Feb 272012
Authors: Allison Sylte

After what will come to be known as the “Great (fellow Collegian columnist) Morgan Mayo’s British Coin–Swallowing Incident,” I spent the day Saturday recovering on my couch, clutching a bag of cough drops and wallowing in embarrassment and self-pity as I nursed myself back to health.

Luckily, because of my sloth-like nature that fateful day, I was able to watch the full five hours (don’t judge me) of VH1’s “The 100 Greatest Women in Music.” And let me tell you, as a woman — and as a music fan — I was thoroughly disappointed with the results.

I get that “Best Of” lists are subjective. Even the host Ne-Yo, after creepily hitting on every woman mentioned in the series, confirmed this, offering the caveat that the main purpose of the list is to cause a little bit of debate.

Well, VH1, here’s my rebuttal, right here, right now, in this tremendously influential college newspaper. That’s right: It’s on!

I’ll start with the list’s most obvious flaw: Madonna was placed at No. 1. That’s right, Madonna. As in the skeleton-like banshee who lip-synced at the Super Bowl this year while M.I.A. stood behind her flipping off America.

I’m not going to deny that Madonna is a great artist who influenced a lot of people and started a cultural revolution. Lady Gaga (who was ranked at number four on the list) should be paying Madonna’s mortgage and giving her a meat dress in gratitude.

But according to the “100 Greatest Women in Music” website, the focus of the show was supposed to be the great artists over the last 20 years. Aside from being featured during one of the better episodes of “Glee” and making out with Britney Spears, it’s easy to argue that Madonna has not done anything substantial or new during this time frame.

Instead, she’s ridden on the coattails of her prodigious past, right onto the No. 1 slot of VH1’s illustrious (yet flawed) countdown, taking the title away from more worthy artists.

Which brings me to the 99 musicians who, apparently, were less influential than Madonna over the past 20 years. The list includes the likes of Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Pink, Britney Spears and Adele –– artists who actually made genuine contributions to music in recent history and defined popular culture far more than Madonna has.

Not like VH1 or its viewers who voted for the artists particularly care.

Also, there were just some people on the list who just shouldn’t have been there –– like Demi Lovato. I mean, seriously, I have seen “Camp Rock” and “Camp Rock 2,” and I can tell you that her talent level puts her nowhere near the top 100 women to have graced us with their music over the past 20 years.

What about Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who helped create a distinct sound that a lot of recent artists borrow? She wasn’t on the list, but Demi freakin’ Lovato was? I’m not quite sure what Demi Lovato has done, other than date one of the Jonas Brothers (allegedly) and manage to smile excessively while singing and opening her mouth very wide (seriously… watch one of her music videos).

But none of these travesties compare to the ultimate one that I noticed during my hungover day watching “The 100 Greatest Women in Music.”

Yes, my faithful readers, I’m talking about Celine Marie Claudette Dion’s placement at number 21 on the list. The woman who crafted the timeless ballad “My Heart Will Go On” and who told us “That’s The Way It Is” was ranked lower than “great” musicians such as Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani and TLC.

The woman with the almost four–octave vocal range was defeated by the woman with a “Teenage Dream” who “Kissed a Girl.” She didn’t even make the top 10, despite her superior vocal and live talent (embarrassingly enough, I’ve seen her in concert). But Katy Perry, the woman who can shoot whipped cream out of her boobs, did?!

It’s madness. But perhaps my diatribe does something that I never thought was possible. I have just proven Ne-Yo right. The “100 Greatest Women in Music” truly did start a conversation, and it made me rethink these past 20 years in music in such a way that I would have never thought possible.

So readers, what do you guys think? Do you think Madonna should have been No. 1? Do you think Demi Lovato belonged on the list? Am I a loser for liking Celine Dion? Tell me about it.

Content Managing Editor Allison Sylte is a junior journalism major. Her column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @AllisonSylte.

 Posted by at 3:17 pm

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