Chrissie Hynde at Almost 60: No Pretending

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A 50-something rock n’ roller with a 20-something girlfriend hanging off his arm: You know the scene, it’s as old as Keith Richards. But what if we invert it? How about a 50-something rock n’ roller with a 20-something boyfriend hanging off her arm? Cue Chrissie Hynde. In her first full album without the Pretenders, […]

Is Lilith Fair Feminist? Sarah McLachlan’s Not Sure

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After a decade of silence, Sarah McLachlan rallied another troupe to make a nationwide pilgrimage in the name of the goddess Lilith. Not old enough to drive a car the last time Lilith Fair came around, I thought I had missed my opportunity forever back in 1999. Even so, McLachlan’s “Mirrorball” was the soundtrack to my teenage angst and I knew the collaborative Lilith version of the Indigo Girl’s “Closer […]

Laura Nyro Inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame. Finally.

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  The great singer-songwriter Laura Nyro, famed for such songs as “Wedding Bell Blues,””Stoned Soul Picnic,””Eli’s Comin’,””And When I Die,” “Stoney End” and “Save the Country,” was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame last night in New York City. Nyro was an extraordinary singer in her own right, but gained even more attention for the songs she […]

Ode to Aretha, or Reconnecting Women and Singing

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When I think of music’s–or specifically singing’s–potential for liberation, one voice immediately springs to mind: the earth-shattering, shiver-inducing, bone-chilling instrument possessed by Aretha Franklin. Aretha’s amazing talent is intimately linked for me with freedom, not only because of her own, very real struggle to express herself as a black woman artist, but also because of […]

Country Star Chely Wright Comes Out

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When the story circulated around the Internet  that country music singer-songwriter Chely Wright would announce that she’s gay in People magazine on May 7th, some, like the Washington Post online gossip column “The Reliable Source” and commenters on the SF Gate gossip blog The Daily Dish, viewed this revelation as a possible publicity stunt to […]

I Could Kiss Kate Nash

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It seems as though the only way a female music artist can gain success in today’s society is through a performative display of hyper-sexualization. There isn’t so much a focus on the music’s content or even an artist’s talent but an intense fascination with things that most women can’t control, like the way they look. […]

Experiencing Erykah Badu’s “Window Seat”

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Folks can’t stop talking about Erykah Badu’s minimalist, one-person-crew video effort for her newest song “Window Seat.” Shot in a single take, guerilla-style, Badu trailed the route of President John F. Kennedy at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, simultaneously shedding all her clothes until she reached the place where Kennedy was shot, then she collapsed to the […]

Lesbian Nun Is Too Much for Small-Town America

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Earlier this month in American Profile (a weekly magazine distributed through small-town newspapers which claims to be for “people who aren’t afraid to shed a tear when the flag passes”), a reader wrote in inquiring about Debbie Reynolds and the real “Singing Nun.” Q:  In 1966 Debbie Reynolds starred in the movie The Singing Nun. […]

Is Lady Gaga a Feminist or Isn’t She?

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Nobody could describe my relationship with Lady Gaga better than she does: We’re in a Bad Romance. She’ll say something feminist one minute and equate feminism with man-hating the next. Sometimes she seems too skinny, too blonde, too commercial–but then she explains how her Bad Romance video simulates the trafficking of women as commodities in […]