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March 5, 2009 |

By TK Burton | Music | March 5, 2009 |

(ed. note — this article originally ran in October of 2008 at The Music is the Message. I figured it would serve as a nice compliment to this week’s post about bands and costumes. —TK)

A philosophical question: What came first—the gender bending artist or their music? Does the music they create pull this persona from within, or is it the persona that pulls the music out?

In our modern culture, are we attracted to the lack of sexual characteristics or is it more the possibility of either?

Take for instance: Prince. Or, The Artists Formerly Known As Prince. Or, Prince Again. (Does anyone know what he actually goes by now?) Now, I wouldn’t necessarily consider him androgynous, but he certainly knows how to blur the sexual lines, and he is certainly more sexual (in his early ’90s days, as witnessed by the following video) than many of the more typically androgynous performers.

Seriously, ENJOY.

Alas, no ass. (Really, what the hell has happened to America? I haven’t seen an onstage orgy on cable since, well, since 1991. A real cryin’ shame.) Now that I’m thinking about it, he really looks like a woman in drag more than anything. (He sure does have a pretty face, mm hmm.)

Now, on the other hand, consider THE David Bowie. Andro? Yes. Sexual? Depends. (For me, the answer to that second question is an unequivocal “YES,” but I’m aware that many do not share that sentiment.)

Let’s taste, shall we?

I’m Afraid of Americans (featuring supersexy Trent Reznor)

With Bowie—and getting back to my original thought—it seems as though his portrayed gender identity comes paired with his music; that the persona brings certain things forward, and they exist hand-in-hand (evidenced by his Ziggy Stardust era, where he actually named the persona). Prince, on the other hand, seems to let his music come through and his true self express its nature. Yes, he is a showman, but there is also honesty in his self-portrayed sexual being. (Am I going way out on a limb here?)

Annie Lennox is more of the Prince variety of andro; she has something to say, says it in her music, and then cultivates the persona to bring power to her message. (Ok, this is all very confusing. I’m getting lost. )

Thoughts on androgyny in music?

Boo is a self-supporting wise ass with a mean streak, a sweet tooth and an amazing pair. You can find her under a rock in the Southern Appalachian mountains, attempting to write, play and sing music, usually while in some state of inebriation. Read more about her at Girl Named Boo.

Pajiba Music

The Great Gender Bend

Androgyny and Music / Boo

Music | March 5, 2009 |

TK Burton is the Editorial Director. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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