It’s been clear for a long time that whether you spell it Girls, Grrls, or just Women, female performers can make the best rock and roll. Just look at some of my older favorites, like Patti Smith, Exene, Chrissie Hynde, Courtney Love and there can be no doubt (oh yeah, and No Doubt too).
One of the greatest sources of rock and roll inspiration has been teenage angst – actually angst of all sorts. Growing up, break-ups, pain, loss, and hurt can ironically produce some of the greatest rock and roll. In my opinion, some of the best music is about transformation resulting from trying times. When I hear a person changing it reminds me of how important it is to deal with life and change. Well there is no doubt that female angst works just as well as anything. Sometimes the words may be aimed at other women, but I find I can appreciate the emotions just as well. I’ve seen criticism of “sad girl” musicians – but I love them.
I saw Lykke Li live (I took the picture above). I was expecting something more downbeat, but she brought the house down with genuine rock and roll. Nothing sad about her performance – she definitely rocked the Radio City audience.
I’m linking three of her videos here. The first, “Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone” is certainly from the sad side. If you can’t feel this, better have yourself checked. For a more rock and roll sample, I’ve added “Get Some” and “Youth Knows No Pain”. (The song in the video for Youth Knows No Pain starts about 45 seconds in. It isn’t the best recording, but you get to see Lykke live and that gives a real feeling for her performance. )