The Twelve Strangest Women in Music
by Lesley Chow
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Pub Date 09 Mar 2021 | Archive Date 21 Mar 2022
Repeater Books, Repeater
From Kate Bush to Nicki Minaj, from Janet Jackson to TLC and Taylor Swift, pop's greatest female pioneers are simply strange: smashing notions of taste and decorum, and replacing them with new ideals of pleasure.
Instead of rehashing biographies, Lesley Chow dives deep into the music of these groundbreaking performers, identifying the ecstatic moments in their songs and finding out what makes them unique.
You're History is a love letter to pop's most singular achievements, celebrating the innovations of women who are still critically underrated. It's a ride that includes tributes to Chaka Khan, Rihanna, Neneh Cherry, Sade, Shakespears Sister, Azealia Banks, and many more...
“The slim, sharp book considers a range of female artists from Janet Jackson and Taylor Swift to TLC and Nicki Minaj, a group that the Australian cultural critic Chow views as ‘outliers, marking moments where the culture might have swerved to incorporate their influence, but somehow contrived not to.’” — New York Times summer reads
"Lesley Chow is the best and rarest kind of critic—one who loves to be surprised, and can always surprise you in turn… The emphasis is firmly on aesthetic pleasure, and the book itself is a unique pleasure to read: joyful, witty, knowledgeable, intensely observant, and indifferent to received ideas." – Jake Wilson, arts critic for The Age and author of Mad Dog Morgan
"By embracing pop's sonic artifice, its vocal textures and its wordless moments of rapture – too often ignored by other critics – Lesley Chow constructs a new version of pop history. Her assemblage of pop's 'hybrid girls' and wayward women is a sly, original analysis." – Anwen Crawford, music writer for The Monthly and author of Hole: Live Through This
“Lesley Chow's sparklingly written book is full of whip-smart wit and electric prose. You're History isn't just a work of great criticism: it will make you rethink your understanding of pop music and the strange, sublime sounds of its creators.” – Luke Buckmaster, The Guardian
“Lesley Chow explores the alchemy of pop that comes from breath, sound and lyrics. Her deep dive into these extraordinary women made me feel their music all over again.” – Julia Zemiro, actor and presenter of RocKwiz
The first book to dive deep into the music of Janet Jackson, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Azealia Banks, TLC, and other major pop artists. The number of self-declared fans of the twelve featured artists amounts to a potential audience of over 320 million people.
Author is an established music writer and critic.
Celebrates the hugely influential yet under-recognized genres of pop, hip-hop, disco and R&B, and highlights the innovations of women in music, especially women of color, who represent more than half of the book’s subjects.
Review coverage in mainstream and specialist music press. Marketing campaign around musicians, influencers and fans of the artists.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 51 members
Amazing book on women’s roles in history.
Insightful and full of smell bounding information. I highly recommend this read it’s going to be on the bestseller’s list.
Very good book on female singers,, and their music style. The book also includes an analyses of some of their songs which was very interesting. Most of the singers I am familiar with, some I was not. But that did not take away from the book. I even found myself going to Youtube to watch the video of the song the author was writing about. Let me say this: !! I will never listen to Rihanna's "Umbrella “ the same again. Great read and informative. I do recommend.this book. I also agree with the author, Chaka Khan had not received her due!!! Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for the arc of this book in return for my honest review. Receiving the book in this manner had no bearing on this review.
Did not finish, quit at 64%. Don’t let me deter you from reading this book though, it’s expertly written and will most likely be enjoyed by a large amount of people. Why did I DNF it then? Because as someone that has spent quite a bit of time reading and learning about (pop) music, I found this book had nothing new to offer for me personally. I found the chapters to be quite surface level and abstract, while I was hoping the author would go more into detail about each singers image, why they choose certain collaborators, how their style is influenced by their surroundings etc. This book stays very close to ‘the music’ and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it wasn’t what I was looking for.
This is a really good read for anyone interested in women in music, and their role in their music styling! The writing is eloquent, and almost poetic in some parts, and this just made it a better book on the subject, not getting staled because I found the writing dry like can happen with music non-fiction. I loved this, I'd recommend it to everyone.
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