Mighty Ponygirl has posted the song list for the upcoming "Rock Band 2", and has, as a public service, separated the songs into those sung by dudes and those sung by chicks. If you've played the first game at home or in a party situation, you know that the gender disparity is a major issue. A lot of people don't feel comfortable cross-dressing their voices for some reason---either out of fear of incompetence, or just plain fear---and so for women who suffer this fear, they sing the three songs they feel they can do and quit. Not cool. The new game Rock Band 2 has more women, I think, and an interesting mix of badass punk (Bikini Kill, L7), pop punk (the Go-Gos, the Muffs, the Donnas), and crap that you have to smile gamely through as people clamor to sing it (Alanis Morrisette). Still, as MP demonstrates amply, the lack of parity is still appalling---12 songs out of something like 80 have female singers, and a few of those songs are ones that you've never heard before. Or that I haven't, which is to say that there's 3 bands on there that are probably friends of the programmers, or as MG says, "a lot of crappy samey 'if only the WB were still on the air and we could get our song played on Smallville' stuff." The upside---many an 8-year-old will be singing the lyrics to "Rebel Girl" by Bikini Kill. The puzzling thing is that at least two of the bands on the list have plenty of songs where their female members sang, but the programmers picked male-led songs---"Teenage Riot" by Sonic Youth and "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac. It seems that if you're going with those bands, you have an opportunity to add more female singers.

But while this whole situation is bleak, there are two reasons that female Rock Band fans who like to sing can rally. The first is that it's a whole lot better than Guitar Hero: World Tour, which only has one song with a female singer. In addition, Guitar Hero which will probably bring back the offensively sexualized female musicians (Rock Band's do have skimpy clothes, but they still have relatively human styles and proportions, and are often sexy without being cartoonishly pornoriffic).

The second is that there's no reason for women to feel limited to singing songs that were performed by other women. The dirty little secret of rock history is that a lot of your favorite male singers are so awesome because they unabashedly sing like girls. In my experience, this plays out in the first Rock Band in such a way that a lot of male-led songs are easier for random women to sing than random men, especially anything by Radiohead or the Pixies. Just like in fashion, it's easier for women to get away with "men's" clothes than vice versa, in Rock Band, women can do a lot of cross-dressing-through-singing.

So, I took MP's list of songs by dudes and have used it to create another list, a list of songs that women who are looking to branch out in Rock Band 2 should consider singing instead of giving up completely. If you want to read the whole list, check out MP's blog.


Songs By Dudes Who Sing Like Chicks

Allman Brothers - “Ramblin’ Man”

Bad Company - “Shooting Star”

Beastie Boys - “So Watcha Want”

Bon Jovi - “Livin’ on a Prayer”

Devo - “Uncontrollable Urge”

Duran Duran - “Hungry Like the Wolf”

Elvis Costello - “Pump it Up” (this one is borderline, but I'm thinking of my own voice---bet a lot of women could knock it out of the park first try)

Fleetwood Mac - “Go Your Own Way” (to the point where there was some confusion of if this is really a male-led song---technically, yes)

Foo Fighters - “Everlong”

Guns N’ Roses - “Shackler’s Revenge”

Interpol - “PDA”

Jane’s Addiction - “Mountain Song”

Jethro Tull - “Aqualung”

Jimmy Eat World - “The Middle”

Journey - “Anyway You Want It”

Judas Priest - “Painkiller” (we're going to assume that metal falsetto counts)

Kansas - “Carry On Wayward Son”

Libyans - “Neighborhood”

Lit - “My Own Worst Enemy”

Mighty Mighty Bosstones - “Where’d You Go”

Modest Mouse - “Float On”

Nirvana - “Drain You”

Norman Greenbaum - “Spirit in the Sky ”

Panic at the Disco - “Nine in the Afternoon”

Presidents of the United States of America - “Lump”

Ratt - “Round & Round”

Rush - “The Trees”

Silversun Pickups - “Lazy Eye” (this is one where I couldn't tell you on a bet if it's a guy or a girl singing, like "Go Your Own Way")

Smashing Pumpkins - “Today”

Sonic Youth - “Teenage Riot”

Speck - “Conventional Lover”

Squeeze - “Cool for Cats”

Steely Dan - “Bodhitsattva”

Steve Miller Band - “Rock’n Me”

Survivor - “Eye of the Tiger”

Talking Heads - “Psycho Killer”

The Grateful Dead - “Alabama Getaway”

The Guess Who - “American Woman”

The Main Drag - “A Jagged Gorgeous Winter”

The Replacements - “Alex Chilton”

The Sterns - “Supreme Girl”

The Who - “Pinball Wizard “

You shouldn't limit yourself to these songs, of course. But if you're cautious about moving from lady-only songs to dude-songs, these are a good for the transition. Before you know it, you'll be gruffing your way through "Alive" by Pearl Jam. I find that it's not the gender of the singer most of the time, but how well I know the song, that makes it easier for me. But there is a definite "guys who sound like girls" advantage, which is why I've come around to singing so much Boston.

Now if we can only convince men that there's nothing emasculating about busting out some Blondie.

And because I tortured you with my guilty pleasure in the first video, here's some non-guilty pleasures:

I can't wait to sing this one: