Monday, June 11, 2007

Yeah, you know her

A while back when I wrote my Kate Bush Musical Monday, I said that she was the quintessential vision of femininity. What I didn't mention though was that I had another woman in mind for the same compliment - Debbie Harry. She however is a different kind of femininity, yet a vision nonetheless. Where KB was sultry in an ethereal way, Harry was the cool, edgy, fashionable femme. Don't ask me how I can adore both women but I do. While they represent different versions of femininity (right or wrong women in rock are held up as representatives of their gender, while men in music are not) I find each as appealing as the other - and not just about their femininity but also for their music.

My relationship with Blondie started around the same time as my relationship with Kate Bush - I was young. I was aware of Debbie Harry. I put on my mother's red lipstick with vasaline over the top and paraded around sashaying my shoulders pretending to be her, however it wasn't until my late teens, perhaps 18 or 19 where I really appreciated her style and the music as a whole. I guess it was around this time (perhaps a bit earlier, in high school) where I started to be really interested in the New York style punk movement in bands like The Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads (another MM post) rather than just listening to the music. Though, let's face it - that's what is most important. Does everyone go through that phase, of wanting to understand the whys and wheres of a certain musical scene/history? God knows I did.

Anyway, I was 18 or 19 and I was discovering my own femininity too - that is; the power that women can have over men if they so choose it. I think there's probably a moment for every girl where she discovers that there is power in being a woman. It's a weird sort of power that I've never actually reconciled within myself - probably because it is purely a physical thing. I have my own reasons for struggling with that, and also in a way being angry about being forced into that kind of position as a woman actually. If you choose not to then you're not quite woman are you? If you choose to use it however, you might just be a tease or a bitch or ...well label it what you will - god knows there are too many labels to list here. I never quite wanted that power and I'm not quite down with women who really enjoy manipulating it either - but it's there, regardless. I think part of growing up girl is being faced with the knowledge that you might be sexy to someone. It's fun, it's scary, it's affirming and it can also be a bloody piece of shit that drags you down into the abyss too. Great time to really get into Blondie - half playboy bunny, half serious muso - (love the contradictions) though.

To me though, Harry wasn't simply sexy and feminine. There are some singers who are purely about the vision but Debbie Harry is not one of them. She's not just a sexy version of femininity and style but she's also an amazing singer and the Band, Blondie - still sound fresh and relevant. How can that be?

Today, three songs - why? Because I can.

1) Rip Her to Shreds - Blondie

Love the lyrics and rawness of this one. If you want to discredit a woman why not rip her to shreds?

2) Rapture - Blondie

If this was Rage TV and I was a guest programmer (which is my DREAM - I shall do a MM on it soon actually) this song would be a certainty in my top video clips. Debbie Harry looks stunning - the baseline is amazing the song is awesome and while it took me a while to get over the white girl rap thing I now love it!

3) Atomic - Blondie

This is a bloody great club pop song. I'm going to go have a dance actually.

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