We have dark memories of the Lilith Fair era, which inspired a ream of trend stories where the phrase “women in rock” was draped over any group of females who dared commit a song to tape. (“Missy Elliott, Sleater-Kinney, and Madonna all have albums out now? Well, get cracking!”) Now, thanks to the success of a certain trainer-wearing starlet–and the “if I see three or more, it’s a trend” tendencies of lazier music writers out there–we have a new standard-bearer for the next pop matriarchy: Lily Allen. From this weekend’s Guardian:
After a post-millennial dirge of simpering female pop stars who were either so wet as to warrant a free lifetime’s supply of Tena Lady (come in Dido, Sandi Thom) or couldn’t sing a song unless they were grinding the mic stand like it was happy hour at Ann Summers (and you Javine, Rachel Stevens) things were looking bad for the UK’s solo musical ladies. That is until Lily Allen’s spotless trainers kicked into view. Lily was a knight in shining eyeliner – funny, sparky and, most importantly, a damn classy musician. Now following in her glorious wake are a whole new clutch of young MySpace-bred, savvy feminist popstrels making music that’s neither cringeworthy nor vacuously bland. Mixing up the best bits of the Just Seventeen problem page with blog-based wit and charm, this new breed of mini-Allens are set to be all over 2007 like a very tuneful rash.
Something about this fawning intro is making us itch, and our pain certainly doesn’t feel “tuneful.” Could it be the word “popstrel”? The Ani DiFranco-with-an-accent stylings of Laura Marling? The sniffy “I’m too good for pop” attitude implied by the Rachel Stevens dig? Or is it the return of the noxious idea that any women making music have to be lumped into one heaving, estrogen-emitting mass, even when they’re working in completely different genres and styles?
Meet the mini Allens … [The Guardian]