Lady Singers

Well, let’s make it a trio of music-related blogs this week.  It’s been ages since I wrote specifically on music (prior to Monday).  It will probably be a while again, just knowing me, so let’s get one more out before we move on to weightier things like Schizopolis or dumbbells.

For practically forever, I’ve been telling people how much I don’t really like female vocals in rock music.  I haven’t really been drawn to lady singers, historically, unless we’re talking about soul music or jazz music or British rap.  Maybe its the product of some inner misogynist self I am not consciously aware of that dictates my taste in vocalists.  I don’t think it’s anything to do with pitch or mechanics.  I love Rush with their high vocals.  It could be due to scarring from listening to Courtney Love and Alanis Morissette.  It could by my being fed up with the overdramatic, romantic crap women are often assigned to sing, or that the bands they often front simply don’t rock.

Well, not intentionally, I’ve been learning to love female vocals over the last three years or so.  It’s been a process, and the enjoyment and discovery of certain female singers I love has allowed me to heal from my early disregard of or distaste for female vocalists.  I find that I can enjoy 10,000 Maniacs, Blondie, and the like, who had previously been discarded.

As has been the case with many a music revelation for me, the start of enjoying female vocals came from live performances.  Specifically getting the opportunities to back fantastic and engaging singers like Amy Caton and Julia Owens and more recently, Andy Spray.  It was a strange realization a few weeks ago as I planned out the Revolution worship band evolution through the summer that a girl (Julia) is my favorite vocalist to back who was never a part of .HEREtoday. (Chip and John still hold the top spots, but Julia is a solid third).

Next, after having my prejudices softened by the live performance, I started to reevaluate what I was listening to.  Mind you, this wasn’t intentional.  It just happened.  My subconscious asked, “If Julia, Amy and Andy can create an emotional reaction, than surely other female vocalists can, too…right?”  And I started to like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs more.  And Rilo Kiley.  Last year, I enjoyed Florence and the Machine.

So, thanks are due to Amy, Julia, Andy, Leah, Heather, and the other great ladies I’ve been priveleged to play bass for.  The old walls come crumbling down.

Now, some of my favorite music is led by women, and I search hard for the next thing to catch my ear.

Check ’em out:

Dude, lady-led bands can (and often do) rock so hard, especially Sleigh Bells.  2 minutes 5 seconds.  Amazing:

Oh, man.  Bass line and drums and electric guitar and ukulele and awesome melody…a soundscape I just want to lay down in and point at rabbit-shaped clouds.  Check out tUnE-yArDs:

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I think it is important to point out that Anne Wilson of Heart has always been immune to my not liking female vocals.    Heart rocks.

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7 thoughts on “Lady Singers

  1. When I first met my Matt he also told me he didn’t like female singers. At first I was offended, but I realized he just hadn’t worked with a cool one yet. Like you, he was converted. I think your observation about song selection for female leads is key. I HATE sappy, ballady songs. I LOVE rock songs. Thanks for including me on this! When are we playing together again? I love having you back there… so much energy! I have almost been knocked out by your bass head. You keep it dangerous 😉

  2. I love Florence and the Machine, and me being a massive country music fan, that’s saying something. Heart is fantastic also. I don’t know a bunch of their stuff, but “Alone” is one of my all-time favorite songs.

    Speaking of country music, though, there are some absolutely fantastic female country singers!!

  3. Matt, you rock. In the short time we were in the same band, you taught me a lot about authenticity and having lots of energy when playing live. I was still such a newbie at all that live band stuff.

    It would be totally fun to rock it out with you again!

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