Parted Ways by Heartless Bastards – Maybe the future of rock (and there is a future. Not to go Dave Grohl, but rock always has a future.) is the female lead singer. Female rock singers were once stereotyped faster than you could say “Is she a Janis or an Aretha?” I don’t think that’s the case any more. I find far more range in female leads than their male counter-parts (who can now all pretty much be lumped into (a) the Wayne Coyne raspy/high-pitched indie default group (Thom Yorke, Bon Iver); (2) the unworthy knock-off variant of the Vedder cock-rock baritone group (The National Titus Andronicus); or (c) the quasi-punks trying to sound like Green Day group.).
But the girls, damn, they’re all over the map. They own the map. They’re all I want to listen to anymore. I’ll take Florence (N.B. Her voice is the most powerful weapon in rock today. And don’t think what she makes isn’t rock, because it is. Powerful rock.); Regine Chassagne (N.B. Arcade Fire – and maybe hers is the female Wayne Coyne variant, But Sprawl II, so perfectly delicate but defiant, no male could sing that song.); Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes – (N.B. The Pitchfork/SMC review of this album (6.8 no love) referred to A.S. as the newest would be saviors of rock…..we’ll see.) She’ll show you how to dump your very essence into a song); Adele (congratulations you super Grammy winner, I’m proud of you… I’m sorry had to watch so much
woman-hitting-talentless-fuck-stick Chris Brown on your big night)(She owns the world right now); or Erika Wennerstrom (so soulful on this track (hell the whole album) that I believe her. And that is the test isn’t it? Can they sing it to make you believe them? Cobain could, Cash could, Buckley could, Vedder can, Mick even still can. But not many of the rest do anymore. Do you believe Dave Grohl? Damn sure not Chris Martin or Caleb Followill; or, hell, even Jeff Tweedy. It’s almost like they’re embarrassed to ruin hipster cred and sing from where it has to hurt (except for Tweedy, he sings from where it hurts. It just doesn’t sound that great). SNL skit aside, none of them can make you feel it like sweet Adele. And I think they’re scared to try.) any day over most moribund fellas droning on about life instead of celebrating it, like my girls do.
Why has the fulcrum of rock shifted to the female lead? Maybe I’m growing up, but there is a time I found most female headed rock bands to be novelty acts (Garbage, Evanescence, even Joan Jett). Now they’re better. Now they are stealing the show. Why? Enlightenment (on my part)? Empowerment (on their part)? I don’t know, but the rock stars are girls now, fellas. I hope you can keep up. Enjoy.