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The 1990s in Music – Women Bring It!

Hole / Live Through This

The Sound Opinions radio show is quite awesome. They have covered various artists that I love including Chrissie Hynde, The Vivian Girls, and Janelle Monae. Now, the show is called “Sound Opinions” so, it’s a show featuring the things the hosts Jim & Gregg like. But I was a little disappointed in their recent show on the music of 1991, or at least the music that signified 1991 for them. That list didn’t include any women. 😦

Now, it wasn’t until a a few years later when we had mainstream media exposure for a lot of female artists we think of as staples now-a-days (Sarah McLachlan, Gwen Stefani, Beyonce, ect) but however, there were plenty of women doing grunge type stuff just as prolifically and passionately as Nirvana.

So for future reference, here are some albums that symbolize 1991 for me by the ladies who have just as much to say as Radiohead or NWA.

  • “Nature of a Sista” – Queen Latifah
  • “Bikini Kill” – Bikini Kill
  • “To Mother” – Babes in Toyland
  • “Smell The Magic” – L7
  • “Pretty on The Inside” – Hole
  • “Little Earthquakes” – Tori Amos
  • “Black’s Magic” – Salt ‘n Pepa (technically 1990, but “Let’s Talk About Sex” was released in 1991)
  • “Dreamy” – Beat Happening
  • “Gish” – Smashing Pumpkins
  • “Emotions” – Mariah Carey
  • “The Comfort Zone” – Vanessa Williams

Also, NRP’s All Songs Considered Blog just posted a note asking if the 90s were awesome and asking what music readers hold dear from that decade. Were the 90s awesome? Of course they were! Thankfully some readers made sure to comment on the amazing female artists of the time. Unfortunately, most did not mention the ladies and bands with the some ladies who rocked the decade. Sure, it maybe that none of the readers jammed out to Shawn Colvin, but we shouldn’t forgot these talented artists!

This is one of the problems with retrospectives and “best of” lists that get complied 10, 20 years after something happens. A few names get remembered (mostly male, see any Rolling Stone greatest list) and everything else disappears. That is why we loose so many amazing female artists because they do not get included in these types of lists or retrospectives ,therefore, later generations have no idea what was “cool” during a specific time period.  (Sure some male bands and artists are lost too, no argument there, but when it comes to remembering musicians, male artists dominate those lists.)

As a culture we don’t think these women are important enough to remember, or the list makers happen to be male, and often only include other men in their lists (they might not even realize, and it may not be intentional,  it but that doesn’t make it any less ok though.)

Yet another task for Jukebox Heroines, to make sure women who rock are never forgotten!

In case you don’t know, here are some women who turned it up in the 90s. By no means definitive, but this is just off the top of my head. Who am I missing? Let me know in the comments section! 🙂

  • Courtney Love
  • TLC
  • En Vouge
  • Ace Of Base
  • No Doubt
  • Tori Amos
  • Sarah Mclachlan
  • Alanis Morisette
  • Spice Girls
  • The Cranberries
  • Fiona Apple
  • Lauryn Hill
  • No Doubt
  • Belly

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Clinical Trials – You’re a Jukebox Heroine

In the Wake of the Digital Afterlife Cover Art

Clinical Trials is a Rock/Electro/Grunge outfit led by Somer Bingham, with  Dan LeMunyan on drums, AJ Annunziata on bass, and Ino Aksentiev on synths and keys.

From Brooklyn, NY, Clinical Trials brings the edgy flavor of the most acclaimed concert jungle, boasting influences such as MIA, Yeah Yeahs Yeahs, and PJ Harvy. I would even say that there are hints of Peaches as well in the polyphonic synths that drive much of the 90s distorted guitars.

Somer’s vocals are abound with protest march like  forcefulness. The drums swarm with crisp timing, and the bass and keys compliment each others highs and lows.

Disco Headphones is my favorite track, and begins with a dirty bass riff soon followed by Somer’s Debbie Harry-like rasp. The remix is also excellent, which you can check out on their myspace.

Clinical Trials – No trial needed. Edgy post-mod synthesis that will rock your headphones off.


Sadie and the Crooked Road – You’re Jukebox Heroines + Hero

Sadie and the Crooked Road is an indie/grunge/soul trio from Seattle, WA.

Influenced by groovin’ ladies like Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, and Janis Joplin, Sadie and the Crooked Road fuse an almost nu-folk with banjos, acoustic guitars, mandolins, and searing angst that feels right down home. This band next door masters the essentials of vocal harmonies and picking guitar lines that make their sonic space seem like a summer evening performance on your back porch.

Songs like “Find Me Shelter” hint at religious alienation, with its slide guitar, while “When I Get Where I Am Going” talks about traveling and keeping in touch with those you leave behind. It has a catchy hook that makes you want to clap along. This is my favorite song on their myspace. Sadie keeps it real and draws from that inner twang not everyone is willing to admit they love.

Grab a spiked lemonade and get ready for Sadie and The Crooked Road, Jukebox Heroines + Hero.


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