1. Rid of Me – PJ Harvey (1993)
Is there anything girlier than asking the partner to “lick your legs” because you’re “on fire” and saying that you’ll “rub it ‘til it bleeds?” If we’re considering that the female gender is completely powerful to lead such feelings known for “male theft” as anger and sex, there isn’t. PJ Harvey, the one and only “50ft Queenie” is all about power and how it’s more sufferable then joyful, so intrinsic to her desperate needs and honesty that it becomes somewhat pleasurable. So deep that it comes from the uterus, a wet, admittedly vulnerable place where a new life is made and kept, a nest, but mainly a woman’s feature that bleeds and hurts for the lack of a baby only to be ready to be completely able to raise anything again or nothing at all. It doesn’t matter. Harvey’s music is girl power at its finest, so honest that many believe she’s a witch, and maybe she is, a witch of pulses and no filter to make femininity more gracious and digestible.
2. Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette (1995)
The queen of songwriting eloquence, Alanis Morissette’s first album feels like a frenzied confession to a priest but that is really an honest communication with the discovery of the freedom of herself to admit that she simply has opinion and feels, even critiquing and releasing herself of the church’s rules she didn’t believe to follow. It feels like her first sincere speech after a long time of silence (if you consider her past cheesy career this can be literal), and the words come as they are: raw and honest. There isn’t a single thought about how people are going to take it, it’s just a spirit going out of her mouth without any etiquette. She’s a woman who’s finally proud and naked with whom she is: a woman free to be and feel anything at all.
3. Garbage – Garbage (1995)
“Hey boy, take a look at me. Let me dirty up your mind. I’ll strip away your hard veneer, and see what I can find” from the song “Queer” tells pretty much what the queen of pain Shirley Manson has to offer to the world. No, it isn’t a cheap sexualized version of herself (even if she wanted to it could totally be as well) it is a woman wanting to have sex because she feels like it, because she wants the pleasure, she wants the game, not because she’s fulfilled just by seducing you, she wants to see what she can find, she doesn’t want to simply induce. It’s also powerful about the art of just feeling, what we often see as a way of prejudice against women. “Women are too moody, they wake up smiling then two seconds later they’re mad and blah blah blah”. In the song “I’m Only Happy When It Rains” Shirley openly sings about her generally judged “unusual” way of feeling, as a human being we are sensitive and have different ways of dealing and producing feelings, and she is “only happy when it rains”, but even “though (she) knows you can’t appreciate it” she repeats her attestation “I’m only happy when it rains”. That’s who she is and she isn’t going to hide it, and if you’re still interested “You can keep me company as long as you don’t care”.
4. Elastica – Elastica (1995)
Jesus, the year of my birth was really on fire for girl power, huh? Another 1995 album, Elastica’s led by Britpop queen of cool Justine Frischmann (and also previous queen of the heart of two Britpop icons like Damon Albarn from Blur and Brett Anderson from Suede) sounds fun without superficiality, it tells joy without hiding bits of the truth, it’s about making the most of it considering how imperfect everything we have is and will always be. With their somewhat androgynous look, they scream and jump (can’t you hear the whole band jumping?) like there’s nothing to be held and to be shy about, like the world is equalized with them even though they’re sure they’re not, but they aren’t going to change their frequency just for the cause of people frowning, because anyway “Who could’ve cared at all, not you”.
5. Tidal – Fiona Apple (1996)
Fiona can never be stated as less than everything that is good with expression. The queen of honesty gives us her first album as a melodically bible of power in vulnerability, the power of not being ruthless, but of being strong enough to survive through difficult times and mainly to take it in a positive view, because it made the powerful, smarter person that you are right now and will keep on learning to be. On this album, the most famous song “Criminal”, she sings: “Oh help me but don’t tell me to deny it.” She’s human and she sinned, but she won’t sin again blaming somebody else. She will sin again because she’s human, a woman, never because she’s hiding and making her life a showcase of how people think she is supposed to be. This, dear world, is true power and mainly it is the shield of it.