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Apr 28 2017

The best albums made by women

Preface

Women in popmusic: it’s still considered a separate subject. Luckily, it changes more and more. Currently, Beyoncé is one of the most important artists in the world, who leads the way commercially as well as artistically. In the (relatively speaking) subcultures many exciting things happen, like for instance FKA Twigs. But, just take a look at the inductees to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and you see some big important names still missing, like The Runaways, Stevie Nicks, Patsy Cline, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Kate Bush, Grace Jones, Siouxsie and Carole King. Sexism? It’s hard to think otherwise…

To be fair, I mainly own music made by men, sometimes utilizing female voice. I do own music made by women, but the percentage is low. The criterion being, that at least half of the albums are composed by the performer(s). Because, if you don’t compose yourself, you’re not an artist. A performer, a great performer even, but not an artist. And yet: when trimming the list down to 10 a lot of names pass by: Erykah Badu, Björk, Mary J. Blige, Betty Davis, Missy Elliott, Macy Gray, Nina Hagen, India.Arie, Janet Jackson, Joan As Policewoman, Carole King, Lianne La Havas, Madonna, Janelle Monáe, Alanis Morissette, Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt, Santogold, Selah Sue, The Slits, Patti Smith, Angie Stone and Lucinda Williams. Is it just my imagination then? Is it not that bad? Maybe worth investigating some time….

However it may be, here’s the list of the best albums made by women:

 

Joni Mitchell - Blue (jonimitchell.com)

Joni Mitchell – Blue

1975

Beautiful album by Joni Mitchell. After the relationship with James Taylor ended, she made this (very) honest album.

In her own words: “The Blue album, there’s hardly a dishonest note in the vocals. At that period of my life, I had no personal defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world and I couldn’t pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy. But the advantage of it in the music was that there were no defenses there either”.

There you have it.

 

Sezen Aksu - Soyluyor (discogs.com)

Sezen Aksu – Söylüyor

1989

I discovered Sezen Aksu through Zühâl and am very grateful for it. Sezen Aksu is, most definitely, one of the most important artists Turkey has ever produced.

This album has been the subject of a previous article: Sezen Aksu – Söylüyor.

 

Maria McKee - Maria McKee (amazon.com)

Maria McKee – Maria McKee

1989

Former Lone Justice singer Maria McKee‘s first solo album. McKee is a singer blessed with a beautiful voice that can move to the core. Her songs are special as well.

Contains the tear-inducing Has He Got A Friend For Me?

One of my favorite female singers, maybe even the ultimate one!

 

Wendy & Lisa - Eroica (funkgroovie.blog16.fc2.com)

Wendy & Lisa – Eroica

1990

The disbanding/firing of The Revolution by Prince had a very nice side-effect: Wendy & Lisa, the duo that received unprecedented freedom by Prince, began making music for themselves. It resulted in a couple of beautiful albums, including Eroica, their best, most complete and musically relevant statement.

Contains two classics with Mother Of Pearl and Why Wait For Heaven.

Essential listening!

 

Imani Coppola - Chupacubra (amazon.com)

Imani Coppola – Chupacubra

1997

Imani Coppola is a natural. She plays a lot of instruments herself, can write and sing and give a believable performance as well. This album is completely unique and uses original samples in a very inventive way.

Modest hit Legend Of A Cowgirl was shown a lot on MTV at the time.

 

Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill (last.fm)

Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill

1998

Lauryn Hill’s debut album. After all these years, it’s still a very impressive album, that stands the test of time perfectly.

Beautiful sincere lyrics, perfect music and that great voice of Lauryn Hill. It all gels here.

Such a shame things went horribly wrong after this. The reason why is still unclear to me.

But this album luckily still stands: a true milestone in hip-hop!

 

Kate Bush - Aerial (pitchfork.com)

Kate Bush – Aerial

2005

After years (12!) of silence Kate Bush suddenly released this (double) album. Just the opener alone: King Of The Mountain. Or the beautiful π, wherein she sings the number up to the 78th digit, followed by the 101st to the 137rd. A wonderful experience.

The n-th highlight in Bush’s body of work. A beautiful album.

 

Amy Winehouse - Back To Black (Alex Hutchinson)

Amy Winehouse – Back To Black

2006

Family favorite, described earlier in Amy Winehouse – Back To Black.

 

Cat Power - Sun (pitchfork.com)

Cat Power – Sun

2012

Beautiful album by Cat Power. After years of living out of the limelight Cat Power suddenly re-appeared with Sun, an electronic album album, containing a number of stunningly beautiful songs.

The album’s highlight is Nothin’ But Time: a great ode to youth and (potential loss of) innocence, with the support of Iggy Pop.

An impressive feat this album!

 

Beyonce - Lemonade (amazon.com)

Beyoncé – Lemonade

2016

As stated in the beginning of this article, at the moment Beyoncé is probably the most important artist, commercially and artistically.

This album is the second, after 2013’s  Beyoncé, where Beyoncé moves beyond her mannerisms and just sings: and how! 

It contains the classic single Formation, but she also convinces in songs like Don’t Hurt Yourself and Freedom.

Beyoncé is very capable and conveying a serious message and be moving at the same time. Beautiful album!

 

In closing

What are your favorites? Let me know and I will add them to the article!

 

Additions

Sinead O’ Connor – The Lion And The Cobra

(1987)

Kate & Anna McGarrigle – Dancer With Bruised Knees

(1977)

Dusty Springfield – In Memphis

(1969)

The Bangles – All Over The Place

(1984)

Tanita Tikaram – Acient Heart

(1988)

Julie London – Julie Is Her Name

(1955)

Danielle Dax – Blast The Human Flower

(1990)

From Jacques Teske (Dutch site)

Keuze Jacques Teske (allmusic.com/apoplife.nl)

 

Heather Findlay – The Phoenix Suite

(2011)

From Boudewijn (Dutch site)

Heather Findlay - The Phoenix Suite (allmusic.com)

 

Dixie Chicks  – Wide Open Spaces

(1998)

From Lisette (Dutch site)

Dixie Chicks - Wide Open Spaces (allmusic.com)

 

Heather Nova – Oyster

(1994)

From Mark (Dutch site)

Heather Nova - Oyster (allmusic.com)

 

Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman

(1988)

From Yvon (Dutch site)

Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman (rbhsjukebox.wordpress.com)

 

Compliments/remarks? I´d love to hear them!