Things have been drunkenly going down here in the That Ain't Kosher offices, and by offices I mean my laptop, because this post marks the one year anniversary of Aural Sex! (Sadly, this also marks a very long anniversary of no oral sex, but let's move away from that before I get violent and then cry a lot.)
I've been involved with the music space for what seems like my entire life- I've even tried to get away from it, and no matter what I do, it always finds me (dammit). I'm always around musicians, music journalists, or music venues in some capacity, and if you go through the contacts in my phone, 3/4 of them have access to some kind of gear.
To honor the first birthday of Aural Sex, I've decided that I needed to immortalize the most exalted women in the music business- those that have recorded classic tunes, fronted powerhouse bands, and made the men of the industry think with their other head.
So thanks, guys, for sticking with me for one full year of Aural Sex. Turn this shit up- this list goes to 11.
Aguilera could have easily become another Mouseketeer if it weren't for her ridiculous set of pipes. Even when she broke out with that stupid Genie song everybody know she was a true talent to watch out for.
The Bangles were the first band I ever saw live- I think I was like three or something. They also recorded a kick-ass cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade of Winter" that made every girl on the planet want to pick up a guitar.
Did you guys know Pat Benatar started out as an opera singer? Did you also know she's only about 5'1?
Bjork has one of the most recognizable vocal stylings in music- MTV ranked her voice at #8 on their "Greatest Voices" List. Her sound is eclectic and combines multiple genres, and this is often reflected in her personal style (see: swan dress. What the hell?).
Bjork is a refreshing release from the factory pop that gets churned out on a monthly basis- even her earlier work with The Sugarcubes had a decidedly post-punk feel. Thom Yorke has been quoted as saying that Bjork's "Unravel" is his favorite song, and Radiohead covered it in 2007. Oh my God. If the two of them recorded it together I would die. DIE.
Bjork's "All is Full of Love" was the first DVD single ever to be released in the US.
Last year, Bjork and The Dirty Projectors released a joint EP to benefit marine conservation. I wonder if my brother knows about that. I should give him a call.
It's 2011, so Cher is what, 106 years old, and is the only person in history to have both won an Oscar and recorded with Beavis and Butthead.
Other than that, Cher is the only person to have received an Oscar, three Golden Globes, Grammy, Emmy and a Cannes Film Festival Award. She is also the only artist to have a Billboard number one hit in each of the last six decades, and her "Farewell Tour" holds the record as the most successful tour by a female artist of all time. Cher's career has lasted over 45 years, while my last job lasted a month. Go me.
For all the jokes that are constantly being thrown around about Cher, no one seems to have more of a sense of humor about any of them than Cher herself. She always seems so normal and never takes herself seriously. It was especially hilarious when she appeared as herself on Will & Grace, and Jack thought she was a Cher impersonator.
When her own daughter came out, first as a lesbian and then as a transgender, Cher was supportive and became a strong vocal advocate of the gay community. While I'm heterosexual, I am also a staunch defender of anyone who stands up for those who may have difficulty maintaining their own rights. I may not be a fan of Cher's music, but I am definitely behind her beliefs.
I'm tempted to leave her off this list because I'm convinced that she's solely responsible for everyone who thinks they're talented enough for American Idol. However, all of her songs, country or not, are pretty much pop culture staples and everyone and their dog knows the opening to "Crazy" and "I Fall To Pieces."
She died in a plane crash at the pinnacle of her career when she was only thirty years old, but she left an enormous impact on the music industry. She became the first woman ever to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and was voted among the most influential artists by CMT, VH1 and Rolling Stone.
Most of my friends don't know who Kim Deal is until I mention The Pixies. Then they still don't know who she is. Then I talk about The Breeders and they STILL don't know.
For shame, guys.
Needs no explanation. If you don't know why she's been included you may as well be clinically dead.
The Go-Go's are even cooler now that I know they had really filthy minds.
Debbie Harry is best known as the frontwoman for Blondie, one of the seminal bands of the New York City punk scene. I listen to Blondie all the time because they can't be grouped into one distinct genre- their sound combines new wave, reggae, rap and pop as well as punk.
Blondie was such an inspiration to me because in an era where guys were running the show, here was a band that was led by a hot, blonde chick. She still looks great, too- I'll probably look only half as good as her when I'm 65.
I've actually met Chrissie Hynde. I was in Washington, DC about 15 years ago and she was at a rally fighting for animal rights. So, not only is she one of the most iconic women in the history of music, but she also stands up for those who can't support themselves. She's also one of the nicest people on the planet, BTW.
Janet Jackson emerged as the "girl" in one of music's most all-time successful families to form a career that's been showing everyone how it's done for almost thirty years. In 1991, she signed the first of two multi-million dollar contracts, both of which would break previous records signed by any recording artist thus far. She's also managed to cross over into acting, starring on TV and in movies while still maintaining a successful record of noteworthy album sales. She could have easily sat back and just borrowed money from her brothers but she was determined to roll around in her own cash. Fuck yes.
Joan Jett is one of my idols. After The Runaways disbanded, she decided to start her own career. Jett got rejected by 23 major labels, so she started her own, independent label, Blackheart Records. From there, she recorded a cover of "I Love Rock and Roll" and made it her own. In a genre where the boys are all mentioned in one breath, Joan Jett is one of the most lauded and respected names in the business. She's also the only artist to appear on this list twice- both as as a solo act and in an all-girl band.
Plus, have you seen her lately? She looks fucking amazing. She's what, 50?
Did any of you know "Piece of My Heart" was a cover? That's a sign of a truly monumental talent- one that can take an original piece and turn it into something completely different. I can only imagine what Janis Joplin would be doing now if she hadn't totally fucked herself up.
"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" is the first song I remember dancing around to in my living room as a toddler. I developed a strong attachment to the way she rocked the punk look even though her music was happy and pop-y, and also her accent is from Queens.
New Yorkers do not sound sexy, yo. Have you ever talked to us for extended periods of time? It's like holding dialogue with Ray Liotta in Goodfellas.
She's kind of a joke now, but think about everything she's contributed to pop culture as a whole for the last thirty years.
I'm also kind of scared to say anything bad about her. Her velociraptor arms might crush my face.
I'm personally not a fan, but I can't put up a post about women in music and leave out the founder of Lilith Fair.
Plus anyone who ever watched Buffy, the Vampire Slayer knows what I'm talking about. That final scene of Season Two KILLED IT. (Thanks for NOT giving me the video, Youtube).
I remember my mom playing old Joni Mitchell records while I was growing up. I can't say that I ever became a huge devotee, but there's no way I can leave her out of a post of the most influential women in music.
Despite the fact that she just relinquished a few of the best Fleetwood Mac tunes to Glee, Stevie Nicks remains one of the icons not just of women in rock, but in all of musical history.
Nico was the female behind The Velvet Underground, as well a solo artist, model and Warhol muse from the 1960's through the early 80's. She was the inspiration for a multitude of pop culture staples before and after her death in 1988, including Patti Smith, Stevie Nicks, Bjork, The Eurythmics, Elliott Smith, Blind Melon and Anberlin.
Ignore her 4 Non-Blondes phase. Linda Perry has become one of the most sought-after songwriters and producers in the pop genre, collaborating with the likes of Pink, Christina Aguilera and Gwen Stefani.
Liz Phair hit the grunge scene hard at the same time as the guys, and even though I was too young to appreciate it then, I love Exile in Guyville now. Later she took a breather, had a son, and came back with a pop album, just to fuck with everyone's head.
Queen Latifah started out as a rapper and has since transcended pop culture, starring in a (shitty) TV series and an Oscar-winning film, also earning an Academy Award nomination herself. She is the first female hip-hop artist ever to receive an Academy Award nomination for acting. She can also be seen in ads for Cover Girl as a spokesmodel, and in commercials for Jenny Craig.
I hate rap, but even I have to admit that's pretty damn impressive. Will everyone shut up about whether she's a lesbian or not? I don't really give a shit.
You thought they were a novelty until they picked up their fucking instruments. Too bad Lita Ford resorted to 80's hair metal.
The Runaways are also responsible for the eventual solo career of Joan Jett, so I'll forever be grateful.
The Runaways are also responsible for the eventual solo career of Joan Jett, so I'll forever be grateful.
Patti Smith, known as the "Godmother of Punk," is one of the foremost reasons that I'm proud to be from New York City. Technically, she's from Chicago, but she was one of the most important figures in the NYC punk and poetry movement. Her debut album Horses, as well her role in rock journalism, helped shape the way I listen to music. I also think it's awesome that she received an honorary doctorate from the college that my mom went to.
Since her contribution to the music scene, Smith has since been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and been given the Polar Music Prize. She was also specifically chosen to close the farewell ceremony for CBGB's.
Patti Smith is also directly responsible for the formation of R.E.M.- listening to Horses convinced Michael Stipe to start a band. So without Patti Smith, another of my favorite bands might not be around today. Thank you, Patti Smith.
Laugh if you will- she changed the face of teenybopper pop and managed to resurrect her career numerous times after a multitude of personal fall-outs. "Till the World Ends" is a pretty great club hit that could be just the comeback she needs.
I first was introduced to Tina Turner when she took on the role of The Acid Queen in The Who's Tommy. Of course, I saw it when I was five and I had no idea what an "acid queen" was; I only knew that I was mesmerized.
Later, I learned that Turner had overcome an abusive relationship with Ike to escape with both of their careers and legs that would take me years of pilates and eating only Ritz Bits. She STILL has better legs than I do. Holy shit.
I happen to think her music blows. However, 1997's Come On Over is the best-selling album of all time by a female musician and the eighth-best selling album of all time in the US.
I saw Heart in concert a few years ago, and the Wilson sisters are still phenomenal. Not only is the band fantastic, all their songs sound exactly as they used to.
I saw them perform with Journey and Cheap Trick. I actually took my dad to this show because all of my friends refused to go with me. I actually asked the guy I was dating at the time and he laughed at me, then realized I was serious, so he told me no. A-hole.
Also, for those of you that love Cameron Crowe movies (such as myself), Nancy- his wife- wrote the score for a number of them, including Elizabethtown, Jerry Maguire and Vanilla Sky (let's erase that last one). She also did the score for Almost Famous, which is my absolute favorite movie of all time, so that makes sense.
Adele's voice blows me away. I didn't really notice her before, because I was never an enormous fan of her material, but I recently heard "Rolling In The Deep," and I had my "holy shit" moment. It's a really simple song, but there's so much power in her vocal stylings that you can tell that every word out of her mouth is one hundred percent real emotion. Take note, Avril Lavigne.
Not to mention, I think she's beautiful with hair that makes me superjealous. I wish reviewers would stop harping on the "even though she's bigger" factor, because it doesn't fucking matter. Her talent is amazing.
Nikka Costa's track "Like A Feather" was featured in a Tommy Hilfiger ad in 2000, and I still listen to it today. Later, "Everybody Got Their Something" appeared on an episode of the sixth season of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, which is only one of the GREATEST TV SHOWS OF ALL TIME.
I'm not so big on the funk genre, but Costa's music is pretty dance-able.
I've had the honor of seeing Feist perform live twice- once with Broken Social Scene and another as simply herself. At the time I had no idea that this was the same artist (I'm a little slow sometimes).
We all know Feist, even if we don't realize it- her "1234" was featured in the iPod Nano ad and thus allowed her solo career to blow up. I'll ignore the fact that she's from Canada because of her myriad of talent.
Canada also, however, gave us Justin Bieber. So I guess they cancel each other out.
Oh, plus, in some of her pics she kind of looks a little like Shelly, so that's a plus.
Oh, plus, in some of her pics she kind of looks a little like Shelly, so that's a plus.
I first heard Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek" in the second season finale of The O.C. I was immediately struck by the way her music deviated from most of the top-40 shit that was on the airwaves and downloaded the rest of the album Speak For Yourself.
Heap's style is the definition of eclectic- she's been known to use frying pans to create her music and leave subliminal messages for her friends and family. The only beef I have with her is that she allowed "Hide and Seek" to be sampled in that heinous Z-100 atrocity by Jason DeRulo.
Elly Jackson is the female half of the UK electro-dance-pop act La Roux. I first heard "Bulletproof" in Ginntastic's car about a year ago and ever since then it's been on perma-shuffle on my iPod. I'm usually not into this genre AT ALL so I can't explain my attachment to La Roux- maybe it's because they remind me of Boston Massacre 2010, or maybe it's because their songs are so damn catchy. Just download their shit and see for yourself.
I love Juliette Lewis. She's not only extremely versatile as an actress but her music is really fucking weird. She also just doesn't give a shit. I've seen her perform with her band, Juliette and the Licks, and again in a solo performance, and she prances around onstage like she's naked in her bedroom or something singing into her hairbrush.
Not like I've ever done that. Or anything.
Sia is better known as the vocalist for Zero 7, but if you haven't heard anything else she's done, you are seriously missing out. Her solo work is amazing. If you were a fan of Six Feet Under, you'll recognize "Breathe Me" from the masterful final sequence of the series finale. She has also released multiple solo albums and collaborations and taken home a shitload of Australian awards and accreditations.
Sia also recorded a cover of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android." I was so excited about this that I can even forgive her for her contribution to the Twilight soundtrack.
Also, I just found out that her uncle is Colin Hay, the dude from Men At Work who's now doing some pretty cool solo stuff. The More You Know.
I used to LOVE Veruca Salt when I was a kid. Listening to them made me feel like such a badass. Later I found out there was a guy in the band, so the image was slightly tarnished, but I was still kind of into the whole "chicks with sticks" thing, so I didn't really care. They toured with Hole in the mid-90's and I'm still pissed that I was never allowed to see that show because I was "too young." I still listen to "Seether" on repeat. That track is such a head-banger.
According to their Wikipedia page, Veruca Salt is still together, although it's really just Louise Post and some people using the Veruca Salt name (I hate when they do that).
Welch is the "Florence" behind the ubiquitous Florence + the Machine. The single "Dog Days Are Over" is probably one more advertisement away from becoming really obnoxious, but five million mad men can't be wrong, right?
I loved this song immediately upon my first listen, and it's pretty difficult to pass my initial test. Welch's vocals sound like a cross between Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeah's and Jewel after a three-day bender. Florence + the Machine's performance at the 2010 VMA's marked the only time I've watched MTV in the past seven years (I turned it off immediately after, though).
Florence + the Machine was recently bestowed with Glamour's Band of the Year award, as well as the Musician of the Year award from Elle Style. They were nominated for a bunch of other accolades in '09 and '10, including distinctions from Q Magazine, MTV (I use "distinctions" loosely here), MOJO, Billboard and the Grammys.
Add this to the fact that this girl is only in her mid-twenties, and I expect to see an even bigger boost in her career. I'll definitely be paying attention.
Of course this column wouldn't be Nugs-approved if I didn't have a section dedicated to those that piss me off. Take a look at the "artists" that set us females back twenty years.
One of my very first posts was about how much I hate Beyonce. She's like the cast of Glee- everywhere you look, there she is. Beyonce would go to the American Egg Farm Awards if there were cameras there of any kind.
Beyonce- WE GET IT! You're alive! We see you! Time to move on and you know, do your job? Make some music?
Miley Cyrus is like Champion of the Whores. That's pretty impressive for someone who's about four years old. At first when she just had that stupid show on the Disney Channel I could tolerate her, because she wasn't being marketed towards my demographic and it kept the kids quiet. Now she's so desperate to get away from her Disney image that she can't decide whether she's a hillbilly or a trailer park slut. Those photo shoots with her dad where she's laying with her head near his peen are incredibly fucking creepy. I love my dad too, but I don't like, LOVE my dad, if you get what I'm saying.
Once I was with my mom when she was watching Oprah (I know) and she had Miley Cyrus on performing a song with Joan Jett. I almost dry heaved. So, for all of you that are aspiring to be like the Wakefield twins, you should seriously consider a strong helping of Miley Cyrus.
Lady Gaga pisses me off because if you listen to her music, she actually has a lot of talent and I wish I could list her in the first section of this post. With a few more credentials under her belt, I could have actually seen her becoming a fairly prolific songwriter. Her own music is pretty catchy too- "Bad Romance" is fucking great.
I just can't stand her. I think she's an asshole who says things that she may not even believe just because she can, and her miserable personality detracts from her abundance of musical capability. Did any of you catch her interview on 60 Minutes? Anderson Cooper looked like he wanted to punch himself in the throat just to get away from her.
Lady Gaga is originally from New York City, and recently outraged both Yankees and Mets fans at both stadiums. As a born-and-raised New Yorker myself, she offends me just by walking around. Her talent is wasted by her constant, pathetic need for attention. High school is over, dude. You already got back at your haters just by being Lady Gaga; now focus on the creative process and keep making your awesome dance hits.
I still love Live Through This. In an era when grunge was dominated by the boys, Hole's second album taught me that women could shake up the music industry as well. I kind of ignored the fact that the album was most likely written (uncredited) by Kurt Cobain and wore the shit out of that CD.
Later, after Cobain's untimely death and the subsequent demise of Nirvana, Hole released Celebrity Skin, which was radically different from their first effort. It wasn't bad, just almost contradictory. Its sound was decidedly pop, whereas Live Through This had been able to rock out with the likes of Nirvana, Alice In Chains, STP and the rest. This just added fuel to the rumors that Courtney Love hadn't penned any of the songs on the last album. Although reviews for both albums were generally favorable, a lot of the band's fans were disappointed with the follow-up.
Of course, we now know Courtney Love better for becoming a monumental fuck-up. She's since lost custody of her daughter, who won't even speak to her (she reportedly lives with Cobain's family) and posts asinine rants on Twitter that have so many grammatical errors I don't even know where to look.
The saddest thing about Courtney Love is that she could have been a principal contribution to the history of music, and now she's just a joke.
Kurt Cobain has been gone almost 20 years already. God, I'm so old.
Seriously? You're 40. Stop.
There's the Auralversary Edition of Aural Sex. I have no clue what I'm going to do for next month's next post, so uh, suggestions (and dollar bills) welcome.