In preparation for the feminism discussion, I decided to reconfigure my iPod so as to listen only to female artists from the moment we finished recording the previous episode (so, for about three weeks in total).
Irritatingly, I both forgot to announce this shtick on that previous episode, and then entirely forgot to bring it up when we recorded feminism this last Sunday, so this'll have to be a blog-only bit of amusement this time around. Nonetheless, I invite you to do the same, and immerse yourself in the female psyche for the couple of weeks until the feminism episode is posted.
The parameters are up to you, but I restricted myself to female singer-songwriter types: not bands with a token female, or even a female singer singing male-written lyrics or cover tunes, and I left out bands like Fleetwood Mac with some songs written by men. I pretty much stuck with things that were already in my library anyway and didn't use this as an excuse to get into wholly new genres of music. In my case, this means I didn't include female soul/R&B/dance pop singers for the most part, just because that's not what I listen to normally, and likewise, most of my music (due to my age) involves those active in the 80s, though I have some newer stuff. So some of the musicians on my list were Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, Suzanne Vega, Neko Case, Regina Spektor, Rosanne Cash, Sandy Denny, Sarah McLachlan, Shawn Colvin, Sinead O'Connor, Suzanne Vega, Natalie Merchant, PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, Lisa Loeb, Liz Phair, Joan Osborne, Heather Nova, Emmylou Harris, Ex-Girl, Cat Power, Alanis Morissette, Annie Lennox, Aimee Mann, and my daughter has been insisting that we listen to Taylor Swift in the car constantly anyway.
Due to the length of that list, and the fact that I also listen to audiobooks/podcasts, and that I don't have a mult-hour commute every day, I of course wasn't able to go deeply into many of the above artists' catalogs: it was a mix of sampling some new-to-me material (I'd never actually listened to the Avril Lavigne album in my possession before), reacquainting myself with some artists like Kate Bush whose work I used to know very well, reaching a bit farther into the careers of some (e.g. newer Alannis Morissette albums, and I'd never actually heard Debbie Harry from Blondie solo albums, which incidentally are generally not so good), and in a couple of cases, spinning the same album several times to really sink into it (the one Neko Case album I own). My wife got wind of it and made me listen to some Adelle, and also forced me to turn off Laurie Anderson before it could drive her to madness.
When I described this to my current bandmates, my drummer who's younger and into country rock didn't really get it, as a good half of what he ordinarily listens to is women, but in the kind of rock 'n roll I've spent most of my time with (not to mention jazz), the gals were few and far between, and many of the ones I've listed above stem in my life from time spent with my first college girlfriend way back around 1990. She listened pretty much exclusively to wispy and/or strident female singer/songwriters (like Vega and O'Connor) with depressing things to say, and much of that stuck with me.
After the episode pops up, I'll report on my experience and will welcome comments by any that take up this challenge with me.
Image Note: The T-shirt picture above is from Alexander Blue illustration.