It’s probably totally sexist to dedicate an entire article to the celebration of a handful of vocalists that are simply going to make this list because they are female. After all, the argument has been made to me endless times that it shouldn’t be about a person’s gender when you judge their music or skill. It should just be about being a damn good vocalist. But let’s be real here, people still find the presence of a woman, especially in a band, as some what of a novelty. The music world is male dominated, and even I will admit, I have a bias when it comes to the expectations I have for female fronted bands. And that’s exactly why these girls rock so much. All of them are talented as hell, and I’m proud to share a set of -ahem- parts with them. Sexism sucks – but these girls don’t. Here are my top 5 female rock vocalists, both historic and modern.
1.) Debbie Harry
The original blonde bombshell, Debbie Harry brought one of the first tastes of femininity to hard rock when she stepped onstage as the lead vocalist for Blondie. Although Blondie’s musical style wasn’t very hardcore sound-wise, Debbie Harry’s pioneer attitude and sexy-yet-boyish sensuality was pretty punk rock. Oh, and she’s definitely got a nice set of pipes. If you have been deprived of this delicious rock legend, be sure to check out the songs “Heart of Glass
” and “Rapture
” (and of course don’t forget the classics “One Way or Another
” and “The Tide is High
2.) Joan Jett
This one is a given; point blank, bottom line. Where to start with Joan Jett? Characterized by her raspy, smoke-filled vocals and a notorious “Don’t-Give-A-Shit” attitude, Joan Jett started out in the ’70s as a 16-year-old member of the all girl band The Runaways before claiming her long-term fame as the front woman of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. What’s so awesome about Joan Jett is that she’s one of the most passionate people to ever play the game. She once said, “There are very few people like me, who look upon rock and roll as a kind of religion.” It was her passion and drive that made her the the legend she is today, and her confidence has been one of my greatest inspirations. The chick rocks, and she can play guitar like a champ. Listen to “Bad Reputation
” and “Do You Wanna Touch Me?
” to feel like a rock God(dess).
3.) Hayley Williams
Now for the modern girls. I can guarantee that seeing Hayley on this list is either going to make you really happy or seriously pissed off. The front woman of Paramore, Williams has gradually risen to fame over the past few years, starting out playing Van’s Warped Tour and starting this year with an appearance at the Grammy’s. Regardless of whether or not you are a fan of Paramore (and my personal stance on that is admittedly questionable), there’s no denying that Hayley Williams has a huge amount of skill. She is the definition of the small girl with a big voice, and on top of it, she’s beautiful and apparently a very nice person. Her stage presence is killer, and her respect for her band and determination to not let them slip into her shadow is extremely respectable (regardless of the recent changes in line-up). Listen to their album “Riot!” before you download the newest record, “Brand New Eyes”.
4.) Krysta Cameron
Here’s the thing about Krysta Cameron: there are some people who are good at screaming, but this chick sounds like she’s got the devil in her. I saw her live with her band Iwrestledabearonce, and I absolutely loved what I heard. Her short outbursts of fitful screaming are contrasted with vocals occupying the lower octaves, and although at times her sound is akin to that of Mountain Lion fighting for its life, it’s a very cool thing to hear. I love Krysta Cameron. She will mess with your shit and you’ll love every minute of it. Listen to the songs “Tastes like Kevin Bacon
” and “Danger in the Manger
“. You’ll die (in a good way).
5.) Karen O
Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s is probably one of the most versatile vocalists currently in music. Capable of both sweet, innocent-sounding vocals and aggressive, cat-like sounds, she brings passion and creativity to every song she sings. She can (and does) wear whatever she wants, and that sometimes is just as entertaining as the music itself. In addition to her work with the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Karen also sings in the side project Karen O and the Kids, who did the entirety of the “Where the Wild Things Are” soundtrack. Be sure to download that album for a mellow listen, but if you want a little more energy check out the album “Show Your Bones”.