Thursday, August 30, 2012

Boys vs Girls

A quick scan through my CD collection reveals a bit of an uneven split between male and female artists. At a glance I'd say about an 80/20 split in favour of the blokes. Is it just me? Perhaps we all just want somebody we can sing along to and not sound too crap. With that considered the girls were always going to struggle with me. By and large my favourite music comes from the lead guitar/rhythm guitar/bass/drums configuration, a group format that you don't see fronted by many female singers. Well, not the ones that spin my wheels anyway.

Given that this blog has about an 80% chance of me picking a CD of a male artist or male fronted band I thought I'd better give a nod to the talent of the fairer sex portion of my CD collection.

Sinead O'Connor        -        Michelle Shocked        -        Billie Holiday

These artists are each incredibly talented and have been enjoyed at high volume through my speakers. Apart from that, what do they have in common? They each have in their repertoire that that most powerful of all songs, the protest song.

Sinead O'Connor hit the music scene in 1987 as an aggressive, bald headed force to be reckoned with. Her subject material on everything from religion to child abuse to her sexuality made us all sit up and listen. It's a shame that the first song most think of is Nothing Compares 2 U, a cover, she is so much more than that.

OK, Michelle Shocked is a bit of a stretch as a protest singer, I'll grant you that. Anchorage is one of only a handful of songs to give me goosebumps every time I hear it. It reminds me of of old friendships that have faded. The album cover on the other hand is pure protest as it shows Michelle dragged away from a demonstration by police.

Billie Holiday's life was always going to be a struggle. A victim of sexual abuse at a young age, a prostitute and abuser of drugs and alcohol she did it hard. Even without those challenges life was always going to be a struggle for a black woman in 1930's and 1940's America. When Billie released Strange Fruit in 1939, a song highlighting racism in America, in particular the lynchings of African Americans. The heads of Middle America must have spun.

Do I sing along to these artists? Of course I do. Kids scatter and the cat cringes but I do sing along.

No comments:

Post a Comment