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Females In Rock Music

March 8, 2010

Today is International Women’s Day! I thought it would be fitting to showcase some of my favourite bands with females as lead singers.
If you know me, it should come as no surprise to you that I LOVE music. And I know everyone says they love music, but it’s different with me. Nothing in this world brings me greater joy than finding an absolutely perfect, euphoria-inducing song. Or sitting at a piano for the first time in months and realizing that I still remember that song from long ago. Or going to and finding the chords to that elusive song, whipping out my guitar, locking myself in my room and practicing for hours. I sing all the time. There is always a song in my head. Basically, I love music.
When people ask me what type of music I like, I usually have no idea how to respond. Quite often I find myself shrugging and saying “I dunno… Good music I guess”. Because there is no specific genre. If the music is good, no matter the tempo, language or lyrics, I will appreciate it.
So in honour of International Women’s Day, I’ve compiled a list of my all time favourite female-fronted bands of all time.
No Doubt, led by Gwen Stefani
I first heard their song “Hey Baby” when I was about eleven, in grade 6 at prep school. I was perhaps too young to appreciate the group at the time, but the song was catchy and I found myself singing it quite often, much to the annoyance of my parents. When I got a bit older, though, I really started listening to them. No Doubt is AMAZING. Definitely one of the best bands of the 90s. My favourite thing about them is that kind of ska vibe they’ve got going. Their second album, Tragic Kingdom (diamond certified) was released in 1995 and helped to launch the ska revival of the nineties. My favourite songs from that album are Don’t Speak, Sunday Morning and Excuse Me, Mr.
Their best album, in my opinion, is Rock Steady, simply because it’s an unconventionally amazing fusion or rock, ska, reggae and dancehall. The album was recorded in Jamaica and featured artists like Lady Saw, Sly and Robbie and Bounty Killa. I love how at the beginning of Underneath It All, you can hear what sounds like a really authentic Sunday morning Jamaican radio program.I love how the band incorporated Lady Saw into the song as well. Hey Baby is another popular song from that album, which features Bounty Killa. No Doubt released their last single, It’s My Life in 2003. Stefani launched her solo career a few months later.
Hole, led by Courtney Love
Another popular music form in the nineties is grunge. That kind of messy, screw the world, screaming at the top of your voice type of rock. Hole has often been called the girl version of Nirvana. But Hole has their own claim to fame. Their second album, Live Through This was released in 1994 , just days after Kurt Cobain was found dead in his apartment. The album is critically acclaimed and regarded as one of the best albums of the nineties. If I had to put them in a category, I’d file them under grunge, new wave, noisia or punk. Best songs from Live Through This: Doll Parts, Jennifer’s Body and I Think That I Would Die. Courtney Love has an amazing voice for grunge music, a bit harsh, very angry, absolutely amazing.
Their last album released before the band split up was Celebrity Skin in 1998. Some diehard fans say that the band sold out with this album. Courtney Love “refined” herself and her image, moving away from Hole’s harder alternative rock past and towards a cleaner, more radio friendly pop rock sound. The album was hugely commercialized and completely different from the Hole we’re accustomed to hearing. The album did have some pretty good songs though. Title track Celebrity Skin talks about the downside of the Hollywood scene. Awful is one of my personal favourites, about a troubled youth. Other good Hole songs are Teenage Whore, Skinny Little Bitch and Violet. Although Hole split up in 1998, news has broken that they’re making a comeback for 2010.
Paramore, led by Hayley Williams
I’m a Paramore fan. I have been for about five years. I was introduced to them by my friend @KeritaJ and I’ve been hooked ever since. The first song I heard by them was My Heart, off their debut album, All We Know Is Falling. It’s a brilliant song, and it’s still one of my favourites today. All We Know Is Falling was released in 2004, when Hayley was only sixteen. The lyrics in most of the songs are surprisingly mature, though. Best songs include My Heart, Never Let This Go, Conspiracy and Franklin, named after the band’s hometown of Franklin, Tennessee. I can’t find a single song on the album that I don’t like. I can’t find any Paramore song that I don’t like.
Their second album, Riot! was released in 2007. I was living in Britain at the time and Paramore wasn’t really popular over there so I had no idea they had even released a new album. Then one day I was listening to Kerrang Radio and I heard Misery Business. I recognized the voice right away and got to Googling. Pretty soon, I’d gotten the whole album off iTunes (yes I get my music legally, most of the time). Best songs from that album: Fences, Born For This, We Are Broken, Let The Flames Begin and Stop This Song (Lovesick melody). In all honesty, every song on that album is absolutely superb, it’s really hard to pick a favourite.
And finally, Brand New Eyes. I can always count on Paramore for really nice album art. The Brand New Eyes butterfly is currently the wallpaper on my laptop and the Riot! album art was once the wallpaper on my BlackBerry. Brand New Eyes didn’t disappoint. The singles Ignorance, Brick By Boring Brick and The Only Exception are all really good songs. The songs on this album seem a bit softer to me; Misguided Ghosts is a perfect example. Nevertheless, it’s still an awesome album. It’s Paramore, I expected nothing but the best.

Flyleaf, led by Lacey Mosley

I LOVE this girl’s voice. It’s absolutely ethereal. Flyleaf has been called a Christian rock band, but that’s been disputed. Either way, they’re still a phenomenal band with phenomenal music. Their debut album, Flyleaf, featured songs such as All Around Me, I’m So Sick, Fully Alive and my personal favourite, Cassie. I can definitely hear a religious undertone in many of Flyleaf’s songs and it just makes me love them even more.
Their second album was released in November 2009. It’s called Memento Mori. When I heard the album name, I immediately remembered Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events book 5, the Austere Academy. The school’s motto was Memento Mori, which is Latin for Remember that you will die. But I’ve digressed. I haven’t really listened to this album, but I have heard Again, Beautiful Bride and Tiny Heart, which are all really beautiful songs.

If I were to write about every single female-fronted band that has had an impact on me, this blog post would be ridiculously long and perhaps tedious to read. I’ll list the rest:
Garbage, Angelspit, The Veronicas, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Betty Curse, Hey Monday, Blondie, Meg & Dia, The Ting Tings and Evanescence.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Khalyy. permalink
    March 9, 2010 11:22 am

    Frann you made a blog!
    Thanks for showing it to me.
    Its quite interesting by the way.
    Good luck with it!

  2. June 10, 2010 12:06 am

    I’m doing a presentation on this topic in my music class!
    Googled “females in rock music” and it led me straight to here.
    I’ll quote you in my presentation, if you don’t mind.


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