December brings a vast collection of mediocre Christmas music to radio airwaves and an overwhelming amount of best of year-end listicles to newsfeeds. This post qualifies as the latter. Sort of. 2015 proved to be a prolific year for female musicians. (Well, I thought so) I’m going to blog my Top 10 favorite records from female musicians between now and the end of the year.
Bully, “Feels Like”
Alicia Bognanno’s guttural howls on “Trash” are sung through gnashed teeth, a primal scream that serves not just as a form of spine-chilling catharsis, but as a tool to enact revenge. The song unfolds like an unhinged letter penned to a former flame whose pattern of lies and betrayal have left her scarred and permanently hardened. Bognanno stabs back with razor-sharp wit, making it painfully clear the dragging of time has done no healing. Instead, it’s left her feeling rotten. Like garbage. (It’s magic you make me feel like trash,” she deadpans.)
Bully, a Nashville-based band fronted by Bognanno, recalls gritty 90s era grunge on full length debut “Feels Like,” at times channeling the rawness and bite of British alt icon PJ Harvey. Kurt Cobain-era comparisons aside, the 25 year-old Rousemont, Minn. native displays a knack for crafting potent and unflinchingly honest pop punk. On album standout “Trying” she’s fending off crippling fear and grappling with her sexuality, identity and the weight of a haunted memory. She describes the dizzying sensation of “of growing so far from myself,” the somewhat universally relatable struggle of trying to silence the shrill voice of self-doubt in our heads. Though bruised and exposed, Bognanno manages to steady herself masterfully on shaky ground, finding strength by confronting belligerent, cringeworthy memories with the powerful salve of quiet introspection. “I’m just looking for clarity to get me through,” she confesses.