Got married and went on my honeymoon with my beautiful and lovely wife, so no apologies for not posting anything for so long. Still, I’ve got a few weeks’ worth of holiday before work starts back up, so I’d like to listen to as much as I can and do a few more posts. While not receiving anything near bashings, neither of these albums has received the amount of praise they deserve. There are few things I enjoy more than strong female artists (M.I.A. the first to come to mind), and that doesn’t mean that they’ve got everything together or that they’re on the feminist forefront. I’m talking about women who have a style and go with it regardless of what their record labels might want or what the music press expects, and both of these ladies have these qualities in spades. Two of the finer albums I’ve heard this year, both on constant rotation in my apartment.
LILY ALLEN – Sheezus (Parlophone): I wouldn’t label this Allen’s feminist manifesto responding to Kanye’s Yeezus so much as a celebration of everything good in her life despite the tragedy of a miscarriage and stillbirth since 09’s It’s Not Me, It’s You. Where West tries to convince us being a rockstar is tough, Allen celebrates the seemingly mundane daily details, devoting time to praising family, like her hubby making breakfast from frozen meals for the kids to still feeling sexy when her SO undresses her regardless of a few added kilos. And from song to song that’s her M.O., bashing the press that tries to pit diva against diva in title track “Sheezus,” rejoicing ironically in the “Life for Me” with the guitar paradise of East Africa, taking 3 6 Mafia and the male-uncritical press to task when she declares “it’s hard out here for a bitch.” I believe her, and so should you. So who, then, is up to her challenge? “Forget your balls,” she orders, “and grow a pair of tits.” A MINUS
CHRISSIE HYNDE – Stockholm (Caroline International): Pretenders frontwoman drops her first solo statement at the tender age of 62. Does this have the bite of a Pretenders album? Sonically, no. But the tunes are tight and lift her still-gritty commentary concerning an attempt to ease gracefully into old age: The extraordinarily simple yet pleasant opener of a woman declaring she wants one mate and not another. “Dark Sunglasses” snidely remarks on a former cohort’s conformation to a rich suburban lifestyle by abandoning the bohemia for a lady with money. She can entertain herself in the “House of Cards” of handsome men she knows aren’t what they appear to be. “This isn’t gonna end / like in the movies,” she reflects on life imitating art. “The audience goes home satisfied / ‘cuz nobody really dies.” A MINUS