It’s been a while now since the days of the Spice Girls and girl power (thank God, some might say, myself included). But, just because Baby Spice is more like Old Spice now, doesn’t mean that the idea of Girl Power has relinquished its place as a powerful influence on the music industry.
Women rockers have received a big push lately with the success of The Donnas, Sahara Hotnights and even Avril Lavigne. J. Lo, Missy Eliot and Lil’ Kim are holding it down in the R&B department. Even Norah Jones and Diana Krall are starting to get some widespread recognition for jazz. Here are some more rockin’ women who have put out some great tunes in the past month or so. Go, girl power!
The White Stripes
I think it’s fairly safe to say that Meg White is one of the coolest women in music right now. Her power drumming has been a large part of the driving force behind the success of The White Stripes in the past two years. On “Elephant,” she continues to pound and crash her way into rock ‘n’ roll history, but she also comes out from behind the kit and sings in two songs.
In “In the Cold, Cold Night” and in “Well It’s True that We Love One Another,” Meg White’s ghostly haunting Patsy Cline-meets-Nico voice gently overlays her brother/ ex-husband Jack White’s guitar. “Well It’s True that We Love One Another” features vocals split three ways in a conversation between Meg, Jack and Brit folkie Miss Holly Golightly, whose country-tinged vocals keep this track playful and fun. Jack White’s work on the album is impeccable as always, especially with Meg adding the harsher edge to his perpetually adolescent voice and nocturne-esque, eerie, heavily distorted guitar work. While not nearly as commercially friendly as “White Blood Cells,” The White Stripes are surely due some recognition for this great rock album.
Stand-out tracks: “Seven Nation Army,” “In the Cold, Cold Night,” “I Want to be the Boy to Warm Your Mother’s Heart” and “Well, It’s True that We Love One Another.”
“You Are Free”
Multi-instrumentalist Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power, pumps out original, interesting, smart and carefully produced songs on her latest venture, “You Are Free.” With guitars out of the early 90s, drums out of the eighties and timeless vocals, Cat Power is something altogether contemporary and new.
In the same vein as Bright Eyes and Ed Harcourt, Cat Power represents Indie rock that revisits roots music but looks ahead of its own time. Marshall’s voice is throaty and sultry along the lines of Sarah McLachlan, making almost everything she sings seem like the truth in that sad, aching sort of way. With simple but deeply cutting lyrics critiquing relationships, society and self-perception, Cat Power is a tour-de-force of mental anguish. If you’re an emo-kid, singer-songwriter fan, ex-indie rocker or just looking for some good, meaningful music, look into Cat Power.
Stand-out tracks: “I Don’t Blame You,” “Good Woman,” “He War” and “Keep on Runnin’.'”
After having their song “Wastin’ My Time” featured on the “Eight Mile” soundtrack, the brother-sister team of Kellin and Taryn Manning have just released their first full-length album. Mixing dance, hip-hop and R&B, Boomkat is part Christina Aguilera, part Lemon Jelly. Try to imagine Daniel Bedingfield’s sound in a woman. Some of Kellin Manning’s rhythms and effects are markedly original, giving the album the needed complexity to make such a dance record stand out. Taryn Manning’s voice is a little familiar-sounding, but still works well for this kind of album. Boomkat has a lot of potential for the future – that much is evident in their debut offering – but there is still some shallowness that leaves something to be desired.
Stand-out tracks: “The Wreckoning,” “Wastin’ My Time” and “B4 It’s 2 L8”