I’ve come to believe that Britney Spears changed our culture (or, more accurately, severely damaged our culture) with her music video of “Baby, One More Time”. For many boys who saw that video, she became the symbol for what they thought girls should be like. For many girls, she became their ideal. They decided that it wasn’t so much about being talented, just flashy and fleshy. It was more about presentation than substance.
Furthermore, Ms. Spears severly damaged the music industry. Labels had already been marketing male-centric bands/artists on their music and female bands/artists on their sex appeal, but this cemented that practice. Women are graded differently than men in the music industry. Women must perform with flash and flesh to become famous. But it works. Fergie, Lohan, Aguilera, the list goes on.
So with this mix, I’m doing my part to tear down those ideals and show that there are, in fact, talented women out there making music on their own terms. None are particularly famous yet (with perhaps two exceptions), but I’d be willing to wager that they are much happier than any woman (or teen) you hear on pop radio. What’s more, they actually write music and lyrics and play instruments themselves! I call this mix, Women Who Rock. Here’s the tracklist (which could easily have been much longer) and the download link is below that. Hope you enjoy!
1. Vashti Bunyan – Against the Sky
Many female artists cite Ms. Bunyan as an influence. She was one of the first women to play solo folk music in the 60’s. She’s similar to Nick Drake, only she’s still alive.
2. Imogen Heap – Sweet Religion
Heap is gaining more attention these days. This song is from one of her earlier albums.
3. Annie – Heartbeat
Annie is responsible for every sound you hear in this song. She’s an amazing electronic musician.
4. Feist – It’s Cool to Love Your Family
Leslie is blowing up thanks to an iPod commercial. This song comes from her very first album.
5. Bjork – Bachelorette
No list is complete without the reigning queen of art-ronica.
6. The Pipettes – Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me
Part Supremes, part Spice Girls.
7. Camera Obscura – Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken
Great song title by a great throwback band. Love the running strings on this tune!
8. Charlotte Gainsbourg – Tel Que Tu Es
The son of Serge, Charlotte gets bonus points for being an accomplished actor as well!
9. Bat for Lashes – Sea Tubilee
I recently discovered this band and love the textures of their sound.
10. Marketa Irglova – The Hill
If you haven’t seen Once by now, you’re missing out. This songstress is incredible in it.
11. Mirah – Jerusalem
Mirah has a very eclectic sound that my wife has fallen in love with and has taken me down with her.
12. PJ Harvey – Silence
I haven’t really liked Harvey’s last few albums, but her newest is great! Stripped down piano vocals work very well for her.
13. St. Vincent – These Days
Annie Clark got her start supporting bands like The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens. She’s an incredible multi-instrumentalist. This Nico cover is great, but check out her debut LP as well.
14. New Buffalo – Misery and Mountains, Arrows and Bows
Sally Seltmann is one of many talented women on the Canadian label Arts & Crafts. She also wrote the song “1, 2, 3, 4” made famous by Feist in the afor mentioned iPod advert.
15. Bic Runga – Birds
Hailing from New Zealand, Bic’s crystal clear voice is amazing.
16. Amiina – Seoul
They women got their start supporting Sigur Ros and have recently branched out into their own musical world. They are the definition of multi-instrumentalists, employing everything from wine glasses to four saws at once. You’ve never heard anything like this before.
I’d love feedback on this mix. Anyone have a favorite track or one they absolutely hate?