[imagesource: Olivia Richardson]
I can’t help but recall Aretha Franklin’s 1985 song ‘Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves’ right now.
The Guardian‘s music scribes have decided on the 20 best songs of the year and the top five jams are all by women.
To me, their vulnerable, moving, emotionally charged songs are proof that feeling things is powerful and wholly necessary in this day and age.
Granted, sitting on your bedroom floor wailing along to some of the most influential female voices of the time has always been a mood.
From Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ and Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin” (to name just a few) to today’s sad girls picking themselves up with music, there’s a whole lifetime of female power to tap into.
Anyway, enjoy the top five jams of 2021:
5. MUNA – ‘Silk Chiffon’ (feat. Phoebe Bridgers):
This single features Phoebe Bridgers and comes via American pop/rock trio, MUNA, who signed with Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records earlier this year.
The two artists have been described as Los Angeles’ “most anxious and emotionally annihilating acts”, so a song about the pure beauty and bliss of queer love is totally apt.
4. Caroline Polachek – ‘Bunny Is a Rider’:
Polachek co-produced this “summer jam about being unavailable” with frequent collaborator Danny L Harle:
With those liquid, reactive vocals, Caroline Polachek is so sublime at selling a line that whatever Bunny Is a Rider turns out to mean, you know you’re on board from the lyric’s first flinching, suggestive rendition.
Her latest collaboration with Danny L Harle concerns the taming of this elusive, wounded creature, learning to trust again – “heart is unbreaking but don’t drop my name” – amid a febrile bassline, a tail-shake of glassy percussion and a whistled refrain to lure you into giving chase.
3. Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen – ‘Like I Used To’:
Written and sung by two of the most influential songwriters of the past decade, this song makes us dive right in:
‘Like I Used To’ feels fantastically lived in, as if these two generational songwriting talents were wandering the hallways of their lives, weighing up their regrets amid the ruined grandeur and deciding: fuck it – all you can do is keep living as wholeheartedly as humanly possible.
2. Wet Leg – ‘Chaise Longue’:
This song has already gone viral once:
[It] prompted the kind of instantaneous band buzz that is rather rare these days: with no other songs out in the world, the Isle of Wight duo suddenly found themselves in front of heaving festival crowds.
Chaise Longue is the stuff of instant indie disco adoration: simple bassline, fist-pumping tempo, and a chorus you can chant along to as your pint spills freely around your twisting heels.
1. Self Esteem – ‘I Do This All the Time’:
The new single is Rebecca Taylor’s first material since the release of her debut album under the moniker ‘Compliments Please’ from 2019.
‘I Do This All The Time’ is essentially a discussion on how complicated it is to be a human:
Narrated in a rueful mutter over a backdrop of drizzle and a downcast beat, her moments of self-sabotage, as it turns out, aren’t that big a deal – sending overlong texts, forgetting an ex’s birthday – but it’s her ear for those small, grubby humiliations, the kind that spread like mould, that captures how it feels to be trapped by an inescapable sense of yourself.
Music is subjective, remember.
The Guardian has compiled a neat little Spotify playlist with their top 20 best songs of the year, which you can listen to here.
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