The Beginner’s Guide to making your music collection less hetero:

Tracy Chapman

- "Give Me One Reason” on New Beginning

Everybody knows Tracy Chapman. Or, at least everybody should know Tracy Chapman. “Give Me One Reason” is a favourite of mine, my dad used to make mix tapes to listen to in the car and this song was on one of them. There is something sparing about this song, the guitars are tapy and dry, and if you listen closely you can hear how heavy the strings are. Chapman delivers her lyrics in reverb drenched declarative statements, her voice so warm and thick it hits you all over. And, though her music is enough, it’s fun to think about Chapman dating writer Alice Walker (The Color Purple) in the 1990s. If you haven’t given Chapman your time you should remedy that right away.


Doria Roberts

“Honey Jar” on Woman Dangerous

Roberts started her musical career in Philadelphia in 1996 and has since been a prolific touring musician and activist. “Honey Jar” was released in 2006, but has all the endearing qualities of a ‘90s hit. The digi-delayed guitars in the introduction are a real treat and things only get better when the acoustic guitar comes in over the top, crisp and warm. The vocal melody is so pop and so vibrant, especially in the chorus when Roberts repeats “sticky fingers in a, sticky fingers in a, in a honey jar” in a conspiratorial tone following huge, stabbing major rock chords. “Honey Jar” is a lesbian delight and though bright and bouncy, is far from cheesy or silly. “Honey Jar” is the perfect song to sing and dance along to in your kitchen on a sunny Saturday morning, preferably as you revel in all of the various and wonderful ways people can express themselves and their gender and sexual identities.


Jasmine Kennedy

“Cardigan Sweater” on A Love Song to Finance

Kennedy, a songwriter from Batley in the United Kingdom, released her first album when she was only 16 years old. Her earnest and plainspoken songs, however, show her as someone with an enviably steady and profound understanding of the world around her. Kennedy confides in her listener that she is “in love with the woman upstairs in the cardigan sweater,” a woman who leaves her television on at night to keep her company, and listens to music too loudly. The climax of the song is a swell of brass and keys, a joyous release before the end of the story is revealed, you can almost hear Kennedy’s smile as she sings, “I am in love with the woman in my cardigan sweater.” “Cardigan Sweater” is a stunning song and Kennedy is a talented singer and lyricist, her work is well worth adding to your collection. 

This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2016.
Posted 12:00pm Sunday 21st August 2016 by Millicent Lovelock.