Friday, April 16, 2010

Mujeres that really rock.

Lady Gaga is the music industry's latest attempt at manufacturing artists, at least according to visual and rap artist M.I.A. in the latest issue of NME.

Truth be told, Lady Gaga is definitely something new. New to who? To a generation of tweens who spent more time Tweedin' than readin'. They're too young to remember Grace Jones or even Marylin Manson videos. A reference she's always making in the way she dresses or in videos like "Bad Romance."

Whether the Gaga is an invention that, according to the "Paper Planes" rapper, is a good mimic, we can all agree that there's a je nous se qua about the strange singer. And I use the word strange in a positive light here. 

But she's definitely not the first woman to make an impact or offer something new to the music world. Here are a few of my favorite ones. Not in an specific order. 

M.I.A.-Well let's start with the woman that inspired this blog post. M.I.A. is a force to be reckon with. After being labeled a terrorist supporter by some and even having a few visa problems (who knew that rapping about growing up in a war-torn country would get you in trouble with the U.S. government), M.I.A. went mainstream with her "Paper Planes" song via The Pineapple Express. My respect to an artist who opted to work with a group of Aboriginal kids instead of Pharrell in the name of having the last say on your music. 

BETH DITTO- What can I say about Beth Ditto? This is the woman gave the middle finger to a society who says a women should look a certain way before posing semi-nude for a magazine
It doesn't hurt that she sings with grand soulful perfection. 

GLORIA TREVI- For those of you who haven't heard of Gloria Trevi (don't say it's because you're not Mexican, because this woman was known as the Mexican Maddonna), she's the girl that shook up conservative Mexico back in the day. Late 80s, early 90s to be exact. She sang about fucking and talked about running for president. One of her most famous bits during shows included bringing men onstage and taking off the clothes (insert gasp here). Whether her feminist persona was created by her manager, and alleged leader of a sex clan for which Trevi was in jail for a few years, or it was something that she used her art to distribute, Trevi will always be known as the Mexicana who defied a conservative society with creative lyrical work.

COURTNEY LOVE- Oh Love. This list couldn't be done without you. I discovered Love in her "Malibu" persona. The Love that was dolled up and ready for Hollywood. But the Love I really enjoyed was the one who would put her leg on top of an amp and fucking play a guitar like nobody's business. She is by no means the greatest guitarist or singer in the world, but she made it okay for girls to pick up a guitar and form a band again. She had Janis and Joan to thank.

SELENA- Every March 31st since 1995, we celebrate Selena. A girl with a great singing voice whose life was cut too short. Many put Jennifer Lopez' face whenever they think of Selena, mainly because of a movie that pushed her to super stardom status. Like the women in rock n' roll, Selena made it big in an industry that was greatly nominated by males. Though I find it a bit annoying that every year Univision churns special after special to "celebrate" her death (I wonder how much money they get from sponsors who know that Latinos are just in love with her), it's nice to know that she will forever live in our hearts and in everyone's iPods.

SLEATER KINNEY- It took a little Wikipedia search to find out why Sleater Kinney called themselves Sleater Kinney. Turns out it was a reference to Sleater Kinney Road, close to the place where they used to rehearse. I remember reading about them in Spin magazine back in high school. But I never really got into them until college. "Dig Me Out" is probably one of my favorite records. Colin's voice will touch you if you've ever felt like nobody is listening to you and  you must scream to get your point across.

LE TIGRE- With lyrics like "while you were on vacation/black people didn't get reparations," these lovely ladies let you know what's behind their agenda: social justice via feminist discourse. Good lyrics plus extremely catchy beats made for a great band. They recently worked with Christina Aguilera, who is apparently a fan. I can already see the many hardcore Le Tigre fans being all disappointed.  I haven't actually heard the song or songs they did with Aguilera, but hey, if we can get some socially conscious artists some work in mainstream poop music, why the fuck not?

THE DEAL TWINS- Kim Deal is part of two of the coolest bands to ever grace the music world. The Pixies and, with twin sister Kelley, The Breeders. Although it was released in the late 80s, I must say that Kim's voice in "Gigantic" musically defines the 90s for me. 

TEGAN AND SARA- My reason to wanting to be a lesbian. You see, in homosexual male world, there tends to be a preferable leaning towards the material. The fake. The sexual. Tegan and Sara embody none of that. They are part of a generation of gay musicians that don't really make a big deal out of their sexuality, but of their emotions and intelligence. They're neither Indigo Girls or George Michael. They just are. Their songs make it okay to be that strange person you become when you're in love: A grown person talking like a teen.


Eric said...

I love your writing and drawings Julio. Well done.

Notas From The Beach said...