When you look at today’s pop music scene, it’s easy to become discouraged. Women in song, in music videos, and on stage are expected to be oversexualized and Barbie-doll beautiful, and it seems as though talent has taken a backseat to sex appeal.
But in this gloomy musical landscape, a few bright lights stand out. One of these is the brilliant Marian Call, an Alaskan singer-songwriter who describes her style as “acoustic folk funk with a twist of jazz.”
Many of her songs, such as the humorous “I Wish I Were A Real Alaskan Girl” and her delightful cover of the Bernstein song, “100 Easy Ways to Lose A Man”, celebrate the strength and capability of women.
Others, like the memorable nerd anthem “I’ll Still Be A Geek”, deal with being a female geek in a society that expects women to care more about sororities than sci-fi.
Quite a few of Marian Call’s songs express the joys and frustrations of being a woman who is passionately unique, and unwilling to conform to society’s image of what a woman “ought” to be like. The title track of her recent album, “Vanilla” is a good example.
I’m not sexy, but I really want to be
I hear that’s normal for my demographic
I don’t look good in skirts, and even wedges hurt my feet
And I can’t keep a straight face and say ‘orgasmic’
Oh, I’m not hip, but I really want to be
All the bands I like you’ve heard of, and I watch too much TV
And I’m not cute, and I think too hard to be sweet
But not enough to get a real job or converse insightfully –
This is the part where you politely disagree.
My virtues are vanilla at best, but you can always call on me.
When asked about the meaning of the song, Call wrote, “I’m grappling with a very narrow definition of sexy here, the shallowest imaginable MTV bad girl diva dancer definition. Have no fears for my self-image; it’s just fine.”
Marian Call is a highly intelligent and talented woman, and she doesn’t have to perform in tiny leather outfits to prove it.