Rhapsody App for
Rhapsody International, Inc.

by Dan Weiss

November 13, 2013


If She Were a Boy

by Dan Weiss  |  November 13, 2013

Gender-bending is one of pop's great subjects, especially when the singer is sophisticated (or crass) enough to pull off a good impression of the opposite sex. Legends like Kate Bush ("Pull Out the Pin") and Joni Mitchell ("Free Man in Paris") have explored the male perspective for years, while sex-friendly feminists like Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon ("Female Mechanic Now on Duty") and Liz Phair ("Big Tall Man," "Baby Got Going") use the persona to flex their wits. Ciara ("Like a Boy") and Beyonce ("If I Were a Boy") use the opportunity to point out hypocrisy and double standards; Neko Case's excellent "Man" and Nicki Minaj's act as Roman Zolanski (on "Roman Holiday" and "Come on a Cone") attempt to prove they're more man than any man could ever be.

Lucinda Williams ("Soldier's Song") and Tricky's version of Public Enemy's "Black Steel" (with Martina Topley-Bird on vocals) force us to feel wartime through a different avatar, and Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out" and The Weather Girls' classic "It's Raining Men" are widely theorized to be gay fantasies -- released to the mainstream before their time -- under the guise of female ones. It's an endlessly fascinating and usually innovative way to write a song -- just ask Sarah McLachlan, who turned actual words from her real-life stalker into her first worldwide hit, "Possession."

Related Posts


Related Posts

Rhapsody app on your desktop or mobile device.

Listen to the songs you love. Anytime, anywhere.

14 day free trial, then just $9.99/month for Rhapsody Premier. View all plans