Ten for Tuesday – Women of Music October 20, 2009Posted by Matt in top ten.
Tags: Allison Krauss, Amy Winehouse, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Loretta Lynn, Lucinda Williams, music, neko case, Portishead, She & Him, Sinead O'Connor, top ten, women
I have a confession to make.
As a teen and young adult in the 1990’s, my large music collection was notoriously sexist. Now, I don’t think I ever had an overt disdain toward female artists, but for some reason I never really paid them any attention. This glaring omission may have been from the mistaken belief that women couldn’t rock like most of the testosterone-fueled artists I did enjoy or from lumping all female artists into the same pop diva music box, but for whatever reason, my CD case stayed almost exclusively male-dominated.
I’ve grown up a good bit over the past decade, though, and the contributions of female artists have become much more important to me. Today my music collection is quite expansive and women performers have become an integral part of my regular listening. So, for this installment of Ten for Tuesday, I wanted to give you ten of my favorite female-dominated albums from the past decade. Many of these additions have come since I joined emusic in 2006, so it is weighted to the last few years, but there are some that I picked up prior to that. Let me know of any others that you think should be added.
10. She & Him – Volume One
When this album was released in 2008, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the collaboration between actress Zooey Deschanel and retro folk artist M. Ward, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Deschanel’s voice fits very well in the simple, old-style mold that M. Ward helps to craft. Like many of his other recordings, this sounds like something you might listen to on an old transistor radio and that’s a good thing.
9. Portishead – Third
Though the comeback album of this seminal trip-hop outfit may not be to the level of 1994’s classic Dummy, it is still pretty good and it was especially nice to hear the familiar sound of Beth Gibbon’s voice after more than a decade. I am really looking forward to hearing what else the band has in store for the future.
8. Lucinda Williams – Little Honey
Little Honey was a wonderful return to form for one of the best known voices of the alt-country movement. The album is a rollicking tour-de-force that proves that women over 50 can still contribute great things to the world of music.
7. Emmylou Harris/Mark Knopfler – All the Roadrunning
Though folk legend Harris shares the spotlight with Knopfler, the guitar maestro behind Dire Straits and several excellent solo releases, she still shines brightly as one of the most distinctive voices of the past few decades. Their voices meld wonderfully throughout this gem of an album.
6. Allison Krauss/Robert Plant – Raising Sand
Though rock legend Robert Plant is given equal billing on this album, this work is more of a Krauss album with Plant singing backup. The songs are mostly downbeat and drowsy, but not in a way that tires the listener. Instead, Plant and bluegrass queen Krauss turns this into a seminar of how two very different halves can make one beautiful whole.
5. Sinead O’Connor – Theology
By the time this album came out, I had pretty much forgotten about O’Connor. Sure, I remembered her tirade on Saturday Night Live in the early 90’s when she tore up a picture of the pope, but I had lost track of any music that she had recorded over the years. I first heard of this album from my friend Scott and thought that he must be kidding – really, Sinead O’Connor? But then I listened to this collection of gospel numbers and was immediately drawn into it, especially the CD (this is a 2 disc set) of the more sparsely accompanied songs. In her voice was something beautiful and heartfelt and spiritual that puts the entire CCM industry to shame.
4. Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator)
With this album (and the two preceding it), Welch proved herself to be one of the most important voices in the neo-traditional folk movement. Her style draws from bluegrass and folk genres, melding the old forms into something relevant in today’s fast-paced 21st century and it is a sound that deserves to be heard by everyone.
3. Loretta Lynn – Van Lear Rose
In 2004, an unlikely pairing emerged in the world of music – country music legend Loretta Lynn, age 69 at the time, and indie rock star Jack White of the White stripes, age 28. I imagine that the seeming strangeness of this collaboration must have raised some eyebrows, but somehow it worked perfectly. The duet of Lynn and White on the song “Portland, Oregon” is especially great and helped to make this one of the better albums of the entire decade.
2. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Look, I know she’s a crackhead and I know that my giving this much credence to her work doesn’t help her on the path to self-destruction, but I really love this album and have for quite sometime. I think of her raunchy jazz/soul sound as the anti-Norah Jones, the type of music you would never hear on an elevator. She has one of those retro smoky voices, which I’m sure was probably self-inflicted, that just blows me away.
1. Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
What brought the idea for this list on? The fact that I’m about to purchase a ticket to see Neko Case in just a matter of weeks here in Memphis. I fell in love with her powerful voice in 2007 when I purchased this album and I have been a devoted follower ever since. I could listen to this every day of my life and never get tired of it.
What else should have made the list?
An Olympic-Sized Controversy October 5, 2009Posted by Matt in Obama, politics.
Tags: 2016 Olympics, bikinis, Chicago, fat guys, Rio, women
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Over the past few days there has been a good deal of heated discussion regarding the IOC’s choice of Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games over Chicago, the city which Obama lobbied for in person to the committee. So, the inevitable questions have been asked: Is Obama not able to close the deal? Is this more than just a bump in the road for a presidency dogged by uninformed but loud allegations.
Well, before laying the blame at Obama’s feet, please consider two things:
Was this ever really a contest?
Throwback Thursday February 19, 2009Posted by Matt in Throwback Thursday.
Tags: church, church of christ, gender roles, Lads to Leaders, spiritual gifts, women
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Earlier today I was scanning through some older blog entries and, given our recent discussion on gender roles in church, I thought this entry from 2007 may be pertinent.
Originally posted: November 28, 2007
Church and Gender Discrimination
A few days ago, Rachel – my inquisitive 5 year old daughter – asked me an innocent question that she had been pondering over for some time and I have struggled with in times past.
“Daddy,” she asked, “Why are only boys preachers?”
I agonize to myself at times over how to answer questions like this from my girls – mainly because my own personal views tend to not fall in line with the status quo in our church. I thought about it for a few moments, running through various scenarios in my mind, before I replied to her with my sincere belief in the knowledge that my answer would most likely be contradictory to what she will hear in the Church of Christ.
“Honey,” I said, “Some people think that God only wants that, but they are wrong. They are very wrong.”
Her question really made me think, though. What have we done to our young ladies? We teach about spiritual gifts and how God has endowed each of us with them, but then we stifle our women at every opportunity – telling them that they have no place in the spiritual edification of men.
This stems from our mode of Biblical intrepration which, in many churches, remains steeped in modernity – where everything (or at least everything that fits a certain agenda) is black or white or right or wrong, and it is time to move forward. We must not continue to only shuttle our women to teach children below the arbitrary age of accountability. We must not tell them that their spiritual gifts are only to be used if no men are within earshot. We must pull back the Pharisaical hand of oppression that we have put upon our ladies and let them know that they are important to God – that they do have a place and a purpose in His kingdom.
This is one of the main reasons why I refuse to have my daughters participate in our church’s Lads to Leaders program. I actually wrote to the head of the program in Alabama in order to inquire whether or not it was true that, if Rachel participated, I would not be allowed to watch her read a Bible verse out loud at the annual convention. I quickly received an answer dripping with condescension from the organization explaining to me in no uncertain terms that this was the case and it would never change. So, needless to say, my daughters will never be a part of this if I have anything to say about it.