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Greatest Albums by Women

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Normally, I would save this for one of my occasional Saturday night music posts, but this is worth a stand alone conversation. Usually, when someone tries to rank music, it ends up a disaster, either too orthodox or too contrarian or just hackish. But this NPR attempt to rank the best 150 albums by women since 1964 is really well done. Not that I per se agree with every choice, but rather that they did the hard work to include a wide swathe of music from around the world, from the past and the present, and from both well-known and obscure artists. Sure, they missed some. Millie Jackson’s “Caught Up” and Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand the Rain” are two pretty clear ones for me. Some contemporary non-pop music would be good too–say an album by Mary Halvorson. But the inclusion of someone like Pauline Oliveros is pretty great. Plus there is Miriam Makeba, Celia Cruz, Alice Coltrane, Umm Kulthum, Mercedes Sosa. Sure, by the last 30 or so albums, it gets pretty predictable. But as far as these sorts of lists go, it’s pretty first-rate.

But just to complain, there’s no way that the only Sleater-Kinney choice (Dig Me Out, correct) is #81. Maybe #8 would be OK. If not higher.

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