I have a self-confessed predilection for vocalists of the feminine persuasion - the quirkier and more distinctive her voice, the better - which means that my music collection has always been dominated by women in the past. I love a bluesy, ballsy soul-sister, an alt-country belter, a heart-breaking waif, a gentle folksy gal, a 90's alterna-goddess and a defiantly unclassifiable kook.
Oh, and also the occassional sassy R&B diva to mix things up a bit.
The lyricism of the words is important to me (despite Beyoncé's best efforts), and I'm a sucker for a wrist-slitter no matter the gender of origin; but if these qualities combine with an outstanding female vocalist - ka-ching! - I've hit auditory paydirt.
However, I have been trying to rectify this inherent gender bias* by gradually adding more male artists to my nano by stealth, one album at a time. Last night while walking home in the sweet-smelling wake of a Summer rainshower, Mr. Shuffle selected a gorgeous all-male lineup (albeit including one in particular who is very much in touch with his feminine side), and I loved the unexpected change of tone.
Rain on the Pretty Ones - Ed Harcourt
Your heart is an empty room - Death Cab For Cutie (I have been listening to this a lot recently)
Heretics - Andrew Bird
Nylon instrumental - Scott Matthews
Crown of Love - Arcade Fire
Tiergarten - Rufus Wainwright
Up With People - Lambchop
Two Silver Trees - Calexico (featuring what is surely the prettiest song intro ever)
Theme to Pinata - Bright Eyes
Heartbeat - José González
I think my next musical resolution should probably be: 'listen to less depressing music and see if it a) turns me into the kind of girl who has an "I believe in magic!" sticker on her back window; b) makes me want to smash things; or c) has no discernable impact on my emotional landscape'.
I'll let you know how that goes.
* Actually, I just realised that the last playlist I mentioned was all-male as well - and I didn't even notice it at the time! Perhaps I am more aurally gender-balanced than I thought..?