Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The women (in music) are here!

Since a long time now there has been a dearth of good female musicians, the key word here being good, across various genres of music. International pop music was dominated by female artists who seemed to be in the business solely to sing along on auto-tune and make videos in skimpy clothes (or so a friend has told me many times).

I mean, of course there are good female voices out there, but most of the time they're just turned into and/or drowned out by the cacophony of manufactured pop acts out there, with plastic faces, singing meaningless party lyrics and grooving obscenely in videos, while repeating variations what is known as 'the pop chorus' - which basically includes some random rhyming words. (Katy perry, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj....and well many more I don't care to find out about).

And now, well finally, finally, this past year, I have found female musicians I truly admire. With real talent, powerful vocals, meaningful lyrics, and looks that no one cares about, these women have broken into the music scene and changed the current scenario, and won many hearts and ears.

To start off the list, there is only one woman I must talk about, Adele. I mean, her voice has to be heard to be believed. And such powerful lyrics to go. Wiki tells me her latest album 21 has spent 11 consecutive weeks at number one in the UK, the longest ever by a female solo artist on the UK albums chart.

With 'Someone like you' I think she just outdid herself. I don't think heartbreak and vulnerability has ever been described better in a song. Don't let her vocal range put you off though, some may say she screams a lot. I happen to like the screaming. But this particular song has a couple of versions where she has varied pitches. I doubt there are many artists who can do that kind of a thing.

She hasn't even come up with that many videos for her songs, most of them are just live recordings of her singing in that magnificent voice. Other songs I would recommend are 'Rolling in the deep', 'Set fire to the rain', and 'Daydreamer'. This lady is made for great things, is already a legend in her own right, and I cannot wait to hear more of her music, while of course, listening to her older songs every single day.

Florence + The Machine
Then we have yet another English artist, Florence and the machine. She first shot to fame last year with their song 'Dog days are over' and to be honest, I didn't like her too much then. But now, with 'Shake it out' she has my full attention. With fantabulous lyrics like 'I am done with my graceless heart/ So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart' I don't know why I should listen to any of the other pop trash out there. Her music has been variously classified as 'mystical pop' or 'rock' and well I don't care much about the classifications.

I have been exploring more of her music, and I realize all the critical acclaim she is receiving isn't unwarranted. 'No light, no light', and 'Leave my body' are other songs by her you should check out. Though all her music may not appeal to me, there is undeniable talent here.

Lana Del Rey
Another singer I have discovered just a couple of days back is Lana Del Rey. So far, the only thing I know about her is that her music is ethereal and addictive. Listen to 'Video Games'. I haven't been able to stop listening since a week now. Don't get distracted by how she looks. She is the only good looking singer on this list. That track however may not appeal to everyone with its lazy meandering pace. Other tracks you should check out are 'Born to die' and 'Blue jeans'. This singer is just starting off, but there is something special here, no doubt about that.

Last on this list is the very (in)famous Lady Gaga. She has single-handedly transformed the International Pop scene, bringing in good quality music, infusing a new lease of life into music videos, and changing concepts of fashion forever. High time you stopped making fun of her and started respecting her. Have any doubts about her vocal prowess and let the song 'You and I' dispel them. I don't think I will ever be able to get over that song. Her music, in general is very get-stuck-in-your-head type and very danceable-to. And who doesn't love a great dance track? Her other songs I would recommend are 'Bad Romance''Telephone' and 'The edge of glory'.

Lady Gaga
Her lyrics may be obscene at times, but I assure you they are never dumb. Sample this: 'I don't wanna think anymore/ I left my head and my heart on the dance floor' (on Telephone). She doesn't look that good but hides the fact extremely well with her various get-ups. She has created an identity and an image for herself, which helps a lot to set herself apart and succeed in the otherwise sick frenzy of female pop artists out there. For that, I admire her. And well, as she herself proclaimed in one of her songs: 'I'm a freak, baby' (on Bad Romance), maybe we should just accept that and move on. Her videos are always such brilliant works of art, though often bordering on unwatchable. But listening to her music always feels good. In a bad way. Yeah.

Do let me know if there are any female artists currently making music that you really admire. Here's to hoping more of good music and more of female dominance over this world. Hah. Ladies and gentlemen, sit up, and listen. The women are here.


  1. hmmmmmmmm
    You see one has to be careful how media leads their muscial interests as it tends to stare toward the new only and by virtue fade others into the background akin to "noise" and no one pays attention. There are greats that are still making fabulous music but one wouldn't know if they stick to mainstream. Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Shingai Shonewa, Esperanza Spaulding, Indie Irie, Lela James Janelle Monae',Chrisette Michele and a whole host of others.

    I do love adele, the rest i can take with a grain of salt.

    stay blessed.

  2. i'm not sure if you're into the metal scene at all but here Otep Shamaya of Otep,Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil and Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy, these are two bands at the forefront of the metal scene especially Arch Enemy. Then going old school there Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell and there's a whole lot more

  3. I'm hooked on to Video games :) The voice, it's so haunting and just so beautiful! I love Adele too. Have you heard Set Fire To The Rain?
    Also try listening to Frou Frou. It's amazing :)

  4. big fan of Lady gaga, that bloody narcissist know what she does very well.Her lyrics explodes with independence ,freedom and liberty. Her style is quiet unique

  5. Lana del Rey's hypnotic voice singing the glamorous, submissive, dazed, dissolute lyrics of Born to Die, Off to the Races, National Anthem, is dreamily druggy and the accompanying strings create an aptly surreal ambiance. Those would be my favourites.

    Lady Gaga's expressionist free spirit, individualism and liberalism set her apart and make her extremely attractive to me. Also, her music is upbeat, fun, electronic, and videos quirky. My favourites have been Poker Face, Just Dance, Paparazzi, Telephone, Born This Way (country version), Schei├če.

    I also love...
    Kimbra's Settle Down, Good Intent.
    Regina Spektor's All the Rowboats, Hero, Us. (Hero & Us are featured in 500 Days of Summer and everything about that movie is pretty much genius.)
    Julie Delpy's Je t'aime tant, Time to Wake Up (that was my ringtone for ages until a few months ago), Ready to Go, Lame Love, Black and Gray. That's pretty much the entire album. The rest are equally good.
    Zaz's Je veux, Le long de la route, Prends garde a ta langue, Coeur Volant (OST Hugo)
    ...and also the women in classical but since we're sticking to music a bit more mainstream.

    1. I was wondering if you gave them a listen?

    2. So far, only Kimbra. I've been exploring her, got addicted. Love her, thank you for recommending. Will hear the rest as well, soon.

    3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i1mr9amqeg

      So far, my favourite performance by her.

    4. Heard more of the songs, lked All the rowboats and Us,

      and July Delpy's Time to wake Up and Je t'aime (I don't understand French much but the tune and the accent got stuck in my head).

      I can't listen to music unless I understand the lyrics, so French music would be pretty much useless on me.