Annie Lennox is the voice behind one of the most played songs of not only of the 1980s, but perhaps of all time. Eurythmics’ 1983 hit “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” may be over 30 years old now, but Annie is still going strong — with a new album coming out that features her covering songs made popular in the jazz era, often powerful female icons like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holiday, Lennox told NPR.
“When I think about this incredible lineage of women who have been singing and writing and performing and living their lives, they’ve left this heritage of wonderful, hauntingly beautiful music — a legacy. And, as a woman myself and as a musician and a performer, I feel that connection with these women that I have never met.”
Feminism and gender politics have been at the center of Annie’s career since she very first came on the scene with Eurythmics. Her short hair and androgynous appearance was shocking for audiences at the time, and it has caused interviews with Lennox to veer into the controversial territory of the women’s rights movement.
“The reason why I’ve made comments is because I think this overt sexuality thrust — literally — at particular audiences often when performers have a very, very young audience like 7 years old… I find it disturbing and exploitive.”
Last month in an interview with Pride Source, Annie also made some controversial statements about feminism, or rather what she thinks of Beyoncé’s recent appropriation of the word. Lennox said that Beyoncé version of feminism is, at best, “feminism L-I-T-E.” Annie clarified these comment when speaking with NPR about her new album.
“I didn’t specifically criticize Beyoncé. I was being asked about Beyoncé in the context of feminism. I was thinking at the time of very impactful feminists who have dedicated their lives to the movement of liberating women and supporting women at the grass roots… Listen — twerking is not feminism. That’s what I’m referring to. It’s not liberating, it’s not empowering. It’s a sexual thing that you’re doing on a stage. It doesn’t empower you. That’s my feeling about it. But maybe this is a good thing because it creates debate.”
Annie Lennox’s word on such topics may hold a shade more weight than Beyoncé’s do. Annie’s career, and life, has undoubtedly taught her valuable lessons about women in music.
“I was born in 1954. I’ve lived through all these decades and seen all the changes, been witness to the collective thing that’s gone on on the planet… And there’s a part of me — kind of, sometimes — wants to slow it down and go back. And the one thing you cannot do — and this is inherent, the sort of irony of the title — you cannot go back. There’s no turning back of the clock. You’ll never do that. So nostalgia is a dip into an imaginary space, really.”
[Image via Eurythmics Online]