!” Dude, in a small church choir of AT MOST 20 people, I don’t think the fucking timbre of your best singer is something to worry about.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Permalink
  22. prurientunes wrote:

    No one mentioned Florence and the Machine?

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink
  23. @Sarah TX: I agree, beggars can’t be choosers. I am a low contralto/tenor as well (represent!). In high school, I belonged to a chorus with probably around fifty girls… and five guys. The lower altos HAD to take tenor parts if the director wanted any kind of balance. So I spent three years singing guy parts, and it was awesome.

    Also, Garland? Awesome post. I’d never heard of Beach House, but I think you might’ve converted me.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Permalink
  24. Andres wrote:

    Hildegard von Bingen makes Mozart and Beethoven look like FOOLS. And she lived over SIX HUNDRED YEARS before them!

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Permalink
  25. Brigitte wrote:

    This is the first post on music that has EVER moved me to click play. Thank you.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Permalink
  26. Jamie wrote:

    Fab. Especially ‘…the kind of music that forces you to spend hours carving out emotional narratives in the lyrics, going back weeks later to find they’ve caved in, closed themselves off to you and exposed new passages that run for miles.’ Such a lovely lovely image.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Permalink
  27. Shoshana wrote:

    She’s not pop or rock, but Odetta is my favorite contralto, and oh shit does she just turn a song high-frequency even if it wasn’t to begin with.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aaya8jYZBO8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce8ix4VGR2w&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9R1UhCSyN8

    I can never get enough Odetta!

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Permalink
  28. assassin wrote:

    oh god yes, beach house! i’m like, obsessed with them.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Permalink
  29. dillene wrote:

    She wasn’t exactly hard rock, but let me throw out a little love for Karen Carpenter (sorry if I missed seeing her in an earlier post). I’m pretty sure she does the morning announcements over heaven’s intercom.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
  30. GarlandGrey wrote:

    @SarahTX That he would take a person with such talent for granted simply out of some outdated masculine bullshit – maddening.

    @Prurienttunes Florence Welch is astounding vocally. “Girl With One Eye” turns me into jelly. YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Marina & The Diamonds, just to stick with bands with ampersands. I almost saw Marina open for Snoop Dog at SXSW – but the line was far too long.

    @Shoshana Exposure to new, amazing music is the best present. The best.

    @Dillene SHAMELESS PLUG: I wrote about my desperate love for The Carpenters a few months ago: http://bit.ly/aWhIb2 When I think about the fact that her death was a direct result of the policing of women’s bodies (specifically, an early review that called her fat and started her obsession with dieting) it makes me so angry.

    To all the new Beach House converts: take some time for yourself, put on earphones (or, turn it up loud if you have good speakers) and listen to “Heart of Chambers”. It will be your new favorite song.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Permalink
  31. Sarah TX wrote:

    Forgot to add that I love Beach House so much.

    If you like their new album, Teen Dream, and you dig lady vocalists (who doesn’t??), but especially totally awesome and emotionally depth-ful lady vocalists (WHO DOESN’T????) and you haven’t yet listened to Portishead, well… you can thank me later. “The Rip” is a good place to start.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Permalink
  32. GarlandGrey wrote:

    @Sarah TX Oh, Portishead. So necessary for life. Have you heard Blonde Redhead? Kazu Makino is astounding. I recommend “In Particular” or “Equus” for the uninitiated.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Permalink
  33. rrp wrote:

    @Lee I think the top of my head just came off.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Permalink
  34. @ Sarah TX:

    I’m an alto and a choral conductor, and I have to agree with your music director that in the ideal situation, women should sing alto and not tenor. Tenor parts are written to sound as if they sit high in the voice, not low, and it’s also not great for a woman’s entire instrument if she regularly only uses the lower part of it. Not to mention, if you put all the awesome altos on the tenor part, what do you have left for an alto sound? Something that is not as rich and kick-ass. I’ve sung tenor myself, and while it gave me a thrill, I could also tell it wasn’t the healthiest thing for me to be singing.

    That said, I do agree that beggars can’t be choosers, and that it’s perhaps not the smartest thing to move people out of their favored spots if you are new in the job!

    Speaking of contraltos, I have to give a shout-out to Ewa Podles! Saw her in Boston earlier this year, and not only was she beautiful, she was LOUD!

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Permalink
  35. any time MUSIC DUDES (or gals) say something like, “I just don’t like women’s voices,” I suggest we counter with, “I kinda know how you feel. I can’t get into guy bands. I mean, Nickelback has turned me off to all other men’s music.”

    unrelated–I gained a new, unironic appreciation for acoustic ladybands/singers after attending Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival a few years back. all politics aside, attending was a fucking revelation as a queer woman who grew up in one of the most un-”affirming” black holes of cultural and emotional garbage (aka “Delaware”).

    & @lee THANK YOU for posting that Merry Clayton cover version. I may have found a new spiritual mother.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Permalink
  36. S.A. Small wrote:

    Delurking cos I love music. Shout-out to Yoko Kanno; she’s a Japanese composer (mostly anime soundtracks) who apparently has the ability to write great melodies in EVERY STYLE OF MUSIC. Seriously, she’s ridiculous (and so’s Mai Yamane, whose voice you hear if you follow the link).

    @Lee Brimmicombe-Wood and Mercer Finn:
    Thanks for the links.

    I second Garland on Blonde Redhead

    Fun fact: Joni Mitchell is/was ridiculously complex but declined to make a big show of it– unlike the prog rockers.

    And, since I’ve lost all hope of posting a coherent comment, Spinnerette rocked me for about four straight hours on a long drive.

    Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 1:59 am | Permalink
  37. S.A. Small wrote:

    What link, you ask?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4quWmUJYQCU&feature=related

    Sigh/Grr.

    Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 2:01 am | Permalink
  38. ND wrote:

    Awesome post!

    I’m pretty sure she does the morning announcements over heaven’s intercom.

    Aww nice image. I’m pretty sure she does too!

    And a mention for Shirley Manson who (sez Wikipedia) presented material to Geffen that was found to be “too noir” to be released, or to even continue her contract. Too noir? Shirley Manson??

    I’m about 3/4 through my first listen to the new Hole. Not sure how good or great os so-so I think it is just yet, but what fun to have another installment from Courtney, who asks that we “Play This Recording Very Very Loud Please.”

    Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 8:14 am | Permalink
  39. Beth wrote:

    Just checked out Beach House on iTunes. Hmmmm. Not impressed. BUT it did lead me to check out another band, which did: Dirty Projectors. Much more interesting; grabbed my attention immediately. Downloaded a couple of their songs so…THANKS!

    Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink
  40. Dawn. wrote:

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes to this essay. There are few things that piss me off more than someone saying “I just don’t like female singers/women’s voices.”

    Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Permalink
  41. Nicole wrote:

    I wrote this and respectfully disagree with your claims, http://www.krlx.org/1116

    Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Permalink
  42. julian wrote:

    WORD! I love Florence&theMachine, and I’m currently obsessed with jj, the Distillers, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and My Brightest Diamond… and She & Him.

    I always hate it when people say things like “I hate women’s voices” or the like, because I’ve never heard any cisgender heterosexual white men say “I hate men’s voices!” It’s only about the hating of women’s voices and how they’re so “whiny” etc. WTF.

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 4:15 am | Permalink
  43. Mercer Finn wrote:

    I don’t know any ladyrapper blogs, I’m sorry to say. But I confess I’m not as wired up as some. I would like to say (with minimal smugness) that the tiny UK grime scene, where my principle attention is directed, boasts some prominent and impressive female MCs:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pI6HOuKDOU
    and
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIn8nCu3Dwg

    …although they do remain the minority.

    Sunday, May 9, 2010 at 4:54 am | Permalink
  44. Robert wrote:

    I was not aware that there were men who did not ‘enjoy’ women’s voices in a musical capacity. This bespeaks an impoverishment of spirit that saddens me.

    But then, my exposure both to contemporary popular music and mainstream straight dudes has been less extensive.

    Monday, May 10, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink
  45. Jon O. wrote:

    Thank you for writing this! It needed to be said. I am totally going to gripe about a largely-trivial distinction here:

    “There is a big difference between saying something like Ringo is your favorite Beatle and DISMISSING AN ENTIRE GENDER’S CONTRIBUTION TO MUSIC.”

    I take issue with this statement, but Only! because I think it sort of itself overlooks the big contributions of non-singing female musicians. Carol Kaye kinda MADE Pet Sounds for me (though granted I am a bassist). Janet Weiss contributed as much to Sleater-Kinney as Carrie Brownstein. None of this is intended to distract from your larger point. It’s just a personal peeve that vocals are considered the only voice of a musician.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink
  46. I remember trying to turn a friend of mine on to Curve (LOVE Toni Halliday’s voice, their song Chinese Burn was featured on an episode of Buffy) and her response was, “I hate women singers, they’re so whiny.”

    Um, obviously you’ve never listened to Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt, any number of female singers who don’t whine.

    But there was absolutely no way I could get her to listen to them because “Girl singer, ew!”

    Yay for internalized misogyny.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Permalink
  47. C.M. wrote:

    WORD!! And I’d like to add a few of my favourite female vocalists:

    Wyrd Sisters
    Diana Krall
    Sharon Jones (and the Dap Kings)
    Loreena McKennitt
    Fiona Solon
    Leah Day
    Nelly Furtado
    Chantal Kreviazuk
    Nicole Edwards

    Friday, May 14, 2010 at 1:15 am | Permalink
  48. ArtOfMe wrote:

    Thanks for this. I love plenty of male musicians, but I seem to relate better to female singers. I consider Vienna Teng to be an incredible songwriter, as well as having an astounding alto voice. Tori Amos is great, and I personally love Sarah McLachlan. Another commenter mentioned Loreena McKennitt, who is a very talented artist. Her albums are like pieces of a story. I really love Sleater-Kinney. Their vocals aren’t “pretty,” but they really make you listen and I love their power. Thanks also for introducing me to Beach House. I will certainly check them out! Vocals are certainly the most intimate instrument, but I also enjoy non-vocalist women musicians, who face even more prejudice in rock music circles. And I second the Elliott Smith appreciation. He’s a songwriter who really appeals to me.

    Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Permalink
  49. missmaia wrote:

    @GeekGirlsRule: I got Rasputina from an episode of Buffy. Are they the best cello-based Gothic girl band in existence? Yes. Yes they are.

    Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

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    [...] at Tiger Beatdown has an essay in defense of women’s music, specifically women’s voices. Literally. Not just music from the “voices” or perspectives of [...]