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Wednesday 08 October 2008

Listen Up

13th March 2008

Dancing queen?! What a drag!

Posted by: Kitten Power

abba1.jpgI have belatedly discovered the list of the “50 gayest songs”created by Australian website Same Same to celebrate Mardi Gras.  I am left wondering who actually voted on this thing, that allowed ABBA’s Dancing Queen to be voted #1!  That song reminds me of being stuck listening to my stepmother warbling along to it in the car on a long drive, or drunk straight girl spinning in the middle of a circle of just-as-drunk straight girls at Boogie Wonderland.

Apart from the word “queen” in the title, there is nothing that screams gay to me, or makes me feel proud, represented - or like dancing.

Here are the so called “top ten” songs:

10. Alicia Bridges, “I Love The Nightlife”
9. Madonna, “Vogue”
8. Olivia Newton-John “Xanadu”
7. Kylie Minogue, “Better The Devil You Know”
6. Pet Shop Boys, “Go West”
5. Kylie Minogue, “Your Disco Needs You”
4. The Weathergirls, “It’s Raining Men”
3. Gloria Gaynor, “I Will Survive”
2. Village People, “YMCA”
1. ABBA, “Dancing Queen

To be fair the full list has a few goodies on it - (I am What I Am, Over The Rainbow and such) but other than that, to me this top 50 is just a tired gathering of overused drag songs.

The only song that comes anywhere near creating a sense of lesbian pride in me is at #42 Constant Craving from KD Lang - and I don’t own a single KD Lang album (shock! horror!)

But rather than continuing to complain about what a dire drag this list is, I have surveyed a few friends from different spheres of this lesbian world and begun creating a list of some of the songs that make that lesbian marrow in our bones scream girl power.

Patti Smith - Gloria (1975)

This cover of Van Morrison’s Gloria gets my spine a-tingling.  It is Patti Smith right in the heat of her heyday singing “oh, she looks so good, oh, she looks so fine, and I got this crazy feeling and then I’m gonna ah-ah make her mine, ooh I’ll put my spell on her” and that powerful chorus “G-L-O-R-I-A Gloria.”

Heart - Barracuda (1977)

This song was apparently written in response to tabloid rumours, which some say stemmed from Heart’s own record company, that Ann and Nancy Wilson were lesbian lovers.  The rumours were disgusting and ridiculous enough for the Wilson sisters to get venomous, spitting out the lyrics “you lying so low in the weeds, bet you gonna ambush me, you’d have me down on my knees, wouldn’t you, Barracuda?”

Joan Jett - Bad Reputation (1980):

“I don’t give a damn bout my reputation.  You’re living in the past its a new generation.  A girl can do what she wants to do and that’s what I’m gonna do.  And I don’t give a damn bout my bad reputation.”  It speaks for itself doesn’t it?  This song tops my list, it makes me feel like I can conquer anything.

Joan Armatrading - The Weakness In Me (1981)

This song is clearly about being trapped between two loves - one old, one new.  It’s so tormented that, whether it’s intended to be about a woman or not, it reflects the nature of many lesbian relationships.  To me, it seems like it could be seen as being about being with a guy, then falling in love with a woman and just being completely rocked by it.  (Sorry about the kareoke version of teh video - click here for a better clip)

Gloria Gaynor - I Am What I Am (1983)

It’s a camp anthem I feel like gay guys and girls can all share.  Plus there had to be a disco number in here somewhere.   Come on sing along, ”your life is a sham, till you can shout out I am what I am.”

Sonic Youth - Starpower (1986)

This haunting song features the vocals of Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and is said to be about the experience of watching Joan Jett play.  Let’s just ignore the fact Gordon’s bandmate Thurston Moore actually wrote it and just listen to the lyrics “she knows how to make love to me, she knows how to make love.”

K.D. Lang - Constant Craving (1992)

As I have already said, I don’t own any K.D. Lang albums.  However this song is a classic, it’s just gorgeous.  It makes me think about the times my girlfriend is away, when I miss her so much it’s literally a craving.

Bikini Kill - Rebel Girl (1993)

Have you ever met a girl you wanted to both take home and try on her clothes?  This song, which is laced with a little sarcasm, is about the “queen of the neighbourhood” that everyone loves and always seems to be playing in scenes of The L Word involving Shane.  I love these lyrics - “when she walks, the revolution’s coming.  In her hips, there’s revolution.  When she talks, I hear the revolution.  In her kiss, I taste the revolution.”

Melissa Etheridge - Come To My Window (1994)

Can you really have a list of the best lesbian music, without Melissa Etheridge?  She’s not quite the voice of my generation, but she is to be respected.  It’s inspiring that she even released an album called Yes I Am.  And true to her talent, she has plenty of fans from the gay and straight worlds.  Plus I quite like this song - and the video features Juliette Lewis!

Le Tigre - Hot Topic (1999)

This song is a shout out to a pile of feminist and queer icons that inspire Le Tigre, including Gertrude Stein, Bille Jean King, Cibo Matto and even Yoko Ono.  It also issues a challenge to keep on fighting with the lyrics “don’t you stop.  I can’t live if you stop.”

Melissa Ferrick - Drive (2000)

This song is HOT.  My friend introduced me to it with the following instructions: 

  • Jump on the net and download the song (make sure it’s the studio version…not the live one)
  • get the best quality you can
  • listen to it through some great quality headphones…or a great stereo with your girl
  • turn the lights low or light some candles,
  • add a glass of red into the mix

Said friend finished the instructions with “and if this doesn’t make you wet then I don’t know what will.”  Hence I won’t put a video up and will let you discover it for yourselves, or relive it . . .

Pink - U+Ur Hand (2001)

I’m not particularly a Pink fan, but one does have to admit she is pretty hot.  And she’s split from that biker husband, so there’s always hope she’ll switch back to women.  This song can be taken with a side of innuendo, but it also has a pretty clear message . . . “keep your drink just give me the money - just you and your hand tonight”.  Nice way to deal with those unwelcome advances from guys in bars. 

Peaches - I U She (2003)

Although Peaches has many songs that could make this list, I’m going with the simple ode to being free in bisexuality, with ”I, you, she together, come on now baby let’s go.  I don’t have to make a choice, I like girls and I like boys . . .” Boys Wanna be Herwas a close second from this electro goddess.

Eurythmics - I’ve Got a Life (2005)

Annie Lennox is an icon for many lesbian women - and doesn’t she consistently look super hot in a tie?  The song is very reminiscent of Sweet Dreams with all the synth - with an against the odds message “I’ve got a life it ain’t over.  I’ve got a way, it’s the only things that’s mine.  All I’m asking for is tenderness, a little tenderness.”

Gossip - Standing In The Way of Control (2006)

This new-age gay rights anthem gets me pumped every time I hear it.  It’s the best thing to listen to when you’re having a tough day at work, or just need to wake up properly in the morning.  Beth Ditto says the song is a response to people being denied the right o gay marriage in the US; “I wrote the chorus to try and encourage people not to give up. It’s a scary time for civil rights, but I really believe the only way to survive is to stick together and keep fighting.”

Who have I missed that you love?  The Butchies? Sarah McLachlan? Indigo Girls? Ani DiFranco? The Murmurs? Team Dresch? L7?  School me in your lesbian music taste!

(Please note, I refuse to include that contrived fake lesbian schoolgirl song All The Things She Said by T.A.T.U. - that is the opposite of girl power!)

Tags: General · Music

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Craig Young // Mar 13, 2008 at 11:04 am

    No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani singing “It’s My Life” and polishing off large numbers of men during the video. Although the end of the video needs to be seriously modified- say, she spots a nice nasty grrl with an axe and they head off in her pink cadillac together…?

  • 2 Kitten Power // Mar 13, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Ha ha that sounds like a far better ending Craig!

  • 3 Craig Young // Mar 13, 2008 at 11:07 am

    And unfortunately, “Priscilla” cemented the dreaded Svedish pop band into full nostalgia overdrive over there. Although it does kind of suit “Muriel’s Wedding,” when Muriel and female friend leave Qld forever…

  • 4 Kitten Power // Mar 13, 2008 at 11:16 am

    And just wait for more nostalgia - with Priscilla The Musical coming to Auckland we will all be screaming “Mamma Mia!”

  • 5 Michael Stevens // Mar 13, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Patti Smith = Genius.Just love her.
    I’d add Marianne Faithful’s “Why did ya do it?” to this list.

  • 6 Kitten Power // Mar 13, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Oh Marianne Faithfull! How did she slip my mind!? Thanks - and yeah I agree Patti Smith is totally a genius!

  • 7 MaryCherry // Mar 13, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Check out a song called The Verdict by Sandy (she’s a German popstar) which is all about her planning to steal her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfried

    “I finally figured out what I should do,
    I’m gonna take her away from you,
    There’s something special in a women’s touch…”

  • 8 Craig Young // Mar 13, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Hmmm. Okay, how about “I Love Rock and Roll?”
    Just change the gender of the approached person and it works…

  • 9 Flissy // Mar 13, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    What about Jackie - by Joanne? ISn’t that a gay anthem, its gotta be!

  • 10 Hades // Mar 14, 2008 at 12:53 am

    Would have gone with Melissa Etheridge’s - Bring me some water, amazingly untamed song that resonates with the smoky vocals reminisciant of bonnie tyler or stevie nicks

  • 11 unpclesbian // Mar 14, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Oooh, thanks for the Annie L clip, tho the double up sound was v odd…….Tanita Tikram….Catherdal….”Yes I saw, from the cathedral, that you were watching me”…..Oh bugger bugger the little hoodlams that broke into my car and stole the stereo with my precious imported version of her greatest hits.

    Anyone got a copy of Tanita T’s collection let me know

  • 12 MaryCherry // Mar 15, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Bring Me Some Water is great hades.

    I love Melissa, but never really warmed to Come To My Window, but tracks like I’m The Only One, Similar Features, Angels Would Fall are pure love

  • 13 Kitten Power // Mar 17, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Aha! You are showing up my clear lack of knowledge about anything Melissa Etheridge!

    I shall retreat and listen - thanks for the song picks.

  • 14 Megan // Apr 3, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    I lived in Germany for a wee while and the main Lesbo anthem there was Like The Way I do by Melissa Etheridge. I went to lesbian parties where the people working would stand on the bar with there hands on their chests when the song came on. Seriously. I thought it was the same Lesbo anthem everywhere…but I guess not. Should be added though

  • 15 jody // Apr 15, 2008 at 5:15 am

    ana egge “I am illegal”

  • 16 Sandra // Apr 17, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Oh yeah, so with you on ‘Drive’ - it’s my fave thinking about some gorgeous woman song :-)

    This list is great - thank you - I’m having so much fun listening to tracks I hadn’t heard before.

    I’d add some other bi faves too - Ben Harper’s ‘Mama’s Got A Girlfriend Now’; Ani’s ‘In or Out’; John Oszajca’s ‘Bisexual Chick’ (she likes more than just….); Living Colour’s ‘Bi’; Blur’s ‘Boys and Girls’; the Killers ‘Somebody Told Me’; Jill Sobule’s ‘I Kissed A Girl’……
    oh the world is just full of great songs about same sex lurve……

  • 17 Kitten Power // Apr 24, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Aha - I actually got in trouble from my girlfriend for not putting Jill Sobule’s I Kissed A Girl in, so I have been caught out by you too Sandra! Thanks for your comments.

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