A vocal range that can go as high as pop music allows, and as low as soft jazz can embrace. Lyrics that can break you in two, as well as glue you back to an even better version of yourself. If you add out of the norm aesthetics, you get what we all know as an indie queen. If you add impeccable eyeliner, you get Lana del Rey, the ruler of indie queens.
Whether you’re into Lana del Rey or not, we decided to put together five artists that you’re definitely going to love. What’s more, if you’re going to pick your #WCW any week this year, then it better be this one. That’s right, add these indie queens to your favorite playlist. Oh, and be on the lookout for our very own International Women’s Day playlist tomorrow.
Add or Create a New Playlist for These Indie Queens
Well, we don’t really like to make comparisons between artists, but we did need some sort of criteria to select these five indie queens which essentially broke down to “woman”, “talented”, “indie”, and “unique”. OK, get ready to bow down.
Alexandra Savior, the Salvation Queen
One of our favorites is the last song of the album, “The Archer”, which is also the name of the album. Although it’s said that this song was written for an old love, the lyrics don’t reflect that side of romance:
“You ate me right up
You spit me back out
You bit my head right off with your tiny little mouth
I licked the blood from your lips”
Yowza! It’s hard to focus on the lyrics in the first round since you’ll be captivated by that tenderness and melancholy in her voice. This calming, soothing voice could tell you to go to hell, and you couldn’t get mad.
Although, these vocals probably emerged after escaping someone that would tear her apart several times. Manipulative and destructive love, seems to be the theme of the album. But, you don’t really have time for analysis because, as soon as you hit “play”, that crackling sound so characteristic of vinyl records will captivate you until the end.
Suki Waterhouse, the Unmuted Queen
Although you may have come across the name Suki Waterhouse next to “model,” “actress,” or “Robert Pattinson,” we’re here to place it right next to “indie queen”. Like Savoir, Suki Waterhouse has always claimed to feel muted, and like Lana del Rey she has managed to write about love without having to avenge any guy in her songs:
“God, you got the blackest eyes
Look here all you want
I smoke out your darkest side
Can’t turn water into wine
Never asked you to
So is it your place or mine?”
Under the retro-pop gender, she approaches the theme of love from a completely different angle. What’s more, she approached toxic relationships as something unavoidable and of which both parties are just as responsible. And we’re so not used to this.
Why an indie queen? Because she expresses exactly what she feels, when she feels it, and most importantly, however the “f***” she feels it. And we definitely feel it.
Jesse Jo Stark, the Spooky Queen
What she described as a “youthful waltz” or a song that makes you feel like you’re “stuck in time”, this track combines all of the elements that make Jesse Jo Stark, well her own unique self. As the song starts, you’ll feel swallowed up by a spooky yet enticing atmosphere that soon starts to sound like blues. Of course, lyrics like these add a hint of eeriness:
“You turned up the record player
Twisting the cramps off the bone
You said that this one
Always made you feel alone”
Like every other aspect of her song, it encourages us to look to the past. If we listen closely we’ll soon understand what that “Mystery” really is:
“Dead, dead, heat
We never sleep
We’re too in love to stop
You’re still a mystery to me”
Is there such a thinking as nostalgia for the future? Not so much of what it is but what you feel, deep down, that never will be and could have been? Well, we guess that is the mystery.
Soko, the Resurrected Queen
If you’ve seen “Little Fish (2020)”, then you may recognize this song. “See You In The Dark” was released by Soko and composed by Keegan DeWitt, as part of the movie’s official soundtrack. We could say that it’s a song about love but that would mean labeling, and reducing, the French singer’s emotional range:
“Stay awake just to burn you into my mind
Don’t fall asleep till I see you when I close my eyes
Your voice is a steady echo
Repeating in me everywhere I go”
Her voice is a steady echo that will haunt you every time you close your eyes:
“Wanna see you in the darkness when I close my eyes
Wanna see you in the darkness when I close my eyes”
This singer and actress has been to hell and back if we interpret her songs on self-mutilation or addiction as biographical. Among these indie queens, she’s probably the one that has made it most clear that she doesn’t fit in; this became more obvious after the release of her first official album “I Thought I Was an Alien (2012)”. Since then, her songs have evolved into messages of self-love and acceptance, and that’s why she’s an indie queen.
Sir Chloe, the Band Queen
This American indie rock band is composed by Dana Foote, Palmer Foote, Austin Holmes, and Teddy O’Mara. So, where’s the indie queen? Remember the criteria: women, talented, indie, and unique. It’s all there. With Sir Chloe’s “Animal” we move on to the purest and most primitive side of love:
“Make me behave like an animal
Make me behave like an animal
I’m asking nicely, give me what I want
I’ll ask politely, give me what I want”
Well, although they’re asking politely, Dana Foote’s vocals transmit a clear sense of carelessness that manage to stay soft regardless of the tempo of the song. Very much like we would all like to react to love, especially when it doesn’t go our way. This song is included in their first EP, “Party Favors (2020)”, where they manage to show the full range of emotions involved when you first meet someone that could turn into a love interest. Emphasis on “could”.
If you’re wondering, “who is the queen of alternative or indie music?”, it means we’ve done our job. This post wasn’t about comparing Lana del Rey to other indie artists nor starting a debate over who is the queen of indie music. It was about celebrating these women artists who, independently from one another, have managed to speak up and express their emotions and thoughts in their own unique way.