Monday, April 12, 2010

Can a man successfully write a song from a woman's point of view?

This is the second time I've posted this. Frankly, I don't know where this is headed, or even if it's relevant to this site, which I started to promote music made by women. Sorry, todays it's about the guys.

In another lifetime, I was a naive college student sitting in a 20th Century lit class. I don't remember the story we were workshopping (this, actually, says volumes about my academic career) but it was penned by a man, but from woman's POV. It was all kinds of wrong.

So I'm asking has a male songwriter ever successfully written a song from a woman's point of view? Not a song with a female subject -- those are a dime a dozen. I can only think of a handful of songwriters who've done it, with varying degrees of success. "Candy Says*" from the Velvet Underground (Lou Reed) comes to mind, as does Fugazi "Suggestion**," a song about sexual harassment. My only issue with the latter is that Fugazi's roots are in hardcore, a genre generally inhospitable to women. I have major love for any man willing to tackle the subject, but I don't if it's theirs for the taking.

One of my favorites, though, is The Replacements' "Sadly Beautiful," a song so seamless I didn't even realize its female narrator until I heard a women cover it. (It was later covered, somewhat tragically, by Glen Campbell.) The legend goes Paul Westerberg wrote it woth Marianne Faithfull in mind, but instead it ended up on the Replacements final album, All Shook Down.

So the question still stands: are there any songs written by men but narrated by women?

* Candy Darling, transgendered Warhol star. And if you try to make the argument, "Oh, but she's not a real woman..." just don't.
** more on that song here

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