Monday, April 13, 2009

Lists are hot: songs by queer women

This is my new monthly column at eurOut for all those who think lists are hot. This month I share my ultimate queer mix tape.

The one thing we at eurOut have in common, besides being gay and big geeks, is our love for lists. When I had my first eurOut staff meeting, we spent the first ten minutes declaring how much we loved making lists and almost drooling at the thought. Ok maybe it was only me that was almost drooling.

I figured we are probably not the only lesbians who love (making) lists, hence, a new column was born: Lists are hot. Every month (or whenever I feel inspired) I will share with you some of my favourite lists. This time I want to talk to you about music, more specifically about songs by queer women.

I sat down and made a list of all the queer singers and bands that I liked. Then for each singer/band I chose my favourite song. Of course I didn’t just make this list up on the spot, but it involved countless hours of listening to all the different songs.

I am sure you will agree with me that the end result is more than worth it. This list is not in order of importance, but in the order I would want you to listen to these songs, if they were part of a real album.

1. Chris Pureka – Burning Bridges

I’ve been a fan of New England singer/songwriter Chris Pureka ever since I stumbled upon her music by accident a few years ago while surfing the web. Burning Bridges from Pureka’s debut album Driving north (2004) represents everything that I love about – what I call – acoustic guitar music.

I heart the sound, I heart the lyrics and most of all I heart how it makes me feel: Good, despite the fact that the lyrics are rather depressing (Warning: More depressing songs ahead). Listen to more songs by Chris Pureka on MySpace page.

2. Melissa Ferrick – Drive

This, to me, is the ultimate sexy song. And when I say sexy, I really mean sex. Well, I could elaborate, but if you just listen to the song you will understand what I am talking about. In my opinion, all songs by Melissa Ferrick, another New England singer/songwriter playing ‘acoustic guitar music’*, are worth listening to, but Drive from the 2000 album Freedom holds a special place in my heart.

3. The Dresden Dolls – Good day

The Dresden Dolls have been my favourite band every since I discovered them through the blog of author Caitlin R. Kiernan. I think Amanda Palmer, and everything she does, is simply awesome. Yes, when it comes to the Dresden Dolls I am far from objective.

I just love love love the style of music (cabaret punk, apparently. Have you noticed how I suck at genre labels?), the F you attitude, and the amazing lyrics. I had a really hard time choosing one particular song, but I finally settled on Good day from their self-titled album the Dresden Dolls (2004).

4. Caroline Gilmour – Space

Scottish newcomer Caroline Gilmour had been playing music in several bands for over 8 years, before launching her solo career about a year ago. Her debut album Someday (2009) has just been released, and my favourite track of the album is Space.

It’s a great guitar rock track that does not at all sound like it’s being sung by someone so young. It’s the kind of song that reminds me of the days when I just to go to music festivals every summer.

5. Tracy Chapman – Fast car

I’ve loved this song ever since I first heard it during the broadcast of the “Free Nelson Mandela” concert over twenty years ago. I’m a fan of Tracy Chapman’s music in general, but Fast car from the self-titled album Tracy Chapman (1988), has always been one of my favourites. Really good songs tend to stand the test of time. You can listen to more Tracy Chapman songs on Last.fm.

6. Janis Ian – At Seventeen

An oldie, but a goodie. This song used to make me cry when I was in middle school. I thought I was a fat ugly loser who would never get a boyfriend. Snicker. That’s back in the days when I actually thought stupid things like popularity mattered.

At seventeen (from the album entitled Between the lines) was first released in 1975, but Janis Ian is still making music and performing these days.

7. Ani Difranco – Grey

Which lesbian or bisexual woman doesn’t like Ani Difranco? I thought I’d at least pick one of the less obvious songs. Grey is one of the most depressing songs I have ever heard. Seriously. When I first heard it I loved it so much, I thought it would be the perfect song to play when you kill yourself. Morbid much? Anyway, this song from the 2002 album So much shouting, so much laughter is why I like Difranco. Good acoustic guitar songs with great lyrics.

8. Skunk Anansie – Weak

During the years that I used to go to the summer music festivals, Skunk Anansie was a band that I saw perform quite a number of times. It always sounded really great, and the crowd always went wild. Much more so, than with louder acts.

This was in the days when you were still allowed to crowd surf, and standing at the front of the stage during a Skunk Anansie performance could get you killed (ok, slight exaggeration). Weak from the album Paranoid and sunburnt (1996) reminds me of those days.

9. The Murmurs – Carry me home

As much as I like Uh Huh Her, the main reason why I love Leisha Hailey as a musician is because of her days with the Murmurs. The Murmurs made such fun poppy songs, and one of the best examples of this is their song Carry me home from their self-titled the Murmurs album (1994).

I love their harmonies on this song, especially during the chorus. I’m not ashamed to admit I love singing along with it (totally off key, of course).

10. Jen Foster – I didn’t just kiss her

I didn’t just kiss her, Jen Foster’s reaction to the Katy Perry song I kissed a girl, is not only very cool, I also think it is a really good song. Every since I bought the song a week ago, it’s been stuck in my head. Granted, that doesn’t necessarily say much about the quality of a song. I am not a big fan of all of Jen Foster’s music, but this tune I really enjoy. Find out more about her music on her MySpace page.

11. Pil & Liv – I care

Of course, a list of favourite songs by queer women would not be complete without ‘our own’ Pil & Liv. They are like Tegan & Sarah, only Danish and much much cuter. I care is the song I like best from the songs I recently purchased at their indiestore. Not convinced yet that you should do the same and buy their stuff? You can first check out more of Pil & Liv’s music on their MySpace page or watch their vlogs here.

12. K’s Choice – Not an addict

Besides Skunk Anansie, the one other band that makes me think of those nineties summer music festival’s is Sarah Bettens' former band K's Choice. I remember their 1996 performance of Not an Addict together with Skin from Skunk Anansie very distinctly.

I not only love this song, but the entire album Paradise in me (1996) is brilliant. OK, perhaps not brilliant, but it used to be one of my favourite records that I played over and over again.

13. Indigo Girls – Romeo and Juliet

Some say there is nothing gayer than the Indigo Girls, although to be honest, up to a few years ago, I had never even heard of them. I am glad when I did, because some of their songs you really don’t want to be missing out on.

One of those songs is Romeo and Juliet, from their 1992 album Rites of passage. I love this song so much, and I was very disappointed when I found out a while later that it’s actually a Dire Straits cover. Listen to more Indigo Girls on their MySpace page.

14. Melissa Etheridge – Like the way I do

If there is one song that I have always associated with being a lesbian, even years before I knew I was one, it’s Like the way I do by Melissa Etheridge. Growing up, Etheridge was one of the few lesbians I had heard of, which was cool with me because her song rocked. I still think this song rocks, especially this particular live version from 1990. And that concludes my queer women soundtrack.

Do you agree with my list or would you have picked a totally different selection? Let me know about some of your favourite queer songs in the comments. Suggestions for future lists are also welcome.

* Yes, I know folk singer is the proper, or at least better, term, but I really hate that description. Not that mine is any better, of course.

2 comments:

Greymatter said...

nice selection :) we've got some new songs out this summer.. perhaps we'll make it to one of your lists.. ;) x

Natazzz said...

Thanks.

Looking forward to the new stuff :-)