I understand the two way street that I’ve stepped onto with this one. I have no plan to do a whole month themed after empowering men, frankly I’m not sure I could even find 7 albums interesting enough to comprise that Musical Training Plan. However, here I am dedicating hours of my time and great amounts of thought and care to exploring, understanding, and recommending 7 albums connected by the common thread of their themes of empowering women. It is no secret that, historically, women have not been given the same freedoms, opportunities, or affordances that men have, and the women in the western world’s entertainment industry have been by no means exempt. In fact, a great number of injustices have befallen women in music for as long as the music industry has existed as we know it. Sometimes, though, a strong woman stands up and takes matters into her own hands, makes what she wants to make, and really shows us the power that art holds beyond just artistic beauty. It was very difficult to narrow down the wide selection of music I’ve listened to over past weeks into 7 albums, but I am delighted to present to you over the next week the albums that I chose.
Some of the albums touch directly on the injustices that women have had to face and continue to face, some of them just exude an air of independence and power, others still find their strength in their deep honesty, originality, and vulnerability. Regardless of approach, all 7 of the albums that I will write about touch on deeper things than just entertainment for the sake of being entertaining. Some have it more than others, but one of the things that I adore about a number of these records is that the lyrics are more than just words. They really mean something.
It is entirely possible that my opinions are wrong, but my old soul has inclined me towards legends of the past far more than almost any contemporaries. While the quintessential strong female characters and artists of today include the likes of Captain Marvel and Cardi B, my gold standard reads something like Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, and Aretha Franklin. To me a strong female character in any narrative, real or fictional, means that their being female is incidental. I don’t think of Ellen Ripley or Joan Jett as badass women, I just think of them as badasses. This will be reflected in my writings, I’m sure.
And who knows? Maybe my interpretations and readings of these albums are totally wrong, maybe I’m not qualified at all to be doing this, maybe people will hate it and totally disagree with me, but I think that this month I’ve come to realize that I’m really doing the Musical Training Plan for myself, not for the sake of anyone else. This month’s theme, these albums, I needed right now. Not sure why, but these really mattered to me.
So I hope that whoever reads these and listens along will be able to enjoy them as much as I’ve enjoyed throwing myself into this week’s Musical Training Plan.
At the very least, I hope that you take something positive out of it. God knows I have.