by Maya Brown
On one of my YouTube binges I found myself watching the video “Fireworks” by Katie Perry. I half expected Snoop Dog to pop out and start rapping or for the sparks to come out of Perry’s boobs rather than her heart. I was rather relieved that it actually had a good message at the end. How sad it is that I could judge a song based on how decent it is compared to the other songs by Katie Perry. Have we gotten to the point that something becomes good simply based on how bad it could have been?
With all the crap about Britney Spears doing this and Ke$ha singing that, I think it’s time to give a shout out to real positive women musicians. You know, the girls making really good music that we should be hearing a lot more of on the radio. They are real and deserve to be recognized. There are way too many to go into detail, so I’m going to focus on several as a starting point to get you hooked.
Adele is often on the radio and offers a much-needed break from the synthesized voices we usually hear. She has an amazing voice, and is truly her own person; she looks real and has meaningful and very personal songs. Another well-known artist is Sarah Bareilles, who wrote her famous “Love Song.” Instead of the typical song to a guy, it is actually her sassy response to being told to write a “marketable love song” to become famous. She instead used her music to show that she could be herself without trying to fit into society’s norms.
A couple other of amazing women from the lesser-known side of the tracks are Ingrid Michaelson, Kate Nash, Lenka, Thao with The Get Down Stay Down, Nellie McKay, Kimya Dawson, The Gossip, and Lucy Shwatrz. Ingrid Miachaelson is a popular indie/pop singer, whose amazing song “The Way I Am” describes being with someone who accepts you for who you are—a real contrast to songs like “Rude Boy” by Rihanna, which just talks about sex. Lucy Shwartz is an incredibly real 18-year-old singer and songwriter who has a unique sound for someone so young. Nellie McKay is a singer/songwriter/actress who is an outspoken feminist and animal activist. One of my favorite songs is “Mother of Pearl,” a satire about people’s views on feminism. Thao with The Get Down Stay Down are an amazing alternative rock group that creates unique music. Thao actually has a degree in Women’s Studies and a music video with Glee-star Dianna Agron (Quinn Fabray) for Oxfam, an organization that helps people overcome poverty.
Kimya Dawson and Kate Nash might have to be my favorite, although that’s just my musical taste. Kimya Dawson and her band The Moldy Peaches was the driving force behind the music in Juno, which might be why I’m so fond of the film, too. Her songs are catchy and have a way of staying light-hearted, while diving into the feelings we all feel in adolescence. Let’s face it, even though Taylor Swift would like to think so, not everyone’s life is a fairytale.
A few others worth mentioning are Florence + the Machine, who has been called the indie Lady Gaga; she’s just as weird, but with a few more clothes on and much less sexualized. M.I.A. is a hard-core, punk, female rocker listed as one of the most influential people by Time magazine. In a world where most of the women musicians on the radio sound very similar, M.I.A. is quite the catch. She’s not afraid to get down and dirty and prove to the world that women don’t have to be singing love songs to be amazing.
What makes these women all incredibly unique is their drive. They have the courage to break into a commercialized music culture and make their own path. While their songs may not always be directly encouraging women or girl power, they are definitely not the sorts of sexualized women we usually see. They are breaking the mold and writing about what’s important to them–not about what they think will sell the best. Listen to their music, take a chance on them, and help them to create a world where girls can achieve their dreams.