Monday, 1 July 2013

secret: my july challenge: lady rock stars

i have started writing about the triple j hottest 100 that ran recently - hottest 100 in the past 20 years - and having scrawled pages of notes on the music that made it into the countdown, i will get around to sharing that writing with you at some point.

however, an article caught my eye last week which has spawned an idea which has given birth to a personal challenge: Eliza Sarlos wrote about the distinct lack of women in this latest hottest 100. read her full article about quotas on triple j and see what you think, if you like. it certainly made me think- i hadn't noticed how male-heavy the countdown was, merely recognising songs i loved and grew up with (and don't get me wrong, it's really more than ok to like what you like).

a fair point worth considering, though, is why there were not more women in the countdown. i love female artists. of course, i find myself identifying with their lyrics on a different level altogether. granted, i have truly embraced my need for loud hard rock&roll and the power it brings, and i'm the first one to believe in the amping power of hiphop when you're at the top of a mountain full of fresh powder and a board strapped to your feet. plus there's the sex appeal, as a heterosexual woman, of a sexy male frontman revealing all his feelings n shit by way of microphone and perhaps a bit of hip-wiggling. undeniably attractive. however, women are, in my experience, also exceptional musicians with exceptional talent (and yep, exceptional sex appeal). i want to recognise them, and figure out exactly what it is that female musicians do for me, as well as perhaps put a bit of brain-power into wondering why we (Australians voting in the triple j hottest 100) appear to prefer men to women. is it because triple j has male-fronted man bands on high rotation all year, meaning we simply get to like what we hear a lot of? is it because women are less likely to be given credibility as career-musicians? is it because women suck and should just stick to what they know and make me a sandwich?

karen pickering offered up a starter list of awesome bands and artists that are women- plus her readers piped up in the comments. some i'd forgotten about, some i'd always meant to check out and hadn't got to it yet, and some i'd never heard of.

so, my challenge for myself this month is to make it a "female musician appreciation month". girls only. qualifying statement: when i suggest girls only music, i do not mean the sexed-up female popstars of a top 40 countdown. they deserve a blog-post all of their own, in which i make clear that it's not their fault.

i listen to a lot of music, a lot of the time, and that includes the sexed-up popstars. it includes a lot of hiphop, although i'm still to find and get hooked on a female hiphop artist. that's the goal of the month, i guess.

i'm going to start this week with all the female artists i currently have access to/am listening to: adele, ellie goulding, emma louise, feist, first aid kid, florence + the machine, haim, kate martin, lana del ray, lisa mitchell, the naked and famous, san cisco, seeker lover keeper, tegan and sarah, thelma plum. next week i'm planning to revisit 'old favourites' including the bands and artists mum showed me growing up, such as tracy chapman, natalie merchant, the eurythmics, joan armatrading, joan baez, joni mitchell. more i'm sure, but can't think of them now - i'll raid her cd collection. the week after, hmm, maybe i'll try something i haven't tried before - this is where i open the forum up to you all. suggest your favourite kick-ass girl album for me, or i'll sample a few from karen's list that i've heard of but never heard. i think week four will be about making mix cds, and more new music; perhaps week four will be 'support a local' week and i can write up someone who i know and love.

i'm excited. it's going to be weird and also probably a little tricky to avoid male artists, but it's a month. help me out if you can - collective brain power is the best, i say.

for now, to officially open this month of woman noise, i'll leave you with a current favourite, the cranberries performing live at NPR's tiny desk concert series:

see how i've been doing with the challenge:
week one: spending more time with the ones i love/artists i already have accessible
week two: favourites from before i was born
week three: new lady loves & heroes
week 4: in conclusion

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