There’s an overwhelming amount of music available these days, and when you’re jonesing to listen to a song that fits a particular mood, it can be tough to comb through a pile of music just to find the right song. Take, for instance, those moments when you just want a solid song with a danceable, head-bopping beat that also promotes intersectional feminism, sisterhood, empowerment, the best mantra for getting over a silly ex and beyond. Where do you begin? Which musical artist do you turn to?
Look no further, folks. Compiled here is a list of songs that meet those requirements, and they’re the perfect songs to listen to if you’re female-identified and looking to get lifted up onto cloud nine by what’s playing. These are songs by women (and one man!) made for women that speak to uniquely female issues. The songs listed below may have been released in the last five years, sure, but they remain as relevant as ever. Also, they pack a heck of a punch, from their catchy rhythms to the messages in their lyrics.
Check out which empowering songs from the last five years deserve to be on your radar.
1. Janelle Monáe, “PYNK”
Monáe’s 2018 song is a beautiful, gently queer and super-feminist song that celebrates the power of the color pink as it relates to femininity in every way.
2. Lizzo, “Truth Hurts”
Ooh boy, Lizzo knows how to create a great anthem, and “Truth Hurts” is just the latest in a strong on-brand lineup that stays true to the theme of empowerment.
3. Dua Lipa, “IDGAF”
True to the title, Dua Lipa’s “IDGAF” is for every woman who has had to tell someone in their life that they’re not going to be bothered by their negative energy.
4. Drake, “Nice for What”
You might be shocked to see Drake in this lineup along with so many amazing women, but his 2018 song “Nice for What” is all about acknowledging that women don’t need to let dumb dudes knock their confidence or steal their shine.
5. Hayley Kiyoko feat. Kehlani, “What I Need”
Kiyoko unabashedly gives a voice to her queer desires and subsequently gives women who love other women — in every way possible — a voice too.
6. Katy Perry, “Chained to the Rhythm”
Perry’s lead single off of her 2017 album Witness is a great way to stay woke even when you’re bopping along.
7. Miley Cyrus, “Bad Mood”
Cyrus’ plaintive vocals and message of breaking free of the chains, people and pressure that put you in a bad mood and thus might derail you make this song so, so good.
8. Kesha, “Woman”
Kesha’s sassy “Woman” is a song for every lady out there who is hustling, making her dreams a reality and taking care of herself just fine.
9. Beyoncé feat. Nicki Minaj, “Flawless (Remix)”
Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj are here to reaffirm what you know to be true: you’re flawless.
10. Cardi B, “Bodak Yellow”
Get into total badass mode with this Cardi B banger.
11. Lady Gaga feat. Florence Welch, “Hey Girl”
This song from Lady Gaga and Florence Welch is as warm and sunny as a hug from your BFF.
12. Taylor Swift, “Look What You Made Me Do”
As divisive as Swift may be, it’s hard to deny that “Look What You Made Me Do” is the best song to listen to when you need to show the world you’re not going to let other people hurt you or hold you back.
13. Ariana Grande & Zedd, “Break Free”
Count on Ariana Grande to deliver the best song for getting over an ex and finding a way back to yourself.
14. Kacey Musgraves, “High Horse”
Musgraves puts a little country sass into this song, which puts everyone on notice and demands everyone gets real.
16. Fifth Harmony, “BO$$”
Fifth Harmony’s jam is a couple years old, but the message in it is more empowering than ever.
17. Bea Miller, “S.L.U.T.”
The acronym of Bea Miller’s feisty song stands for “Sweet Little Unforgettable Thing,” and it serves as a good reminder that whether you identify by the full title or its cheeky abbreviation, you shouldn’t be afraid to own who you are.
18. Hailee Steinfeld, “Most Girls”
Steinfeld’s anthem “Most Girls” helps you celebrate the sisterhood because no two women are alike and that’s a really, really good thing.
19. Lorde, “Team”
Round up the squad and blast this Lorde jam whenever you please.
20. Adele, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”
Thanks to “Send My Love (To Your New Lover),” Adele knows that having the last laugh can be the sweetest revenge.
21. Rihanna, “Bitch Better Have My Money”
This Rihanna jam will have you channeling your strength in the fiercest way possible.
22. Demi Lovato, “Sorry Not Sorry”
You know who doesn’t sweat the small stuff, by way of this anthem? Demi Lovato. Turn on this song and take a page out of Lovato’s playbook whenever things are getting to you and you need to shake it off.
23. Janelle Monáe, “Make Me Feel”
Monáe hearkens back to the glory days of Prince with this vibey song that celebrates queer sexuality.
And if you want to listen to the entire round as one great, magical, empowering playlist, then look no further. Here’s the entire list of songs just for you. Go ahead and turn it all the way up.
A version of this article was originally published in August 2017.