Amanda Marshall is a singer based in Canada. In this blog, I look at how and why her music is really neat and special. Most importantly, her music is very feminist and free of so many of the problems we see in our contemporary music.
Amanda Marshall has been my favorite singer since the mid 1990s. Her band, her voice, and her songs are perfect and very unique. The “live” versions (many are available on YouTube, many of these are linked on the unofficial Facebook fan page) are very different than the CD versions in most cases. All are of outstanding quality.
Before going further, take 6 minutes. Relax. Close your eyes. And please listen to this:
I am the Amanda Marshall fan! She is one of just a few singers who I would love getting to visit with. 🙂 I have every song she has recorded on both of my computers, on my iPhone, and of course, on all of my backup systems. Once a long time ago–sometime in the late 1990s–I got word that she was going to be on some radio station somewhere far away but it was going to stream live on the Internet, and my parents let me stay up late (past midnight for a 4th/5th grader is a big deal!) to hear her.
While in Canada her music has generally ranked very highly, her music hasn’t been given the same opportunity in the United States or elsewhere.
I have never figured out why she isn’t an everyday house-hold name. She certainly deserves to be one more than many who are house-hold names.
One thing that makes her a really special musician is that all of the songs on her major CDs are 100% original to her. Many of them she wrote or co-wrote. The others songs were written for her by friends. She never sings “her version” of already-popular songs.
Her songs all tell some kind of story or life lesson; discuss feelings (not looks); have some kind of special, positive message; and/or communicate that any kind of relationship must be about mutual, consensual love. The positive messages in these songs is communicated without being over the top or even that obvious (except for Believe in You). Its regular, adult contemporary music that goes against the usual beat. Many of her songs are autobiographical in full or in part. AND unlike so much music that perpetuates the Culture of Rape, Marshall’s music never does that. Additionally, her music frequently uses gender neutral pronouns.
It was just last night that I went through all of her music song-by-song, line-by-line to look for any potential problems. Now, I like her more than ever before. Music that sounds great, is unique, and is free of racism, sexism, heterosexism, cisgender sexism, classism, imperialism, etc. What more can we ask for!
Below, is a list of her songs with the lyrics linked. A brief excerpt, summary, and/or comments are provided for some of the ones I really, really like. On the right you’ll see the album cover. Clicking on the image will take you to the Amazon page to buy a copy! If you want to start with her music, I would recommend her 1999 album as the prefect starting point. Or pull up YouTube!
Birmingham – about a woman who escapes from her abusive husband – and, in the words of Marshall, about respect at its core
Beautiful Goodbye – the instrumentals are really outstanding on this one
And everybody’s got an opinion ’bout how this should be
Last Exit To Eden – an especially unique sound
I’m here for you baby
There’s nothing I want more
Our day is coming
And we’ll reach that peaceful shore
Believe In You – a unique song of inspiration for anyone
And when it’s all said and done
It’s just the same for everyone
Your busy making your plans
Ride – another inspirational/love song
I’ll be your ride
We’ll get a, running start
and we’ll take to the skies, baby
Keep your hands on the wheel, and your eyes on the prize
Shades Of Grey – linked above – the difficulties of having interracial parents and her grandmother’s negative reaction
You can’t change a stubborn mind
You can’t see the world if your eyes are blind
What does it matter anyway
In our darkest hour we’re all just shades of grey
I’m a tough tough game that no one can master
I’m a tall tall tale no one believes
I’m a long dark night with no morning after
You get the best of me
Everybody’s Got a Story (2001)
Everybody’s Got A Story – a great song about accepting people without any judgment
Everybody’s got a story that would break your heart
The Voice Inside – about not following “rules,” making mistakes, and letting life happen
The Gypsy – about being patient and enjoying life
It is not the destination it’s the journey
Colleen (I Saw Him First) – the struggles between two friends as they figure out life and guys
Double Agent – absolutely love this one about navigating the world as being Black while looking White
I’m a double agent on my momma’s side
The shit I hear you say just blows my mind
Every time, recognize
Though who I am to you is not a lie
I don’t have to volunteer and say
That I was born a particular way
I got not uniform, I’m camouflaged in any light
Obviously you can’t tell
I’m a double agent on my momma’s side
Red Magic Marker – a final declaration of love but with an understanding that it may not be reciprocated
Sunday Morning After – one of my least personal favorites, but explores the questions that follow an unexpected adventurous night
Love Is My Witness – something of an attempt to define and explore the meaning of love
Dizzy – the wild adventures of love
Brand New Beau – discovering that the person loved is gay
Marry Me – an extended marriage proposal and declaration of love without the need for any outside approval
Inside The Tornado – an acapella song about the craziness of life
Until We Fall In – a really interesting song about experience, perspective, and point of view
Every soldier in the war’s got God on his side
Cross My Heart – a really neat song about two people who fall in love really young, get married, and one of them is unhappy being in a small town
But she wants to fly
So he gives her the wings
And tells her goodbye
Please let me know what you think. Have you heard of her before?
It would be great if Amanda Marshall got the attention she deserves. I also hope she has more CDs come out as rumored.
Thank you, dear readers, as always.