Goth is Goth: Does it need additional labels?

Nowadays everyone is so concerned with putting things into a boxes. They want everything to be categorised, including goth.

You have to understand this is a subculture and ‘goth’ is basically an umbrella term. It is a category all by its itty-bitty lonesome and it doesn’t need to be broken down further.

It’s so hard to keep track, you have: ‘gothic lolita’, ‘nu goth’, ‘trad goth’, ‘romantic goth’, ‘Victorian goth’, and erm…’bubble goth’…whatever that is.

There is this mindset that your whole identity is tied to the style you choose and you HAVE to choose.

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And this is just a few…

If you happen to own a belle-sleeve lace gown and a few chokers then that’s it, you’re romantic goth! That is your identity! You may choose no other style!

Now this concept is a very dangerous way of thinking.

You’re breaking something down that’s already been broken down for you.

Goth is a subculture, it is a category by itself.

When you’re shunting things into all these little boxes you’re causing an unnecessary divide.

Goth is already a small and often misunderstood subculture, so the last thing we need is to be creating divides amongst ourselves.

Let’s look back a little further into the 80’s when goths didn’t even know what they were. They were a new subculture rising out of the punk scene. They just wanted to listen to the music they liked, dress up, and have fun in the clubs. There were no rules, there were no exclusions, and there were no guidelines to follow.

The standard goth didn’t fit into any category other than ‘goth’. They weren’t ‘trad’ or ‘Batcave’, but they were very unmistakably goth.

This doesn’t mean there wasn’t a wide array of different styles of clothing, it just didn’t define us. It was simply just a part of your wardrobe.

‘Labels are for clothes, NOT people.’

There was a time when I refused to call myself a goth. I was afraid that if I adopted the label then I’d be put into a box that would limit me. I believed I couldn’t claim to be goth but then listen to Katy Perry and wear colour because it would present an opportunity for elitists to start up the whole ‘gother than thou’ dispute. Categorising people through stereotypes can be bad enough without making those categories even smaller.

If you were to go through my wardrobe you’d find pieces that you would deem nu goth, post-apocalyptic, trad goth, Victorian goth, fetish goth. Just because one day I decide to pull out a fishnet top and tease my hair this doesn’t automatically make me trad goth. It just means I’m exploring one of the many fashions relating to my subculture.

But honestly dressing to the extreme everyday would just be tiring. Usually I just chuck on a pair of skinny jeans and a band t-shirt, does this stop someone being goth? No. You don’t have to wear makeup, dye your hair black, and live in black clothing to be goth. This is just a stereotype, goth is mostly about the music and having an interest in the culture anyway. You’re style doesn’t define who you are.

There’s nothing wrong with using descriptive terms to find a pair of boots or a dress online. Labels are great for describing the fashion itself. However, that’s probably where you should draw a line.

If you’re a goth then you’re a goth, there’s no need to bust it up into a million fragments and add additional labels.

My Response to: “Women can’t sing rock”. (20 Best Female Rock Singers)

So recently in my hometown, Middlesbrough, a pub called Doctor Browns banned female-fronted bands, with the excuse that ‘women can’t sing rock’. You can read more about the incident here.

I personally thought this was a sexist and unjustified complaint. Fair enough, if you don’t want your business to fail then you only hire the best musicians. But saying ‘women can’t sing rock’ and therefore aren’t welcome to perform there is discriminating.

They claimed customers ‘didn’t like’ previous female rock singers they hired – I don’t think this justifies an outright ban on female rock singers. This simply suggests they didn’t hire a good enough singer.

Banning all other female singers based on someone else’s less-than-impressive performance is incredibly unfair. People shouldn’t be refused a chance based on their gender.

I found it appalling that gender discrimination is still happening in my area. I personally believe women can be incredible rock artists, so I thought I’d respond to this by listing some of the best female rock artists I know.

I realise genre of music is rather debated, but I’ll just say these are the artists that are loosely described as rock. Obviously their music may incorporate other genres, but in my opinion they deserve a place on my best female rock artist list. So here it is, my favourite 20 female rock artists in no particular order:

#1 Siouxsie Sioux:

Siouxsie was an obvious choice for me to mention on this list. As the lead singer of one of my favourite British bands, Siouxsie and the Banshees, I think she represents the best of female gothic rock. Siouxsie has been adored since the 70’s with her iconic look and haunting music – and all but invented goth.

#2 Stevie Nicks:

Stevie Nicks is an American singer best known for her work with Fleetwood Mac. She had a chart topping career and is often referred to as the ‘Queen of Rock and Roll’, so she definitely earned her place on my list of the best female rock artists.

#3 Lzzy Hale:

Lzzy Hale is the lead singer from the band Halestorm. Lzzy pretty much sparked my interest in rock music. She has one of the most powerful female vocals I’ve heard. I’ve seen Lzzy sing live and at the time she had a bad throat, but powered through and I can honestly say she still sounded better live and I couldn’t even tell she had been ill.

#4: Amy Lee:

Amy Lee is the lead vocalist of Evanescence. Critics vary on whether Evanescence should be classed as a rock or a metal band. Personally I refer to them as symphonic metal, but I think Amy Lee still deserves a place on this list. If you check out other symphonic metal bands you will see the majority are female fronted, such as Epica, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Delain and so on… all which deserve a mention as they are amazing bands, but I’ll try to keep this list to strictly rock.

#5 Patricia Morrison: 

Patricia Morrison is probably most known for her backup vocals in The Sisters of Mercy, and although Andrew Eldritch takes main stage as the lead vocalist, I think Patricia Morrison still deserves a mention for her musical talent and contribution to goth rock.

#6 Taylor Momsen:

From the sweet little actress who played Cindy Lou in The Grinch to the lead singer of the American rock band The Pretty Reckless, Taylor Momsen has come very far. Taylor Momsen is a talented actress and model, but the music she produces is worth some recognition for her contribution to female-rock.

#7 Hayley Williams:

Hayley Williams is known as the lead vocalist for Paramore. Their music has vastly evolved over time. I started listening to them back in what I like to refer to as my ’emo’ days, but I still have lots of appreciation for the music they are creating today.

#8 Avril Lavigne: 

Often referred to as the ‘Pop Punk Queen’, but releasing many tracks I would consider punk rock and alternative rock, Avril Lavigne has been massively successful. The Canadian singer is known for presenting a ‘rebellious’ attitude and looking eternally like a teenager, how does she do it? I grew up listening to Avril Lavigne and she has always been one of my favourite artists.

#9 P!nk: 

P!nk has released some incredible pop rock tracks and is an all around badass. She definitely represents the best of a girl-power attitude, just check out her motivational speech to her daughter here. I personally find her inspirational as an artist so I had to include her in this list.

#10 Emelie Autumn:

Emelie Autumn’s music is very different from any other music I have heard. Sometimes describes as ‘fantasy rock’, her creative and unique music alone earns her a place on my list. This quirky style of music is not for everyone, but I adore it and her work and talent is still to be admired.

#11 Dolores O’Riordan:

Dolores O’Riordan is an Irish musician known for leading the rock band The Cranberries. They have had worldwide success and produced some iconic tracks such as ‘Zombie’.

#12 Courtney Love:

Courtney love gained a notable presence in the punk and grunge scene in the 1990’s and rose to prominence as front-woman for the alternative rock band Hole. She had a highly publicised life after her marriage to Kurt Cobain (lead from Nirvana).

#13 Chelsea Wolfe:

I hadn’t known about Chelsea Wolfe long, but I fell in love with her haunting music. She is continuing the evolution of goth rock with her modern experimental sounds. If you are looking for a modern gothic artist then she is worth a listen.

#14 Ellie Rowsell:

Ellie Rowsell is part of a four-piece band called Wolf Alice who have been going since 2010. Their early work sounds folk-tinged but has evolved to a more rock-orientated sound.

#15 Natalie Bassingthwaighte:

Natalie Bassingthwaighte is known as the lead singer of electronic rock band Rogue Traders. I listen to their most popular song ‘Voodoo Child’ on repeat. For me it is a song that never gets old and will always be a favourite. I also come across a lot of fellow Whovians in the comments of this music video from when this song was featured in a Doctor Who episode.

#16 Debbie Harry:

I couldn’t miss Debbie Harry off this list. Most known for being part of the rock band Blondie. They pioneered early American new wave and punk scenes from the mid-late 70’s.

#17 Tina Root:

Tina Root is the vocalist of the band Switchblade Symphony who were prominent in the goth scene throughout the 90’s. As this is mostly an Alternative/Goth based blog I think it’s important to mention female vocalists who have had impact on the goth rock scene. Again, this is something that might not appeal to everyone, however, as this is the type of rock music I prefer to listen to, it’s worth a mention.

 

#18 Johnette Napolotano:

Johnette Napolotano is best known as the lead singer from American alternative rock band Concrete Blonde. Concrete Blonde built up their popularity in the 90’s with their top 20 singe ‘Joey’.

#19 Chibi:

Chibi is the lead singer of The Birthday Massacre, a band well known in the Goth scene. The Birthday Massacre’s musical style has been described as new wave revival, electronic rock, gothic rock, and dark wave. As an ongoing goth band and one with an amazing sound, Chibi deserved to be mentioned on my list.

#20 Theresa Jeane:

Last but definitely not least, Theresa Jeane is the lead sing from The Nearly Deads. I found this band a few months ago and have loved their music ever since. They appealed to me when I found their song lyrics relatable and was pleased to find they are rather interactive with their fans on social media. They quickly became one of my favourite alternative rock bands and I’m looking forward to seeing what their future in music will involve.

I think this list proves my point that women are totally capable of being successful rock singers. If you want to share your opinion on this debate or if I missed any of your favourite female rock singers off the list, then feel free to leave a comment. I’m open to discussions and hearing new music.

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