Down with the Past Playlist

By Erin Delaney ’16

I planned to write a playlist that would have one song per decade by a woman artist. Then I realized that I hate the past! It’s terrible for most people but about 0.1 percent of people on the planet. We can start listening to music in 60 years when we have figured out how to fix that. That being said, the following are a mix of tunes I will smuggle in when all our previous media is burned or repurposed as household decorations.

  1. Only Loved at Night – The Raincoats – Odyshape

This album is from 1981 and I don’t believe it is from 1981 because a) you know how I feel about the 1980s and b) it still sounds like it is from that utopian time 60 years from now. Unapologetically female band (with some queer members even, which is another reason that I do not believe this is from 1981) making unapologetically female post-punk. Their music is all one free-wheeling and sprawling detour. You never get where you expected to go but you always wind up somewhere different with each listen.

2. Poison Girls – Real Woman – Real Woman

Vi Subversa, the woman who went from being a mother of two in her 40s to being a mother of two in her 40s also in a feminist anarcho-punk band practically overnight, just passed away this February. Poison Girls’ rage just seems so utterly alone in this era of music. Subversa huffs, howls, pants, and yowls out radical politics that would raise eyebrows if you espoused them at Kenyon today. If you like this, check out “Underbitch” because it is as indispensable as the title implies

3. Molly – Palehound – Dry Food

Okay, now we’re in this decade. This Palehound album came out this past summer to a very excited me since I loved her Bent Nail EP. A lot has been made about Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz being Ellen Kempner’s former camp counselor and the similarity of their sounds, but while Kempner does thank Dupuis on the back of this record I do think Palehound has the integrity to stand alone. Written following a break-up (what isn’t), Dry Food will repeatedly go just so far down the path of allowing itself to wallow in self-sabotaging navel-gazing before kicking itself in the pants with a catchy riff.

4. Killing Me Softly – The Fugees  – The Score

Hard to argue with Lauryn Hill’s vocals. The rest of The Score is killer, but this looks forward to the gospel arrangements of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

5. Missy Elliot – Hot Boyz – Da Real World

Indispensable. An entirely indispensable song. Important beyond words for any drive that lasts precisely 4:35. I really struggled about whether this was too whimsically titled a song to represent Missy but it does gather a lot of what I love about Missy: great and innovative beats, a dirty sense of humor, and a music video that feels like it came out of nowhere. I stand with Hot Boyz. #istandwithhotboyz

6. Gratitude ft. The Hics – Little Simz – A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons

Keep your eyes on Little Simz! In two years she will be running the world, I promise. This is off A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons, her first full-length album, but if you enjoy this you have plenty more to look forward to. Little Simz is insanely prolific and generous, so there is tons of material *for free* on her bandcamp.

7. Community of Hope – PJ Harvey – The Hope Six Demolition Project

Thank god PJ Harvey keeps making music. The one thing I’ll never get about music is why so often when bands/artists get more experienced their music flops. I truly, truly love 90s witch-bitch-goddess PJ Harvey (Rid of Me, To Bring You My Love) but perhaps the fact that her music shapeshifts with every album is the reason why it never feels stale or uninspired.

8. Sad Tomorrow – The Muffs – Blonde and Blonder

The Muffs are the closest band to being a real life Josie and the Pussycats I know of.  Thank God.

9. Un Beso – Carla Morrison – Amor Supremo

I don’t understand a word of Spanish but I know a satisfying pop song when I hear one. Like PJ Harvey, Carla Morrison dependably pumps out fresh material that (unlike PJ) seems vaguely like it might be nice to ice skate to.

10. Uja – Tanya Tagaq – Animism

Tanya Tagaq is an Inuit/Canadian throat singer. Are you still here? OK, but at least listen to this. Tanya Tagaq makes sounds that I’ve never heard a human being make. This album, Animism, has her impersonating different animals. It’s demonic and truly haunting. Tagaq is also a really awesome activist who does a lot to represent environmental and First Nations women’s issues in Canada.

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