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Thursday, November 25, 2004

Time to thank those who sing my life

Taking on female musician blogging defeated me not because I couldn't think of a gazillion female musicians I love (I can), but more because my back was broken trying to think of cool stuff to say other than I like _____ because she is cool. Also, as my friend Chris pointed out, most real music fans obsess over one instrument and it fucks with their ability to think objectively of those who play other instruments.

He's right. I'm a sucker for singers. And it ruined my ability to be objective. But it sharpened my ability to see talent where others miss it. Weirdly, my obsession with singing has turned my boyfriend and a couple friends onto jazz and Motown--I liked the singing, I showed them the instrumentation.

Anyway, I like a lot more female singers than male singers. But here's a list of some of my favorite performances, male and female, of all time, on the microphone. Just cause. Since this list runs into the thousands of performances I adore, I imagine I will revisit it.

*Billie Holiday "Strange Fruit".--Not much to say. Tricky's remix of it blew. The rest of that album is awesome.

*Freddie Mercury "Under Pressure"--I fall to pieces every time he starts to plead for one more chance.

*Nina Simone "See-Line Woman"--She makes me feel like a natural woman.

*Aretha Franklin "Think"--This song makes me spaz and think that better things are possible.

*Debbie Harry "One Way or Another"--Blondie is one of my favorite punk bands because they truly don't give a fuck. They play what they like. Call them sell-outs. Watch them not care. Feel like you're way too invested in the corporate hegemony for caring at all. It's okay. You'll be okay.

*Kathleen Hanna "Rebel Girl"--Kathleen Hanna has poured on beautifully since her days with Bikini Kill, and this is pitch perfect punk anger.

*Cindy Wilson "Dance This Mess Around"--Cindy was probably the least musically inclined of the B-52s, but she turned in one of the most moving singing performances I've ever heard.

*Rosie Gaines "Nothing Compares 2 U"--It's a live performance you get from the greatest hits of Prince. It is the definitive version of the song. Sinead has a good voice, but she is a mere pretender to the throne.

*David Bowie "Heroes"--Great singer, great song. Nothing to say here.

*Morrissey "This Charming Man"--To this day, anyone who tells me that Morrissey is just a whining Brit, I refer them to this song and ask them to remind me again why they don't pay attention. Of course, his stuff with The Smiths was better, but so?

*Ian Curtis "Transmission"--I love New Order. But Ian Curtis was a hell of a singer. That will always be true.

*Ari Up "I Heard It Through the Grapevine"--Inspired, bad ass, totally fun cover. Find The Slits doing this song if you can.

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