Crowdsourcing Lady Tunes 2012

Let’s get this out of the way first: are you biologically related to me? No, click through to read the rest of this post. If you are and you value having presents on Christmas morning, go back to doing your homework and forget you saw this post.

A lady singing in a sound booth.

OK, it’s just us non-related peeps here? Good. Let’s talk lady tunes.

Regular readers may be aware that this is an annual holiday post. You can find past years’ posts here, here, and here. For everyone else, here is the aim of this yearly project.

When my daughter was much, much younger, we were listening to the radio in the car one day when she asked where all the “lady singers” were. In her youth and innocence and feminist shitass raising, she had noticed something that I wasn’t paying much attention to in the car – almost every song we had heard was a male voice. This was during a pre-Beyoncé period, which meant that even pop music, long the domain of female singers, was heavily dominated by men. And rock music – well. We all know how rock music is.

That year, I started this tradition. Every year for Christmas, she gets a mix-cd from Ms. Claus that showcases the wonderful variety of female musicians out there. Some years its just a mix of random songs that appealed or I felt were important for her musical education. Some years the mix has a theme. Last year was “Ms. Claus’s Covers Project,” featuring women covering male musicians.  As she’s gotten older, the mixes get more interesting, because I’m able to broaden the scope in tune (get it? IN TUNE) with her age. Because I’m only one person, and if you left it up to me, I’d probably just end up copying the entirety of PJ Havey’s catalog, I reach out to my friends on the Internet for recommendations and suggestions for the playlist.

So this year, I have two challenges for you, if you chose to accept them:

Challenge One: Ms. Claus is interested in putting together a cd of the best female-female duets. Think “The Boy is Mine”  or Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand belting out “Get Happy/Happy Days” together. What songs would you put on the mix?

Challenge Two: I’m now going to contradict something I said in the opening paragraphs. The purpose of the project has always been to showcase women’s voices. But ten years into it, I wanted to do something a little challenging. Last year, I built the list around women covering male songs. This year, I’d like to include a cd of men covering traditionally female songs, or songs made famous by women. I’d like sincere covers, please, not jokey ones that play on the idea of a man singing about women’s interests.

All right? Ready? Hit me with your suggestions (baby, one more time).

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[E] Slay Belle

Slay Belle is an editor and the new writer mentor here at Persephone Magazine, where she writes about pop culture, Buffy, and her extreme love of Lifetime movies. She is also the editor of You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

26 thoughts on “Crowdsourcing Lady Tunes 2012”

  1. Not sure how you feel about Glee, but some of Kurt’s covers of women’s songs from season 1 and early season two (basically, from before I got bored and stopped watching) are pretty great. The two that immediately jumped to mind were Rose’s Turn and Defying Gravity. I also think he did a great cover of a Victor/Victoria song, but I can’t for the life of me remember the song or if it was originally sung by a man or a woman.

  2. For men covering women’s songs, the obvious ones are Cake’s version of “I Will Survive” and Marilyn Manson’s “Sweet Dreams are Made of This.” Cee-Lo sang Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” in an episode of Parenthood, but I don’t know if it was released. I know I’ll think of more; I love covers!

      1. The Smashing Pumpkins’ version of “Landslide” is pretty good (though, due to an upstairs neighbor who used to put the original on a very loud loop for late-night sexytimes, I can’t with any version anymore). And Linkin Park covered “Rolling in the Deep.”

  3. Speaking of “Hit Me Baby One More Time” …. The band Travis does a good cover of that song, AND they do an excellent cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River.”

    Tori Amos has recently done some songs singing with her daughter (her daughter sounds like a younger/whispier Adele, believe it or not) but now I am spacing on the titles. They’re on the “Night of the Hunters” album though.

    I’m sure more will come to me, but this is just what popped into my head so far.

  4. For the men covering women’s songs The White Stripes did a pretty kicking cover of Jolene, and also of Walking With the Ghost. And speaking of Walking With the Ghost, Tegan and Sara aren’t exactly a duet team, but there is some fine close harmony going on with them. Freedom is probably their biggest girl power, kicking butt song.

      1. I loves me some Dolly Parton, and also the White Stripes, so yes. Excellent match.

        Oh, hay, also “Big Yellow Taxi” by Counting Crows. They changed the lyrics in the last verse to something does. not. rhyme. to avoid possible gayness (although when I hear guys say “my old man” I assume they mean their father, and that would have also worked with the song), but not a bad cover over all.

  5. Am I allowed to nominate “For Good” from Wicked? I just think it’s awesome that the song takes the place of where the traditional love song would be in a musical. Lady friends ftw!!! Also, on the indie-ish side of things, I have been listening to a lot of Deb Talan lately and loving it.

  6. I’m nominating “Fairytale of New York” even though it is a male/female duet, because it is ridiculously awesome. Oddly enough, I found a male cover of a traditionally woman’s song while I was following the trail of Pogues/Kirsty McColl goodness. On the Cole Porter tribute album, Red Hot and Blue, Milli Vanilli covers “Love for Sale.” I’m not necessarily endorsing the song, but it was an interesting find.

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