Remember that Spotify playlist I posted last week? The one that consisted of only girls’ first names? C found its brilliant counterpoint.
In 2013, Esme Patterson released “Woman To Woman,” a collection of seven songs intended as rebuttals to songs named after women. Just like my playlist.
Here’s the genesis:
“I was sitting in a hotel room in Spearfish, S.D., learning to play a Townes Van Zandt tune called “Loretta,” and as I was singing the words, I started to get angry. I started thinking about how one-sided and subjective a lot of ‘love songs’ are, and how a lot of women immortalized in songs might tell a different side of the story if anyone ever asked.”
In another interview I read, she specifically brings up a famous line from “Alison” by Elvis Costello: “I don’t know if you’ve been loving somebody / I only know it isn’t mine.”
In all the times I’ve heard that song, I’ve understood it as a pun. Like, “I don’t know if you’ve been loving somebody; I only know it isn’t my body.” Sort of like, If I said you had a nice body, would you hold it against me?
She interpreted “it isn’t mine” as Alison’s baby. I’m not going to do anymore research on this because no good can come from it. Either Esme or Elvis is less clever than I thought they were. I doubt it’s Elvis.
Anyway, here’s the full track listing and her reference material.
(Elvis Costello – ‘Alison’)
2. Never Chase A Man
(Dolly Parton – ‘Jolene’)
(Townes Van Zandt – ‘Loretta’)
4. The Glow
(The Beach Boys – ‘Caroline, No’)
(The Beatles – ‘Eleanor Rigby’)
6. Louder Than the Sound
(The Band – ‘Evangeline’)
7. A Dream
(Leadbelly – ‘Goodnight Irene’)