Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No. 83: I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You

Band: Aretha Franklin
Album: I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Aretha Franklin is among the most celebrated vocalists in popular music and for good reason. The strength and soul of her voice is nearly unparalleled. "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You" has Aretha's signature track ("Respect"), some classic standards ("Good Times," "A Change Is Gonna Come") and some beautiful reflections ("Drown I My Own Tears" and "A Change Is Gonna Come").
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: I'm pretty content with this ranking. I'm not sure there should be two Aretha albums back-to-back, but, otherwise, Aretha needs to be on this list multiple times.
Best song: "Respect" is pretty clearly the best song.
Worst song: "Dr. Feelgood" is not a Motley Crue cover, and that depressed me.
Is it awesome?: Yes.

This is most a half-assed theory, but I figure I'll throw it out here, just to explain the reason that I enjoy women singers more than men singers...

Women in our society are encouraged to emote more. Societally, men are not encouraged to open up in any emotion, save for anger. Men are taught to be detached and "cool." The idea that "real men" don't cry or get sad or whatever is something all little boys are taught.

Women aren't. Women are certainly taught (consciously or subconsciously) to be quiet and be "seen and not heard," but when they emote, women are allowed to be more emotional.

Anyway, this works well in music. Women tend to, in my eyes, have more emotional range in their vocals. Aretha is the perfect example of that. Her vocals range from the demanding and aggressive ("Respect) to the reflective (the title track) to a straight up rocker in "Save Me." Aretha wails and she emotes and she soulfully croons. Most men don't do that and there's a real span to her emotion.

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