Reviews

Girl Talk ****

A Tribute to Female Songwriters Past & Present

By: Paulanne Simmons

October 31, 2023: What do girls think about most? According to Marissa Mulder in her cabaret show, Girl Talk- A Tribute to Female Songwriters Past & Present, they’re mostly thinking about their broken hearts. She claims that songs showing women as beautiful, brave, vulnerable and resilient were not only medicine when she got her heart broken last year but are also her go-to songs for everyday life.

Marissa Mulder

A Tribute to Female Songwriters Past & Present

By: Paulanne Simmons

October 31, 2023: What do girls think about most? According to Marissa Mulder in her cabaret show, Girl Talk- A Tribute to Female Songwriters Past & Present, they’re mostly thinking about their broken hearts. She claims that songs showing women as beautiful, brave, vulnerable and resilient were not only medicine when she got her heart broken last year but are also her go-to songs for everyday life.

Some of the songs Mulder sang were written when the songwriters themselves were going through difficult rejections. Joan Baez wrote “Diamonds and Rust” after her three-year relationship with Bob Dylan fell apart. Stevie Nicks wrote “Silver Springs” after her breakup with Fleetwood Mac’s lead guitarist, Lindsey Buckingham.

But sometimes the angst apparent in those songs is due to more perennial and overwhelming problems. Joni Mitchell, who wrote “Little Green,” gave up her child to adoption because she wasn’t earning enough money as a single parent to support her baby daughter. Amy Winehouse who penned “Love Is a Losing Game,” struggled with addiction for many years before she finally succumbed.

Marissa Mulder

There is at least one break in this litany of ravaged souls. Christin Lavin’s “Good Thing He Can’t Read My Mind” may demonstrate the lengths to which women will go to please a boyfriend, but it also has funny, ironic lines like, “I’m poking with a chopstick/At a living breathing fish stick.”

Mulder explained, “If you came here for a happy time, I’m really sorry. I don’t like happy songs. Happy songs make me sad.”

The truth is Mulder has a sweet, plaintive voice that is perfect for the songs she sings. With the sympathetic backing of Jon Weber on piano and John Miller on bass, her voice and style become even more effective. But after a while of hearing all these songs of misery and inadequacy and the triumph over misery and inadequacy one can’t help but wonder – why don’t men write and sing songs like this?

The answer is  – they don’t have to. 

Girl Talk – A Tribute to Female Songwriters Past & Present at Chelsea Table & Stage, Oct. 28, 152 West 26 Street.