Different Voices


In the hilariously titled “The Fragile Ears of Men,” Leah Finnegan analyzes the gender politics of female singers’ voices, and why male music critics are so irked by Joanna Newsom:

But really, what is a musician’s voice if not distinctive? Isn’t that… good? Entire pieces have been written about the voices of Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, so American and vital and wise in their manly scratchiness, like unshaved bristle and whiskey and dirt. Man voice make music good. Woman voice music bad: Too high. Too sharp. Too warbly. Sounds like birds, screams, mother. It speaks volumes that men always seem to love PJ Harvey, she of the deep timbre.

Katie O'Brien is an English major at Cornell University, where she writes for kitsch magazine, DJs for a rock station, and complains about the cold. Find her on Twitter @abluekite. More from this author →