Stories aren’t just found in books. They can be found in music as well 😊 Some albums grip you from beginning to end, pulling you into personal and emotional stories.
And as a writer, I love stories. Here are 5 of my favorite female-artist, story-telling albums 💕
1. Haunted by POE
The opening is a voicemail left to her mother, who never seems to pick up the phone. It is POE singing a short song about her father, who just passed away.
What follows is a haunting and troubled account of a young woman coming to terms with her father’s passing, her mother’s apparent abandonment, and who she is as a young woman in this world.
The songs are at times solemn, at times fun and tongue-in-cheek, but mostly a truly creative and artistic expression that tells a story from beginning to end.
2. Ithaca by Paula Cole
If all you have heard of Paula Cole is I Don’t Want to Wait or Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? let me tell you, you are missing out. In Ithaca, Paula Cole is soulful and real. The album goes through the harsh story of her painful divorce and struggles to trust again.
Paula Cole sings with power and honesty about the mistakes she made along the way, and the results of a nasty divorce— something that is, unfortunately, relatable to a lot of people.
The beginning song, The Hard Way, sets the tone for the story, as the songs soften down to the last song, 2 Lifetimes. I’ve never heard a more honest song of heartache and triumph, except perhaps for…
3. Picking Up the Pieces by Jewel
I like me some 90s girls, don’t judge me 😉 In Picking Up the Pieces, Jewel sings (in her versatile voice) the most heartfelt breakup song I’ve ever heard (Love Used to Be). But the album is not all sadness and heartache.
With music that cannot be pinpointed to country, or pop, or contemporary, Jewel sings about family ties and those deep relationships that are important in life.
The album is full of pain, overcoming obstacles, family, honesty, and ends, appropriately enough, with Mercy.
4. Mortal City by Dar Williams
More than one long story, this album is a collection of short stories. This is characteristic of Dar Williams, who always infuses her songs with a playful and interesting storytelling element.
The album touches on issues of self-esteem (As Cool As I Am), differing beliefs (The Christians and The Pagans), and hilarious-though-painful life lessons (The Pointless, Yet Poignant, Crisis of a Co-Ed).
When I first started listening to Dar Williams, I always made sure to play mahjong or color or doodle, because I wanted to mostly pay attention to the stories that she told 😁
5. Funhouse by P!nk
I guess there’s a theme here~ I like 90’s women, and I like personal tales of pain and overcoming. This album details P!nk’s love story with Carey Hart– from their painful divorce, to P!nk’s ambivalent feelings of forgetting him (So What) and still loving him (Please Don’t Leave Me).
The album is peppered with deep emotions that we all can relate to, and P!nk’s signature fun silliness. Songs like Bad Influence and Glitter in the Air add an element of fun and magic that uplift an otherwise sad album.
I just love when artists go “Look, things didn’t work out how I wanted. Here’s all of me– my thoughts, my emotions, and my hopes and dreams!”
Obviously missing from this list is Pink Floyd’s The Wall, but I figured I’d keep it to the ladies this time 😉
I love, love, love albums that tell a story, so if you know of one, don’t hold out on me! Tell me in the comments because I’d love to check it out 😘
Have a fantastic weekend!
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