The 90s were a real hot-potch time in music. For me, this was the decade where so many different genres came to the fore and I think I tried them all on for size. There was the demise of hair bands (so sad!) and the rise of grunge, copious amounts of boy/girl bands (woohoo NKOTB), Euro trash pop beats for days, gangsta rap (it’s fair to say I thought I was black for all of 15 minutes in 1995) and then there was the chanteuse. That ethereal female songstress who sang of tales of woe and hit you right in the feels!
Before the likes of Adele, Amy Winehouse and Lana Del Rey there were the ladies of the 90s who spoke to me and my teenage angst. These were the singers who kept me sane and let me belt out all of my emotions (all off-key of course). This post is dedicated to just a handful of those amazing women…
Could I really write a Sunday Sessions post on the 90s chanteuse and not mention Tori Amos?! I was given her album Boys for Pele by a friend and instantly fell in love. I mean can you really go past a musician who plays the harpsichord AND THE clavichord on their record? She blends classical piano and pop music so effortlessly and has just the right amount of kooky (a la Björk) which I love in my female singers.
If you can write a debut album like Tidal at the age of 17 well then you’re a fucking musical genius in my book! Every song is wall to wall raw emotion. If you’ve never listened to it DO SO ON THE IMMEDIATE! Her follow up album (When The Pawn…) is also amazing and then she just kinda fell off the radar until just recently. Like Tori Amos, Fiona Apple was a classically trained pianist as a child and is a pure virtuoso on the keys.
Throughout the 90s I’d known of P.J. Harvey and liked a couple of her songs but it was her album Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea that really cemented my love for her. Her mix of rock and pop and poetic lyrics reminds me of Patti Smith – which is never a bad thing!
Special mentions also have to go out to bands Mazzy Star and Portishead who were also on high rotation throughout the late 90s. Both bands had female singers whose voices were so ethereal you’d think they were plucked straight from the heavens! I don’t know anything about either band aside from their albums So Tonight That I Might See and Dummy (respectively) being the best thing since sliced bread for me when I was 16. Happy Sunday dollface and enjoy a couple more ditties… Who was your favourite 90s chanteuse?