Do We Have a Dyke Anthem?

Rebecca Drysdale’s terrific new song for the It Gets Better Project has launched on iTunes. Download a copy and play it loudly everywhere you go! It’s a fantastic contribution to the project.

But this got me thinking. Is there a lesbian anthem? Do we have that one song that makes us want to stand up and cheer? That will inspire us to pump our fists in the air? (Thumbs tucked in, please!)

Gay men have more anthems than they can shake a dick at. They have Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” The Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men,” ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” and of course, The Village People’s, “YMCA,” among  so many others. It would be easy to blow through a chunky iTunes gift card building a gaylist.

A dyke anthem is a tougher order to fill. While the music of gay men is saying “Drag me onto the dance floor and spank my happy sequined ass,” the music of lesbians is often saying “Shhh. I’m writing in my journal. And, oh, will you please pass the hummus?”

There is plenty of beautiful, meaningful music made by lesbians – The Indigo Girls, Chris Pureka, Brandi Carlile, Ferron, and many others,  but much of it feels too introspective and quirky to be anthem material.

I admit to having serious lesbian folk tendencies. But, when I want that kind of anthem rush, I listen to something like Kirsten Price’s song  “Crazy Sexy Beautiful“. Or, I listen to Melissa Etheridge’s first album.

Catie Curtis’ song “What’s the Matter” makes me want to stand up and cheer, although it celebrates everyone, not just lesbians:

What if I am Black or Jew?
Straight or queer mother of two?
Run around in a hippie dress?
Ride my bike in a leather vest?
What’s the matter?

As does Pink’s song “Raise Your Glass” which invites listeners:

Raise your glass if you are wrong in all the right ways

Chris Webster’s song “I’m Driving” certainly has anthem potential for a certain kind of toppish woman. I’ve seen her sing this at concerts where there were lots of straight people in the audience and all the innuendo was lost on them. The husbands and wives nudged each other and snickered because they think the song is really about which of them gets to drive the car. But one memorable night, at an inn way up on the Northern California coast, I heard her sing this to a mostly lesbian audience, and the women clapped and whistled. They knew Chris wasn’t singing about driving:

You can take this love past the point of no return,
You can take it all the way until it starts to burn.
You can take the truth the truth and bend it ’til it shakes.
You can take my heart ’til it starts to break.
You can sit real close.
You can hold my hand.
But before you touch that wheel, you’ve got to understand:
I’m driving.

A while back, I wrote about adopting “Girls Like Me (Summertime)” by Coyote Grace’s Ingrid Elizabeth as my new summer anthem.

I was a watercolor girl in a tintype town
The locals looked me up and down
Love to watch their heads spin when we come around
Me and my sweet babe

She was a tall glass of lemonade
Always had me sweatin’ in the shade
Stole my first kiss from me in the first grade
Lord, I knew she was the one

(…)

Now happiness is a front porch swing
Forever is a dandelion ring
This barefoot queen and her flatbed king
We know every song the radio sings
In perfect three-part harmony
And thank God…
Boys like her like the girls like me

When I’m in a certain mood, nothing gets me going quite like Bitch and Animal’s brassy ode to butch prowess, “Best Cock on the Block”. I love the bass line, and there’s just something about a woman singing, “My dick, it’s like chick bait, one bite and they’re hooked,” that slays me.

So, what do you say? Do we have a lesbian anthem? Post your contributions in the comments. It’s no fair suggesting songs by straight artists simply because they’ve been used on The L Word, or worse yet, in the soundtrack of The Kids are All Right.

I’m sure there’s a song with anthem potential right under our noses. A song that is familiar and powerful. Maybe it’s even danceable. Or maybe we’ll have to wait for Queen Latifah or Anne Murray to step out of the closet and belt one out.


13 responses to “Do We Have a Dyke Anthem?

  1. Mmm.When did Joan Armatrading come out?

  2. The anthemy song that was really big right around the time I came out was Melissa Etheridge’s “Yes I Am.” I have vivid memories of that song playing in vehicles and at parties and of lesbian friends being all kinds of fired up about it. Maybe it’s more of a coming out anthem, though? I don’t know.

  3. Some nominations from Twitter:
    k.d. lang’s “Sexuality” (HOT video!)

    k.d. lang’s “Constant Craving”

    Melissa Ferrick’s “Drive” (This is a live performance with a charged-up, singing audience!)

  4. Some more nominations from Twitter:
    Shiny Toy Guns – “Le Disko”
    (Don’t know if it’s an anthem, but there’s lots of eye candy in this video!)

    The Cliks – “Complicated”

  5. and don’t forget the real I Kissed a Girl by Jill Sobule.

  6. or how about The Butchies Send Me You?

  7. I second “Drive.” Also, I don’t know, there tends to be the loud sing-alongs of Closer to Fine sometimes, and that always makes me happy.

    I also really love “Raise Your Glass,” and I see Pink as generally queer or at least queer-friendly, but it doesn’t make sense to include that on the list if you’re saying songs by lesbians only. (Or I missed her coming out.)

    • I wasn’t really including Pink’s song on the list, I was just making a comparison to the Catie Curtis song, in terms of theme because I recently featured Pink’s video in another post. Neither is a lesbian-specific song although Catie is a lesbian and Pink is probably not, and both songs are supportive of people outside the norm.

  8. Another great suggestion from Twitter:

    Amy Ray’s “Let It Ring”.

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