Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Chick Songs: A Little Help From My Readers?

I'm working on a list for an online publication, and I need your help. I'm short one song, since you'll see that I make a joke about a certain band with swishy twins, long blond hair, and a famous father. Although I'm keeping the joke in no matter what, I'd love some input from my readers, who are the muthafuckin' shit, no two ways about it. Here is the rough cut:

Top 10 Songs Sung by Women in the Rock Era:

To clarify what the “Rock Era” means, there will be no Etta James, Billie Holiday, or Patsy Cline; basically, the list contains the most moving, powerful songs with female vocalists from 1960’s to the present, according to males here at Name of Publication Here.

10. Nothing Compares to You by Sinead O'Conner
Written by Prince, but knocked out of the park by Sinead O’Conner, this song was everywhere in 1990, and deservedly so. The video’s image is almost entirely a passionate, bald woman singing directly into the camera, and because the song and the performance are so strong, it manages to be highly effective. Indeed, just singing the song, she mustered up some real tears for everyone to see on their MTV.


9. Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin
Although written by Roger Miller and Chris Kristofferson, an on again off again lover of Janis’, it was based partly on her, and while sang by many others, it was performed most memorably by Janis herself.


8. Fade Into You by Mazzy Star
Fade Into You is a wonderfully melancholy song that you can just zone out to; it literally fades right into you.


7. Heart of Glass by Blondie
This is a funky song that makes you want to dance, but when you stop doing the hustle for a moment and listen, it’s also impressive musically and lyrically.


6. Love and Affection by Nelson. Great song, and those chicks are hot! Wait, this just in: They aren’t chicks. Moving on . . .


5. Crazy On You by Heart
Heart had two amazing artists in the Wilson sisters, Nancy on guitar and Ann on vocals, and both of their talents are showcased perfectly on Crazy on You. It’s a sexy song too, but it’s hard to tell if that’s just since seeing The Virgin Suicides*. After that kiss, Josh Hartnett is left thinking “What the hell was that,” he reaches out for her, she’s gone, and he’s left never so turned on in his life and her gum in his mouth. The song adds an amazing intensity to the scene, but it’s plenty exiting on its own.


4. Doll Parts by Hole: There are rumors that Kurt Cobain and/or Billy Corgan wrote all of Courtney Love’s songs, much like the rumors of Truman Capote writing To Kill a Mocking Bird. Is it possible that a female artist simply hanging out with a talented male artist is enough for people to jump to the conclusion that the male must have written her work? If there’s no truth to it, then it’s a sad state of affairs that these assumptions were made. Any way you slice it, this is a rocking song, and Courtney downright nails it at the end when she belts it out, like only her crazy ass can. The guy that one was written about must be thinking, “Man, I hope that some day I don’t ache like she aches, cause she sounds like she’s feeling downright miserable.”


3. Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
This is one of the saddest songs ever, or is it? It sounds at first like it’s a somewhat happy song about a woman running away with someone, perhaps a lover, to escape her lousy life in the lover’s “fast car,” but after repeated listens, it becomes evident that they merely started up a new, crappy life somewhere else. Now she just longs for that exiting day when she first fled, blind to the knowledge of the fact that the getting away wouldn’t make her life any better. Ouch!


2. Gold Dust Woman by Fleetwood Mac:
It’s a heavy, dark song that sounds positively evil, yet so subdued, and Stevie Nick’s vocal is raspy, sexy, mysterious, and perfect. "Take your silver spoon and dig your grave” is a great line that, quite obviously, alludes to Stevie Nick’s drug abuse, that would only get worse in the years following Rumors, the band’s break-out success and the album that contains Gold Dust Woman, as its final, haunting track.


1. Feel Like a Natural Woman by Carole King
No one would dispute the fact that Aretha Franklin is technically a better singer than Ms. King, but in this case, the version sang by the woman who wrote it is more powerful and moving. Carole doesn’t need the vocal range of the Lady of Soul when there’s that much emotion behind that voice of hers.

41 comments:

logorrheic. said...

hey doc::: nice call! love number 10. brought back some memories. i can't think of any other songs. unless you want to do landslide but then you'd be doubling up on an artist. or how about some britney spears hit me baby or whatever.


yes i'm kidding.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Thanks Logo. You ever hear the Travis version of Hit Me Baby? It's really amazing, somehow.

Hey, all: I just remembered that I wanted Strong Enough by Sheryl Crow on this list, but make a case for a song or two anyway. I'd love to hear what you think.

Jake Titus said...

Gance,
has to be one of the best lists I've seen in a while. First thought when I saw the title was Janis Joplin and Bobbie McGee. When you listed Tracy Chapman......wow! Fast car was one of the first songs I learned to play!!! Thanks for the memories.
Jake

sequined said...

I like other songs by the same artists, but I agree generally speaking. I'd have gone with "Alone" by Heart and "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac, but who can be too picky?

My favorite Carole King is "It's Too Late."

And can I also suggest "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon?

logorrheic. said...

ah strong enough!! you just inspired some itunes downloadings! nice touch.

FitnessNerd said...

I agree with sequined. I would swap out "Crazy on You" for "Alone". That vocal is just powerful.

You need some Tina Turner. I would probably go for "Better Be Good To Me" just because it rocks harder than "What's Love Got to Do With It."

Since I love Garbage, I would put something from them on there. "Number 1 Crush" comes to mind, though it is a bit played out.

radioactive girl said...

I LOVE that you included Nelson. I had such a crush on them way back when. You are too funny!

What about L7 or Babes in Toyland? Sheryl Crow? She is all over my ipod so I have no idea what song would be her best. Tracy Chapman?

What a great list. I love the songs listed already.

FitnessNerd said...

Just perused the ole iTunes, and I have it. "I'll Stand By You" by The Pretenders. Before American Idol killed it, that song just gave me chills (okay, it still does).

I could venture into Patti Smith, too, but then you'd know just how fucked up my taste in music is ;)

carolyn says said...

Hazy Shade of Winter by the Bangles is fucking awesome! An it really shows what they could do when they weren't being coerced into rubbishy songs like Walk Like an Egyptian (i am so not okay with that song even though I think most of their others are really good.)

And generally I think the Bangles are really overlooked in general which is both a shame and a travesty.

The Go-Gos wouldn't be out of place on there either (I would go for We got the Beat personally),besides they were total dudes and you could link to the clip of them demanding sexual favors from groupies


i would even be willing to venture an argument for Alanis Morrisette, not a favorite of mine but she discuses felation in a cinema right in the middle of a song that made it to #1. that's pretty fucking rock n roll

carolyn says said...

and that should be fellatio not felation, is felation even a word? what were my fingers doing?

katrocket said...

Your list is terrific. I'd like to plead a case for "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor. I know it's a little more disco than rock, but it's been 30 years, and that song is still associated with personal empowerment and self-respect all over the world.

zen wizard said...

Top Chick Rock Songs that CHICKS LIKE, or the REALLY Top Chick Rock songs?

I am confused, so I will do both:

What Chicks Think is the Top Song:

"I Will Survive," by Gloria Gaynor.

Nothing says, "Don't bother me and my friend while we are suggestively dancing with each other and lip-synching; we are just here to tease your dick" like this timeless classic.

REALLY the top Chick Rock Song:

"I'll Take You There," by the Staples Singers.

Best bass line ever--kick ass vocals, Gospel influence, etc. Went Number 1. "Samples" another Jamaican song before sampling.

Off-the-wall:

"Tell Mama," by Etta James.

Way, way off-the-wall:

"Brass in Pocket," by the Pretenders.

Even more off-the-wall:

"I Love Rock-and-Roll," by Joan Jett.

###

Thinking as I was writing this, music is very subjective, so good luck with this one!

In other words, no matter who or what you pick, you piss somebody off.

Chardsy said...

Strong Enough is good but kind of a pussy song if you ask me. I'm telling you, add Fiona Apple, that chick rules.

Allison said...

I've been thinking all day about this one! I really like a song called "Just How Lonely" by Southern Culture on the Skids, but I'm not sure it qualifies. It's kinda obscure, and the band is unisex. There are as many songs with male lead vocals as female (kinda like the B-52's, who I also considered, but vetoed for the same "qualification" reasons).

Drunken Chud said...

wow, every one that popped into my head as i read the title appeared in your list. except one. and a damned important one too. you forgot grace slick. THE voice behind jefferson airplane, and thusly THE voice behind "white rabbit" and "somebody to love". i'm just sayin. i mean, i'm not sayin', i'm just sayin'.

TOPolk said...

I would have voted for "Cry Baby" over "Me and Bobby McGee," but its good to see Janis on the list nonetheless.

What's good w/ the baseball book you spoke about?

Anonymous said...
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JerseySjov said...

im too young for this list.
ashlee simpson!!1!

pistols at dawn said...

Maybe I just grew up on the teat of a wholly different kind of music, but I don't like most of these tunes. The Blondie one I always thought kicked way more ass was "Hanging on the Telephone," I couldn't make this list without Liz Phair and Discount, Aimee Mann's "Video" is 8,000 times the song the Sinead one is, and...nevermind.

That "Fast Car" is quite a song, though. Hell, the Nice & Smooth song built on it ("Sometimes I Rhyme Slow") is brilliant just for using it.

Ron, apparently said...

Dr. Ken, you absolutely have to give Skunk Anansie - "Weak" a listen before you ever think a top 10 female vocal performance is complete. Skunk Anansie were not only visually stunning with their black,6 ft., shaven headed beautiful lesbian lead singer Skin,but the passion Skin has in this song is, in my opinion, unrivalled by anything in your list (except perhaps Janis). Give it a shot.

Grad School Reject said...

Gotta go with something by either the Pretenders (I like FitnessNerd's suggestion here) or the Bangles.

Sidebar: Have you seen the Bangles recently? They get the award for oldest girl group I would still want to sleep with.

Sidebar Kicker: My wife wants to sleep with them too. That is how well the Bangles have held up.

zen wizard said...

Conspicuously absent:

Kelly Clarkson
Alanis Morisette
Miranda Lambert

I'm not sayin'--I'm just sayin' that I would be sayin', if I WAS sayin'...

Steph said...

You left out Joan Jett and the blackhearts?
For shame!!

The [Cherry] Ride said...

The Nelson reference is hilarious.

Glad to see you include Steve Nicks, but I think "Rhiannon" is a better song than "Gold Dust Woman."

You are remiss, however, by not including Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders - "Glass in Pocket" or "Talk of the Town" should be in the canon.

Allison said...

I just thought of someone I'd include if I were in charge. Lucinda Williams!! I like almost anything, but out of her "hits," I'd have to go with "Can't Let Go"

FitnessNerd said...

[Cherry] Dear...it's BRASS in pocket...not Glass.

I think glass might draw blood...

5 of 9er said...

The fact that you do not have Bikini Kill's "Rebel Girl" in there is just sad.

Anonymous said...

Add Fiona Apple Criminal!!!

mentalTHREESIXTY said...

How about "You oughta know" by Alanis... I thought that was some pretty classic angry bitch music there!

Your list rocks tho!

Inchy said...

I'm voting for 'Thunder In The Mountains' by Toyah

No real reason, I just think that people with a speech impediment are under-represented in this list.

I'm all about equality.

classyandfancy said...

Nice to see none of my selections made the cut! You should reconsider Kate Bush "Running Up that Hill". C'mon, David Gilmore helped her with her first demo.

And Sheryl Crow, more like a Sheryl NO.

chuckdaddy said...

Good list, but I agree with the no-on-Crazy-On-You contingent- I can't stand that song (actually, I'm a little angry it's now in my head).

I'd also 2nd all the votes on a Pretenders song.

Another addition I think you should make is Liz Phair (maybe "Divorce Song" or "Fuck and Run"). I know she became incredibly lame, but that first album was just plain awesome. A slutty girl's take on Exile on Main Street? Does it get anymore rocking???

thisdayandage said...

oh god. sinead o'conner caught me off guard...just because the video is of her crying, and it makes me laugh. but then I saw tracy chapman and fleetwood mac and then I got a little excited. and then of course, the last song by carole king. what a fantastic list. but I agree, strong enough should probably go on there. or maybe it's raining men. that's an awful song that drives me fucking insane when it is played constantly at work because we have satellite radio that plays the same songs everyday...but that's besides the point.

hamburger helper said...

because i know you want my opinion...

PJ Harvey is missing. As is Veruca Salt. Tori Amos is her own little genre, but she kicks the shit out of her piano's ass every time she plays. And where's my I'm Only Happy When It Rains?

10 Points for Classy's Kate Bush recommendation...

Fast Car is perfect. But I highly support switching Bobby McGee out for Cry Baby, or better yet, Get It While You Can.

And how could you possible make a chick list without Annie Lennox? What were you thinking?

hamburger helper said...

and add some Ani DiFranco damn it...

ReckenRoll said...

I agree with Carolyn. And if you are adding Sinead because "she was everywhere" then you need to add Alanis for the same reason. She was EVERYWHERE

Kadonkadonk said...

What, no You Outta Know? Or Portishead? Or my personal favorite, The Sundays? (Best version of Wildhorses EVER!) You are such a man.

Kadonkadonk said...

Oh, your readers have some good ones! What's Love Got to Do With It, Fiona Apple, and Liz Phair (Whip Smart era NOT the self titled album) should TOTALLY be on this list too!

Sabina said...

I typically think male artists/musicians/writers take credit for the accomplishments of their wives and girlfriends, but come on, there's so much evidence that Kurt wrote all of Courtney's music-- much of it before they ever met.

Speaking of covering Britney, the Frames do a really nice "Everytime."

As far as actually suggesting songs for the list, I think Joan Jett, Liz Phair, Fiona Apple, Ani di Franco, and the Pretenders have to be included. But everyone's already suggested those.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

ALL: I commented back to almost all of these, and my internet connection crapped out in mid-comment. So, I'm just going to say thank you to all who put some thought into this topic. Lord knows I need your input. I almost put Time After Time by Cindy Lauper on this thing. I was damn close . . .

Jules said...

I found your blog via Cherry Ride and 5of9er; and after this post I'm going to be a feed subscriber! VERY good stuff here. The Nelson joke slayed me!!!
Jules
House of Jules