August 27, 2018

The Voices in My Head are Hers and Hers and Hers and…

The Voices in My Head are Hers and Hers and Hers and…

-Brian Wendt

Why are there one hundred and twelve female voices in my music library in between the male-fronted band Gin Blossoms and the wonderful Rufus Wainwright? I’m a guy, so why am I mostly singing along to songs sung by females? Why hasn’t the male voice (with some exceptions) brought me to the valleys or peaks of my superhuman Cancerian range of emotions? And why is female-singer fandom a cliché of the gay man?

I’ve always had the penchant for female singers. Even at 12 years old, I would listen obsessively to rock and roll chicks. I’d throw on a bed sheet, take some wire hangers (I know, wire hangers, yes, I know) and made my own ghetto tambourine and danced around to Stevie Nicks.

My twin sister’s music taste was vastly different – as her song choices ranged from the likes of NIN, Stabbing Westward, Tool, and the Smashing Pumpkins. We are twins, but we lack any musical commonality. Though, I will say I did tag along to see Depeche Mode and was really impressed by them – a very electric performance. Not bad, for a male performer.

As Lilith Fair came around in the late 90’s, it just about left a cum stain on my soul. Alanis Morissette, Jewel and Sarah McLachlancontrolled my emotional compass. This rise of the female singer/songwriter in popularity opened my ears and wallet to the storytelling prowess of Beth Hart and Fiona Apple. Both, by the way, being of exceptional songwriting and artistry – it would be a crime to continue without mentioning how awesome they still are.

I could explore many theories as to why certain tonalities strike a nerve with me. Maybe there is a neurological link between Patty Griffin and my feeling of calm and serenity? A synapse of sorts where I find Johnette Napolitano’s (of Concrete Blonde) howl to appease the urge to flip the world off? And how do Tracy Chapman and Dolly Parton both seem to have the answers to all of the world’s problems? I’m too lazy to research what actually happens to our brains when we hear certain sounds, but Oliver Sacks has a book called “Musicophilia” which looks like a fascinating read.

Whatever the why, what matters is that it does. Female singers have been a huge staple for our dance floors, there for us in our moments of solitude and also during the joyous times with our partners.

Cher, Madonna, Barbra Streisand, – the gay community has embraced and adored these women for years, so much that have been raised to “Gay Icon” status. Their catalog of songs span decades and we’ve followed them as they also joined and followed us.

We celebrate them and they celebrated us.

We accept them and they accepted us.

We love them and they loved us back.

– Maybe that’s all we needed