We’re excited to bring you a guest post from brilliant music writer A.G., who brings together queens and titans of 2015 for a year-in-review playlist you’ll love.
First off, happy New Year to all, and to all a good, peaceful, and sonically interesting 2016! As 2015 fades to a dusky glimmer in our rear-view mirrors, let’s take a moment to pump up our speakers and bow down before some of the ladies who made badass, game-changing music over the past year. Before I get into it: no knocks at either of the musical juggernauts referenced in my title, whose albums have been devouring the pop charts of recent memory. In a year that was, commercially speaking, terrible for female musicians and producers, it’s unquestionably rad that Adele’s 25 is smashing basically every sales record available to a seven-week-old album and that Taylor has extended the singles-studded comet trail of 1989 for so long that it’s easy to forget “Shake It Off” was released back in the dark ages of 2014. Continue reading “Big Sound Saturdays: Best of 2015”
They thought death was worth it, but I
Have a self to recover, a queen.
-Sylvia Plath, “Stings”
Even amidst the buzz surrounding the release of Adele’s 25 this month, I’m still caught up in two other albums released by major female artists this year. Florence and the Machine and Lana Del Rey both (like Adele) released their third major-label albums in 2015. Florence and the Machine’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful and Del Rey’s Honeymoon each mark a sonic departure from the albums that preceded them. Beyond that, Florence Welch and Lana del Rey are two of my favorite female artists, and listening to these two albums on constant repeat—Florence’s since May, Lana’s since September—has led me to wonder what these two very different singer-songwriters have in common, and why both have a similarly dark, magnetic appeal for me (and, I suspect, many others). Placing their latest albums in the context of their work as a whole, I can see that part of what’s intriguing about both of these artists is their blurring of the lines between authenticity and performance, mythmaking and confession. Both perform femininity and embody it in ways alternately troubling and inspiring.