There are many different genres of music. There’s pop, country, hip-hop, R&B, classical, folk, sad boy, sad girl, sad person of any gender. There’s long songs and short songs, fast tunes and slow tunes, Billboard chart-toppers and indie flops. How can a world of music that is so vast, so complicated, have any universal truths? The answer, my friend, is simple: women.
Women are so insanely talented, so incredibly powerful, that their impact across all genres of music cannot be denied and honestly buoys me through the trials and tribulations of this mortal life. For this Weekly List, I decided to combine five badass women who truly embody the spirit of not giving two fucks: country legend Dolly Parton; flute-playing, ass-throwing queen Lizzo; pop princess and savior of a generation Carly Rae Jepsen; marijuana and gay rights advocate Kacey Musgraves; and angel-throated British crooner Jess Glynne. Regardless of your gender identity, I hope that their combined feminine power washes over you this week, and covers you in the sweet embrace of womanhood.
1. “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton
This classic banger epitomizes the struggle of the modern working woman, and has also become the theme song of Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign. When Dolly says “They just use your mind/and never give you credit” and “they let you dream just to watch ‘em shatter/you’re just a step on the boss-man’s ladder,” she’s actually subtly advocating for the unionization and eventual uprise of the working class. Anti-capitalist queen!
2. “Girl in the Movies” by Dolly Parton
A beautiful ballad from Netflix’s 2018 film “Dumplin’,” “Girl in the Movies” is a classic yearning song, which we all need to do sometimes. Legally, the term “to yearn” is actually copyrighted by Dolly herself, because she invented the concept of longing for something one cannot have on January 19, 1946, the day she was born.
3. “Water Me” by Lizzo
Lizzo’s rise has been a long time coming, and she’s ushered in a shameless era of self-adoration (if you want to cry and change your outlook on yourself, read her April 2019 op-ed on the topic). In “Water Me,” she acknowledges that self-love is hard work, and sometimes means turning away from romantic partners who can’t give us what we deserve. Snap and pivot, friends!
4. “Like a Girl” by Lizzo
The first time I heard Lizzo kick off this song with “Woke up feeling like I just might run for president/even if there ain’t no precedent,” I suddenly found the 2020 candidate I’d been searching for. Thank you for the bop, Madame President.
5. “Cut to the Feeling” by Carly Rae Jepsen
It’s actually stunning how close this song comes to musical perfection. There is nowhere that I wouldn’t follow Carly Rae Jepsen, and “Cut to the Feeling” makes me want to let my hair down and ride down an oceanside highway in a convertible wearing one of those filmy scarves, even though my mom always tells me that those will get caught in the car and kill me. Decapitation is a risk I am willing to take for beloved voice of the century Carly Rae Jepsen.
6. “I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance” by Carly Rae Jepsen
Yes, Carly! Get spicy with it! An underrated gem from the best album ever written (2015’s Emotion, which features zero bad tracks), “I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance” finds Carly getting in touch with her saucy side in a club, which is an energy you can carry with you off the dance floor and through the everyday tragedies we all face in this human existence.
7. “Dime Store Cowgirl” by Kacey Musgraves
The spiritual connection that I, a woman from the yeehaw side of Texas, feel to this song is hard to explain. I might travel to exotic locations like Rosslyn, VA and Ocean City, MD, but don’t worry, Texas: I’m still a dime store cowgirl, even if I have no concrete plans to return to the rural South.
8. “Velvet Elvis” by Kacey Musgraves
This song alone warranted Golden Hour’s 2019 Grammy for Album of the Year. When Kacey says she needs “a Graceland kind of man who’s always on my mind,” I realized that maybe the real Velvet Elvis was inside me all along, and by “inside me,” I mean “inside Kacey Musgraves’s seminal 2019 album Golden Hour.”
9. “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself” by Jess Glynne
Jess Glynne truly has one of the best voices in pop, and no one in the United States is talking about it, which is why I take it upon myself to be a kind of Jess Glynne disciple, preaching her gospel of self-forgiveness and fulfillment wherever I go. “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself” is the perfect anthem for when you fall short of your own expectations, whether it be a bad grade on a quiz or eating Lucky Charms in frozen yogurt in downstairs Leo’s.
10. “Rollin’” by Jess Glynne
Jess Glynne doesn’t give a shit here, and incidentally, neither do I. A nice, upbeat tune that simultaneously tells your haters to get fucked? We need to see more of it, folks.