Bitch

Asya Draganova

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    Abstract

    One-hit wonders are a bit like the teenage years we tend to romanticise: they seem to exist outside of a ‘predictable’ continuum, they surprise with their boldness, they never repeat, but leave a lasting memory… and maybe even challenge the conception that things need to make sense. So, I suggest that we should probably think of one-hit-wonders not as an artist under-accomplishment (Cooper 2019) but as extra-ordinary moments in music and memory, the result of the special alignment of a range of cultural and social circumstances. Sometimes a single song leaves a more lasting, bright personal memory than many, many others and that isn’t even determined by the longevity of the career or the prominence of a music artist but seems to be situationally determined by a range of personal and collective factors. For me, such is the song “Bitch” (1997) by Meredith Brooks: a feast of glaring contradictions that invite us to ravel in the freedom to lose coherence for at least 3 minutes and 58 seconds. The song earned significant chart success in key markets such as US, UK, and Australia, maintaining a high position for many weeks (Official Charts 2021) and was nominated for a Grammy Award in two categories - Best Female Rock Vocal Performance and Best Rock Song (Grammy.com).
    Drawing upon a range of relevant sources, biographical reflections, auto/ethnographic elements, and textual analysis, this chapter focuses on the formulation of femininity as extreme fluidity in “Bitch”. It seeks to contextualise and evaluate the contemporary significance of this one-hit wonder, seeking to identify how (and if) the song has "aged". The chapter tells some stories about me and a close friend of mine – Nadia – who grew up with “Bitch” as part of our teenage soundtrack. This chapter will try to locate “Bitch” in the time of its release but also to juxtapose it in relation to wider musical output of similar thematic content and/or commercial appeal… and at the centre of that, it will tell some personal tales.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationOne-Hit Wonders: An Oblique History of Popular Music
    PublisherBloomsbury
    ISBN (Print)9781501368417
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 24 Feb 2022

    Keywords

    • Popular Music
    • Women in music
    • One-hit wonders
    • Biographical reflections
    • Reflexivity

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