Friday, July 11, 2008

Ganders, Geese

G:TB is nothing if not an equal opportunity source of information. And since our friends over at Queen Beaches took a very gender-specific approach to this topic, we find it only fair to celebrate the distaff side of the rock and roll aisle. (Although, ladies, a less fey picture of Rhett Miller might help his case a bit more. And I love me some Rhett Miller. In a purely heterosexual and totally jealous way.)

My tastes run to singer-songwriter types, generally speaking, so the following list omits some of the more bubblegummy pop chanteuses of our time, as well as Lita Ford and Wendy O. Williams. ‘Zombie’ makes me want to break things with my bare hands, so no Dolores O’Riordan. Kate Pierson just turned 60 (!), so I’m afraid she just misses - I compensate for my shallowness with self-deprecation and charitable works. And my work ethic runs to lazy, so the list will almost certainly whiff on a few obvious entries. (Hey – that’s why we have a comments section.)

And so, in no particular order, one blogger’s take on the female singers that tune my guitar.

Michelle Branch didn’t do much for me until she teamed up with Jessica Harp and started recording as The Wreckers. ‘Leave the Pieces’ was one of the great tunes of 2006, and its’ singer charted on this all-important GTB list immediately after the song’s release. ‘Course, the Wreckers are no more, so she may fall off this list after we forget we’ve done this once and try it again in 18 months or so.

As will become apparent, the late 80s/early90s were the formative years in my appreciation for lady lead singers, starting with Tanya Donnelly of Throwing Muses, the Breeders, and Belly. (That’s a hell of a trifecta.) ‘So take your hat off, boy, when you’re talking to me/And be there when I feed the tree’. I have no idea what that means, but I like the way she sings it.

I’m aware that this is a cliché, but most clichés have legitimate roots. Liz Phair stands about 5’0” and used the lyric ‘fuck like a volcano’. So there’s that. She’d be higher on the list if she hadn’t recorded that inexplicable (and dreadful) pop album a few years ago.

From a purely vocal standpoint, this argument begins and ends with Neko Case. Her voice will raise the hairs on your arms and make a strong man need to take a seat and think about his place in the world. Combine those pipes with that sultry look and playful range, and I’m more than sold.

G:TB has already celebrated her once this month, but Jenny Lewis is always welcome here. Smart lyrics, big, big voice, and a smoking hot, um, guitar.

Heading back to the 80s again for Belinda Carlisle. Remember that ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’ video? Me, too. Me, too.

And finally, the winner and still champion, the Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs. That tiny, vulnerable voice combined with just the right amount of dirty girl and those killer eyes? There’s no sense in fighting it. She’s topped my list since she walked like an Egyptian, and even though the competition’s getting fierce and she’ll be 50 next year, she’s still number one.

15 comments:

Rhymenocerous said...

Somebody get Rob some tissues. NOW.

rob said...

like i'm the only one.

Dave said...

what the hell are you blogging about? singer-songwriters? you will take a ludding on the fishing trip. also, isn't liz phair over six feet tall? i think she claims this in one of her lyrics.

Dave said...

i guess i don't know what i'm talking about in the female singer-songwriter genre (thank the fucking lord)-- i just looked it up-- liz phair is 5'2''

Dave said...

did you really describe someone's voice as "vulnerable"? don't leave your testicles vulnerable on the fishing trip, or someone might spear them with a gaff.

Zoltan said...

He left his testes in his Tesla.

Lauryn Hill.

rob said...

dave seems to have a problem with attractive women. this would explain quite a bit of his behavior over the past 20 years.

KQ said...

An excellent compilation, however you completely missed the point of our humble little list. Namely - the best band front man, not necessarily just the one we'd like to tickle our ivories. (yes, ivories, not ovaries. perverts.) Fortunately for me my musical and fantasy worlds collide with Mr. Vedder. And I did give a shout out to Diana Ross in her Supreme days. I'm with you on Belinda Carlisle cause she kicked ass in the Go-Go's (who I did see live at Kings Dominion with opening act the BoDeans). But I digress. And I just had caffeine. Twitchy.

But none of this really matters because you put Neko Case on your list and that makes YOU a rockstar in my book. Feeling the love. Feeling the love.

rob said...

i didn't miss the point, i just preferred to focus on attractivenes over competence. i am, after all, a guy.

regardless of what dave may say.

Whitney said...

The babes from Bananarama will always have a special place in my heart. When I was in London as a teen in 1986, I was sure I could meet and court all three. Disappointing result.

Siouxsie Sioux, Exene Cervenka, and Nico top my out of date list, Chan Marshall (Cat Power) and Aimee Mann top my current faves.

If any of you are reading and want a "duet" ("quartet" for the Bananarammers) with a 6'5" baritone, write to G:TB. Please.

rob said...

is it wrong of me to wish injury (minor, nothing disfiguring, just season-ending) upon brett favre?

KQ said...

ok. new rules. got it. now i know why courtney love didn't make the list.

Back in the day no one was hotter than the Wilson sisters. Joan Jett was hot then and is hot now. And again, don't know what she's up to now, but I always had a little girl crush on Juliana Hatfield. Maybe cause she was banging Evan Dando, who knows.

rob said...

peter gammons has a poorly concealed crush on juliana hatfield (and letters to cleo's kay hanley). i totally forgot about both of them.

Mark said...

I had one of my very first crushes on Pat Benatar. The video to Love is a Battlefield stills gets me.

At one point, Lauryn Hill was pretty fucking amazing too. You know, before she lost her mind.

Brann...it's good for you. said...

This may be the greatest post ever on this blog. I'm totally agreeable on most of the names here...perhaps it's because I have a similar taste in music.

Hoffs turning 50 threw me for a loop, though...