We love to jump on the bandwagon of a trending hashtag here at WOW247.
And so this is the first of our Women Crush Wednesday (#wcw) playlists. Each week, we will have a different guest curator choosing brilliant music made by brilliant women.
First up is my own choice of 20 songs by females spanning multiple generation and genres.
Next week, we’ll welcome a playlist from Suse Bear and Julie Eisenstein of Glasgow duo Tuff Love.
Here’s the #wcw playlist in full:
1. Girlpool – Blah Blah Blah
LA based pop-punk duo Girlpool create a unique sound with just vocal harmonies, guitar and bass. Raw and rebellious, Blah Blah Blah is a standout track from their debut self-titled EP. Crank this one up and bask in the defiance of youth.
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Hysteric
The Karen O fronted Yeah Yeah Yeahs are one of the finest NYC bands of our time. One of the softer songs from their third album It’s Blitz!, ‘Hysteric’ is painfully melodic and a shimmering example of the many different sides to Karen’s voice.
3. Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian at Best
Melbournian wordsmith Courtney Barnett released her debut album this year and has since been touring and releasing videos non-stop. ‘Pedestrian at Best’ was the song that caught everyone’s attention – and rightly so. Barnett’s ability to turn what everyone is thinking into a wonderfully crafted song is top notch. “I’m resentful, I’m having an existential time crisis / Want bliss, daylight savings won’t fix this mess.”
4. Björk – All is Full of Love
Where do you even start with Björk? With an impressive nine albums it’s tough but ‘All is Full Love’ seems like as good a bet as any. From the fourth album Homogenic (1997), the video for this song features two robots passionately kissing and is generally considered one of the best music videos of all time. It’s minimal electronic beats, string instrumentals combined with Bjork’s heartfelt vocals make it one of her best ever.
5. Jagaara – Faultline
Often lazily referred to as the British Haim, Jagaara are three sisters from North London who make melodic guitar-based synth-pop. ‘Faultines’ is a beautiful, swelling song with relaxed guitars and a synth driven bassline. The sisters haven’t released an album yet but we await it with baited breath.
6. Regina Spektor – Us
‘Us’ is one of Spektor’s best ever songs, appearing on her 2004 album Soviet Kitsch. A supremely talented lady, she is classically trained and the piano in this song drives the track, topped off by the urgent strings in the background. Her slightly twisted lyrics and ridiculously perfect voice are contagious and beautiful.
7. Sleater Kinney – No Cities to Love
One of the best American rock bands of all time, Sleater Kinney’s 2014 comeback single ‘No Cities to Love’ instantly rekindled the flame of their old fans as well and gaining them a new, younger fanbase after a near ten year hiatus. Revered feminists and strong purveyors of the riot grrrl movement, which was pioneered in their home town Olympia, Washington, Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, and Janet Weiss proved they hadn’t lost a beat with this spiky track.
8. Bully – Trying
The debut single from this Nashville fourpiece fronted by the brilliant Alicia Bognanno is blissfull slacker rock which references “waiting for my period all week” within the first line. Bognanno’s silky lyrics soon turn to shouty with excellent interplay between the hard and soft.
9. Honeyblood – Killer Bangs
Glasgow duo Honeyblood is made up of Stina Marie Claire Tweeddale (vocals and guitar) and Cat Myers (vocals and drums). Originally planning on recruiting a third member to fill out their sound, the band decided against it – and this song is the perfect example of why that was the right choice. It’s the light, sparse sound and sugary vocals that gives it an extra edge.
10. Patti Smith – Because the Night
We couldn’t run a list about songs by female musicians and not include our fave, Patti Smith. What can we say? The Godmother of Punk has a pretty great selection but we’ve gone for this classic from the 1978 album Easter. It was co-written by Bruce Springsteen – what more do you need to know?
11. Elastica – Connection
This 1994 offering from Britpoppers Elastica, appears on their debut self-titled album and is probably their most well known song. Not a fan but recognise this tune? It was the theme to Trigger Happy TV back in the day. Elastica disbanded after problems with heroin and an over zealous rock n’ roll lifestyle but in terms of women in Britpop, they were the best.
Like this? Check out our guide to 8 things you (probably) didn’t know about Elastica’s debut record.
12. Tuff Love – Duke
Glasgow duo Tuff Love have just released the single ‘Duke’, taken from their forthcoming EP Dregs. Playing shimmering lo-fi guitar songs, don’t let the EP title influence you. Their tendency to self-deprecate is all part of their Scottish charm. Keep your eyes peeled for their guest #wcw playlist next week, and read our interview with the band.
13. Lykke Li – No Rest for the Wicked
Swedish singer, model and musician, Lykke Li is one talented lady. Her soprano vocal range and flawless tone is spellbindingly impressive and the lead single from her 2014 album I Never Learn will make you dance and lament life simultaneously. No mean feat.
15. Gwen Stefani – Hollaback Girl
Sneaking this slight guilty pleasure in here. You can never have enough Gwen Stefani attitude on yer playlist. “This shit is bananas / B A N A N A S”. Indeed it is Gwen, indeed it is.
16. FKA Twigs – In Time
FKA Twigs’ cool, melancholic vibe is perfectly encapsulated in this track from her latest EP M3L155X (pronounced Melissa, for anyone wondering). Emotional and engulfing vocals and layers puts you right in the moment of an impending break up. One to wallow in, or feel empowered by, depending on your current mindset. But, either way, an all round great track.
17. LoneLady – Groove It Out
A current WOW247 favourite, LoneLady aka Julie Campbell has just released her second album Hinterland and it is some funked up post-punk brilliance. Lead single ‘Groove it Out’ is one of the best songs of 2015 with its pop hooks and funky basslines making it impossible to sit still to.
18. Wolf Alice – Blush
Mercury Prize nominated for their debut album My Love is Cool Wolf Alice can do no wrong at the moment. Tirelessly touring the world, they are undoubtedly the breakout band of 2015. Frontwoman Ellie Rowsell has the ability to effortlessly switch from otherwordly to a punk rock shriek, in a matter of seconds. ‘Blush’ is one of their softer songs, taken from the EP of the same name.
19. Pale Honey – Youth
Swedish guitar and drums duo Pale Honey offer up understated guitar rock with no frills. Concise, controlled songs with an overriding air of nonchalance. ‘Youth’ is the lead single from their self-titled debut LP and it’s the perfect example of the bare arrangements with the odd injection of rage that defines the Gothenburg duo’s signature sound.
20. PJ Harvey – This is Love
‘This is Love’ is the tenth track from Harvey’s fifth studio album, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. The bluesy punk and straight-up nature of the lyrics (“This is love / This is love / That I’m feeling”) provides what is possibly her best song ever, and a sound that has clearly influenced many an artist since.
Main image: Anthony Longstaff / WOW247