You is kind. You is smart. You is important. We all need a little reminder sometimes. Many of us women find ourselves facing microaggressions and objectification both in our daily lives, and in the music we listen to. Luckily, there are lots of empowering messages for women in music as well! Here are 10 of my favorites – some current, and some throwbacks – to get you ready to conquer life like a BO$$.
1. Keri Hilson, “Pretty Girl Rock”
Best lyrics: “Get yourself together don’t hate (never do it) / Jealousy’s the ugliest trait (don’t ever do it)”
It’s easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others–that girl your crush is always talking to, that girl who manages to look perfect AND be on time for your 9 a.m., etc., etc. But as a wise friend once told me, confidence is the most attractive trait. Listen to this Keri Hilson song whether you’re getting ready for class or going to a party, and you’ll be sure to leave your room with a smile on your face and a spring in your step!
2. Hannah Montana, “Rockstar”
Best lyrics: “I’m unusual / Not so typical / Way too smart to be waiting around”
Ten years later, Hannah Montana’s wisdom still holds. Of course it would be nice if the guy you liked could see the amazing person you truly are. But if he doesn’t, it’s his loss. You have a long list of things to do that are more important than waiting around for him. Disclaimer: that’s not to say a boy who doesn’t appreciate you now is worthless–you might just have a When Harry Met Sally trajectory and fall madly in love when the timing is right.
3. Daya, “Sit Still, Look Pretty”
Best lyrics: “This queen don’t need a king” and “This gal right here’s gonna rule the world”
Sometimes you can feel down when your efforts to impress go unnoticed, or when you feel like everyone around you either has a long line of suitors or is in a loving relationship. “Sit Still, Look Pretty” reminds you that, hey, even if your life isn’t picture-perfect, you’re living and learning, and moving closer to achieving your big dreams every day. You don’t need anyone else’s validation to know you’re killin’ it!
4. Katy Perry, “Firework”
Best lyrics: “Maybe the reason why / All the doors are closed / Is so you can open one that leads you to the perfect road”
This is a classic feel-good song. A few years back, I only liked this song because it was fun to sing along to [read: scream the lyrics at the top of my 8th grade lungs]. At the risk of sounding corny, I’ll share with you that I now realize the song speaks to me on a deeper level. As evidenced by my choice of “best lyrics” for this song, I strongly subscribe to the “everything happens for a reason” and “good things will (eventually) happen to good people” worldviews which are expressed here. “Firework” provides listeners with a great opportunity to sing their heart out, and reassurance that things will get better if they’re not great now.
5. Demi Lovato, “La La Land”
Best Lyrics: “And who said I can’t be single / I have to go out and mingle / Baby, that’s not me”
Remember what it was like to be six years old? Remember what it was like to wear a hot pink shirt with a neon green skort and purple sneakers and feel great because those were your favorites, and you had picked out your outfit all by yourself? The simple joy of making your own choices is marred by society’s expectations as you get older and start doing things you should instead of things you want. Demi Lovato’s “La La Land” can help you find that simple joy again, and get you right back on the true-to-yourself, independent track.
6. David Guetta and Sia, “Titanium”
Best Lyrics: “I’m bulletproof / Nothing to lose / Fire away, fire away”
In college we’re getting hit by things all the time. Sometimes it’s getting called in to work unexpectedly, or having an extra meeting about your group project, or coming to terms with the reality of the week ahead on a Sunday night. Sometimes, it’s all of the above. Take a cue from Sia–stand strong against it all, and let the bullets ricochet off of you with a little moral support from “Titanium.”
7. Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
Best Lyrics: “Stand a little taller / Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone”
Kelly Clarkson’s message in “Stronger” is easily applicable to any struggle you might be facing. Here’s my favorite interpretation of the song: It can be hard to be happy when someone who was important to you is no longer a part of your life. But their exit could have a silver lining:more time for you to focus on yourself, and keep living your life unencumbered by anyone else.
8. Demi Lovato, “Confident”
Best Lyrics: “What’s wrong with being confident?”
The “Best Lyrics” of this song say it all! Listening to this song’s catchy refrain, its powerful drumbeat, and its regal trumpet accents will have you feeling like no goal is out of reach. 10/10 would recommend playing this when you’re sitting down at 9 p.m. to start the paper that’s due at midnight.
9. Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
Best Lyrics: “Just think while you’ve been getting down and out about the liars / And the dirty, dirty cheats of the world you could’ve been getting down to this sick beat”
Your time and energy is valuable! As Taylor Swift says in “Shake It Off,” you can’t spend it worrying about the haters, the fakers, and the heartbreakers. Next time you find yourself thinking about somebody who has done you wrong, turn on this Tswizzle tune and turn your frown upside down.
10. Fifth Harmony, “BO$$”
Best Lyrics: “C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-T / That’s me, I’m confident” and “Workin’ for the money ‘cause that’s what my momma taught me / So your ass better show me some respect”
Fifth Harmony sums it up–confidence comes from working hard and appreciating yourself. As Georgetown students, working hard might come naturally for some of us. Appreciating ourselves is less instinctive and something we need to put effort into. So excuse me now as I jam out to this weekly list, and try to take my own advice!