Girl Power: Favourite Female Musicians #1

Today is March 8th and if you haven’t been on any social media (which you will have, how else did you find this) then you’ll be unaware to the fact that today is International Women’s Day, an event where females all over the world celebrate their identity and go to great lengths to empower one another. It’s undoubtedly an important day and I couldn’t let it go by without doing something about it which is what resulted in me writing these very words that you’re reading and listing my favourite current female musicians .

From successful solo acts to women fronted bands, there’s no exceptions to who gets included though I feel the need to state that I’m only choosing five, just so I don’t ramble for too long as I could do it for days. Throughout this post I’ll be including all of your favourites that you suggested via Facebook and Twitter but anyway, let’s get down to business and start this list!

Grimes

Who is she?
Claire Elise Boucher is a Canadian singer, songwriter who is best known for her stage name Grimes and her unique, inconsistent sound that ranges from hip hop influenced to medieval music to sweet, infectious pop. At the age of 27, Grimes already has four LPS under her belt, her latest two receiving serious critical acclaim and multiple album of the year accolades.

Best work?
Art Angels is Boucher’s magnum opus: a vibrant, varied and vicious piece of work that displays her creativity as well as her beautiful vocals that soar through her well polished and glistening synths. California is a sickeningly sweet and catchy track that will infest your mind with its positive aura while songs like laughing and not being normal and Kill V. Maim show that side of Grimes which remind you why she stands out from the crowd

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SOAK

Who is she?

BBC Sound of 2015 nominee SOAK, real name Bridie Monds-Watson, is an Irish singer songwriter who just last year released her debut LP Before We Forgot How To Dream to positive reviews. Her dream pop sound is perfectly accompanied by insightful lyrics about teenage struggles, most notably one’s image of themselves.

Best work?

While she may have only released one studio album so far, quality over quantity is a rule that applies to SOAK. New listeners are best going for B A Nobody that features this aforementioned insight, showing concerns about never amounting to anything and battles with depression. Who said dream pop had to be happy?

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M.I.A

Who is she?

Singer, songwriter, rapper Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam is best known for her song Paper Planes that everyone will know for its catchy chorus and register noises rather than for its tale of murdering thieves. One of the most important artists in the world right now, MIA injects her activism into her work whenever she can and does so in a masterful way that shows her passion for not only what she makes but for what she believes in.

Best work?

M.I.A’s fourth LP Matangi’s name is not only a nod to her own name but also to the hindu god of music and learning which is clear as day on this album. Recorded at various locations around the world, Matangi is fresh and full to the brim with infectious beats and the makings of a well crafted electronic but with the perfect touch of M.I.A herself.

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Courtney Barnett

Who is she?

Grammy nominee and hailing from the land of kangaroos and koalas, Courtney Barnett is the first woman on this list to not use a stage name and another great example of a woman in music who never ceases to amaze. Although she’s only released one album, the album in question Sometimes I Sit And Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit was one of the best debuts of 2015, gathering lovely critical reception in addition to this.

Best work?

You can’t really go wrong with Barnett as her witty songwriting capabilities and deadpan delivery are prevalent on both her debut LP and previous EPS, making her entire discography worth a listen due to the abundance of well crafted tracks and self contained stories.

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Karen O

Who is she?

South-Korean born Karen O is best known as the front woman for American rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, an act that emerged during the noughties new york rise that included The Strokes and Interpol. Not only that but Karen has a successful solo career with her first album Crush Songs being released in 2014.

Best work?

A tough choice as her work with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is exceptional but it would be a sin not to recommend her collaborations with Spike Jonze, most notably the song she provided for the Her soundtrack The Moon Song. There’s no real way to go wrong but the best starting point is most likely It’s Blitz, the third LP by her band with an ever present synth punk sound that makes the album one you’ll have on loop.

 

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Top 10 Controversial Music Videos

Ever since Video Killed The Radio Star debuted on MTV over 30 years ago, music videos have became a huge canvas for artists to express their creativity but just in the same way that violent movies rile up the media and parents, so to can certain music videos. Some are odd yet creative while others are just plain weird and this list serves up mainly the latter.

Nirvana – Heart Shaped Box

It wouldn’t be a music controversy list without Nirvana now, would it? The first single off the band’s record In Utero came along with a music video that would be sure to creep out some of their mass following that they had accumulated thanks to their previous album Nevermind. Twisted Wizard of Oz imagery, crucifixion and a girl donning Klu-Klux Klan attire were all present in this video that received some surprising positive feedback from critics and helped the band to win two MTV Music Video Awards that year.

Pearl Jam – Jeremy

It’s hard to believe that the ever popular and influential Pearl Jam were relatively unknown at one point but in 1992 that was exactly the case. Their debut Ten was a slow mover but their third single Jeremy managed to gain a lot of attention due to the accompanying music video. Filmed by Mark Pellington, the powerful video is notoriously known for its re-enactment of an incident where a schoolboy shot himself in front of his class which led to the swift removal of the scene though blood can still be seen on the classmates clothes. The public attention that the video gained helped Pearl Jam to become mainstream rock stars overnight and the band haven’t looked back on it.

Eminem – Stan

Eminem isn’t one to shy away from controversy. Be it his sometimes violent, sexist and homophobic lyrics or being blamed for the suicide of a teenager, the rapper never seems to be out of the public eye. This wasn’t any different with the music video Stan which tells the tale of a deranged fan who commits suicide and was plagued with heavy censorship due to the violent language and scenes though this didn’t stop it becoming one of the best known music videos or one of Slim Shady’s best selling tracks.

Marilyn Manson – (s)AINT

Often called the most violent and controversial music video of them all, it should be no surprise that the artist in question is none other than heavy metal musician Marilyn Manson who’s been blamed by the media for inspiring the events of the Columbian High School Massacre due to his violent lyrics. Although the media clearly tried to use him as a scapegoat in this incident, the music video for his song (s)AINT was so violent and controversial that it was never broadcasted, most likely due to its dark, bloody and sex filled scenes that make up the video. These scenes include Manson self harming, masturbating and taking heroin.

MIA – Born Free

Possibly the most odd video on this list, the accompanying short film for the British rapper’s single Born Free depicts a genocide against Red Haired people and barely lasted a day on Youtube. Although it’s still available on some sites, it’s still pretty harrowing to see scenes reminiscent of the holocaust in a music video.

The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up

You could probably guess that this would be on the list from the title alone. Featuring scenes of drug taking, sex with hookers and female violence, it’s no surprise that this received backlash from feminists and was initially banned from TV though demand by fans saw MTV start to air the video late at night.

Korn – A.D.I.D.A.S

Seeing as the title stands for All Day I Dream About Sex, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that this one features some eyebrow raising scenes. This video full of vulgar lyrics contains post mortem pictures of the lead singer in woman’s clothes and body-bag dancing with no sports advertisement.

Tool – Prison Sex

Although it might be a relief to hear there’s no soap dropping scenes, this video for the band’s debut single is still incredibly creepy. The plot revolves around a white humanoid, almost robot like doll who goes catatonic when confronted by a larger black humanoid who proceeds to fondle him with a paintbrush. MTV quickly removed the video after a few viewings due to the symbolism of child abuse though the art direction was still applauded by critics.

Aphex Twin – Come To Daddy

Seeing as it’s appeared on various “100 Scariest Moments of TV” lists, it should be no surprise that this one is a bit creepy. Filmed in the same estate that Stanley Kubrick’s classic A Clockwork Orange was, the video includes a gang of small children with Richard D James’ face wreaking havoc while an evil spirit emerges who’s face is very much nightmare worthy.

Smashing Pumpkins – Try, Try, Try

The band had a very different approach to this video which only featured lead singer Corgan sitting in a chair while the video showed a sad tale about two homeless drug addicts who are soon to be parents. The video juxtaposes the upbeat music with graphic footage of a drug overdose, prostitution, and larceny and although there is a brief happy perfect family segment, this soon takes an extreme turn for the worst. No matter what ending you see, the video is still chilling and extremely moving.