Seems like there’s an awful lot of women
In whose honor I would
Like to raise my glass
And give a toast
One night last summer, I thought I had run into an awkward situation with the guy I was rooming with at the time. I don’t remember the details, but it was like a Tuesday night, the roommate was out, and there was nothing to do. Think you know where this story’s going? Wrong. Well maybe, I don’t remember, but anyways. So, I call up one of my best friends who lived right below me, and he comes up to hang out. The fluorescent lights in my room were super harsh and invasive, so usually at night I’d flip on the colored Christmas lights I’d strung 360 degrees around my room. Perfect mood lighting. I don’t remember the course of events, but the activity for the night ended up being us just sitting quietly in the perfect mood lighting, listening to my beautiful stash of chick singers. Usually bro’s don’t listen to Regina Spektor and Cat Power together, but that’s what we were doing, and it was awesome. About an hour later the roommate walks in on what looks like a pretty serious bromantic situation. There’s a smirk on his face as he throws his bag down and closes the door, but then he just sits down, nods in agreement to the great music, and closes his eyes. And what I learned that day is that nothing solidifies a male friendship like mutual respect for one’s taste in soft, female-sung music. Who’d'thought?
Besides from my mom (who, of course, is the best chick singer I know), my first introduction to female singers came from Dad. All the girls he had a crush on in college: Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Carol King, Mary Travers (from Peter, Paul, & Mary), etc. Apparently they were all hotties way back in the day, but by the time I was listening to them they were even older and geezier than my Dad. But I was in my oldies phase, and I loved them like I loved all my oldies. I credit Peter, Paul, & Mary for sparking my lifelong appetite for folk music and, later, Dan Bern for solidifying it.
In terms of chick singers of the past, there are some icons of female song that I refuse to leave off my list, even though I admittedly still don’t have much of their music. Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Nico. The Ella song below “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is the perfect, holiday-time, bundling up song. I hate the cold, but it almost (almost) makes me wish it were winter already so I play that song as I prepare for a classy, brisk night out on the town. The Aretha song will always have a special part in my heart, even though I always feel awkward and self-conscious playing it in public. Finally, the Nico song is the sample for probably my favorite mashup ever, “Slow Down” by Big Z Remixes.
I just finished eating an entire block of Jarlsberg cheese. I’m gonna regret that in the morning. Ok, getting off track….moving on. I’m pretty sure I’ve blabbered on about Feist in a number of my posts, so I’ll do it again. She’s amazing, and her voice is flawless. But surprisingly, I’ve found a few other artists in the last year or so who I dare say give her voice a run for its money. These women are truly fantastic, and I highly recommend giving them a listen and looking up more of their music:
There’s one chick singer on this post/mixtape who could kick the shit out of all the other women in the post (and probably all you guys reading this). And that’s Pink. Say what you will, but I proudly tromp around the gym rocking out to her furiousness. This is one of those songs that I remember exactly where I was when I first heard it. I was smashed at a super janky tourist bar in Beijing, coming back from an even jankier bathroom. I’m walking down the stairs back to my friends, and “So What” comes almost loud enough to blow my face off. It was awesome.
MP3: “So What” – Pink
One of my musical ambitions is to become better acquainted with female hip-hop artists. I know of quite of few, but I know of them mostly through features and the odd single. But as I’m sure you all remember from Nicki Minaj’s verse on Kanye’s “Monster,” female rappers can tear shit up. Jesus Christ. Of the female hip-hop artists whose albums I have, one of my favorites (and obviously one of the legends) is Lauryn Hill. Check it.
MP3: “Rill Rill” – Sleigh Bells
MP3: “Anyone Else But You” – The Moldy Peaches [[for my brother, who sings it almost(...) as well]]
MP3: “Wicked Games” – Coeur de Pirate (The Weeknd cover)
In case you don’t want to download all the songs individually, you can download a zip of them all here: