There’s a pretty good chance that if you made it to this blog, it was because of the “Greatest Girl Rock songs” series I wrote about a year-and-a-half ago. According to the WordPress statistics, that series of three posts accounts for about 38% of my total traffic, and seemingly all of my views lately are from people googling phrases like “best female rock songs.”
I should be happy. People are reading something I wrote! Or at least listening to things I recommended! (Neither of these were real expectations I had when I started this.) But honestly, I’m kind of mortified. The problem with having a blog that I hadn’t really considered is that your posts just hang around on the Internet forever, and in this case it only started to get a lot of traction months after I had posted it. This is a problem for me, because I tend to look back on old writing I’ve done with a mixture of horror and sheer disgust. On a music blog, this problem is magnified a million times, because not only is my writing and way of thinking about things constantly changing, but so are my opinions on music just based on discovering new artists and getting sick of old ones.
The biggest mistake I made, which is something that legitimately has tormented me internally ever since, was calling the music “girl rock.” I thought about this a lot at the time: do I call it “female rock,” “women rock,” or something else? I settled on girl rock because I thought it sounded the best and captured the energy of most of the tracks. But even at the time, I knew I sounded a bit condescending, like the ultimate douchey rock bro. In retrospect, I wish I had used almost any other word, because “girl” is lame and terrible when a guy uses it, 100 percent of the time.
There’s one other word in the title that I find really embarrassing: “greatest.” Ugh. Where do I begin? The world would be a better place if this word never appeared in a music-related article or blog post again. I got it in my head that I was an authority on the subject because I had listened to a lot of it. In reality, I’m just a dork with a blog. I don’t actually know much of anything and most of my opinions are meaningless compared to others that you can read on the world wide web. If you want to read music writing from people who seriously know their stuff, there are a lot of better places you can go — I’ll be happy to link you.
The list itself was actually not bad. There are some things I would change just based on how my opinions of artists shift constantly, but I’m still happy with it compared to similar lists I saw on the Internet, which I felt never really focused on the right artists. My write-ups are obviously awful, but hopefully nobody has been reading those anyways. If you did, I’m sorry. I have plans to revisit and expand my list (which has ballooned into a 50-song iTunes playlist), and hopefully next time I can do things slightly better. In the meanwhile, I recommend enjoying the tunes and ignoring my words.
Writing about music is tricky, and writing about female musicians — which I obviously do a lot — is more difficult, because I’m hyper-aware of all the terrible things male music writers often do when they think they’re being complimentary. I hope people at least realize that I try my best, and just about everything on here is out of a sincere appreciation for the artists that made the music. But in this case, I feel like I screwed up pretty badly, so I wanted to get this out of my system.