With an open heart

The leading singer-songwriters of this time are women

If you are into indie and folk music, into singer-songwriters, into storytelling and beautiful melodies, you might have noticed that in the history of music, this was a domain filled with men. Sure, there were exceptions, as always, but the majority of critically acclaimed and audience-loved musicians in this genre – and in most of the other genres – were men.

In the past five years, this has changed.

Folk singer-songwriters have always been the ones to be the most personal, the most fragile lyricists. And women of course have always been part of it – but it feels like there is a new strength to dig deep, to sing about flaws, desires, depression, anxiety, love and hate.

Here are ten female musicians you should listen to.

Phoebe Bridgers

Key lyrics:
And I have this dream where I’m screaming underwater
While my friends are all waving from the shore
And I don’t need you to tell me what that means
I don’t believe in that stuff anymore
Jesus Christ, I’m so blue all the time
And that’s just how I feel
Always have and I always will

 

Julien Baker

Key lyrics:
And somebody’s listening at night with the ghosts of my friends when I pray
Asking “Why did you let them leave and then make me stay?”
Know my name and all of my hideous mistakes
I rejoice.

 

Snail Mail

Key lyrics:
It just feels like
The same party every weekend
Doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?
And if you do find someone better
I’ll still see you in everything

 

Angel Olsen

Key lyrics:
Who is your truest friend?
Are they there at your end?
Oh let the light be bled
And let some tears be shed
Do it all over again
Oh let the light shine in

 

Sharon van Etten

Key lyrics:
Tell me when
Tell me when is this over?
Chewed you out
Chew me out when I’m stupid
I don’t wanna
Everyone else pales
Send in the owl
Tell me I’m not a child

 

Big Thief

Key lyrics:
You whisper to a restless ear, “can you get me out of here?
This place smells like piss and beer, can you get me out?”
You were asking me, how to get you free
I only know the recipe to roam

Vera Sola

Key lyrics:
I am the absence of
I am the great big hole
I am the sin dark dove
I am the dust-wrought
second one

Stella Donnelly

Key lyrics:
Birds don’t fly for another’s dreams
Lost my mind, clipped my wings
I’ve been lost on the fence
Between my pride and your interest

Mitski

Key lyrics:
They’ll never know how I’d stared at the dark in that room
With no thoughts
Like a blood-sniffing shark
And while my dreams made music in the night
Carefully
I was going to live 

Waxahatchee

Key lyrics:
your ravenous, insatiable
appetite for the expendable
will leave you just as hollow as your requiem
you’ll bang it like a drum

 

Courtney Barnett

Key lyrics:
I’ve got no idea how I even got here
I’m resentful, I’m having an existential time crisis
Want bliss, daylight savings won’t fix this mess
Under-worked and over-sexed, I must express my disinterest
The rats are back inside my head, what would Freud have said?

Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you