Skip to main content

PLAYLIST: From Joni to Lorde: Magical women in music

Writing by Paige Mathis // Illustration by Will Lytle // A celebration of magical women in music

Writing by Paige Mathis // Illustration by Will Lytle 

Growing up, I immersed myself in the musical work of Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell, and later Laura Marling, Florence Welch, and eventually Aurora. I was intrigued by female songwriters who possessed a sort of otherworldly presence; a magical musicianship, whether that was through their lyrics or image. Poetic writing and writings on mythology, literature, and darkness seemed empowering. I wrote my dissertation on Kate Bush and performativity, and I remember reading a book by Lidia Curti wherein she discussed her realisation of strange imagery entering female narratives. Thereafter, gothic aesthetics and ethereal natures in the music and image of these women were illuminated, and far more intriguing. These singer-songwriters are defiantly themselves: from Kate Bush and Florence Welch’s supernatural imagery to Joni Mitchell and Laura Marling’s literary songwriting. There’s a little bit of magic in all of them, and in all of these songs.

Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights

Aurora – Runaway

Gabrielle Aplin – Start of Time

Laura Marling – The Captain and the Hourglass

Lorde – Writer in the Dark

Joni Mitchell – A Case of You

Florence Welch (Florence and the Machine)– Cosmic Love

Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac) – Rhiannon

Bjork – Isobel

Birdy – Words as Weapons

Paige Mathis

Paige is a writer and soon-to-be Music Journalism graduate, from Oxford, with a passion for literature, folk music and animals. She has an avid interest in fantasy and adventures, and when she’s not writing and doodling in her forest-like room, She loves listening to the rain and watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Leave a Reply