Last year I released a women’s only playlist for Women’s Month (celebrated nationally in March). This year, I’d like to preface the list by addressing a few things.
First, the amount of women speaking out about sexual abuse and gender inequality is truly refreshing and much needed. I applaud everyone who is sharing their stories and offering support to others.
However, in the wake of #metoo, it’s imperative to remind everyone that the goal for equality will not be achieved by extremities on either side, rather through a collective exchange of discussions void of identity politics.
Yes, we should not accept sexual abuse or inequalities of any kind, and yes, there is a huge gender inequality in the entertainment industry especially. But, we should also be wary not to throw caution to the wind.
There have been a lot of articles, a lot of names and a lot of ideas about what our society’s perspective on sex and dating should be, and what it currently is. Extreme comments and opinions have come from both sides, and in those extremities, confusion and fear cloud the problem solving process. Instead of unifying for a common goal, many have begun to break off into more extreme identity politics, creating an “if you’re not like me, you’re against me,” mentality. That is also wrong.
The Weinsteins of the world should be persecuted. They should be called out. They should face consequences. While there is no doubt our dating and sex culture is askew, we should not create an “us vs. them” scenario based on one how extreme your views are. We should strive to create a safer environment for all, and that’s not done by prosecuting every man and woman who does not think exactly like us.
With that out of the way, here are 8 songs (International Women’s Day is March 8) from women past to present whose voices we should listen to more.
8. “Tilted” by Christine and the Queens: French artist Christine and the Queens doesn’t have too much to say politically, but her music is catchy and creative. Christine sings in French and English, and many of her music videos include some Michael Jackson inspired choreography from Christine. “Tilted” is full of luscious beats and slick vocals.
7.“Until We Get There” by Lucius: This month Lucius released a new album consisting of acoustic covers and new music, titled ‘Nudes.’ Lead vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig are full of creativity and self expression on stage, and their music is an Indie-pop fan’s dream. The stripped down version of their song, “Until We Get There” is a great demonstration of the leading ladies’ ability to hone in on each other’s vocal energy and key into a communal sonic exchange.
6. “Doves in the Wind” by Sza:<span style="font-weight: 400;" Sza came out of left field for me last year. I had heard her name in the past, but was a little hesitant to listen because hip hop is not my favorite genre. But, when Sza released ‘CTRL,’ I gave it my full attention and was pleasantly surprised. Sza is honest, daring at times and never bashful. “Doves in the Wind” is a candid and playful conversation about sex and romance, and how men and women differ.
5. “Summer Cold” by Bedouine: Listening to Azniv Korkejian’s debut album last year felt like I had accidentally stumbled into a sepia-toned time machine. It was a spoken word essay set to folk inspired, classic country infused melodies that spoke to the weary and wanderlust. It was a refreshing breeze that also brought along powerful songs such as “Summer Cold,” which in all honesty is the one melodic outlier in the album, and for good reason. Korkejian uses her new role as musician to speak about the atrocities happening in Syria, not from a political perspective, but as a Syrian-born immigrant saddened to see her homeland be destroyed.
4. “Come and Be a Winner” by Sharon Jones: Last year, ‘Soul of a Woman’ was released by Sharon Jones posthumously. The album was not a lamentation of Jones’ death, but rather a beautiful collection of songs that blossom into a pulsing vibrancy. “Come and Be a Winner” is a positive, upbeat and inspiring message to persevere and keep moving.
3. “Hunt You Down” by Kesha: Kesha’s first album since her legal battle with her former manager proved to be an interesting peak into Kesha’s newfound strength and past experiences. She addressed sexual abuse and toxic power dynamics, but through it all she still maintained a sense of humor. “Hunt You Down” is Kesha at her silliest and sharpest. Johnny Cash-esque start off the tune with Kesha yodeling in her lyrics. It’s a cute and open song about love with lots of humor.
2. “No Man Is Big Enough for My Arms” by Ibeyi: There is no mistaking what Ibeyi is talking about in their song “No Man is Big Enough for My Arms.” The song, off their latest album, references political leader Jennifer Clement’s poetic biography, “Window Basquiat,” and overlays sound bites of Michelle Obama’s speeches regarding the respect of women and girls. It is a powerful and poignant reminder to girls everywhere that they are worth something and deserve better.
1. “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor: Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” became a disco anthem when it first came out, and has continued to speak to all who have had heartache or anyone who has ever felt taken advantage of or discriminated against. Gaynor’s vocals, the insistent melody and strong lyrics all evoke feelings of self-empowerment and a “can-do” attitude.