So I spent my last Saturday night staying in and watching Beyoncé’s HBO movie special – I’m a very popular, pretty girl, you should know that—and she made this awesome point saying she thought about women all the time. No, perv, not in a sexual way, but in a sense of “What do women need to hear right now? What do they need to be seeing?” Anyway, it made me think about all the rad female artists that we are graced with in the music world, so here is a brief collection of songs by some super talented lady artists.
1. “The Mother We Share” – CHVRCHES
Granted, this Scottish group is not exclusively female, but the lead singer, Lauren Mayberry, has this magnificent voice that is innocent and electric. On an electro-pop track like this I think it’s easy for the vocals to get lost or come second, but Mayberry’s vocals are imperative to this song – they make it, really.
2. “Fiya” – tUnE-yArDs
Keeping the energy up, let’s talk about Tune-yards, the brainchild of Merrill Garbus. This song off of her debut album is probably my all-time favorite of her’s, but I have to give a shout out to her second album if we’re talking about female empowerment. The album title, w h o k i l l, is actually a derivative of a longer working title, Women Who Kill, so naturally, Merrill kicks ass.
3. “Hot Knife” – Fiona Apple
I mean, it’s Fiona Apple. Lyrical sorceress. Musical mastery. This song embodies so many of her talents; it’s nuts. She is a beautiful example of a female musician who is truly valued for her body… of work!
4. “Cheerleader” – St. Vincent
St. Vincent a.k.a. Annie Clark is one of those perfect humans. She looks more elven than human, but nonetheless, her music stands alone as something quite amazing. She is not only whimsical, but extremely interesting and smart. Aside from listening to “Cheerleader” I encourage you to check out the music video—it’s gotten a lot of comments and attention for being a somewhat feminist statement.
5. “Atlantis” – Ellie Goulding
Almost every track off of Goulding’s album Halcyon is prone to trigger some sort of dance outbreak, but there is something real to be said about the way she makes music. She projects a lot of qualities I think women relate with and sometimes don’t always know how to express at once, e.g. strong/soft, feminine/angry, energetic/tender, and that’s not something many artists can do.
6. “Moon” – Bjork
Bjork is a weirdo. I say that in the utmost reverence; she is simply one of the most eccentric artists making music, and we need some crazy ladies out there. I chose this song mostly to demonstrate her strangeness (a la the music video), but also because it also functions as a great example of how Bjork’s chaos always has some sort of guiding vision behind it, delivering stimulating, and in my opinion, beautiful music.
7. “Boom” – Wild Flag
You probably know guitarist Carrie Brownstein from TV show Portlandia, but she is joined by three other seasoned female musicians (Brownstein herself is formerly of Sleater-Kinney) in Wild Flag. The four of these women together create not only an awesome indie girl-band image, but also really fantastic music. “Boom” shows listeners that women can do rock’n’roll, while being off beat and sexy to boot.
8. “Kill Bill” – Sasha Go Hard ft. Kreayshawn
Sasha Go Hard is a rapper coming out of Chicago’s drill scene. I still don’t know if I listen to this ironically or not, but either way, I think it’s catchy as hell. This track is off of Sasha’s recently released mixtape, Round 3: The Knockout, which features some other big names, like Diplo, for instance. It’s cool that female artists like Sasha can hold their own in this music scene.
9. “Now I’m All Messed Up” – Tegan & Sara
They’re awesome and women and musicians and twins and they’re in a band! This is a girl power explosion! But for real. Tegan & Sara may have taken a different direction with their latest album, Heartthrob, but you can’t deny that all the hooks and pop-y songs are joy-inducing. They’re dance-y, yet sensitive, and that is a great display of female artists’ abilities.
10. “End of Time” – Beyoncé
No shame. I have to close this out with one of my favorites from Queen Bey. This is a love song, but a powerful one. Not powerful in that it is overwhelmingly romantic, but in that Beyoncé sings with power and confidence about a love. She’s telling this person to come to her, but not in an at all desperate or submissive way, and that’s really cool.