By: Elle Hoffman, Editor-In-Chief
Ok, so in case you didn’t notice, 2013 has been the year of the ladies, which I think is great. I often find myself wondering why ⅔ of my playlists are male artists. It seems that a lot of the time new and good stuff is coming from artists with an extra chromosome, and the societal advantage thats comes with it, but 2013 is different. Not to say that women are just now magically becoming worthy artists, it just seems like they rarely have the lion’s share of attention unless you look solely at pop music and as much as I love Queen Bey women have so much more to offer musically.
Most of my summer and fall playlists consist of the fierce ladies who released music recently and when I was listening to it in my car a few weeks ago a male friend, who asked me to supply the playlist for his upcoming party, he asked me “not to include a bunch of this girly music”. Excuse me? The track playing was from London Grammar, who have a (ridiculously talented) female singer. If you replace her vocal line with a man doing the same thing the track would sound an awful lot like the XX, which no one has ever called “girly music”. So why, just because a woman is singing does a track become less applicable to a social gathering and more appropriate for dancing around a bedroom in underwear and singing into a hairbrush or…whatever girls do when they hear music?
I’m not here to ring the feminism alarm, because I catch myself doing the same thing too. Sometimes I find myself biased against female voices, I’m just wondering why it’s so harshly ingrained in us that female voices equate to soft or “for girls only”. If we segregated music like we did bathrooms we’d all miss out on a lot of great stuff – so lets just stop.
While there are female artists who are admittedly less marketable across gender, there are so many women releasing music today that are just good musicians. That’s it. End of discussion.
Who are these artists, you ask? Are they just favorites of mine? No, I don’t think so. While I’m not going to go as low as justifying my opinion by stating that most of my favorite artists are male (even though they are), I will give you a list of the progressive, interesting, and new ladies you SHOULD be listening to that have helped shaped the year 2013. While the men haven’t exactly been slacking this year, women have done some of the most interesting things so far this year.
The most obvious of these, I think, would be Haim. The band consists of three sisters who write their own songs, sing all their own stuff, and play all their own instruments. This is a band of three women who all play drums, shred guitar, and can deliver a hard-hitting vocal line – all while making it look easy. They have their own unique brand of hook-y Fleetwood Mac influenced indie pop, and they tear apart live shows (which I can attest to because I’ve seen them twice). It doesn’t matter that they all have about a mile of hair combined, wear skirts, and are style conscious (which male artists get to do with no comment), they’ve managed to escape being defined by their lady parts in the press (for the most part) and the listeners should let it be that way too. So what if the songs are sung by a woman, every track on their album is incredibly well-crafted and enjoyable, which is all you can really ask for.
I use Haim as an example, but there are myriad other women doing incredibly interesting things this year (Aluna of AlunaGeorge, Lorde, Hannah of London Grammar, Waxahatchee, Laura Marling who is arguably one of today’s best songwriters, Ellie of Wolf Alice, MIA, Swearin’, and Savages just to name a FEW). Do a quick google search of all the names I’ve listed and it won’t take long to find a blog post or four heralding them for doing something new or interesting.
I’m not saying that this idea of “girly music” is new, but I am saying that it’s out-dated and we need to get over it. Especially in a year like this one where women are so central to the year’s musical identity.
Challenge yourself, try something out. If someone thinks you’re “soft” because you throw on “Falling” at your next party, screw ‘em.