Feminist Anthems, we hear you ask? Well, look no further than this comprehensive list of songs to enjoy this International Women’s Day or any day you may need them.
Whatever your style of music there is a song for everyone be it an outspoken Riott Girl, Cottage Core lover, Badass Boss or just a Queen. Here is my list of songs that make me feel powerful and confident. These are the songs that got me through two lockdowns and now a third;
1. Take Back The Power – The Interrupters
I personally have been a huge fan of the feminist female-fronted punk band The Interrupters since 2013. Take Back The Power was released in 2014 as a single, appearing on the 2014 self-titled album The Interrupters.
“What’s your plan for tomorrow
Are you a leader or will you follow
Are you a fighter or will you cower
It’s our time to take back the power”
This song has always resonated with me but it felt so much more powerful and inspirational for me in the last year after I watched the 2020 Hulu Documentary, which aired on Sky Documentaries here in the UK, Hillary, a comprehensive mini-series exploring the woman behind the democratic nominated presidential candidate for 2016, Hilary Clinton. The mini-series was directed by Nanette Burstein.
Their cover of the Billie Eilish hit Bad Guy was used in Episode 5 Season 2 of the Netflix show “The Umbrella Academy” – Valhalla.
2. Truth Hurts – Lizzo
I have had to deal with a lot in the past year, Bereavement, Job Loss, Manipulative Gas-Lighting Bosses, Lockdowns and people that have been a detriment to my overall Happiness, those people know who they are.
But whenever I have felt down or as if the whole world is against me, I turn on this Lizzo Song, well really anything from her 2019 smash hit album ‘Cuz I Love You’ and remind myself of who I am.
“I just took a DNA test; turns out I’m 100% that bitch”
‘Truth Hurts’ was released in September of 2017 but didn’t hit the mainstream until two years later after a re-release and a huge amount of airplay on the radio, the song would be included as a bonus track on her 2019 album ’Cuz I Love You’.
3. Watch Me While I Bloom – Hayley Williams
‘Watch Me While I Bloom’ is a beautiful song brought to you by the frontwoman of Paramore, Hayley Williams. The song explores the concepts of femininity, exploration of one’s own body and reconnecting with yourself; Mind, Body and Soul. A beautiful song about reconnecting with yourself inside and out.
“How lucky I feel
To be in my body again
How lovely I feel
Not to have to pretend”
In the past year, Hayley Williams has released two solo albums and an EP, all exploring what it means to be a woman on the inside and out, while also facing many of her own demons, mental health and relationships along the way.
These are deeply personal albums from the feminist art-rock sounds of the 2020 ‘Petals for Armor’, which she has stated came from the idea that “the best way for me to protect myself is to be vulnerable”, to the acoustic sounds of her EP ‘Petals for Armor: Self-Serenades’. This EP includes one of her favourite songs she wrote in the Lockdown year of 2020, ‘Find Me Here’.
She has gone even deeper into her psyche with her second solo outing in ‘FLOWERS for VASES/descansos’, an album that is more melancholy than the last with a real folk feel to it, as if inspired by the sad girl alternative feminist folk music of the Lockdown era and Cottage Core ideals like contemporaries Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers.
4. Woman Up – Charlene Kaye
“Woman Up” is a resounding calling cry for every woman around the world. There is no manning up here, it’s all about betting on yourself and loving who you are and has been on every feminist girl power playlist I have ever put together since its release in 2013.
‘Girl you’ve got to woman up
Bite the bullet, not the dust
Cuz the road to better love
Is losing you’
If you don’t know Charlene Kaye, now known as simply KAYE, it’s about time you did. A graduate of the University of Michigan she has made music with the likes of Darren Criss, been a touring member of the Starkid house band, who you may know from there highly successful Harry Potter Musical trilogy and even fronted the atmospheric band, San Fermin. I’ve seen them live and it was one of the best shows I have ever been to.
With the release of Animal Love (2012) which ‘Woman Up’ is on, her HONEY EP (2016), two full albums and a concert album with San Fermin, Jackrabbit (2015), Belong (2017) and Live At The Fillmore (2019) along with her newest release Conscious Control (2020), there is a lot of KAYE to delve into.
5. Barracuda – Heart
I could have picked anything from Heart, they are one of the first female-fronted bands in rock and hold a special place in my heart, see what I did there?. I went with Barracuda and once you know the backstory it will make you love it even more.
‘You lying so low in the weeds
I bet you gonna ambush me
You’d have me down, down, down, down on my knees
Now wouldn’t you, barracuda? Oh’
‘Barracuda’ is taken from Heart’s third studio album, Little Queen (1977) and was the lead single with a feminist backstory that really sticks it to the men and rubbish women have to deal with in the music industry.
Ann Wilson has gone on record that the song is a direct response towards Mushroom Records, who started releasing fake stories about the two sisters in the band, telling promoters, radio presenters and other industry bigwigs that the two were having an incestuous affair. This couldn’t have been further from the truth, Ann was dating band manager Michael Fisher at the time and was so angered by finding this all out penned the song in her hotel room that same night. Producer Mike Flicker has said “’Barracuda‘ was created conceptually out of a lot of this record business bullshit. Barracuda could be anyone from the local promotion man to the president of a record company. That is the barracuda. It was born out of that whole experience.”