Masculinity is a weird concept to me. I grew up in a household full of women, so the men that appeared and, ultimately, disappeared, became fodder for study. Maybe that’s why the whole “alpha male” thing is so gross in my mind. It’s a shame that men aren’t supposed to emote or bring their feelings to the table. I can’t relate to a man that can’t connect with who he is inside. Society tells us a lot of shit and sells us on lots of bullshit. Gender norms is a big one. Here I present my playlist for masculine. Men who sing about love, boredom, longing, loss, triumph, tragedy, rage, depression, surrender. How could Jeff Buckley’s voice not pierce your soul? Those anguished wails of lost love take me to church! John Frusciante shines as a solo artist, taking the soul he gave to Red Hot Chili Peppers and channeling it into telling tales of his own personal demons. Johnny Cash takes Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt and gives it a new layer of pain and regret. I love Coconut Skins by Damien Rice because it’s a rare upbeat moment in his catalog, a song he claims is about wanting a better life but letting opportunities pass you by but also has a bit of a dirty edge to it. Nothing is more masculine to me than Johnny Flynn, a folk singer who also happens to be a Shakespearean actor, continuing the tradition of men playing women’s roles. The more genderfuck in my Shakespeare, the better. Iron and Wine does flamenco in a whisper. The Avett Brothers and Patrick Wolf pay homage to my two favorite places in the world, Brooklyn and London, respectively. Elliott Smith, the king of lo-fi, evokes so many emotions with quiet grace, while Devendra Banhart lulls me to a dreamlike state. Mumford and Sons get angry, and Beck sings the slow, devastating aftermath. Nirvana brings it home with the perfect mix of sadness, anger and surrender.