Grrrl Power Playlist
November 17, 2014 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Help me create a mix CD for my wife that celebrates womanhood.

I'm looking for songs with female lead vocals and that draw from the indie rock, punk, or dance music spectrum (but not mainstream pop). Songs would be ideally fun and upbeat.

Here are some tracks I’m already including

New Grrrlrs – Peaking Lights
Rebel Girl – Bikini Kill
Meet Jacqueline – Thee Headcoatees
Dance Apocalyptic - Janelle Monáe

When I say songs should "celebrate womanhood," that could mean a song's lyrics have a feminist bent to it or just that the female vocals exhibit a strong personality. At the very least, the song would simply slot well into a mix with the songs above. I'll probably throw on a Kim Gordon-sung Sonic Youth song, a Bjork song, an M.I.A. song and something by Patti Smith.

What else do you all got for me?
posted by Leontine to Media & Arts (38 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
Anything by Sleater-Kinney, although being me, I would probably choose I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
posted by janey47 at 10:49 AM on November 17, 2014 [4 favorites]

#1 Must Have by Sleater-Kinney
Suggestion by Fugazi (not female vocals)
Feels Blind by Bikini Kill
Girls Like Us by The Julie Ruin (Kathleen Hanna's new band)
Are You a Lady by Bratmobile
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper (yes, this is a feminist song)
posted by melissasaurus at 10:55 AM on November 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

For some stomping...

Joan Jett - Bad Reputation
Suzi Quatro - Devil Gate Drive
posted by merocet at 10:56 AM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Seneca Falls" by the Distillers!
posted by barnoley at 10:57 AM on November 17, 2014

Superchick's One Girl Revolution (Battle Mix)
Poe, Control
posted by PussKillian at 10:59 AM on November 17, 2014

I Love Myself Today by Bif Naked
You Can't Stop Me Now by Lena (very upbeat and fun)

Stuff by FeFe Dobson is often pretty powerful and "Grr I'm so awesome and in control!"
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:02 AM on November 17, 2014

* Meredith Brooks, Bitch. (Do not let the title put you off, this song kicks ass.)
*Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox, Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves.

And I know you said that you're seeking female vocalists only, but if you can find a woman who covered Peter Gabriel's Shaking The Tree, then jackpot.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:08 AM on November 17, 2014

The Breeders Cannonball because it's one of the best songs of all time.
posted by billiebee at 11:08 AM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Carina Round is perfect for this. IntoMyBlood stands out. I'll second Poe as well.
posted by lawliet at 11:09 AM on November 17, 2014

Brooke Candy, "Pussy Make The Rules."

Built it from the ground up, run it like a marathon.
posted by divined by radio at 11:09 AM on November 17, 2014

Le Tigre! Maybe Hot Topic, FYR, Keep on Livin', Viz, Nanny Nanny Boo Boo.

Though my favorite is Deceptacon. But it's just slightly less on point. And the music video is hard to put on a mix tape.
posted by politikitty at 11:15 AM on November 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

Dessa: Warsaw or Seamstress or Mineshaft II (oops, not really upbeat, I guess, sorry)
posted by crush-onastick at 11:17 AM on November 17, 2014

How about Lily Allen's "Hard Out Here." And maybe Amanda Blank's "Make It Take It Girl."
posted by ohsnapdragon at 11:42 AM on November 17, 2014

I'm not really sure where your "Too pop" line is, so apologies of some of this qualifies!

Mr Hurricane, by Beast

That's Not My Name, by the Ting Tings

Bad Girls by M.I.A.

So What, by P!nk

Black Sheep, by Gin Wigmore

Five Years and Hunter, by Björk

I know it was pretty overplayed a decade or so ago, but I still really love No Doubt's Just a Girl.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 11:46 AM on November 17, 2014

You should include some PJ Harvey! I would specifically recommend "The Sky Lit Up" or "Driving."
posted by Munching Langolier at 12:03 PM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

PJ Harvey yes, but 50ft Queenie.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 12:25 PM on November 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Dragonette - Live in This City is super fun and super upbeat and super grrl power.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:36 PM on November 17, 2014

Not particularly upbeat, but anyway: No One's Little Girl by The Raincoats
posted by HandfulOfDust at 12:39 PM on November 17, 2014

I think Tegan and Sara would be another good choice. My favorite track by them is Living Room, whose lyrics are a bit twisted but certainly demonstrates lots of personality.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:47 PM on November 17, 2014

Butyric Acid by Consolidated, if she's pro-choice.
posted by VioletU at 1:32 PM on November 17, 2014

Garbage - Supervixen
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:41 PM on November 17, 2014

How about One way or another by Blondie. Or for dancepop brilliance, JediWannabe by Bellatrix.

Possibly a bit too aggressive but Big Bad Baby Pig Squeal by Silverfish remains my all-time go-to for stomping feminist kick-assery ("Hips! Tits! Lips! Power!").

All must be played very loud.
posted by freya_lamb at 2:42 PM on November 17, 2014

Oh oh! Hella Nervous by Gravy Train. So danceable makes me feel comfortable with my thick ass mexican thighs that i possess.
posted by politikitty at 2:48 PM on November 17, 2014

X-Ray Spex
Babes in Toyland
Huggy Bear
...and Patti Smith

The Riot Grrrrl years were some of the best of my life. Awesome question!
posted by batbat at 3:01 PM on November 17, 2014

In was surprised to see that Liz Phair had not been mentioned yet. I would take a listen to exile in guyville.
posted by phil at 4:13 PM on November 17, 2014

Ex Hex - Waste Your Time (or anything off of the album, really)
posted by amelioration at 4:49 PM on November 17, 2014

4 Non Blondes. Anything, really, but I'm partial to Pleasantly Blue.
Also, but somewhat folksy:
Carolina Chocolate Drops' versions of No Man's Mama and Hit 'Em Up Style. Especially in the last, Rhiannon Giddens really shows off some strong personality...
posted by Thug at 5:03 PM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'll just step into my time machine here:

No Guilt-The Waitresses
Radio G-String-Bow, Wow, Wow
Everybody's on Top of the Pops-The Rezillos
Bikini Wax-Killer Pussy
Hong Kong Garden-Souxsie and the Banshees
Fuck the Pain Away-Peaches
You Better Run-Pat Benetar
Call Me-Blondie
10-9-8-Face to Face
Don't Wanna Fall in Love-Jane Child

I would just like to say that apparently the eighties were a LOT better for women in music. Now who wants to go on a road trip with me?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:14 PM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Alana Davis' version of 32 Flavors isn't bad.
posted by 4ster at 5:49 PM on November 17, 2014

Boss Lady by the Detroit Cobras is pretty kick-ass. In fact, if moxie and attitude are what you're looking for, you might check out the rest of their stuff.
posted by Lexica at 7:55 PM on November 17, 2014

Ballad of a Ladyman, by Sleater-Kinney
posted by Gorgik at 9:23 PM on November 17, 2014

I Want To Be Evil - Eartha Kitt
You Call Me A Bitch Like It's A Bad Thing - Halestorm
You Don't Own Me - Rasputina
Make My Own Money - Deap Valley
Faster - Rachael Yamagata
Chickpop - Magdalen Hsu-Li
Ladykillers - Lush (lyrics)
posted by Yma at 12:15 AM on November 18, 2014

Hole's first album, Pretty on the Inside (produced by Kim Gordon), is not an easy listen, but you might use Clouds, which has lyrics from Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now, for added legitness.
posted by *s at 10:24 AM on November 18, 2014

so i started with specifics that immediately came to mind, then devolved into general just-in-case spitballing. too lazy to link to every song, ack.

-Keep Your Laws Off My Body - Dog Faced Hermans
-Helium - "Hole In The Ground", pretty much all of it esp. stuff off the Pirate Prude EP which was a post-Mary Daly-manifesto concept album (I still love the liner note art, with the crowned queen uterus and "shut up Dick, I'm trying to watch the figure skating championships") and The Dirt Of Luck.
-Scout Niblett! She's really good at channeling wild little girl id that was never broken out of you as you grow up, and she's subtly feminist in the "I can be and feel and do anything as messy and horny and wild and self-affirming as any guy". So many to choose from..."Landing Strip", "Pom Poms", "Lullaby for Scout in 10 Years", "Just Do It", "Miss In Love With Her Own Fate", "12 Miles", "Kidnapped By Neptune", "Dinosaur Egg", "Fuck Treasure Island", "Safety Pants", "Fireflies", "Relax", "Miss My Lion", "Boy", "I Am", "Newbury Port", "Your Beat Kicks Back Like Death", her covers of "Just What I Needed" or "Uptown Top Ranking"...
-PJ Harvey. "Rub 'Til It Bleeds", "Dry", "Yuri G", "Man-Size", "Meet Ze Monsta", "Long Snake Moan", "One Time Too Many", "Rid Of Me" (I prefer the demo version...speaking of, "Driving" and "Reeling" from the 4-track Demos are great howling-at-the-moon-don't-give-a-fuck-very-comfortable-with-oneself-at-2-am stuff), "Who The Fuck?", "Pocket Knife", "50ft Queenie", "Sheela Na Gig", "The Sky Lit Up", "Cat On The Wall"...
-Lorelle Meets The Obscure, a Mexican band whose 2014 album is kinda like Hope Sandoval meets Les Rallizes Denudes
-Grimes, for sure. Love love love, still asserting years later the video to "Oblivion" is my feminist dream of new a-woman-center-stage-with-all-her-own-interests-and-comfortable-and-not-sexualized-by-default-is-perfectly-normal media realized.
-The Knife. "Full Of Fire" was also one of the most feminist singles of the past few years for me.
-Grouper, the singier stuff maybe. Or like "Poison Tree" or something.
-Sleater-Kinney for sure. Personal votes would go for anything off Dig Me Out (especially "Things You Say" and "Buy Her Candy") or earlier ("Anonymous", "Call The Doctor", "Be Yr Mama", "Her Again", "Slow Song", "You Ain't It")
-Erase Errata!
-Pylon (not particularly feminist lyrics, but Vanessa Brisco has one of my favorite snarl-yelps ever)
-Ruby's Saltpeter is pretty durn feminist (also very certain-element-of-the-'90s for sure)
-Siouxsie and the Banshees
-S PRCSS, the songs the drummer sings on like "Spring Garden Drive-By"
-Sun Ra's main vocalist was female on his most famous stuff like "Space Is The Place" (that "and your life is worthwhile" line breaks my heart every time) and "Outer Spaceways Incorporated"
-The Au Pairs
-The Slits ("Typical Girls")
-The Bush Tetras
-Cat Power's cover of "Psychic Hearts" (I love all the stuff up to the Covers Record, but her most lady-focused subject matter is presented in really fragile/traumatized/haunted manner, so...)
-I like The Julie Ruin and Le Tigre more than Bikini Kill, might want to check them out if you haven't
-the Organ
-Team Dresch (personal faves are "D.A. Don't Care" and "Growing Up In Springfield" but I'm not sure the mood's right for your playlist there)
-Spinanes/Rebecca Gates
-Lydia Lunch/Teenage Jesus and the Jerks
-the Supremes
-the Smears
-that gender-swapping Chromatics song, I am sorry I can't think of its title right now
-Yoko Ono
-nthing Scrawl
-Sinead O'Connor
-Jill Sobule
-Suzanne Vega
-Blonde Redhead
-Sophie B. Hawkins
-Tami Hart
-the Sugarcubes
-The Butchies
-Sharon Van Etten
-Christina Rosenvinge
-the Pretenders
-Fleetwood Mac
-Gillian Welch has some. "I Want To Sing That Rock n' Roll", "Caleb Meyer" maybe...
-Haley Bonar
-Shannon Wright/Crowsdell
-Thalia Zedek
-Julie Doiron?
-Y Pants
-Regina Spektor
-Rainer Maria
-Mia Doi Todd
-Edith Frost
-X-Ray Spex
-The Breeders, Amps, Belly, Throwing Muses, Kristin Hersh's solo stuff
-Young Marble Giants
-Marine Girls
-Neko Case
-the Isobel Sollenberger-focused stuff from Bardo Pond, ditto Georgia Hubley-focused Yo La Tengo, Mimi Parker-focused Low, and Bilinda Butcher-focused My Bloody Valentine, Kim Deal-focused Pixies, you get the idea
-Liz Phair
-Bettie Serveert
-Juliana Hatfield
-Lisa Germano
-Martina Topley-Bird
-Kate Bush maybe
-the Concretes
-Hole (yea that's right I said it)
-Lady Gaga, Robyn, Janet Jackson, Madonna, etc., natch
-Lykke Li, maybe
-Jenny Toomey
-Madder Rose
-Nina Simone
-Francoise Hardy
-the Cranes
-Aimee Mann
-Saint Etienne
-Salt n Pepa
-Syrup USA/Seana Carmody
-the Shaggs
-the Murmurs
-the Vaselines
-Cocteau Twins
posted by ifjuly at 2:33 PM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Probably redundant now thanks to ifjuly's dizzyingly comprehensive list, but:

PINS, Girls Like Us, I Want It All, Shoot You.
50 Foot Wave, Sally Is a Girl, Clara Bow, Hot Pink.
Throwing Muses, Fall Down, Pretty Or Not.
Pretty much anything by Slant 6.
Helium, Oh the Wind and Rain.
posted by Sonny Jim at 2:22 AM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ah, JUST yesterday as I was making swedish meatballs in the kitchen "Oh the Wind and Rain" came on and I was like "damn, I shoulda mentioned this, it's perfect." +1!

Also coming back just to correct something I wrote, the Mexican band is Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, not Obscure. My bad.
posted by ifjuly at 10:43 AM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

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