2011 Year in Review: Music

Blasts from the Past

Patty Schemel reminded us of her contribution to rock history with her documentary Hit So Hard: The Near Life and Death of Patty Schemel. The out drummer attended film festivals with the directors (who used her original footage) while on tour with Hole in the 1990s. Patty told us of coming out in Rolling Stone in 1995: “I didn’t care. I thought from where I was with my band and my peers — I felt safe with them. I had had experiences of sexist discrimination about being a female drummer growing up and also the fear of being an out lesbian but when I started to play music and I got into my band and came out, I didn’t really think twice about being out. It’s part of my identity and it’s something that I can’t hide.” Patty is also in the new band Green Eyes.

Chely Wright, too, attended events for her documentary about coming out, Wish Me Away. The country singer was also recognized with the Community Award by New York’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.

Another familiar face from the 1990s returned to us in the form of a new band. Linda Perry has kept up with music as a songwriter, but her new group Deep Dark Robot released their debut album in 2011. She told us back in February the album was all about one girl: “Many gay women can relate to falling for the straight girl who shows all of this interest and wants to keep you around because, damn, us lesbians, we give good attention.” Linda also recently began a high-profile relationship with Sara Gilbert, which will hopefully bring some attention to her band.

Samantha Ronson also released an album with a new band, The Undertakers, called Chasing the Reds. The DJ/musician can’t seem to stay out of the news, as she’s continued to be tabloid fodder ever since her relationship with her famous neighbor, Lindsay Lohan.

The Go-Gos, which includes out bisexual member Jane Wiedlin, received a star on the Walk of Fame, while bisexual musician Laura Nyro was voted into the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame. She will be inducted in 2012.

Other Lesbian-Related Trends

In the always-part-of-pop-culture arena known as faux-lesbianism, actress/singer Jessica Lowndes put out a song and subsequent video for her song “I Wish I Was Gay.” In it, she dances around women, burlesque-style, all to tantalize her cheating boyfriend.

Kelly Clarkson went on a press tour for her new album and couldn’t stop talking about how not a lesbian she is. She addressed persistent rumors by continuing to discuss her sexuality on camera and in interviews, saying she’s never even made out with a girl.

Rapper Bobby Brackins released a single called “Lesbian.” Too bad it’s offensive — it’s pretty catchy.

Rock group Train made a gay-themed music video for their song “Save Me, San Francisco.” It ends with a “surprise” lesbian wedding.

Other lesbianish videos include Duran Duran‘s video for “Girl Panic,” which featured supermodels gone wild, including some girl-on-girl making out and Pitbull‘s video for “She Doesn’t Mind,” which followed women feeling each other up (and down) at the airport security terminal.

Lesbians and bisexual women were largely shut out of the 2011 Grammy nominations, with Lady Gaga looking to be the sole LGBT-identifying female nominee. She’s up for Album of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album.

Other significant new albums that reached a mass audience came from k.d. lang, Girl in a Coma, Meshell Ndegeocello, Vanessa Carlton, Jennifer O’Connor, Tender Forever Shunda K, Light Asylum, Hercules & Love Affair, Indigo Girls, The Shondes, Catie Curtis, Melissa Ferrick, Little Brutes, Making Friendz, Sarah Jaffe, Shunda K, Joan as Police Woman, Thao & Mirah, The Belle Brigade and The Sounds.

In 2012, we can look forward to new music from Brandi Carlile, Goldfrapp, Holly Miranda, Lissy Trullie, The Gossip, CREEP and The Blow. All of these out artists will have albums on our radar in the next year. We can only hope that homophobia in society will decrease, and that this will be reflected in the music industry as well.

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