10 Female Artists That Might Help Guys (sorta) Understand Girls
So That's How Women Think!
And man (no pun intended), did it pay off. It's been paying off ever since.
I've discovered songwriters and musicians that have literally made me feel - if only for a millisecond - like I might understand the female mindset in all its mysterious glory.
Before I get myself into trouble (after all, I understand enough about women to fear them), here's a list of my leading ladies of music.
Laura Nyro. Don't tell my wife, but I'm in love with Laura Nyro. If ever there were a female artist that I'd like to sit down and drink wine with, it would be Laura (unfortunately, she passed away in 1997). Ditto on a physical affair, even though she's not the most beautiful girl on the list (she's attractive, just not stunning.) Doesn't matter, because her sexuality absolutely saturates many of her songs (try "Woman's Blues" off the magnificent Eli and the 13th Confession) and it's a powerful thing. Of course, regardless of topic, her voice is intoxicating. I didn't meet her until I was 35, but our relationship has grown ever since.
Heart. The first "female" album I owned started the journey. Sure, it began with me staring at the Dreamboat Annie cover and thinking the Wilson sisters were both beautiful, but it didn't take long to appreciate their female perspective on songs like "Crazy on You," "How Deep It Goes", and my favorite, "(Love Me Like Music) I'll Be Your Song." Plus, it was never lost on me that they were battling in a man's world. I love when women do that.
Joni Mitchell. I had read enough cool stuff to take a customer recommendation on Court and Spark, but I didn't get Joni at first, or second, or even third. Then on the fourth or fifth listen (hey, I make sure before I scrap music), she hit me like a train. I had recently been stood up by my dream waitress, and the song "Car On a Hill" just weaseled its way into my soul. Ten albums later...and the only artist I'd put higher on the list is Ms. Nyro.
Aretha Franklin. Aretha didn't write most of the songs in her phenomenal Atlantic catalog, but she did write some good ones ("Think" and "Dr. Feelgood" stand out) and she interpreted other people's tunes like no one else. She's feisty, independent, and vulnerable all at once. If you don't remember the Queen of Soul (classic line, Donald), you need to go out and listen to Soul '69 or Lady Soul... then keep going.
Nina Simone. Nina is my argument that it's OK to say, "That chick has balls." Her music is raw and honest, and she used it to do things like speak out for civil rights and against poverty. If you're feeling low and emotionally-open, put on Nina Simone Sings the Blues, and you'll see what I mean. (The album has some great guitar work, too.)