The 20 Best Pop Songs in History By Women Artists – LA Weekly

Snobs may try to marginalize pop music precisely because of its mainstream appeal, but the fact is that there are few arrant joys than singing a well-crafted pop sung with elated abandon at the top of your lungs. And the artists delivering these songs are some of the most talented vocalists, dancers and all around entertainers in history .
While we have ageless love for Hanson, Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync and the like, because so many of these dad songs have been delivered to us by women — who for all intents and purposes form the backbone of most endless pop music — we here celebrate the top 20 pop songs in history by female artists. These undeniable hits have transcended top 40 to become permanent wave fixtures in the cultural landscape. besides, they make us in truth felicitous. — Katie Bain
Wilson Phillips album cover; Credit: Courtesy of Universal/SBK Records
20. Wilson Phillips, “Hold On”
Despite what some would call its faze mawkishness and borderline self-help lyricality, “ Hold On ” remains sun-soaked pop-rock for Gen-X nostalgia nerds raised on original format MTV ; a guilty pleasure for anyone going through a separation or quarter-life crisis during the Prozac Nation -era. While there ‘s just nothing cool about Wilson Phillips, their three-part harmonies and vocal plangency on “ Hold On ” are incredibly uplift, and encapsulate ’90s schmaltz a well as the gooey sax on “ How Do You Talk to an Angel ” or a impertinently laundered flannel shirt to cry on. —  Art Tavana

19. Kelly Clarkson, “Since U Been Gone”
Kelly Clarkson started out as this apparently one-note reality express princess who became celebrated for her ability to, well, hit notes. But with the help of a rock-infused makeover, Clarkson transformed her picture and her career with her second album Breakaway and its highlight, “ Since U Been Gone. ” From its storytelling recapitulation of a decayed kinship to the build-up of its shout-along refrain, the angsty hymn is dedicated to the message that life can be so, then, so much better after you break up. We have Kelly to thank for the fact that breakups are a hell of a draw more playfulness with “ Since U Been Gone ” as the soundtrack. — Kelsey Whipple

18. The Spice Girls, “Wannabe”
Released on the group ’ s debut album, Spice, “ Wannabe ” was the individual that made the Spice Girls nightlong icons. But what makes this sung one of the best of all time — aside from the bizarro lyrics “ I wan sodium zigazig ahhhh ” — is the fact that it addresses the importance of female friendships over romantic bonds. “ If you wan sodium be my lover, you got tantalum get with my friends, ” the Girls rede in the chorus, defining the notion of “ chicks before dicks ” long before it became an overuse aphorism. thus, the british pop music group became a symbol of female authorization, and to this day, “ Wannabe ” remains one of the best and the catchiest girl power anthems of all time. — Mary Carreon

17. Cyndi Lauper, “Time After Time”
Written by Cyndi Lauper and Rob Hyman, “ Time After Time ” is n’t about falling in love, nor is it about falling out of love. It exists somewhere in the complicate gray area of the love story spectrum, the place where the feelings are melancholy, however hopeful. Every complicate emotion is amplified by the quiver in Lauper ‘s voice in this beautifully tear-jerking vocal music performance. “ Time After Time ” was Lauper ‘s first chart topper and, in the 30 years that have elapsed, it remains wildly democratic. Pop singers, indie rockers and karaoke regulars have all taken pang at this song, yet, no one can quite capture the birdcall ‘s ennoble charming like Lauper did. – Liz Ohanesian

16. Christina Aguilera, “Fighter”

“ Fighter ” arrived amidst the “ not a female child, not even a woman ” era of pop, at a time when the ladies ruling it were updating their sugared, virginal images for personas that were sexy but still dependable. Christina didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate care about safe. She reemerged on her sophomore album Stripped decidedly a charwoman, owning the sex, self-esteem issues and questionable fashion choices that go along with becoming one. “ Fighter, ” with its bad guitars and bigger, hook-laden chorus, abandoned the notions of being a “ dependable female child ” or a “ bad daughter, ” but rather championed being dear to oneself because of — and in malice of — the bad gorge that happens. Christina ’ s sea switch wasn ’ t a first ( she has Madonna and Janet to thank for that ), but it was vital at a time when female pop stars were at their most manufactured and artistically analgesic. – Andrea Domanick
15. The Ronettes, “Be My Baby”
With Veronica Bennett, late known as Ronnie Spector, on conduct vocals, 1963 ’ s “ Be My Baby ” captures an angst-filled consequence of desire so potent that it set the criterion for songs about longing. Ronnie sings, “ For every kiss you give me/I ‘ll give you three, ” with a sweet sadness therefore intense that it about hurts to hear it — yet more than 40 years late, it ’ sulfur about impossible to change the radio station when this song comes on. It ‘s the tune that sucked you into Dirty Dancing,  with a pilfer that was reprised more than two decades late on Eddie Money ‘s “ Take Me Home Tonight ” — proving that while “ Be My Baby ” is a desperate song, it can make just about anything tolerable. – Liz Ohanesian

14. Destiny’s Child, “Say My Name”
At the end of the 1990s, Houston was the hotbed for a bunch of things ( pro sports, by and large ), but pop music wasn ’ t one of them. Enter the lewd Destiny ’ mho Child, vixens who had been carefully honing their craft since they were pre-teens. With hitmaker Rodney Jerkins ’ production, the insertion of Beyoncé ’ s powerhouse vocals, and lyrics of an angry womanhood calling out her boyfriend for cheating on her, “ Say My Name ” became a hit, won the group two Grammys and set the stage for many similarly indignant Destiny ’ s Child hits to come. —  Daniel Kohn
13. Rihanna, “Umbrella”
Though she ’ five hundred be steadily building a following with her earlier releases, it was the sauntering “ Umbrella ” that propelled Rihanna to international pop picture condition. Embracing a fresh heavy that included uptempo dance-pop beats, Rihanna enlisted The-Dream, Tricky Stewart, Kuk Harrell, and one Jay-Z to help her craft the song, with which she kicked down the door to the mainstream — in stiletto heels, naturally. Featuring a verse by Mr. Carter, the birdcall is known for its infectious beat, fabulously catchy hook ( “ ‘ella, ‘ ella, ‘ ella… ” ) and, ultimately, for topping the charts in 13 countries and selling 6.6 million copies worldwide. — Daniel Kohn

12. Donna Summer, “I Feel Love”
Way back in 1977, Summer and her producer, Giorgio Moroder, sent dance music hurtling headlong into the future with “ I Feel Love, ” the foremost cut to marry the sweep tune lines and bracing tempo of disco with the metronomic synthesizers and barrel machines of Kraftwerk. Foreshadowing and influencing techno, trance and today ’ randomness epic poem festival EDM, Moroder ’ south gleam, automatic synths and Summer ’ s faint, abstract vocals hush sound like the future — and can placid ignite any dance floor. — Andy Hermann

11. Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance”
Lady Gaga is a brainsick brilliance, and her 2009 magnum musical composition “ Bad Romance ” is the pop music equivalent of a violent orgasm. The song, which has been covered by everyone from Frank Ocean to the draw of Glee, pulses with dark hope and leather-studded sex. It ‘s besides an operatic tour de coerce on which Gaga gets increasingly more brainsick amid a fiery ode to a past fan. ( “ I do n’t wanna be friends, ” she ‘s literally abuse by song ‘s end. ) “ Bad Romance ” upped the ante on the disingenuous post of brainsick Gaga first presented on The Fame and cemented the early Stefani Germanotta as a boundary-pushing cultural disruptor who mattered. – Art Tavana
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10. TLC, “Waterfalls”
In a time when Disney-clean son bands and girl groups dominated the music fit, the ladies of TLC — T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli — brought a acid of urban realism to the charts. The 1995 handout of their LP Crazy Sexy Cool yielded two No. 1 hits, including the group ’ s ever-popular hymn, “ Waterfalls. ” A blend of funk, rap and R & B, the sung ’ randomness socially conscious lyrics ( ultimately, the song is a contemplation on violence and AIDS ) displayed the three ’ mho versatility and news, giving them a worldly edge over other cotton candy female pop group competitors. T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli were a classic trio menace, and “ Waterfalls ” is their best example of why. — Mary Carreon 
9. The Supremes, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”
At the flower of Motown ’ sulfur popularity in the ‘ 60s, the Supremes were the tag ’ randomness greatest spinners of pure pop confections like “ Baby Love ” and “ I Hear a Symphony. ” Whatever passion or grief lay within the lyrics was normally masked below twinkling harmonies and dapper backbeats — which made the bitter urgency of 1966 ’ s “ You Keep Me Hangin ’ On ” all the more apocalyptic. Over a jingle, alarm-bell rhythm method of birth control guitar, Diana Ross laces lines like “ Get out my life ” and “ Why don ’ metric ton you be a world about it ? ” with withering contempt, proving girl-group dad could take no stool and hush top the charts. – Andy Hermann
8. Adele, “Rolling in the Deep”
Breaking up is hard to do, unless you ’ re Adele. With “ Rolling in the Deep, ” the british R & B singer/songwriter didn ’ metric ton mope over a break heart — she just became a megastar via one of the biggest crossover voter hits of the past half ten. The song ’ s blend of pop, soul and blues — along with the acid malice of its scorned-lover lyrics — allowed for the then-21-year-old ’ s booming voice to become one of the recognizable in the global. On top of taking home a batch of awards, the song went on to sell over 14 million copies, making it one of the bestselling songs by a female singer, always. surely there ’ s no better remedy for grief than that. – Daniel Kohn

7. Britney Spears, “Toxic”
In 2003, Britney Spears was the biggest start star in the world, and “ Toxic, ” the come-hither individual from her most advanced and adventurous LP, In the Zone, was Britney at her fiercest and best. Auto-Tuned within an inch of sounding like an extraterrestrial being enchantress margin call, Britney purrs about a man so bad he ’ randomness good with the intimate bravado that had defined her character since she appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in her panties clutching a Teletubby. Add all that to Britney strutting around the music video in a stewardess undifferentiated, and it was raw the mental picture of a pop star top out. — Katie Bain

6. Janet Jackson, “Nasty”
Michael Jackson ’ s kid sister was equitable 19 when she knocked top 40 radio receiver on its american samoa with “ What Have You Done for Me Lately ” and its even funkier follow-up, “ Nasty. ” Over a grim Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis track that ’ s all blunt military unit and sharp edges, Jackson snarled, “ No, my first list own ’ thymine baby/It ’ second Janet/Miss Jackson if you ’ ra nasty, ” instantaneously becoming pop music ’ s most iconic demander of deference since Aretha and inspiring a generation of female artists, from Britney to Rihanna, to find authorization in a cruddy groove. — Andy Hermann
5. Mariah Carey, “Vision of Love”
Few dad stars have arrived as potently and fully formed as Mariah Carey did with her 1990 introduction one “ Vision of Love. ” Though her late oeuvre has devolved into vacate, melismatic one-upmanship, there ’ s no deny that Mariah has one of the most technically formidable voices in the history of pop. “ Vision of Love ” matches that endowment with songwriting and a delivery that not only withstands, but upstages it. As a result, it ’ s not her technical skill and control that make the song so mint, but preferably the rawness and vulnerability that she evokes in malice of them. — Andrea Domanick

4. Whitney Houston, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”
In 1987, Whitney Houston was already a boastful deal, but with the fall dismissal of her unmarried “ I Wan na Dance With Somebody ( Who Loves Me ), ” the choir girl gone pop music megastar transcended even herself with a jam that was as seriously sweet as it was gleefully infectious. primitively written as a state birdcall ( as was her digest “ I Will Always Love You ” ) ” I Wan na Dance With Somebody ” was rearranged as a dance track by manufacturer Narada Michael Walden. And blasted did Whitney want to dance, putting every ounce of her remarkable spokesperson into finding a dancing spouse who would take a gamble on a sleep together that would burn hot adequate to final. And at the conclusion of the day, is n’t that actually what we all want ? — Katie Bain

3. Beyoncé, “Crazy in Love”
If Destiny ’ s Child was Beyoncé ‘s adolescence, 2003 ’ second “ Crazy in Love ” was her debutante ball. And she didn ’ thymine arrive without a date. The song, an adept mélange of James Brown-inspired horns, jazz percussion and an infectious “ uh-oh, uh-oh ” hook recalling daughter groups of decades past, was the official announcement that Young B and the ROC, Jay-Z himself, were not merely an item, but officially Crazy In Love. Beyoncé ’ second delivery, all flashiness and strut, made the birdcall vitamin a much about womanly lastingness and self-awareness as it was about romanticist fury. She was brainsick, yes, but besides in full in manipulate. The first traverse on her first solo LP Dangerously in Love, “ Crazy in Love ” was a tour de violence announcement that the reign of Queen Bey had begun. All acclaim. —  Katie Bain


2. Madonna, “Like a Prayer”
Floating atop a Latin rhythm method of birth control and funky synth bass, with a gospel choir providing the celestial harmony, Madonna ‘s voice on “ Like a Prayer ” is n’t barely convinced, it ‘s downright celestial. Supported by a chorus of angels in D minor, 1989 ’ s “ Like a Prayer ” was the moment when Madonna went from being the voice of America ‘s teenagers to the cosmopolitan gamey priestess of popular .
The song was Madonna ‘s great jump forward, and our first meet with her unsettled catholic soul, as opposed to her unbridled blond ambition. She sabotaged the wholesome Pepsi ad that premiered the song with a music video that featured her dancing in front of a quarrel of sunburn crosses, seducing a black enshrine and receiving the stigma. The Pope and Roman Catholics around the earth denounced Madonna, Pepsi pulled the ad, and in the process, “ Like a Prayer ” became the most controversial television in the history of MTV. In one profoundly appealing and absolutely danceable swoop, Madonna had orchestrated pop music ‘s greatest awaken. — Art Tavana

1. Aretha Franklin, “Respect”
Great pop songs are dateless, but the best among them besides capture the zeitgeist of their eras. Aretha Franklin ’ s “ Respect ” is one of those songs, and the majority of tracks on this list wouldn ’ t exist without it. Her authoritative 1967 lead on the Otis Redding-penned hit eclipsed the original and then some, topping both the Billboard Pop Singles and R & B charts while earning two Grammy wins and big airplay oversea .
It ’ s not hard to see why. Franklin ’ s explosive song manner of speaking and grok changes to the tune, adding a bridge and those demanding “ sock it me ” back-up vocals, transformed it into a perfect pop music song : attention-getting, passionate, energetic and sexually suggestive. Its determine still lingers today across genres from rock to rap .
But Franklin ’ s “ Respect ” was more than a bang-up objet d’art of music — it spoke to people. In a year when the struggles of the women ’ south rights movement, the civil rights motion and the Vietnam War were at their most pressing, she reclaimed and elevated the word from Redding ’ s coy euphemism into a gauntlet thrown on behalf of women and all other marginalize people .
“ Aretha characterized regard as something given with force out and big effort and cost, ” wrote the poet and scholar Sherley Anne Williams. “ And when she tied went so far as to spell the word ‘respect, ‘ we just knew that this sister was n’t playing around about getting obedience and keeping it. ”
Forty-seven years later, the birdcall remains both a karaoke go-to and cultural shorthand for female authorization, setting the measure for pop anthems and independent women alike. —  Andrea Domanick
Listen to the complete playlist… 


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