A few days ago, someone who does not know me very well innocently commented after hearing a few songs on my iPod that I listened to “some serious chick music”. For some reason, it annoyed me. Actually, I have several reasons to be annoyed with a statement like that.
First off it’s sexist. Had my iPod happen to play the David Bowie, The Clash, Cut Copy or Jamie Lidell that it does indeed posses, would I have been accused being a fan of “penis music”? I doubt it.
Secondly, I think it’s inaccurate. When I think of “chick music”, I think of plus-sized college gals listening to John Mayer while eating a pint of Cherry Garcia in their dorm room. Rest assured, I’m not her.
Lastly, I don’t like to be put in a box(pun intended, by the way). As a former record store employee and DJ, I like to think that I like all kinds of music regardless of the gender of the artist. In short, if it doesn’t suck, I’ll listen to it.
And yet there is truth in the statement. 95% of all the music I listen to just so happens to be by female artists. And no it’s not just because I’m gay although the term “gay music” also annoys me but I’ll save that rant for a rainy day or for whenever Jimmy Somerville releases a new album. Whichever comes first.
I guess female musicians from all genres appeal to me because I feel the message and I buy it unconditionally. From dance music and rock to jazz and pop, women in music speak to me. I think on some level because of the heart and struggle that inherently exists in the work. For example, when Billie Holiday sings Strange Fruit the power hits you directly in the gut. This song is not gender specific as it is about the horrors of racial violence but having a woman deliver the message makes it even more powerful.
Also, most male vocalists just don’t do it for me. Listening to a straight white man whine about a broken heart doesn’t stir up any emotion in me unless you're Elvis Costello and again that’s an entirely separate blog. In short, I’ll swing to Sinatra when I’m doing dishes but if I need to be lifted to another emotional plain, then Nina Simone will have to be present.
So yeah I love chick music, girl groups, and vagina rock. So what? It makes me proud that my nieces could be the next Chrissie Hyndes or Stevie Nicks or Bjorks if they wanted to be. I’ve learned to embrace my feminism as of late and thankfully it has a kick ass soundtrack.