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.