Rolling Stone just concluded their 2012 Women Who Rock contest, which means that their October 11 issue features a profile of Karmin’s Amy Heidemann, a blurb on Rita Ora, and yet another article about Adele. More importantly, it’s got a handy-dandy map of the Girl-Rock Galaxy, laying out a neat categorization of 2012’s most popular female singers (though I think that label is sort of a stretch–does anyone even listen to Britney Spears anymore?). It’s nice, but it’s brief, compressing a dynamic and freakishly complex topic into a two-page, mostly graphic spread. Which got me thinking–dangerous, I know–about how people go about organizing music, and reminded me of a really obnoxious misconception.
People. “Female Singer” is not a genre. If we looked at male singers the same way, we’d end up with The Who and Pantera and CAKE all in the same bucket, and you can bet there’d be some indignance about that. I’m glad that RS made distinctions clear, but a little bit disappointed with the superficiality of the piece. I like a lot of female singers, and I think all of them have incredibly distinct characteristics that deserve recognition. Bottom line is that I will slap you silly if you confuse Regina Spektor with Fiona Apple.
And that’s why this fall, a groundbreaking new program will be airing on the Plan B network: the likely irregular but potentially educational Field Guide to Female Singers. Stay tuned to evade the wrath of pretentious people like myself.
There is nothing that unites every female singer besides ovaries and talent (and even that last one is debatable). You guys should get multidimensional views of them and their work, as you should get for all musical groups (what, you don’t Wikipedia-stalk bands before you put their music on your iPod?). What your future actually holds is reviews of the female singers that happen to strike some teenage girl’s fancy. But at least it’s a step.