Hot ImagesHot ImagesHot ImagesHot ImagesHot Images
Hot ImagesHot ImagesHot ImagesHot ImagesHot Images

August 19, 2010

The Soundtrack of My (Feminist) Life

Though I'm horrified to admit that Britney's first album was also my first album, I'm a classic and progressive rock lover at heart, and it's been that way ever since my older brother had the good sense to take me under his wing. My brother (his name is Derrick, but I like to call him Darnaldo) is like this insane musical genius (here's the link to his band, The Glass Eyes). He can play the drums, guitar, keyboard . . . and I'm pretty sure if we had a didgeridoo lying around he could play that, too. Though there are times I'm upset he hogged all the music genes (like when I'm trying to play Greensleeves and my fingers literally hiss and tell me "no!"), I guess I can forgive him. After he all, he did turn me on to some of the greatest bands of all-time.

Seriously, if you haven't heard Dream Theater's 42-minute epic Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, you haven't lived.

Anyway, it just sucks that the "rock universe" is completely dominated by men. I don't mean that as an insult, but sometimes you need a rush of fierce, raw feminine power. So I've compiled a list of some of the artists I turn to when I need a - for lack of a better term - girl power fix.

She's Not Just A Pretty Face - Shania Twain
Don't laugh, you know you loved Shania at one time or another. Some of my best memories are listening to Come On Over in my grandma's car on the way to kindergarten; in fact, we listened to that tape so many times I think the car stereo started to say "ugh, not this again." Though she's like most of the campy, country-slash-pop stars out there who sing about love, loss, and love again, I can appreciate the lyrics to many of Shania's songs. With the iconic lyrics "I'd rather die standing than live on my knees" Black Eyes, Blue Tears is about courage and refusing to put up with abuse; She's Not Just A Pretty Face (see below) dictates that women can be anything from rodeo stars, to surgeons, to parking valets; What a Way to Wanna Be! comments on the ridiculousness of trying to be "perfect"; and Man! I Feel Like a Woman . . . well, that's just plain fun to sing in the car!

Strong Enough - Cher

Ah, Cher. Another fun memory from my past. When I wasn't annoying my grandma with listening to Come On Over for the thousandth time, we'd pop in Cher's greatest hits and belt out Strong Enough: "Cause I'm strong enough to live without you / strong enough and I quit crying / long enough, now I'm strong enough / to know you gotta go." It sounds lame, but there's something really powerful about Cher's songs. The way she sings, the way you sing along - it makes you feel strong, like you can do anything!

Bad Body Double - Imogen Heap
Even though I can't understand a thing she says 90% of the time, I love Imogen Heap. I love her techno-heavy songs, I love her breathy, surreal voice, and I absolutely adore her image. Like I said, her songs are kind of random - I'd say borderline acid trip - but they never make you feel like you’re listening to the stereotypical “woman pining after lost love.” I like her song Bad Body Double because it’s complete satire. She talks about an “imposter” that, coincidentally, “has a little extra weight on the side,” gray hairs, and always seems to interrupt at the most inopportune moments. Translation? We’ve all got “bad body doubles” that make us feel self-conscious, but we can’t let them ruin our fun!

Everybody’s Fool - Evanescence

I like to call Evanescence my “guilty pleasure” band. I’m not a fan of the whole gothic rock image, but Amy Lee’s voice is really rich and pretty. Everybody’s Fool is my favorite of their songs because it parodies the fact that people actually worship celebrities. They’re “perfect by nature” and we should “bow down to them”. . . ugh! Especially with the whole celebrities-pressure-girls-to-look-a-certain-way issue, this song gets a feminist thumbs up!

If Looks Could Kill - Heart

Okay, Ann Wilson has the greatest female rock vocal ever, bar-none. I actually got to see Heart live about a year ago and they completely outshined the other bands. Ann and Nancy Wilson - the band’s two frontwomen - are beautiful, extremely talented, and just exude ferocious female power. Basically, they completely shatter the stereotype that women need to be shoved into skimpy outfits and doused with fire hoses to be successful. God, I love them. And if you're ever coming out of a bad break-up or just need to get pumped up, listen to If Looks Could Kill:

And finally, the biggest shocker of the night: I am a total geek for Asian pop! (All things Asian, actually. I’m learning Chinese, I’ve read manga since I was in elementary school, and my mom and I watch Taiwanese dramas religiously.) Even though most of the songs are sappy and about love - we’d never know it without a translation! To us they’re just extremely catchy and addicting. Anyway, one of my favorite Taiwanese bands is S.H.E, a three-girl group consisting of Selina Jen, Hebe Tien, and Ella Chen, and their latest album SHERO is amazing. The title-track is the essence of awesomeness. Check out the English lyrics, trust me: