Volume 93, Issue 47

Tuesday, November 23, 1999


The World more than enough

To be or not to be John Malkovich

Melanie Doane gets on with it

Moshpit just falls all over itself

Melanie Doane gets on with it

Gazette file photo

By Sara Martel
Gazette Staff

Some would argue the attention garnered for Melanie Doane's second major label release, Adam's Rib, was the result of a growing acceptance of female musicians who veer from the Lilith Fair archetype. Others may blindly label her as a feminist crusader who uses the recording studio as a pulpit.

Plenty of assumptions can be made about Doane, but in order to reveal her true message and talent, these assumptions need to be diffused.

Between her East Coast origin, her fiddle playing and her gender, people have more than enough material with which to pigeonhole this singer/songwriter. People may want to label her as Celtic, or think of her as a "chick artist," but in essence, Doane is neither of these things. Rather, she is a talented pop musician with plenty of relevant things to say.

This is not to suggest the 31 year-old is oblivious to the significance of her gender. "I have a woman's point of view because I am a woman, that's definitely true," she admits. "I think something I often specify is that there is a difference between writing songs for women, or being a woman and writing songs for everyone and that's really what I do. I cannot and do not deny that is my point of view. I think it makes me interesting. I think women's ideas and the things we see through these eyes are not always the point of view we get to see in this world, especially in pop music."

If anything, Doane's profession merely assures her perspective is seen and heard. Whether listening to Doane speak her mind or sing her personal lyrics, you will be treated to a very candid and confident take on anything from the story of Adam and Eve to the merits of being "barefoot and pregnant," which surface in her latest single, "Happy Homemaker."

While there is little this artist won't explore within her lyrics, this was not always the case. Doane explains it took her some time to find her niche as a writer.

"I'm not a person who grew up just blurting things out," she states. "I was told to be very polite and kind to people, which is good, but means sometimes you're cautious and don't just say things. For me, the songs are a place to say these things and I don't have to hold back, I don't have to soften things. So it's crazy, but it's the need to say it. It's like 'Okay, I'm boiling over here and if I don't say it, I'm going to explode.'"

Because Doane is a woman who sometimes sings about being a woman, her message may be misconstrued as saturated feminist martyrdom. But in fact, Doane is often accused of anti-feminism because of her eyes-wide-open approach. Doane sings the praises of Lilith Fair under this same tune.

"I think [Lilith Fair] was a really wonderful way to deal with the thinking that women can't tour together because they won't sell tickets. Instead of bitching and moaning, saying men run the business, they're trying to keep us down and all those kinds of things we have heard in the past from women's groups, it was like 'Okay, let's do something about it then.'

"I really admire Sarah [McLachlan] for coming up with the idea and really sticking it to everybody and saying, 'Fuck you all, this is going to be great,'" she enthuses. "You either bitch about the problem or you get on with it and I like the get on with it attitude."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999