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
- En Vouge
- Ace Of Base
- No Doubt
- Tori Amos
- Sarah Mclachlan
- Alanis Morisette
- Spice Girls
- The Cranberries
- Fiona Apple
- Lauryn Hill
- No Doubt
Latitude x Longitude (LxL)
Seattle indies who blend contrasting elements into slick songwriting. It’s like baroque for Gen Y. If you don’t know what that means, you aren’t in the “know.”
Seattle Pop-Rock Siren of redemption and vindication. It’s not Emo…. it’s Awesome. Featured on NPR on in ROCKRGRL.
Canadian Electro artist with roots in riot grrrl & dance, Madonna-style. Stick it to the man, and then par-tay! Seriously, it’s like we’re two grrrls cut from the same cloth.
Accuracy and oppression? Where in the world is she going with this? Well, I shall tell you.
I recently read an article on NPR.org about a new rap anthology that is being released. The article “Why The Errors In ‘The Anthology Of Rap’ Matter” by Jacob Ganz was interesting, but I felt it failed to mention a few key issues which I think are extremely important. Though the article’s topic isn’t specifically about women in music, there is a connection here between oppressed groups and their representation (or misrepresentation) by those who would catalog them. This anthology of rap book and it’s shortcomings I feel are very similar to the misrepresentations, purposeful discounting of experience, and just sloppy journalism many Riot Grrrls experienced in the early 1990s.
So, let me explain.
This is an anthology of rap lyrics. Awesome. Problem: lyrics are wrong! And some people think “Oh well, our bad. No big deal.” Say what?
Would you have such a nonchalant attitude if this was a Beatles anthology of song lyrics? I highly doubt it. If this book was titled “Classic Rock Anthology,” there would be hordes of unpaid, starving, and paisley clad interns making sure every comma and contraction was painstakingly correct. And then, they would bring in a new batch of interns, and check it all over again.
Marginalized groups have always had a difficult time having their voices heard and heard in a way, shape, and form that they choose. Rap music is no exception. Often those in privileged positions in society will try to “speak” for these groups, showing their “expertise” on their issues and problems. This usually ends up being patronizing and yet another way for the actual people in these groups to be silenced. Ya know, the man trying to tell other people about their own history and culture and what not.
Turn it up! Grrrl style!
Check out this great new resource for those of you wondering what it is like to be a musician who happens to be female. It starts today with the online features, and on air segments on NPR. NPR asked hundreds of working women from all genres what it is like, and includes the results and other notable pages. I’ve spent about an hour so far just exploring and I am really impressed. The responses are amazing, and telling of what it is like to be a woman in still quite (que James Brown….no wait, Xtina’s version) a man’s world.
I am so excited and I look forward to hearing the on air segments, as well as, further exploring all of the online features. You can contribute your thoughts as well here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The only thing I don’t like about the series is the “woman musician” part in the title. You don’t put “man” in front of musician do you? Nope. I know we are focusing on women, which is the point, which is awesome. But we need to say musicians who are also women, not “woman musicians.” Why? The default meaning for musician should not be gendered. I know that it is, and we need to take active steps in breaking that idea (thus this commentary.)
Musicians can be anyone! When we put “woman musician” and never do the same for “male musician,” you default musician’s meaning as male, and you maintain androcentrism with the notion that woman are not normally musicians. Therefore, women remain the marked gender that is not standard issue. So when they are musicians, they are seen as somehow abnormal, unusual, and the exception, not rule, because you are altering the word with a gendered signifier. And that’s not true, nor cool.
Women have always been musicians, they just haven’t always gotten credit or recognition for their craft. And I hope for those of you who are unconvinced check out this series and understand the awe and inspiring power that women have in their musical voices, hands, minds, and hearts.