Posts Tagged ‘The Best of Diana Ross & The Supremes’

The Best of Diana Ross & The Supremes: The Millennium Collection
Diana Ross & The Supremes
1999

Special D and I were talking about all-female tribute bands – Hell’s Belles, Iron Maidens, Zepparella, Judith Priest, PRISS – when she asked, “Why are there no all-male tribute bands?”

Leave it to Special D to ask uncomfortable questions that upend the male-dominated hierarchy bestowed on us by God. Might as well ask why male roller derby disappeared while female roller derby flourished. But I’ll take this question on.

The bands women impersonate tend to be metal. The inherent excesses of the genre make it promising ground for parody. Watching women sing this testosteronic, misogynistic material subverts it. I’m not sure what a group of men could subvert by forming a Bikini Kill tribute band. Unless you’re playing the Republican National Convention, do you really want to come out against Riot Grrls and female empowerment? Besides, Bikini Kill had a guy in it. Hole had one guy and The Breeders had two.

It’s been said (by my wife) that women gain status by acting like men, whereas men lose status by acting like women. Oh yeah? I was quick to retort, and then I changed the subject: There aren’t a lot of all-female bands for men to pay tribute to.

The Slits were empowering, but they weren’t very good. The Donnas are already a copy of The Ramones. How about The Runaways? Disqualified. A bunch of guys singing “Cherry Bomb” wouldn’t make sense because no one cares if a boy is a virgin* whereas our entire world economy and all of our literature, art, and music are based on female virginity: why you must fight to preserve it, 1,001 hot hot hot ways to surrender it, and how to live with yourself now that you’re a slut.

* I am of course writing from a heterosexual male perspective.

Your Runaways all-male tribute band would have to be drag queens. Same with Madonna, Bananarama, Destiny’s Child, and Diana Ross & The Supremes. In fact we saw a drag-queen ensemble impersonate The Supremes and they were absolutely fabulous.

This leads me out of dangerous ideological territory and into the safe haven of The Best of Diana Ross & The Supremes. Buy it! All of the ’60s milestones are here, including three songs that haven’t lost one goddamn bit of their femininity: “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” “Love Child,” and “Reflections.” If you’re a woman of a certain age and you spent some time as a teenager practicing your girl-group moves in front of a mirror, this record will send you into orbit. I don’t qualify, but I just now played “Reflections” three times.

Bonus: This record does not include “The Happening.”

Random Pan of the Day
Beck, Morning Phase (2014)
It saddens me to pan this one because I think so highly of Beck, but this record, while beautiful, is perfect for combating insomnia. If you liked The Moody Blues’ Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, you might like Morning Phase, but be warned that nothing here moves as quickly as “The Story in Your Eyes.”