When a female musician/pop singer becomes popular it is a cliched formula that she will soon have to sell her sexuality rather than her music. While there is nothing wrong with a musician/singer singing about sex of channeling sexuality, if it is used as a gimmick and clearly not a ‘natural’ fit for her then it just appears pathetic. Here are some of my personal choice of rock stars who use talent, soul, sex and brains to get ahead, my Queens of Noise: Courtney Love While much has been made of her on and off stage antics, her fights, legal problems, drug issues and generally chaotic existence, little has been made of her musical abilities. Hole is probably my all time favourite band. ‘Pretty on the Inside’ is a brutal, raw and unflinching debut, however her true master piece is Hole’s 2nd album ‘Live Through This’. A beautifully textured, soulful, tragic, angry record; infamous for being released a week after husband Kurt Cobain’s suicide. Pain has rarely been so raw and feminine.
Kat Bjelland Former lead woman of Babes in Toyland, while not as famous as her long term friend/rival Courtney Love, is not less formidable. During her years in Babes, she screamed, wailed and roared through the 90’s and made some impressive albums. ‘Fontanelle’ and ‘Nemesister’ are great if you want abrasive angry music.
Brody Dalle Singer for The Distillers, Spinnerette and an upcoming solo artist. Dalle is another gravel voiced rockstar who in particular recks of SEX, not because she wears little of bumps and grinds. She is just a natural spitfire who frankly does not give a shit if you think she is hot or not. Plus she is very talented in her own right.
Melissa Auf Der Maur Bassist for both Smashing Pumpkins and Hole, ADM has successfully stepped out of the shadows of her former band mates, with her cool melodies and thundering guitars. ADM’s skill is that she underplays her presence and lets the music tell a story. I love that she references the goddess Isis and ‘floating the witch’ feminism. a graceful woman who packs a huge punch.
PJ Harvey This enigmatic songwriter/star has cast a profound spell over the music industry for over 20 years. She has made many great albums, covering various themes sex, love, death and basically anything she pleases. The fact that she wrote a song called Sheela Na Gig scores her points with me (the earliest relics of an exhibitionist), again selling sex but never letting it overshadow her talent.
Shirley Manson Garbage leader is not only a gifted rock star but a beautiful feminist who like many of these queens, does not give a shit what anyone thinks about her. Her natural intelligence only makes her sexier. Manson has never sold sexiness, not due to shyness but because she simply does not want. That’s it.