See Green (Courtenay Green) is an alternative/indie/pop singer-songwriter, but not only that, a guitarist, drummer, keyboardist, and producer DIY style. A one woman jukebox heroine indeed!
The first words that popped into my mind as I listened to See Green’s “Violet” EP: spunky, summer, pop, and maybe popsicle. Not the kind of pop that blissfully and quickly looses its sparkle, but witty and diverse song-crafting that is just plain fun. It’s solid New Wave with the incorporation of synths and other 80s tinged sounds. Plus, Courtenay’s vocals remind me of a Debbie Harry/Belinda Carlisle lovechild. Sweet!
The 5 song EP is satisfying and is the perfect prelude to a full length album. As soon as I heard the synths come in on “Goldmine,” the opening track, my foot was tapping and I wanted to call all my girlfriends over to hang out.
Likewise, with lyrics like “If you’re gonna play the joker, I’m gonna play the queen,” on “Get What I Want,” listeners are kept guessing at the whimsical twists and turns inside Courtenay’s mind. The highlight of the EP, “Devil in the Details,” begins with a polished bass line, a mid-range distorted guitar, and key-synth riff you’re sure to put on repeat.
With so much bad news out there, See Green’s music is a welcome reminder that we all need to let loose and lighten up. So check out “Violet” by See Green, and see a smile on your face.
Ok, I maybe a little late knowing this, but you’ll have to forgive me! I’ve been out of the pop music loop only until recently. But, thanks to a post on Monitor Mix, I now know that Beyoncé has an all-female touring band with her. She purposefully picked the best female musicians she could find to support her live. I think this is just freaking awesome! There are so many talented female musicians out there, but you don’t see them, and often no one even bothers to go looking for them. We never ask “Why do you have an all-male band, or why did you choose an all-male band?” Why don’t we ask this? It is because we expect male musicians as norm. We expect all-male bands as the norm. We don’t necessarily on purpose think that/do that (maybe some), it is through so many socialization cues and cultural messages that we just figure if you are a musician, you must be male. That’s why so many people put “female” before guitarist to note that it is not male, hence not normal. (Not why I do it, but that is another post)
So, when Beyoncé did this, she was not only breaking a music/musician norm, but she was making a very powerful statement. This act, I think is absolutely feminist, to include these amazing women, because as I have stated before, if you don’t make note of women, to include them, they won’t be included, and they will become invisible to the point that we think it is “strange” to see so many of them in a band. Yeah, there are gonna be some out there who think her picking an all-female band is “sexist,” but notice those same people never say that if the situation is reversed. They are only outraged when their gender isn’t the center of attention 24/7/365. Heaven forbid you don’t get all the damn spotlight and artistic credit!
I loved Beyoncé before I found this out. Now, even more props to one of the hardest working women in the biz!
In the words of Beyoncé: “When I was younger I wish I had more females who played instruments to look up to. I played piano for like a second but then I stopped. I just wanted to do something which would inspire other young females to get involved in music so I put together an all-woman band.” (1)
The Band- The Suga Mamas
Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion (1980) on Chrysalis
Pat Benatar was one of the first female rockers that I was ever exposed to. I came from a small, rural town in Pennsylvania, where “classic rock” filled every rock station. Apparently, it was the only thing considered music, and demographically, it wasn’t shocking that we didn’t have a more diverse radio enviroment. But, classic rock was what I had, so, I looked for inspiration when it was broadcast. Granted, this was the 90s, and I could have found out about artists other ways, like MTV, or the internets, or concerts. But this was a small town, I didn’t have cable or the internet, so the radio was all I had for a long time. At times, it felt like I was really in 1970, but I digress.
On rare occasions, a female voice would come through on the dial, and it was more than likely one of three voices: Ann Wilson (Heart), Joan Jett, or Pat Benatar.
In fact, Pat Benatar’s song “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” was one of the first songs my band had covered by a female artist. She inspired me to rock out. Who doesn’t love her vocal awesomeness? Who doesn’t love her killer 80s fashion? She’s not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame yet, but she damn well better be soon. Even if you don’t like that Hall of Fame idea, (me), you still know what ladies deserve it!
I have almost all of her albums on vinyl. Cheaply, I might add. Why has Pat Benatar been regulated to the $1 bin in used record shops? Why? She was a killer force for rock music in the 1980s and even now, there are not many who match her touring cred, vocal skills, and just pure charm. Is it because she was so popular, that somehow, there is just an overload of her work on vinyl? Is it that she’s just not cool, like the piles of Barbara Streisand or Deep Purple vinyl records I also see in the $1 bins? I don’t really know, but good for me and all those who want to listen to some women who just rock.
Indeed, Pat Benatar is one of those women in rock powerhouse names. Like Blondie or Stevie Nicks, Pat is accessable to many women and grrrls out there looking for other female musicians to role model. This was true for me. I didn’t have Riot Grrrl even when it was going on. No local music scene where rebel womyn railed against the all-boys club. A lot of people put down artists that make it really big. They must have sold out somehow? Right? No. I don’t think so. In some ways, Pat’s ability to speak to such a wide audience is liberating. Eventually, you find others, lesser known and such, but there is nothing wrong starting with and loving the big ones.
So, Crimes of Passion. This album is a juggernaut for rock anthems. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Treat Me Right,” You Better Run,” “Hell is for Children,” and “Out a Touch” are all worthy of turning it up to eleven. They are solid when it comes to guitar riffs, climactic choruses, and singable hooks. Gosh, how can you not love Neil’s crisp and lightly distorted guitar solos? They are just so perfect! The lyrics, I might add, are empowering. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” is a rather tongue and cheek call, challenging your potential lover. “Treat Me Right” is a theme for demanding your lover stop playing with your heart. “You Better Run” is similar, demanding your significant lover stop telling lies, and confusing them. And last, “Hell is for Children” brings light the issues of child abuse.
Pat always just seemed such a confident performer. Even if you have never seen her live, you can hear it in her voice. Maybe it was her opera training. But she commands your attention at the flicker of an octave jump. She was one of the first female artists featured on MTV. She is one of the highest selling female rock artists of all time. She knows what she is doing, and I love it! A class act all the way!
- Side A
- Treat Me Right
- You Better Run
- Never Wanna Leave You
- Hit Me With Your Best Shot
- Hell Is For Children
- Side B
- Little Paradise
- I’m Gonna Follow You
- Wuthering Heights
- Prisoner Of Love
- Out A Touch
Pat & Neil Online: