10 Female Artists That Might Help Guys (sorta) Understand Girls
Carole King. I started working in record stores in 1987. Carole's landmark album, Tapestry, was already sixteen years old, and of course, I had never heard it. For the next five years, I watched as it sold constantly to all ages of women, and a lot of men, too. Eventually I gave it a try, and really dug it. Still do. Now if ever there was an album that I'd say was the musical equivalent of a "chick flick," it would be this one--but what can I tell you, I like Sleepless in Seattle too.
Bonnie Raitt. It was my second year in the record stores when Bonnie won a zillion Grammys for Nick of Time. Lord knows we played it lot, but in spite of the relentless record company hype (don't get me started on that), I grew to like it. Then a trusted customer said, "You've got to try Bonnie's Warner stuff if you really want to appreciate her." So I bought The Bonnie Raitt Collection. One listen to "Love Me Like a Man" (one of many greats) and I was hooked. Try the Give It Up album if you are so inclined.
India.Arie. I'm in the halls of Universal Music in L.A., and one of the label pimps drags me into his office and says, "You gotta hear this." That's the biggest "If I had a nickel" statement in the music biz, so naturally I was skeptical. Then he hit play. Holy shit, it actually delivered. Her subsequent albums didn't hit me as hard, but man did that debut do the trick. I'm listening to "Strength, Courage, and Wisdom" right now. It's like I understand why I don't understand 'em.
Diana Krall. OK, so sexuality is a big part of my relationship with these girls. What can I tell you? You want honesty, don't you? When "Peel Me a Grape" is the first song you hear, and you can just feel the sauciness oozing out of your headphones, and then you discover the singer is beautiful, it's hard to avoid. However, my "desire" for Diana was soon equaled with respect. A Canadian hockey fan who's married to Elvis Costello and plays the piano like Thelonious Monk? What's not to love? Try Love Scenes for sultry; Live in Paris for the wicked piano. She's already a jazz legend in my book.
Pretenders. Now that I've justified the sexual side of things... I can say that I wanted to sleep with Chrissy Hynde about 12 seconds after I saw the "Tattooed Love Boys" video. All my crew did. The "I shot my mouth off and you showed me what that hole was for" lyric was notorious among us. Deep down, guys of all ages love that sort of brash behavior. There's just something cool about the "if you don't like me, fuck off" attitude (and she seems smart as hell, too.) It's like something a guy would do. Chrissy was the champ, and the Pretenders rocked. How do you not love her?
There they are, my favorite women of song. Some of the greatest voices of all time... that have been equally well-spoken on behalf of their gender (at least to me.)
I'll close by saying thanks, ladies, for the music. Thanks for opening your hearts and giving us big honesty and raw emotion. I've been listening to it all morning while I wrote and it still moves me.
I still wouldn't want to be a woman for all the music on Earth, but it's nice to have your perspective at my fingertips.
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