I’m aiming to stick to a fortnightly fun feature called Favourite Female Artists Friday (FFAF). It’s pretty self-explanatory, don’t you think? My sole aim is to share my list of musicians and authors whose work has meant a lot to me. It just so happens that they are also all of the female persuasion.
So without further ado, first up is Lzzy Hale of Halestorm. I had the pleasure to see her band perform live about a month ago and they put on an amazing show. Lzzy’s voice is absolutely killer and her lyrics are interesting to say the least. Oh and in some cases NSFW if you have people around who pay attention to the lyrics. They do an excellent line in euphemism and double entredre so don’t say I didn’t warn you!
My favourite song is “Rock Show” because it captures the joy of being in the audience and finally getting the sense of being where you’re meant to be. It also has some brilliant guitar riffs. When they performed it, Lzzy dedicated it to all the young female musicians in the audience and told them to go for it.
My second song is “Beautiful With You”. I listened to this song on repeat for weeks and it still brings tears to my eyes. Speaking of breaking down the walls and being truly seen, realising that you don’t have to always be the strong one? Um, yeah. I’ve spent far too many hours afraid to be seen and known by other people and I hate being upset, weak, in front of other people. It’s one of my deepest fears and greatest longings.
My third and final song is “I Get Off”. Definitely NSFW but this song captures the bold, self-assured sexuality that comes up repeatedly in Halestorm’s songs. I love it because it reminds me just how powerful my desires are. It reminds me that I am a sexual human being who has every right to assert her desires and to seek fulfillment of them. Plus, it’s bouncy-happy and that’s no bad thing.
There’s a whole feminist discourse about whether asserting and using one’s sexuality is a feminist act or not, that boils down to: traditionally female sexiness is one of the few powers allowed to us. Used judiciously, it permits some women to gain power and influence they wouldn’t otherwise have. However because it is only given to some women, because it can be taken away (sexiness is in the eye of the beholder) and because the negative consequences can be great, it isn’t as powerful as it could otherwise be. Taking advantage of it is one of those patriarchal agreements that lets some women gain power within a broken system that would otherwise deny them, but it is nowhere near as effetive for us collectively as it is for men. Patriarchy in action in other words my dears.
Halestorm’s work avoid this trap nicely however, especially when you listen to their dating/relationship/sex-related songs as a whole. They even have a song, “Better Sorry Than Safe”, about break-ups where “wanting to leave is reason enough” – something that Sugar and Captain Awkward advocate for strongly. The reminder that just because you’re female, doesn’t mean you and you alone are responsible for the success or failure of a relationship is vital. The lesson that you are not a bad person for wanting out when you have sacrificed your very self on the Altar of the Romantic Relationship and it still hasn’t “worked”, is one it took me multiple attempts to learn and is something I will have to be aware of for a long time to come. Meanwhile, being pleasantly reminded that I deserve good things in the bedroom is, well, good, you know?
What about you? Who’s your favourite female-led rock band? Who else do you think I should listen to?