New Covers Record Takes on the Patriarchy


I am in the process of recording a covers album of 80s pop songs, songs originally recorded by male artists. I am doing this for a few reasons. 1) After two years in an MFA program in Creative Writing, I needed to make music. Hard. 2) I wanted to make music I loved as a girl, and turn it into music I could love as a woman. I learned about love by listening to the radio. I would wait, tape player poised, finger hovering over play and record, to record my favorite songs. When I thought about the boy I had a crush on, I tried to understand him through the lens of the lyrics of songs I loved. For better or worse, I was looking for wisdom in those lyrics, and I think I still am. In the process those words became embedded in my long term memory. When I am a very old woman I will likely know the lyrics to "Pictures of You" better than I will know my own family. This is the way the mind works.

In this new album project I wanted to take those lyrics and make them mean something from my perspective. Most of them are about men pining for a woman, often for a woman who may or may not be mentally stable. In other words, the meta-narrative of many pop songs from the 80s performed by men, is of mental illness in women. It's such a cultural trope, the crazy ex-girlfriend, we don't even think of it as derogatory. The wildly jealous, driven-mad-by-love woman, or the frosty, pure, and untouchable angel who is emotionally unavailable. Or, if you're in a video by The Cure, she may be unavailable because she may actually be dead, or at least, a ghost. There is not a lot of agency for the woman in either of those fantasies. I'm interested in taking that agency back.

I hope you'll pre-order the album. It's the best music I've ever made.