It’s not like I think women shouldn’t be allowed to drive or vote or should be paid less than men or relegated to second-class citizen status.
I’ve just never really enjoyed music made by them.
Some may somehow infer from that statement that I believe female artists to be silly or superfluous or view their work as having less artistic merit than that of their male counterparts. That is absolutely not the case.
For generations, female artists, musical and otherwise, have created monumentally significant and influential work. This much is beyond debate.
But since becoming a self-aware, introspective human being, an event I’m sure occurred sometime in high school, I’ve largely struggled to connect with songs written and performed by female artists. Try as I might, I just can’t get there.
I appreciate the artistry and creativity of these bands and artists but the work does not resonate with me emotionally. The ideas being conveyed in the music are striking to be sure and are, no doubt, profound to someone. I’m just not that someone.
It is not a matter of gender bias. It is a matter of personal taste.
It’s worth pointing out that I’m not exactly some troglodyte, afraid, and thus dismissive, of anything that might alter or challenge my dude-centric view of the world.
I know guys like that and I’m not one of them.
The way that I know I’m not is the wayward glances shot in my direction from these men when involved in rigorous discussions with a female friend or co-worker about the machinations of the “Real Housewives” franchise. It’s a look meant to make me feel like the Trix Rabbit.
“Silly Patrick, those shows are for girls.”
While I admit that I am probably not the target demographic for this programming, I do not define my masculinity in such narrow terms. None of the media we consume is inherently masculine or feminine.
Art is not supposed to appeal to our chromosomes. Any that does is cheap, pandering and unworthy of something as nuanced and complicated as how human beings relate and connect to art in varied forms.
I’m looking at you, awful romantic comedies and Michael Bay movies.
Art is supposed to appeal to our hearts and, in a broader sense, to our humanity.
By that measure, music made by women usually does not strike that chord for me.
That doesn’t mean I will stop searching for the songs that do.
This week, a playlist featuring eight incredible female artists who have both impressed me and informed my life.
Along these same lines, I’m guessing “The Expendables 2” probably doesn’t have a huge female audience.
• Veruca Salt, “Volcano Girls” — Aggressive power pop and a great, “Willy Wonka”-inspired band name to boot. I’m sold.
• Mazzy Star, “Fade into You” — An undeniably beautiful song and one of the best produced during the 1990s.
• Lissie, “When I’m Alone” — When I first heard this song, I couldn’t stop humming it or singing it. I’m glad to say that is still the case.
• Best Coast, “How They Want Me to Be” — A gorgeous, sleepy little song.
• Fiona Apple, “Paper Bag” — One of my favorite Fiona Apple songs and I have a quite a few.
• Bonnie Raitt, “I Can’t Make You Love Me” — One of my favorite songs ever. Bonnie Raitt is infallible.
• Patty Griffin, “Forgiveness”— I don’t always listen to female acoustic acts but when I do, I listen to Patty Griffin.
• Frou Frou, “Let Go” — A song that still gives me goosebumps no matter how many times I’ve heard it. A beautiful vocal by Imogen Heap.