Last year was a big year for female artists on my iPod. They came in all voice styles and music types, though purists would probably all categorize them as “pop.” In my opinion, the term pop music has some pretty negative connotations attached to the word (mainstream, trendy, superficial all come to mind), when in fact, many of my favorite gals were able write music that was great for dancing or listening. If you want to try out some new musicians for 2010, here are some of my suggestions for you.
When I was in choir, we learned two types of singing. Singing from the chest for notes within our range and singing “from the nose” for higher notes and they produce very different tonality. Singing high notes is typically very hard while still in chest voice and that’s probably why I love La Roux. Lead singer, Elly Jackson nails the high notes with a chesty sound usually reserved for low D’s and C’s. Her powerful voice, matched with syncopated synthesizer makes for some dancy tunes. The sound is totally unique and paired with Jackson’s voice, the songs are unmistakable.
She’s also got a style all her own. She has basically revisited the 80’s, but has selected the brightest colors and the most geometric patterns she can for her wardrobe and watching her music videos is a treat to the eyes as well as the ears. I must also give this lady credit for the inspiration to my newest hairstyle. I’ve never seen a faux hawk rocked so hard.
Watch, listen and learn: “Bulletproof”
Good Lord, this alto has a set of pipes on her that are like a punch to the face. Only pleasant. The band is a façade though, as it is just lead singer Florence Welch paired with various artists depending on her mood. I found a quote from the lovely Miss Welch that pretty much sums up her music: “I want my music to sound like throwing yourself out of a tree, or off a tall building, or as if you’re being sucked down into the ocean and you can’t breathe. It’s something overwhelming and all-encompassing that fills you up, and you’re either going to explode with it, or you’re just going to disappear.”
That pretty much sums it up.
Seriously. I had a ton more I was going to write and then I found that quote. Anything I write about her now looks like drivel compared to it.
Watch, listen and learn: “Drumming Song”
With a sugary soprano voice that can transition into a powerful, vibrato alto voice, Marina Diamandis, is the one and only member of the band and she consistently dominates the music. Sometimes I kind of forget that there’s music playing in the background while she sings. She has yet to release her feature length album, The Family Jewels, but all of her singles have been dynamite and I cannot wait to hear more.
Watch, listen and learn: “Mowgli’s Road”
I know I’m somewhat of a late comer to this soulful singer’s albums, but her songs were on heavy rotation for the latter part of the year. Her voice is airy and light and her lyrics are always so lovely, whether it’s a sad or happy song. She combines her voice with electronic backgrounds to create a really eclectic mixture of music. The wonderful “Say Goodnight and Go” usually has me bouncing as I walk when I listen to it and the haunting “Hide and Seek” is a masterpiece of dissonance.
Watch, listen and learn: “Hide and Seek”
This is probably the poppiest of the group and singer Alison Goldfrapp (best last name EVAR) delivers a great range of songs to dance to and songs to swoon over. There is a touch of romance in everything she sings. Although there are a few songs that I’m not crazy about, I have generally loved most of what the band has released.
Watch, listen and learn: “Strict Machine”
So there you go. A list of my favorite ladies of 2009 and, well, probably a good part of 2010. Who am I kidding, I don’t buy music as much as I should.