For those of you who don’t know, International Women’s Day falls on Monday 8th March, and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than putting together a powerful playlist of some of the best female artists the music industry has to offer. It’s safe to say women can have it pretty tough (especially looking at you, super mums) and there’s no doubt there should be a dedicated day to appreciate all of those amazing females in your life.
Whether you are celebrating the day yourself or for some special women in your life, here are 10 tracks you should listen to if you feel like a bit of girl power energy on the day – or just any day really.
Billie Eilish – ‘you should see me in a crown’
To start things off we have the incredibly talented Billie Eilish. There are a few songs that come to mind when we think of girl power hits from this artist, but none more fitting than the catchy track ‘you should see me in a crown’. Released in 2018, the song joined her second album ‘WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?’ and has a moody vibe to it that was inspired by the BBC television show ‘Sherlock’ that Eilish and her brother (Finneas O’Connell) watched. Within the show one of the characters says “you should see me in a crown” in reference to the destruction he would cause if he were in a position of authority. Eilish uses this phrase as a reference to how she would portray herself if she were a queen, particularly when she describes in the lyrics making onlookers bow to her. Despite the fictional scenario, there’s no doubt Eilish is a queen in her own right as she makes waves in the music industry with her unconventional yet inspiring music and outlook on life. Make sure to play this track loud for the fellow queens in your life, we’re sure there are a fair few that deserve a crown.
Demi Lovato – ‘Sorry Not Sorry’
There’s no doubt Demi Lovato has had to overcome a lot more than the average person. From difficulties with substance addiction and battling the stresses of a life growing up in the spotlight, Lovato has come out the other side with the confidence and energy that many of her fans look up to. ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ is a catchy track dedicated to her haters as she finally reaches a point in her life where she is happy and confident. Within the lyrics, Lovato describes her glow up and how she is not going to let her haters drag her back down – we stan a confident queen. Play this track (or any of Lovato’s tracks) when you feel like some extra confidence in your life, she sure has plenty to share with fans.
Lana Del Rey – ‘This Is What Makes Us Girls’
‘This Is What Makes Us Girls’ is a seriously catchy track that makes you nostalgic for the younger days. Lana Del Ray successfully paints a picture of what it’s like to be a young girl in love for the first time and the many tears that flow from the first heartbreak – we’ve all been there. Although the track isn’t as direct in its feminism, the song provides a more deeper meaning as it reflects on what it is like to be a young female growing up and the influences you face such as relationships and peer pressure. The song also highlights the common theme in many rom-com movies and wider society that a female must put relationships before herself and goals. Lana Del Ray touches on this when she mentions in the lyrics “we don’t stick together cause we put love first” and goes on to describe it as a “curse”. In addition to the hidden meanings, the popular track has an undeniable catchy tune to it that will have you reminiscing about the days of being young and reckless.
Sabrina Carpenter – ‘Skin’
Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few months, I’m sure you are all aware of the Olivia Rodrigo/Joshua Bassett/Sabrina Carpenter love triangle drama that has been making the rounds on Tik Tok and countless news outlets. While many fans believe the track is a response to Olivia Rodrigo’s very popular hit ‘Drivers License’, Sabrina herself went on to say that while there are some references that could address a specific situation, the song itself was more of a reference to multiple events in her life that she let get under her skin. Following that statement some of her fans derived the meaning of the track to be about Sabrina not letting her haters get under her skin and creating scenarios that aren’t entirely accurate. Despite the love triangle drama, Carpenter is a true force of inspiration as she lets her music do the talking and doesn’t let the criticism affect her. The track is one to listen to when you are needing some of that girl power energy to get you through a difficult situation.
Selena Gomez – ‘Look At Her Now’
A year ago we were pleasantly surprised with a notable comeback from the incredibly talented Selena Gomez. Gomez released two songs back-to-back, ‘Lose You To Love Me’ and ‘Look At Her Now’ with the latter being described by Gomez as a “reminder that you can rise no matter what challenges life brings.” Gomez is no stranger to the lows of a life in the spotlight, and as a result took a hiatus to focus on her mental wellbeing. After her hiatus, Gomez came back with a bang by releasing her album ‘Rare’ in 2020. From the album, ‘Look At Her Now’ focuses on the recovery that Gomez had post a difficult stage in life. Many fans believe the song references her relationship with Justin Bieber and how she’s doing a lot better than she was when with him. Whether it’s about a past relationship or not, the catchy hit is definitely one to listen to when you’re feeling like a Gomez inspired glow up to get you through the day.
Nicki Minaj – ‘I’m Legit’
OG rap queen Nicki Minaj and Atlanta-based singer Ciara collaborated on this female-empowerment anthem and we were not disappointed one bit. Minaj’s hit track is the perfect example of how to be your own number one fan. It is often presumed amongst society that females have low self-confidence, however this upbeat track will remind you that it’s important to hype yourself up when you need it. The lyrics are evident of this in the chorus when Ciara emphasises that you don’t need to do your makeup and hair to be “the sh*t” – yas queen! So whenever you’re feeling like you could use a little Nicki Minaj/Ciara confidence, play this one loud for a bit of that boss energy.
Lady Gaga – ‘Free Woman’
Lady Gaga is a true force to be reckoned with and nothing shows that more than with her album ‘Chromitica’. Gaga described the album as being about healing from the pain she has experienced from depression and sexual assault. ‘Free Woman’ describes the place Gaga reached after her traumatic experience and how she no longer defines herself as a victim, she is instead a free woman who has “just been through some sh*t.” Gaga uses the upbeat tracks within the album to cope with the pain she went through and hopes it helps others as well. She mentions in an interview “if you’re in pain and listening to this music, just know that I know what it’s like to be in pain. And I know what it’s like to also not let it ruin your life.” There’s no doubt this strong queen is one that many fans look up to, and most definitely a worthy addition to this long list of powerful female artists.
Rihanna – ‘Needed Me’
When you think of a strong independent female artist the likes of Rihanna is unquestionably someone that springs to mind. With an outstanding record of smash hits and a successful venture into the fashion and beauty world, Rihanna is an absolute boss when it comes to her work. While there are a variety of hits that we could’ve added to this playlist, we thought ‘Needed Me’ from her 2016 album ‘ANTI’ was a fitting contribution. On the surface level, the catchy hit talks of a guy that Rihanna had a casual affair with, however when you dig a little deeper the lyrics depict Rihanna in a position that usually the man is in. She sings about herself being the player in the situation and that it was her male partner that needed her, not the other way around. The hit brings a fresh perspective to a narrative that is usually spun the other way, where the male is in the position of power. The song’s story is certainly fitting for a strong female such as Rihanna as she has proved throughout her career that she does not need a man to be successful, period.
Ariana Grande – ‘God is a Woman’
Ariana Grande is no stranger to the feminism train and her hit song ‘God is a Woman’ is a true testament to that. Despite the controversial title, Grande provides a strong statement in her track that God’s gender is in fact female and that females are the be all and end all of the universe – that’s some mighty feminism right there. The song’s lyrics cover off some inspiring themes of female sexual empowerment and places women in the position of power throughout the track. Although fans wondered if there would be some criticism of the track, Grande was not concerned as she went on to say she would rather be herself and express her art than try and “play it safe”. There’s no denying that Grande is another prime example of a successful female artist that made it on their own, with no signs of slowing down as she paves the way for many other female artists to come.
Taylor Swift – ‘The Man’
You know we couldn’t leave off the leader of girl power. From calling out the trolls online, or even more recently sexist jokes on a new streaming series (IYKYK), Swift knows how to call it how it is and fans adore her for it. She is no newbie to standing up for herself, just look at the battle with her old record label as a true example of a fierce T-Swift in action. There are too many hit tracks from the artist that embody her true female energy but the track we could simply not forget comes from her album ‘Lover’ and is fittingly titled ‘The Man’. Within the lyrics Swift calls out the disparities between men and women as she describes what her life might be like and how easier it may be if she were a man. Swift also references a few key moments in her life where many critics believed her to be lying, particularly for a sexual assault case she took to court, and won. The majority of the track focuses on the double standards she faces in the music industry and sheds some light on how these also replicate into wider society. Whether you are a fan of her music or not, there’s no doubt Swift knows how to stand up for the women of the world, and we couldn’t think of a better artist to listen to on such an important and powerful day.
Listen to the full playlist here!