wtf thursday

The only WTF I have is about my own musical taste between 1998 and 2000.

If I EVER would have thought that my favorite late-nineties women musicians would end up as Starbucks poster children or obscure public radio program showcased artists (read: Sheryl Crow, Shawn Colvin, fuckin' Sarah McLachlan [you can find her debut holiday standards album next to the after-coffee mints]), I may have been going to Lollapalooza instead of Lilith Fair.

That being said, I did enjoy my grande gingerbread latte.


Spooner said...

I guess my question is: so what? Does that really discount anything they have done for women in music? It sounds like you are implying that because of where they are now you think anything done previously was for naught. Yes?

allie said...

i agree, spooner!

emilie said...

You guys have a very good point. I wrote that post right after the Starbucks experience and it (the experience - not the latte) left a bad taste in my mouth. My frustration with "where" they are now overcame my logical side and appreciation for their past contributions.
I agree with what you guys
have said, thanks.

This being notes, how do YOU all feel about their new identities?

Spooner said...

Personally, I don't much care either way. I understand that they have gotten older and it's hard to carry the banner for the so-called 'women in music' cause for the duration of a career; they have families with young children (as is the case with Shawn Colvin, Sarah M, Tori Amos, etc) or are preggers (as is the case with Ms. DiFranco) and being away for 100 shows a year is just tough no matter who you are. Also, think about the severe change in the music world in the past ten years: we went through Britney/Christina/Jessica, N'Sync/Backstreet and everything in between phase, and if there wasn't pressure for a single before, look what the iPod/iTunes world has done. Either find a niche or be gone, and selling to the Starbucks crowd is a solid choice, economically speaking. Also, I blame Clear Channel for worsening the situation. I think a lot of it is a combination of record label pressure and a simple desire for stability. The restless energy to prove something to the world has wained a bit, not to say they are less passionate about other causes, but the fight for their identities has dimmed. Liz Phair, a poster girl for your complaints (with just cause) sang a song ten years ago with the lyrics, "It's nice to be liked but it's better by far to get paid” and for most, that's a valid argument.

I want to cut them some slack; I cannot imagine trying to stay cutting edge or “fresh” for decades at a time with what I produce. I admit that I don't really listen to Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, Paula Cole or a lot of those ladies anymore, and I don't know if its because the music scene changed without them in it, or if I changed, or maybe they didn't change and their sound has become stagnant. But I feel like as long as they are still out there, then they are still claiming a victory. It's like Johnny Cash in the 80s: his older stuff was so iconic, but his present material just didn't fit those times. That didn't discount his influence, just his moment. It took another decade, a producer who believed in him and a novel idea (not his own) to bring about a renaissance to affect a whole new generation of listeners.

I work with high school kids, and last year I asked my girls if they had ever heard of Lilith Fair; they looked at me like I had three heads. When I told them what it was, about my experiences there, they were astounded and jealous. They wanted to experience that too. That I saw Sheryl Crow, Liz Phair, The Dixie Chicks, Natalie Merchant, Sarah McLachlan, Indigo Girls, Missy Elliott (seriously, I did), Bonnie Raitt, Patty Griffin and more, it now sounds like a fictional event. I feel like what they started was so monumental in my own life and I'd love to see it for those high school kids, but I hardly think we can expect the same ladies to do it all over again. If it was to exist again, it would have to be by newer faces. And what women in music have enough chutzpah to even try? Who on the radio today doesn't require backup dancers and leather thongs to woo an audience into thinking they are a musician? Sorry this is jumpy, but I get all fired up.

emilie said...

Sarah Spooner, this is why I love you. Seriously, I love you!

I'm not sure how or why I got to the point where I decided to say "I would have seen Lollapalooza instead," but that was pretty much ridiculous. I think that day I was feeling kind of cynical and your response has obviously reminded me of how I really feel now. I should state for the record that I wasn't knocking on my feelings then.

I still feel sad that the only option for these guys is Starbucks/Hear Now Music...and I don't necessarily agree with that choice of revenue, but it definitely doesn't change how I felt about them at the time. I know my post kind of seemed like that, but that wasn't what I meant.

You've definitely, however, cleared up the fog between my present anger/annoyance and my past feelings and appreciation.


Sarah Annie said...

I am thoroughly loving this thread of conversation! My feelings are similar to what the rest of you have been saying: I miss the Lilith Fair days, and I go back and forth between thinking that Starbucks is a smart business move vs. a "sellout" venue. If I had my s*** together, I would revive Lilith Fair myself (yep, all by myself). But, like Spooner said, what female musicians are out there for us to choose from as headliners these days? Are they willing to take the risks inherent with an all-female tour like their predecessors? Someone get me a backup band and a record deal, I'll go.

P.S. Em, I'm officially moving back to the midwest (Madison to start, then probably Minneapolis) on Dec. 20. So I won't be in Boston when you're there...sad!

Spooner said...

I'm here to serve you :)
All that said, what are ya listening to these days, Dame Cole?

Monty said...

So what exactly did those women actually do for women and music?