I’ve been listening to girly music lately...
Okay, let me rephrase that: lately, I’ve been listening to music performed by women. Alison Krauss. Annie Lennox. Norah Jones.
“I’ve put it all behind me... Nothing left to do or doubt...” —A. Krauss
I’ve got Ben Folds, too, on my iTunes. Tom Waits, Neil Young, Beck. Bands with more than one person in them. But they’re not in heavy rotation these days.
I like to have a little music playing when I write or I’m walking from the train and, for some reason, in the last couple weeks or so, I felt like having women sing to me. I need something that calms me, maybe, a lullaby.
I guess some guys have a problem listening to female singers, must not be manly. Come to think of it, my father cranked Theodore Bikel or Tennessee Ernie Ford on our huge console hi fi in the dining room while he pounded down brewskis at the kitchen table. (He’d leave the metal arm up on the spindle, the one that shut the stereo off after one play-thru, so the record repeated itself over and over and over.)
My mom went with Peggy Lee. Or she’d put on Mary Hopkin singing, “Those Were the Days” and cry her eyes out. The signals were all there, growing up, the musical role models set out for me to follow— boys with boy singers, girls with girls. I don’t know where it went so horribly wrong for me.
“I try not to dream but them impossible schemes swim around, wanna drown me in sync.” —N. Jones
It’s against traditional orthodox Jewish law for a man to listen to any woman sing who isn’t his wife. It’s called kol isha and it can include women on CDs, radio, or TV depending on how strict your rabbi is. The fear is that the female stranger’s voice will be too sensual for men to handle. They’ll get so uncontrollably turned on that they can’t contain themselves. I guess the Jewish elders never heard Nicki Minaj.
How do you steer clear of all singing females? It’d be fairly easy to avoid, say, a Kelly Clarkson concert, a lot of people do. But how do you protect yourself from the feminine wiles of the Empire Carpet jingle? “5-8-8, 2-3-hundred...” Away foul temptress!
And what if your wife, the only singing voice you’re allowed to ever hear ever, can’t carry a tune? I mean, we can’t all be married to Barbra Streisand. What if the Mrs. sounds like two cats going at it? That’s not much of a playlist for the rest of your life.
“Maybe I’m still searchin’ but I don’t know what it means. All the fires of destruction are still burnin’ in my dreams...” —A. Lennox
Guy on guy singing, some dude crooning to me about his lost love isn’t doing it for me. Unfettered by religious constraints, I’m going with the likes of Lisa Loeb, Regina Spektor, and Fiona Apple to serenade me. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.
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