In these hyper-political times, it seems like every move we make is a political choice. Even down to the food you eat–and I’m not just talking about you monsters who eat pineapple on pizza (I kid, I kid, you’re not monsters; I love you and your bad choices).
Music is no exception. Now, obviously, I’m not one of those people who run around saying, “I only listen to all-women radical feminist bands who sing about castrating men and creating a lesbian utopia,” although a lesbian utopia sounds kind of awesome. I mean, last week’s Music Monday was completely dedicated to the all-male band Imagine Dragons and I love them.
But, I have at times noticed that a lot of the bands I listen to are all-male bands or male-fronted and, while their music is catchy, it isn’t always easy for me to relate to. Of course, as an AFAB person, it’s easier for me to relate to bands at least fronted by women and AFAB people.
So, here are some of my favorite bands/artists featuring women and AFAB folks in the lead:
I got into HorrorPops in high school, after diving from the punk rock pool into the ocean of goth. The psychobilly genre combined the fast, fun aspects of punk with the macabre themes of goth. I fell in love. I don’t listen to a lot of the punk bands that I liked in high school anymore, but I still love the psychobilly bands I listened to more than a decade ago. HorrorPops will always be tops in my heart.
The Birthday Massacre are another one of those bands I got into when I started getting into a more gothic/dark frame of mind. My best friend at the time, actually turned me onto them. I like the electronic instrumentals combined with the haunting voice of their lead singer, Chibi, and the creepy-dark subject matter of their lyrics. Whenever I listen to them, I feel sixteen again. Not entirely sure if that’s a good thing, but there it is.
I’ve loved Against Me! for years and are one of the few modern punk bands I still listen to now that I’m out of high school. One of the reasons I gravitated away from punk rock as I got older was because it’s a genre dominated by white straight men and it’s rare that I find myself relating to them, as a queer AFAB person. So, when Laura Jane Grace came out as trans it was incredible. Even though I don’t identify as trans, I am agender (which many people consider part of the “trans umbrella”) and it was incredible to see out, queer, gender-variance in a scene that had always been so staunchly masculine and straight.
I cannot express enough my delight at having not just a genderqueer gay mainstream singer, but a genderqueer gay mainstream pop artist. I feel like a lot of people would look at a GQ gay AFAB person and immediately assume they would go into heavy rock music. But, we can be light and fun and soulful, too! King Princess (who appears to use “she” pronouns, for those curious), is the pop star of my dreams. She has an incredible voice and, judging by her Twitter account, a fearless and true-to-herself attitude.
Paramore is my problematic fave of the music world. Their music is very heteronormative and kind of cliché. I absolutely loathe “Misery Business” and the way it tears into the male-love-interest’s ex-girlfriend for no real reason other than the singer doesn’t like her. But, I also love Hayley Williams’ voice and their music is fun and catchy. It’s because their songs cover such typical subject matter that I find them easy to relate to. They’re the band I turn to when I just want to get out of my head and not think too much about certain things.
So there you have it! Of course, these aren’t even close to all the female- or AFAB-fronted bands I listen to, but I would say they’re my top five. Maybe there are a few other honorable mentions that didn’t quite make this list, like Icona Pop and 45 Grave which might require a bit of shuffling. But really, I super-love these bands and hope you’ll give some of them a listen.
I love you all.
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