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Welcome to the first article in The Ultimate Girl Power Playlist series!  I’m super stoked to bring you this series because music moves my soul.  Music has played a such a pivotal role in my life and my (ever on-going) empowerment journey.

I’m not a musician, but I kinda wish I was.  Really, I’ve always wanted to be a vocalist, but fortunately for those who have the ability to hear, the only places I sing are in the shower or alone in my car.  I’m so tone deaf, I don’t even think a punk band would accept me.

But connecting to music as a listener, as a human, has given me some of the most profound experiences in my life and helps me makes sense of emotions and situations as I move through my own life journey.  My journals are dotted with lyrics excerpted from songs that relate to my life at that time. (I also have a theory that Taylor Swift sneaks into my bedroom and reads my diaries before she writes her albums.  It’s sometimes too close it’s scary.)  And when certain chords, melodies, beats, or lyrics hit me a certain way, I can get goosebumps, chills, tingles, and surges of emotion.  And I’m not the only one.

The Magic of Music

Many people experience music this way (half to two-thirds of the population some research suggests).

Recently in 2016, a scientific study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience concluded that the brains of people who experience such reactions to music (or other forms of art) are wired to have more nerve fibers connecting the auditory cortex (the region of the brain that processes sound) and the anterior insular cortex (the region of the brain that processes feelings), and their auditory cortexes had strong connections to other parts of the brain that may influence emotions.

But even for people who never experience physical tingles, music can be a powerful force.  Music can change an atmosphere in a room and can change your outlook, perspective, and emotions.  It can give you confidence and comfort, joy, sadness, and allow you to rage your anger without causing harm to anyone else.  It is a catharsis.

We can’t always explain why music is so powerful.  But it is.  And it’s been with us as far back as our humanity can remember.  Indigenous drumming and chants are just as powerful as Beyonce, Carrie Underwood, and Lady Gaga.  (If you don’t believe me, go to a drum circle.  Find out for yourself.)

In Twelfth Night, Shakespeare wrote, “If music be the food of love, play on.”  And I couldn’t agree more.  But here we’re talking love for yourself, girl, your experiences as a woman, and our collective experiences as women.

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The Ultimate Playlist

No, the title isn’t clickbait.  I do indeed, mean “ultimate” and it will probably be different from any other girl power playlist you’ve seen.

The songs featured on this playlist span many genres and decades.  They also span themes.  You’ll definitely find your confidence-boosting rally cry anthems and celebratory singles to independent women on here, but we all know being a woman is much more than clinking champagne with the girls and calling it a day.

We’ve all have had people and experiences in our lives that have caused us a great deal of pain.  Pain that has transformed us, strengthened us, and allowed us to rise from the ashes as a diamond.  And we all have our dark sides, our secrets and vices.  (As Marilyn Monroe said, “I’m good but I’m not an angel.  I do sin, but I’m not the devil.”)

So songs on this playlist reflect that range of experiences.  Our joy and revelries, and our sadness, regret, anger, revenge fantasies (hey, it’s better to sing about it than do it, right?!), dancing with our shadows, transformation and healing.

So how “ultimate” is this playlist?  Well as of this writing, 368 songs and counting.  (Literally, thanks to researching for this article series I have a song for every day of the year and then some – and I’m always on the hunt for new music).  Which is why these articles will be released in a series of volumes, mixed tape style.

[Stella-Tip:  If you’re playing the home game and want this playlist on your phone, computer,  or wi-fi enabled iPod/mp3 player, I suggest a subscription to Apple Music or Amazon Music Unlimited.  I’ve used both services and have been pretty happy with each platform.  I currently use Apple Music simply because it syncs better with my other devices.  Spotify is also an option, but I’ve never had a subscription with Spotify so I cannot speak from any personal experiences about their platform.]

So grab those headphones or earbuds and let’s get you tuned in to Volume 1!

 

The Ultimate Girl Power Playlist: Volume I

 

  1. “Fight Song” – Rachel Platten (2015)

“Fight Song” was the girl anthem of 2015 and it hasn’t lost its fierceness.  It’s a tribute to the grit of women who know it doesn’t matter how many times you fall, it’s how many times you get back up that matters.

Power Lyrics:
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

Get It on iTunes    available at Amazon

 

 

 

  1. “Wannabe” – Spice Girls (1996)

Who cannot love this tribute to girl power and putting your friendships before relationships?!


Wannabe Spice GirlsPower Lyrics:
If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends
Make it last forever, friendship never ends
If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give
Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is

 

 

 

available at AmazonGet It on iTunes

 

 

 

  1. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” – Cyndi Lauper (1983)

This 80’s pop hit is still as relevant (and bouncy) today and now even has a meme spin-off – “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun-damental Human Rights”

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Cyndi LauperPower Lyrics:
I want to be the one to walk in the sun
Oh girls they wanna have fun
Oh girls just wanna have
That’s all they really want
Some fun
When the working day is done
Oh girls, they wanna have fun

 

Get It on iTunes  available at Amazon

 

 

 

  1. “What It Feels Like for a Girl” – Madonna (2000)

Madonna’s blunt aim and sarcasm strikes at the heart of sexism and double standards, and yet the melodies are smooth and sweet; her vocal demonstration of those double standards.

What It Feels Like For a Girl MadonnaPower Lyrics:
Girls can wear jeans
And cut their hair short
Wear shirts and boots
‘Cause it’s OK to be a boy
But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading
‘Cause you think that being a girl is degrading
But secretly you’d love to know what it’s like
Wouldn’t you
What it feels like for a girl

Strong inside but you don’t know it, available at AmazonGood little girls they never show it Get It on iTunes
When you open up your mouth to speak
Could you be a little weak
Do you know what it feels like for a girl
Do you know what it feels like in this world
For a girl

 

 

 

  1. “Just a Girl” – No Doubt (1995)

Gwen Stefani brilliantly displays biting sarcasm in No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” rebelling against sexual stereotyping that limits women’s behavior all while rocking out to that bouncy ska-pop beat. (StellaNote: Tragic Kingdom was the first album I bought myself and remains a favorite to this day.)

Just A Girl No DoubtPower Lyrics:
‘Cause I’m just a girl
I’d rather not be
‘Cause they won’t let me drive late at night
Oh I’m just a girl
Guess I’m some kind of freak
‘Cause they all sit and stare with their eyes
Oh I’m just a girl
Take a good look at me, just your typical prototype
Oh, I’ve had it up to here! Oh, am I making myself clear?
I’m just a girl, I’m just a girl in the world
That’s all that you’ll let me be!

Get It on iTunes  available at Amazon

 

 

 

  1. “Run the World (Girls)” – Beyonce (2011)

Queen Bey never fails to prove the future is female with her ode to successful women who rock it.

Who Run the World Girls BeyoncePower Lyrics:
This goes out to all my girls
That’s in the club rocking the latest
Who will buy it for themselves
And get more money later

 

 

 

available at AmazonGet It on iTunes

 

 

 

  1. “Grigio Girls” – Lady Gaga (2016)

I’m absolutely in love with Lady Gaga’s tribute to sisterhoods: those connections with other women that transcend friendship, and that through each other we make a little more sense of our world.


grigio girls lady gaga
Power Lyrics:
So when I’m feeling small
I toss that cork and call
All the Pinot, Pinot Grigio girls
Pour your heart out
Watch your blues turn gold
All the Pinot, Pinot Grigio girls
Keep it real cold
‘Cause it’s a fired-up world
Oh, oh, make it all make sense, Oh, oh, make it all make sense
Oh, oh, does it all make sense?

Get It on iTunes  available at Amazon

 

 

 

  1. “Independent Women” – Destiny’s Child (2001)

10 years before “Run the World (Girls)”, Beyonce was already touting praise for independent women in Destiny’s Child.

Independent Women Destiny's ChildPower Lyrics:
The shoes on my feet, I’ve bought it
The clothes I’m wearing, I’ve bought it
The rock I’m rockin’, I’ve bought it
‘Cause I depend on me if I want it
The watch you’re wearin’, I’ll buy it
The house I live in, I’ve bought it
The car I’m driving, I’ve bought it
I depend on me, I depend on me
All the women who are independent
Throw your hands up at me
All the honeys who makin’ money
Throw your hands up at me

available at AmazonGet It on iTunes

 

 

 

  1. “Hell on Heels” – Pistol Annies (2011)

This playful and devious hit by country girl supergroup, Pistol Annies, warns men if you treat women like sex objects, there are consequences to be paid.

hell on heels pistol anniesPower Lyrics:
I’m hell on heels
Say what you will
I’ve done made the devil a deal
He made me pretty
He made me smart
And I’m going to break me a million hearts
I’m hell on heels, baby I’m comin’ for you

 

Get It on iTunes  available at Amazon

 

 

 

  1. “Girl on Fire” – Alicia Keys (2012)

“Girl On Fire” is the song you sing to yourself looking in the mirror in praise of how you’re slaying it.  It is simply empowerment in audio form.

Girl On Fire Alicia KeysPower Lyrics:
She’s just a girl, and she’s on fire
Hotter than a fantasy, longer like a highway
She’s living in a world, and it’s on fire
Feeling the catastrophe, but she knows she can fly away
Oh, she got both feet on the ground
And she’s burning it down
Oh, she got her head in the clouds
And she’s not backing down

 

available at Amazon  Get It on iTunes

 

 

 

  1. “Precious Things” – Tori Amos (1992) [Explicit]

This classic Tori piece (and probably her most performed song) delves into the girls’ and women’s experiences of thecognitive dissonance of having a crush on someone you know is using you.

precious things tori AmosPower Lyrics:
He said you’re really an ugly girl, But I like the way you play
And I died, But I thanked him
Can you believe that,
Sick holding on to his picture, Dressing up every day
I want to smash the faces of those beautiful boys
Those Christian boys
So you can make me cum, That doesn’t make you jesus
These precious things, Let them bleed, Let them wash away
These precious things, Let them break, Their hold on me

 

Get It on iTunes available at Amazon

 

 

  1. “Hands” – Jewel (1998)

The power and quiet strength of this song is incredible.  In many ways the song reminds me of my Grandma whose strength in kindness I’m always in awe of.  I cannot tell you how many times “Hands” has been used in my daily meditations.

Hands JewelPower Lyrics:
If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we’re all ok
And not to worry because worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I will not be made useless
I won’t be idled with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken

available at Amazon  Get It on iTunes

 

 

 

  1. “Praying” – Kesha (2017)

Kesha’s power ballad on transformation and healing from an abusive relationship is nothing short of grace and strength electrified.  The first time I heard the song I was driving on work travels when it came on the radio I had to pull over until I could stop shaking, connecting with every lyric and note of the sonic journey.

Praying KeshaPower Lyrics:
‘Cause I can make it on my own, oh
And I don’t need you, I found a strength I’ve never known
I’ll bring thunder, I’ll bring rain, oh
When I’m finished, they won’t even know your name
You brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself, And we both know all the truth I could tell
I’ll just say this is “I wish you farewell”
I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’, I hope your soul is changin’, changin’
I hope you find your peace, Falling on your knees, prayin’

Get It on iTunes  available at Amazon

 

 

 

  1. “Courage” – Superchick (2005)

In “Courage”, Superchick delves into the difficulty of recovering from depression and eating disorders.

Courage SuperchickPower Lyrics:
I need you to know
I’m not through the night
Some days I’m still fighting to walk towards the light
I need you to know
That we’ll be okay
Together we can make it through another day

 

available at Amazon  Get It on iTunes

 

 

 

  1. “F*ckin’ Perfect” – Pink (2010) [Explicit]

I wish I could hug Pink for this song!  Leading by example, she urges all women to stop all the negative self-talk and see themselves for the beautiful unicorns they are.

fucking perfect pinkPower Lyrics:
You’re so mean when you talk about yourself, you were wrong
Change the voices in your head make them like you instead
So complicated, look happy, you’ll make it
Filled with so much hatred, such a tired game
It’s enough, I’ve done all I can think of
Chased down all my demons, I’ve seen you do the same
Pretty, pretty please, don’t you ever, ever feel,
Like you are less than, less than fuckin’ perfect
Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel like you’re nothing, You’re fuckin’ perfect to me

Get It on iTunes  available at Amazon

 

 

 

  1. “Confident” – Demi Lovato (2015) [Explicit]

Demi Lovato owns the stage with this never back down single that will having you demanding your worth too.

Confident Demi LovatoPower Lyrics:
I used to hold my freak back, Now I’m letting go
I make my own choice, Bitch, I run this show
So leave the lights on,
No, you can’t make me behave
So you say I’m complicated, That I must be outta my mind
But you had me underrated
Rated, rated
What’s wrong with being, what’s wrong with being
What’s wrong with being confident?
What’s wrong with being, what’s wrong with being
What’s wrong with being confident?

available at Amazon  Get It on iTunes

 

 

 

  1. “Brave” – Sara Bareilles (2014)

Sara Bareilles shines on this track speaking to the importance of having the courage and confidence to speak up.  You don’t have to apologize for having an opinion or speaking your truth.

Brave Sara BareillesPower Lyrics:
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

 

 

Get It on iTunes  available at Amazon

 

 

 

  1. “Bitch” – Meredith Brooks (1997) [Explicit]

Meredith Brooks’ ode to complicated women reminds us to embrace all the different facets that make us shine like diamonds.  Over 20 years later, this song still gets a pretty heavy rotation on my playlists.

Bitch Meredith BrooksPower Lyrics:
I think it’s cool, you do what you do
And don’t try to save me
I’m a bitch, I’m a lover
I’m a child, I’m a mother
I’m a sinner, I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I’m your hell, I’m your dream
I’m nothing in between
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way

 

 

available at Amazon  Get It on iTunes

 

 

 

  1. “She Wolf” –  Shakira (2009)

Many comparisons can be drawn between wolves and women.  (Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes even wrote a book regarding that called Women Who Run With the Wolves).  In this song, Shakira empowers us to let the wild wolf in us out.

She Wolf ShakiraPower Lyrics:
There’s a she wolf in the closet
Open up and set her free (ahoo)
There’s a she wolf in the closet
Let it out so it can breathe

 

 

 

 

Get It on iTunes  available at Amazon

 

 

 

  1. “This One’s For The Girls” – Martina McBride (2003)

This classic girl power anthem honors women of all ages as sisters on Life’s journey.

This Ones For The Girls Martina McBridePower Lyrics:
Yeah we’re all the same inside,
From one to ninety nine
This one’s for the girls,
Who’ve ever had a broken heart,
Who’ve wished upon a shooting star,
You’re beautiful the way you are,
This one’s for the girls,
Who love without holdin’ back,
Who dream with everything they have,
All around the world,
This one’s for the girls.

  available at Amazon Get It on iTunes

 

 

 

  1. “Bad Reputation” – Joan Jett + the Blackhearts (1980)

This rebellious rock anthem has been lighting up women for decades!  (Also a personal favorite to blast in my car with the windows down on a beautiful day.)

Bad Reputation Joan JettPower Lyrics:
I don’t give a damn ’bout my reputation
You’re living in the past, it’s a new generation
A girl can do what she wants to do and that’s what I’m gonna do
An’ I don’t give a damn ’bout my bad reputation

 

 

 

Get It on iTunes  available at Amazon

 

 

 

  1. “Rebel Girl” – Bikini Kill (1993)

A staple from the Riot Grrrl scene, Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl” pays homage to those badass women we are simply in awe of and totally girl-crush on.

Rebel Girl Bikini KillPower Lyrics:
Rebel girl rebel girl
Rebel girl you are the queen of my world
Rebel girl rebel girl
I know I want to take you home
I want to try on your clothes

 

 


available at Amazon
Get It on iTunes

 

 

 

  1. “I’m Every Woman” – Chaka Khan (1978)

Chaka Kahn celebrates the magic of women and our ability to transform to nurture the ones we love.

Im Every Woman Chaka KhanPower Lyrics:
I can cast a spell,
Of secrets you can’t tell,
Mix a special brew,
Put fire inside of you
Anytime you feel danger or fear,
Then instantly
I will appear ’cause
I’m every woman,
It’s all in me
Anything you want done, baby,
I’ll do it naturally

Get It on iTunes  available at Amazon

 

 

 

  1. “Right As Rain” – Adele (2008)

The bouncy melody of Adele’s piano belies the more complex nature of her lyrics, but it reminds us that even in times when life’s not going our way, there’s still space to relish in being independent.  (Sometimes a girl’s just gotta be alone to get shit done!)

Right As Rain AdelePower Lyrics:
‘Cause who wants to be right as rain
It’s better when something is wrong
I get excitement in my bones
Even though everything’s a strain
When night comes and I’m on my own
You should know I chose to be alone
Who wants to be right as rain
It’s harder when you’re on top

 

available at Amazon   Get It on iTunes
 

 

 

 

  1. “Fly” – Nicki Minaj (feat. Rihanna) (2011) [Explicit]

This power duet by two of the most powerful women in hip-hop is striking with its beauty, honesty, and inspiration.

Fly Nicki Minaj RhiannaPower Lyrics:
I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive
I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise
To fly

‘Cause I am not a word, I am not a line
I am not a girl that can ever be defined
I am not fly, I am levitation
I represent an entire generation

 

Get It on iTunes  available at Amazon

 

 

 

Ready for more?  Tune into Volume II of The Ultimate Girl Power Playlist series!

 

Have a favorite on this list?  Tell me about it! Have other favorite songs you want to see on The Ultimate Girl Power Playlist?  Let me know! Comment below or on the SoulFire Tribe – Light It Up Facebook Group!  Share your knowledge and engage with other women!  Share this article with a friend and continue the conversation!

Xoxo,

 

Get the 8 (SECRET) Skills of Successful Women!

In my FREE guide, Queen Rising, I give you the 8 SECRET skills successful women use to lead happy, balanced lives and define success on their own terms!

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Stella Autumn

Founder, Women's Empowerment Coach, + Writer/Blogger at SoulFire Tribe
* Queen * Rebel * Unicorn * Coach * Writer * Lawyer * Witch * Geek * Goth/Alt Chick * Poetess * Explorer * Artist * Hippie * Book Dragon * Ladyboss * Quirky, Curious, + Creative * // I empower women invested in personal and professional growth to discover the courage and creativity within themselves to lead happy, balanced, and successful lives defined by their own terms!
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