Not every group’s female members were accorded a central creative role. Even the booklet essay (by the Flying Lizards’ Vivien Goldman) admits that Bow Wow Wow’s Anglo-Burmese frontwoman, Annabelle Lwin, was largely Malcolm McLaren’s “nymphet beat merchant.” Still, even the least of these tracks is vivid with musical and political possibility, and a healthy disregard for rock — not to mention punk — convention. Whether you call them “post-punk” or not, these are the artists forgotten — though not by Reynolds — in the rush to wrap one generation of boys-with-guitars in the laurels of another. They’re also the foremothers of some of today’s most vibrant pop, from Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” to M.I.A.’s “Galang.” Grlz may be subtitled “Women Ahead of Their Time,” but they’re right in step with ours.
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