Sixteen songs better than Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl”


Everyone has their list. Here’s mine — and no, it’s not a list of best make-out songs. Rather, it’s a list of songs that empower me — and maybe you — with clear woman-loving lyrics.

1. “I Kissed a Girl” — Jill Sobule. According to a recent article in Performing Songwriter, she really did kiss a girl. I love this bouncy singalong, and I love that it got so much airplay. Frankly, I just love Jill Sobule. I want to take her home and make her tuna casserole.

2. “Amazon” — Maxine Feldman. She called herself an out, proud, Jewish butch back when queer bars were raided on a regular basis. Her affirming songs and funny stage manner were a breath of fresh air. Nedra Johnson does a more modern version of the song that kicks major booty.

3. “Boinked (the Bride)” — Ember Swift. I love funny tunes and this one makes me burst into giggles every time.

4. “Ode to a Gym Teacher” — Meg Christian (pictured below with Cris Williamson). Who didn’t fall in love with their gym teacher? Oh, biceps!

5. “A Woman’s Love” — Alix Dobkin. She has so many out lesbian tunes and this is my favorite. I heard Therese Edell do this at one of my first women’s music concerts. Oh that sexy alto voice!

6. “Drive” — Melissa Ferrick. You knew I was going to include this one, right? You have to hear it live. If you’re not lusting after women before you hear it, you will afterward. (Hey, we do recruit.)

7. “32 Lines” — Sophie B. Hawkins. “I’ll lead you home / to Provincetown.” You sure can.

8. “If It Isn’t Her” — Ani DiFranco. I probably rewound this tape (yes, it was that long ago) a million times to hear this song. “I have been playing too many of those boy-girl games / she says honey you are safe here / this is a girl-girl thing.”

9. “Yes I Am” — Melissa Etheridge. The lyrics are a bit vague, “Yes you are …” (Cute? Sexy?). But given the timing of this song (not long after she publicly came out), it’s damn clear enough for me. This is one you want to crank up on the way home from your mother’s after she’s asked yet again, “Dating any nice boys?”

10. “I Spent My Last Ten Dollars” — Two Nice Girls. “My life was so much simpler when I was sober and queer.” Ain’t that the truth?

11.“Romeo and Juliet” — Indigo Girls. I know they didn’t write it, but in their capable hands it’s a 10 on the lesbian scale.

12. “Prove It On Me Blues” — Ma Rainey. A blues shouter popular in the ’20s and ’30s, she was married to a man but made no secret of her love for women: “Went out last night with a crowd of my friends / They must have been women ’cause I don’t like no men.”

13. “Sweet Woman” — Cris Williamson. Older readers would beat me with an organic carrot if I didn’t include this one. All right, so I love it too.

14. “Radical” — Catie Curtis. It’s a sweet anthem, perfect for when you need a gentle reminder of who we are.

15. “Imagine My Surprise” — Holly Near. We were surprised and delighted when this performer of women’s music claimed her love for a woman.

16. “Every Woman” — Sweet Honey in the Rock. “Every woman who ever loved a woman / you ought to stand up and call her name.” Amen!

There are a few that almost made the list, like “Young James Dean” by Girlyman, “Sway of Her Hips” performed by Teresa Trull and Barbara Higbie, “Let the Rainbow Shine” by Judy Small, “Leaping Lesbians” performed by Sue Fink and Teresa Trull’s “Woman Loving Woman.”

I know this list is lacking so fill me in, OK? What are your favorite lesbian songs, and why?