We talk a lot about reading diverse women authors, supporting women artists, and shopping women-owned shops. But one thing we don’t discuss nearly enough is women musicians — at least outside of the kids’ music category. Which is why we’re thrilled to discover NPR’s list of the 200 greatest songs by 21st century women and non-binary artists and hope you will be too.
I certainly know that my own music-discovery has faltered since childbirth, and I could use a few new-to-me tracks for my playlists that I didn’t discover from my kids’ Glee Club performances. Well, this is one excellent place to start.
Created by a panel of more than 70 women and non-binary writers, NPR editors describe this post-2000 list of songs as tackling “history in the making, celebrating artists whose work is changing this country’s sense of what popular music can be.”
It’s a fantastically varied list of songs, with compelling descriptions of each artist, the track itself, and the rationale for inclusion.
You’ll find the McCrary Sisters’ Train which blends gospel and R&B to update a spiritual traditional. Dy-Na-Mi-Tee hails from socially conscious British MC and grime music superstar Ms. Dynamite. Pop-influenced chamber rock quintet Victoire’s Cathedral City is here too — and if you know all three of these artist already, then I’m going to start coming to you for recos!
Of course there are also household names like Idina Menzel (yes, Let It Go is included!) Kelis, Adele, Demi Lovato, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood, Amy Winehouse, Avril Lavigne, Norah Jones, and — no surprise — Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. So it’s fun to also take a nostalgia trip back through your own faves of the past 18 years with the more popular hits on the list.
Avril Lavigne’s Complicated comes in at number 47. Takes me right back to 2002 like it was yesterday!
One thing I particularly love about this is that no one artist has more than three songs included, giving more talented women a chance to be heard.
As for the #1 song — well, I’m not going to spoil it for you. Scroll through the entire 200 on NPR, bottom to top, and enjoy the journey.
Then get ready to freshen up your road trip playlists. Maybe by a lot.
Visit NPR’s list of the 200 greatest songs by 21st century women and non-binary artists and get ready to discover some amazing talent.
Top image: Mohammad Metri via Unsplash