Exploring the legacy of female musicians for Women’s History Month
Imagine this: you just failed a test, a friend was snarky and rude to you, and your roommate, once again, didn’t clean up their side of the room! What do you do to get through the anger and frustration?
Some people might go for a run to blow off steam. Others might put on their favorite movie or show and enjoy a delicious dinner.
There are also the people who listen to music and let the anger, energy, and rhythms wash over them. What do you do when you’re tired of listening to the same stuff over and over? You could ask around and see if anything piques your interest, or you could read on and find a few artists who both rock out and break the stereotypes of the music industry!
During middle school, I didn’t listen to the Top 40 radio; I was listening to whatever my parents had on the radio, which was usually classic rock. It was from their music library that I found Joan Jett. She wanted to do what the men did in the music industry, and play guitar and be successful based on her music. Jett did just that, breaking stereotypes and fighting against sexism, and she’s still rocking out today!
Even though Winehouse passed away five years ago, her music continues to touch people in various ways. She is able to convey different messages and emotions in her music, from frustration and rebellion to sadness and love-struck. Winehouse approached her music with raw emotion and stayed away from sugary pop songs. This decision is what still drives people to her music when they have nowhere else to go.
Yet another talented singer gone too soon, Joplin broke a lot of barriers for female artists. She wasn’t a supermodel, her voice wasn’t like silk, and she was the lead singer in a band full of men. But this didn’t stop Janis from selling millions of albums and gaining new listeners everyday. Her raw voice is what made her unique. Her singing alone conveys every raw feeling you’ve ever had, and the messages in her songs are so full of emotion. Don’t listen to Janis when you’re on the verge of tears, unless you want to have a good cry-session. In which case, go ahead and listen to “Mercedes-Benz” or “Bobby McGee”.
Smith is the ultimate punk rocker, period. Not just a “female punk” but a punk to her core! She started her career where so many other punk rockers began, at CBGB in the late 1970s. When you listen to any of her songs, you can tell how motivated she is to sing and how she absolutely doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She will sing about what she wants, when she wants to, in any way she wants to sing!
Remember what I said about middle school, and Joan Jett? Well, Avril Lavigne was the other half of that pre-teen angst. You could argue that she is our generation’s Jett, even, because she also cares more about the music and rocking out, rather than singing just to be liked by people. When I’m angry, or even when I need some motivation halfway through my workout, I throw on a bit of Lavigne and I immediately have more energy!
If anything, I would say that these five singers are a good group of people to simply start off with if you’re looking for music performed by women who have deep, complex thoughts and emotions. There are hundreds of other groups and solo performers who are women that can do the same thing, but in their own unique way. That’s the great thing about these performers; they’re all women, and they all make music, but that music is so different and can do so much good.