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One of the popular culture trends I most dislike is the 'chickie' pop phenomenon. This has come hand-in-hand with a very estrogen-saturated run of pop-country and pop-folk stars who just put me into sugar shock.
Yet it has even infiltrated punk rock and the stand-alone singer-songwriter genre. It's a completely separate trend from the whole Britney Spears 'dance slut' routine: this is a kind of Patriarchy-friendly 'girls can rock' corporately-controlled stardom rather than the female empowerment of artists like Patti Smith, Pat Benetar or even the happy-go-lucky individuality of Cyndi Lauper. All of these girls - as opposed to women - are now crying and whining their way through some of the most co- dependent songs I've suffered through in the whole time I've been alive, which is the better part of forty years. It's God-awful, and women musicians I know who are of the self- empowered variety are mournful of what's happening to women in music.
Where's Wendy O. Williams when we need her? She comitted suicide several years ago. What happened to strong African-American women in Black music? R&B is looking like Britney Spears now: I don't see any Aretha Franklins or Anita Bakers in the mainstream. Assumedly, hopefully, to hear anything about women artists of the respectable caliber in the realm of popular Black music I would have to be more of an insider.
What might come along to save us? I know women musicians in the old-school heavy metal paradigm, but they're not getting signed by the major labels. Strength isn't selling, unless it's the fake kind like Avril Lavigne. The audience, even adult, has now been properly conditioned to prefer the saccharine-sweet infusion of youth-obssessed bopper-pop that is now among the leading causes of intellectual brain death and self-impressed shallowness in young women. For the long view, it seems that the Nation will wallow in Stuff that Sucks until the Asteroid hits.

For music from a self-empowered woman of enormous talent, if you can handle true, old-school heavy metal, go here:

The Alienist

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The following comments are for "Shrinking Violets: the Diminution of Women in Popular Music"
by The Alienist

This made me laugh out loud, I can't stand it either and have wondered for a few years why there are no strong African-American females at the moment. Altohugh I must admit poeple like Angies Stone does it for me, as does Brandy, Faith Evans, Mary J Blige (in da old days) etc.

I think strong artists who aren't so poppy have gone a bit underground, take Joss Stone for instance, I bought her album and nearly fainted it is SO GOOOOOOOOOODDDDD!!!!! Rate it much higher than Beyonce or Britney.

But now the world has all of these young teenagers with money who are a major spending force and they like all the 'dance slutty' stuff, LOL. Good phrase!

I'm sure your parents weren't too mad about some of your music choices as a teenager.

One of my friends is a jazz composer and has been doing it for about 30 years, his wife was a dancer in the 60's and they hung out with Dusty Springfield and the like. He wrote some classic jazz stuff for a load of French movies in the 60's and 70's. My point is he will not say he dislikes a certain genre of music because iot may be poppy or it is sung by such and such, he likes a song if it is a good song, basing it on it's individual merits!!!

I wish I could be so eclectic!!!

Alex :-)

P.S. Shouldn't this have been under Rants!?!

( Posted by: londongrey [Member] On: July 27, 2004 )

I will have to remember the name Joss Stone. I do notice that 'good' artists have taken their art underground; heavy metal did this when Glam-Metal wrecked our musical scene back in the '80's, and we're having an equally powerful backlash against nu-metal now. The corporados rape every genre at their best opportunity, and they've done it to metal twice.

Wendy O. Williams was a very ironic illustration of what I'm talking about. I never understood how someone so healthy who was into so many positive things, who had helped propell such an important musical paradigm could feel so worthless. She died with a 'do not revive' sign on her, under the open sky. This was so disappointing.

( Posted by: The Alienist [Member] On: July 27, 2004 )

Shrinking Violets...
I must totally agree. The self-proclaimed Divas(I fucking HATE that word) and the pop-angst girls (Avril, Michelle Branch, the faceless minions) are all such products. Even if they do actually play an instrument or write their own songs, they allow themselves to be packaged by middle-aged men and sold like whores. Whoa...Did I say that outloud? That movement in the ninties, with the all girl tours...Lilith whatever made me crazy. Yes, some of those people are talented but the droning on and on about sad stuff is just a drag. I am happy when girls like Sheryl Crow and Joan Osbourne, Ann and Nancy Wilson,Bonnie Raitt and others emerge and re-emerge. That is it!! I love to read your stuff.

( Posted by: arc [Member] On: August 4, 2004 )

Shrinking vioets
I agree with you about the majority, BUT there are a few new exceptions. "Fantasia" to me has that Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker quality. Hopefully she will be around for a long while. And my girl Dido can do no wrong. Her music is inspiring, well at least to me, and Jewel is a poet, love her work. So there may be few, but there are still some out there that actually shine.


( Posted by: nae411 [Member] On: August 4, 2004 )

once again....
What is with all the hating. Sure the "chick" you so mysoginistically call manufactured. As Fabian, Leslie Gore, InSync, Clay Aiken, and countless others. Perhaps you should venture out of the top 40. Take a risk. What DO YOU like? You might listen to Patty Griffin, Kate Campbell, KitKa,
even Etta James, Ella, Rosemary Clooney, or someone on the street. The American Way is to find a good horse and beat it to death.

( Posted by: harpersfairy [Member] On: August 4, 2004 )

I'm criticizing the music industry for demeaning women. I called it 'Chickie' because that's what my sister and other women call it.

( Posted by: the alienist [Member] On: August 5, 2004 )

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