I recently texted my twin sister a screen shot of a new Miranda Lambert song that came up in my shuffle. I often do this when I want to share a song with her and/or solicit her opinion about a song. We both love female pop singers and pop music in general, and have loved pop since the beginning of our existence. Her response was:
“It’s like that subdued chill pop thing, it’s ok it’s a nice song…you should do a post on your top pop goddesses because Miranda is such a a random choice people don’t see her like you do.”-My twin sister
I also agree with her assessment of the song that I sent her to sample, Settling Down. It is a bit more subdued than normal and I’m not even really sure why I sent it to my sis. Miranda is a powerhouse for the most part and the queen of catchy tunes with a badass curve. I should have sent her White Trash, which is my favorite song from her new album.
[Note: As I just connected the White Trash link above to the YouTube audio file, I started listening to it. And once I started listening, I had to stand up. Once I stood up, I had to dance. And as I was dancing, I became covered in head-to-toe goosebumps. These goosebumps, often triggered by pop magic, are a clear indication that my soul is aligned with the feelings I’m feeling from the song.]
That’s a good pop song. A good pop song should move you. It should make you not give a fuck what others think. I don’t care whether or not any of these goddesses below are thought of as cool or legitimate. I really couldn’t give a fuck. They move my soul and take me from a dark place to a light one in three minutes. How can one overlook that?
HOW I DECIDED WHO MADE IT ONTO THIS LIST
Let me first explain the “overlooked” aspect of this list. I know most of these female pop singers are crazy famous, crazy rich, with millions of followers. So, I don’t mean that they’re invisible with no fans. I mean more that pop music seems to be less and less popular these days, and I feel the need to call attention to some seemingly forgotten heroes of mine. Perhaps it’s just because I’m old. I’m 41 and the female musicians that I love are just no longer cool, if they ever were. So, I suppose this list is for three kinds of people:
- Those who think pop music is lame and have never given it a chance. Because giving it a chance would mean that you might run the risk of realizing you’re not as cool as you think you are.
- Those of you youngsters (millennials/post-millennials and beyond, born after 2000) who have never even heard of half of these people on my list.
- Those of you who love pop like I do and who want to celebrate with me!
There are so many female pop singers who come to mind when one decides to tackle this kind of list. However, I have very specific and personal criteria that informed the making of this particular list.
For me, the female pop singers who made the list are those who have changed my life in some way. These are singers who saved me with their music in a moment of need. Or, who have brought continued and sustained joy into my life. I also have to identify with the particular female pop singer in some way, if they are to make it onto this list.
This list is emotional and meaningful to me. It’s not just about some silly songs. These women have supported my goddess-hood for decades.
I also think it’s important to mention a handful of female pop singers who didn’t quite make it onto the list, but who I would put in the category of “Honorable Mention.” These women fulfill all of the criteria above for certain, but maybe not in quite the same way as the A-Team. Or maybe they are missing a fragment of some of the criteria, so I couldn’t justify adding them. But still, they need to be mentioned. They make me happy and I can’t (and don’t want to) imagine my life without them.
- Miley Cyrus
- Michelle Branch
- No Doubt (Note: I did not say Gwen Stefani, since I really don’t prefer her solo work)
- Nelly Furtado
Inspired by my dear blogging friend, Moksha of The Happy Panda, who recently named me one of her “Soul Sister” bloggers #honored, I’m taking cues from her and categorizing each of these pop singers. Categorizing, labeling, logging, and putting into boxes, things and people appeals to my anal-retentive and controlling, Virgo sensibilities. I also deeply enjoy when I’m put into a box, labeled, and/or categorized, strangely. So, I had fun with this aspect of the article! I hope you enjoy it as well.
In no particular order…
Since we’re on the topic of Miranda, I figured I would start with this particular female pop singer. I had never heard of Miranda Lambert until I moved to New York City. And I know one does not immediately associate country music with New York City, but stay with me. I was living in Astoria, Queens with my roommate at the time, Grace. Grace is from Tennessee, and if you have ever met anyone from Tennessee, you will know that they are born knowing good music. It’s in their blood and woven within their genetic coding. Anyway, I wandered into Grace’s room for a sec one day and she was playing Miranda. My ears perked up and I wanted more. She was shocked that I had never heard of her before and instantly burned me a CD (this was 2010, give me a break). I’ve been in love ever since.
Miranda is edgy and fierce, and I don’t mean that in a casual way. Her lyrics are at times shocking if you really listen to them. But her voice is truly angelic, so that interplay is super fun.
I wouldn’t necessarily want to be friends with her, however. She’s kind of the boyfriend stealing sort. But, if I was in a scary situation with a guy and needed a friend to come and fuck some shit up, I would call Miranda. There’s value in that and her songs convey that kind of badass strength.
“We’re just like you, only prettier.”
“It’s time to get a gun.”
“Forget you high society. I’m soakin’ it in kerosene. Light ’em up and watch them burn. Teach them what they need to learn, ha!”
“I’m goin’ home, gonna load my shotgun. Wait by the door, and light a cigarette. If he wants a fight, well, now he’s got one. And he ain’t seen me crazy yet”
WHEN TO LISTEN TO MIRANDA
- When you’re feeling powerless
- If you’re feeling angry
- Anytime in the summer and/or when it’s hot
- When you’re in a good mood and wanna have fun
- When you’re driving anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line
THE NAME TO MY PAIN
Fiona Apple is probably one of the most important female pop singers of my life. She hit the scene (1996) just as my teen angst was beginning to peak, and her music instantly put a name to my pain.
Firstly, Fiona is a poet. So, I suppose if you don’t enjoy groupings of beautiful and evocative words strung together with profound artistry, then yeah, maybe you won’t like her. Otherwise, you should give her a whirl if you haven’t already.
I don’t give a shit that no one likes her. Her unpopularity within the music industry matters not to me. The words she utters in public that piss everyone off don’t bother me. Because for years, her music was my answer. I identified with her and was inspired by her beauty. She’s beautiful. Her voice is beautiful. The lyrics she croons are beautiful. And she’s not afraid of the dark. She leans into her pain and makes it safe for you to go with her.
For those of you who don’t know, she was raped at the early age of 12. Her music, her life, and her mental state is often, obviously, influenced by this experience. She’s got major ish, so she sings about it. And I’m happy to be her witness.
[I have to say that I don’t care for her most recent work, but I vehemently stand behind her albums: Tidal and When the Pawn, and enjoy some songs from Extraordinary Machine and The Idler Wheel.]
“It’s calm under the waves, in the blue of my oblivion.”
“No thing I do don’t do no thing but bring me more to do. It’s true, I do imbue my blue unto myself, I make it bitter.”
“Won’t do no good to hold no seánce. What’s gone is gone and you can’t bring it back around. Won’t do no good to hold no searchlight. You can’t illuminate what time has anchored down.”
WHEN TO LISTEN TO FIONA
- When you’re sad
- If you’re mellow
- Rainy days
- In the evening
- When you’re creating art
- If you’re feeling stuck and need to get your feelings out
- When you want to cry
- When you’re in a contemplative mood and/or traveling
THE OLD SOUL
Alanis Morissette is one of the standout female pop singers of the 90s and was my female pop friend through late high school, all of college, and beyond.
I share about my college experience and my profound relationship with my college roommate, Molly, in my article, ART MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER. Disagreeing about the often overlooked and unpopular stigma of pop music was a running theme between Molly and I’s friendship. However, she kindly credits me to her recent warming of this musical genre, and I am forever grateful for her openness to its magic.
Liking Alanis has never been cool. Maybe when she first came out with one of her best pop songs ever, You Oughta Know, maybe people kinda thought she was cool. I recall my dad expressing in the car one day as we were listening, “Why is she so angry?” Good question, Dad. Although if you listen to her lyrics, you might understand why.
I remember on one of my first few dates with my now partner, he mentioned “chick music” in reference to Alanis. I was DEEPLY offended and made it known. He recoiled and apologized, and of course we’re fine now. But seriously, watch it. She’s certainly polarizing, isn’t she?
I’m sorry if Alanis is a scary dork or whatever, but jeez, give her a chance. She’s a poet as well. She’s got a beautiful voice and she is super raw. Alanis is vulnerable and powerful and is just herself. It’s admirable and inspiring.
“I hate to bug you in the middle of dinner. It was a slap in the face. How quickly I was replaced. And are you thinking of me when you fuck her?”
“And you were mindboggling, you were intense. You were uncomfortable in your own skin, you were thirsty. But mostly you were beautiful.”
“Do I wear you out? You must wonder why I’m relentless and all strung out. I’m consumed by the chill of solitary.”
WHEN TO LISTEN TO ALANIS
- If you’re in the mood to contemplate life
- When you’re feeling lost and lonely and need a friend
- In your 20s
- When you need to work your brain
THE INNOCENT ONE
I have only recently discovered the magic that is Kim Petras, through my bestie. And not only does our mutual love for her solidify our existing bond of friendship. But also, I think I can speak for him when I say that she has opened up a chamber within both of our hearts and infiltrated our chest centers with increased levels of joy, hope, and pure pop fun.
I know my pop. I have been loving pop and listening to female pop singers since forever. And I can honestly say that Kim Petras has created some of the best pop songs my ears have ever heard.
I had to get up and dance to these two songs as well, before I could continue this post. What’s magical about these songs is that whenever I hear them, I instantly see my bestie rocking out in front of me. We share the same passion for her and we’ve spent many a visits dancing like assholes together. I can’t think of Kim without thinking of him. He gets her like I do and he feels passion when he hears her, just like me. Pop music unites, and Kim is a pop ambassador.
She’s fun, she’s sweet, and she’s got a strong and solid pop voice.
WHEN TO LISTEN TO KIM PETRAS
- When you want to dance
- At a wedding
- In the summer with the windows down
- When you want to get in touch with your youthful side
- With children
- With friends
- When you feel like singing
I’m just going to get right into it, since there’s a bit too much to cover with Gaga. If you haven’t ever listened to AND watched the video Marry The Night, then you don’t yet understand Gaga.
Lady Gaga goes places that no one really wants to go. And I don’t even mean stylistically or musically, although she sometimes does that as well. I mean that she puts her neck out there and stretches it across a canyon of blackness. And she tells everyone, “Okay you guys, it’s safe to pass. I’ve been to the other side and back and I know what it’s like. If I can do it, you can do it.” She’s a weirdo and makes all other weirdos feel okay to be weird too.
I don’t love everything Gaga does, but the stuff that I do love, I love with all of my being. I do believe she is also one of the best pop female singers ever.
My favorite songs by Gaga are Monster, Marry The Night, Teeth, Speechless, and You and I.
I had the joy and privilege of traveling with my bestie to Las Vegas to see Gaga live in concert in 2019. What a treat for us both!
My bestie and I enjoying Las Vegas before the concert.
WHEN TO LISTEN TO GAGA
- When you’re alone and wanting to feel connected
- In the car, alone or with friends
- When you want to feel inspired
- When you are on the brink of losing hope
I don’t think I would have much in common with Katy Perry, if we ever did meet. I think she’s a bit out there and strange. Which of course, I don’t have a problem with. I’m just saying, she’s built to be a pop star. She might not be the best hanging-out-on-the-couch company, but she has come into this world, specifically to shine. She has a vision and a style and is unwavering in whatever she does. That’s empowering to watch as a woman, and I love her for this.
Katy Perry is one of those female pop singers whose songs make more sense when coupled with her performance. Her videos bring her songs to life. Her costumes and set designs often make me “get” a song when at first I might have overlooked it. She’s a package deal and she’s a super pro at pop icon-sim.
Everything she does is very her, if that makes sense. She is dripping with Katy-ness and I think that makes her an artist. She also does not shy away from female power. And just because her videos, songs, and makeup, seem like they are stuck together with bubble gum, they are not. She’s solid, and she’s expressing herself freely and unapologetically, always. She just happens to like pink, and purple, and other stuff that I can’t put my finger on at the moment. So, good for her!
I have to say, one of my all time, very best, most favorite pop songs of ALL TIME is Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. Another song that I HAVE to dance to immediately when I hear it. If I can’t dance to it when I hear it, my body aches a bit.
[Just had to get up and dance to this one also. Man, I’m getting my workout with this post today! Full body goosebumps during said dance sesh.]
WHEN TO LISTEN TO KATY PERRY
- When you want to dance
- At a wedding
- When you want to feel youthful and free
- Listen to Rise when you are feeling powerless, scared, and/or weak
- Listen to Dark Horse any time because it’s uhhhmazing, and make sure you watch the video for this one
THE OPEN WOUND
God, the world has given so much shit to Tay Tay over the years. It really pisses me off.
You know why I love Taylor Swift, in addition to the utter joy her music brings to me? I love her because she is constantly humiliated, but she just keeps going, head held high. She might say some dumb shit or do some dumb things. But who doesn’t? She might display moments of immaturity, but we all have our moments. And when she does, she’s emotionally annihilated by the world. But she kind of just shrugs and keeps going. Not because she doesn’t care or because she isn’t wounded. But because she’s resilient and strong. Do you know how hard it is to be humiliated and critiqued publicly and repeatedly? And then in the face of that cringe-worthy awkwardness, you get on stage and sing, or put out an album, or walk out your front door? That’s hard. Give her a break people.
She’s one of those female pop singers who reminds me of me. She’s so sensitive and so vulnerable and open. Sometimes, I think the cruelty of the world can shock her. It’s her gift to the world, and her burden.
I love Tay’s music because it is fun and unites me in friendship. I can think of three specific people in my life whom I’ve deeply bonded with while listening to a Taylor Swift song. In those moments, we were each feeling so much love for her, for each other, and for the world. It was great.
I also have to say that I don’t love every single thing she does or every single song she releases. But I have my favorites and they are utterly and painfully good.
MY FAVORITE TAYLOR SWIFT SONGS
- I Knew You Were Trouble
- Love Story
WHEN TO LISTEN TO TAYLOR SWIFT
- When you’re feeling youthful
- In the summer
- In the winter
- When you want to sing
- With friends
Oh Christina, I love you. And I’m sorry you don’t get the love you deserve.
I don’t know anyone who likes Christina, actually. No one. But I love her.
Aside from the fact that she’s one of the greatest vocalists of all time (possibly on par with Aretha Franklin), I have also been saved by so many of her songs. She’s actually probably one of the most “saving me in my time of need” female pop singers on this list. Her songs to this day, still make me cry.
However, I’m kind of attached to one album, and then after that, I’m not really into much of her music. But again, I don’t want to imagine my life without that album.
SONGS FROM THE STRIPPED ALBUM THAT MAKE ME CRY AND/OR THAT I LOVE
- Can’t Hold Us Down
- The Voice Within
- Keep on Singin’ My Song
WHEN TO LISTEN TO CHRISTINA
- When you want to sing in your car and pretend you have an amazing voice
- In moments of utter darkness and deep insecurity
- When you are feeling lost and hopeless
- Only when you’re alone, unless you’re listening to Lady Marmalade, then that’s only with friends
FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE
I know Florence isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I know my twin often tells me that she has trouble listening to her because “she’s too intense,” and she just often stirs up too many emotions. It’s so true. Florence is not for the faint of heart. I’m not saying my twin is faint of heart, hell no. I’m just saying, you don’t listen to Florence unless you want to be transported somewhere. And not everyone is in the mood to transport.
Florence is next level, and she could probably be placed in a category outside of pop, such as alternative, rock, or folk. She and her band offer a bit of everything. She’s honestly a genius and her band is phenomenal. The sounds they create are almost galactic and not of this world. The music is etherial and deeply earth-bound, all in the same breath.
Florence is a hopeless romantic, so I root for her, because I identify with that. Or at least I did when I was single. She validated my crazy when I thought I was the only crazy female who obsessed over men who couldn’t care less about me. That’s kind of her thing. I hope she grows out of it eventually, but in the meantime, wow is it amazing fodder for creation.
Listen to all of her albums. They’re all good.
“Make up your mind. Let me live or let me love you. While you’ve been saving your neck. I’ve been breaking mine for you.”
“No more dreaming of the dead as if death itself was undone. No more calling like a crow for a boy, for a body in the garden.”
“You want a revelation. You want to get it right. And it’s a conversation. I just can’t have tonight.”
WHEN TO LISTEN TO FLORENCE
- When you’re making art
- If you’re obsessed with a guy who’s not calling/texting you
- When you’re in the mood to be transported
- At night
- When you want to lean into your crazy
- In the winter
- When you’re alone
- When you aren’t in the mood to feel good or happy
I talk more about this band’s influence on me during my dating journey in my article, WHEN A GODDESS MEETS A MAN.
THE FREE SPIRIT
God I love Kesha. I love Ke$ha and I love Kesha. If you haven’t ever been informed, it would also be helpful to read up on the #FreeKesha stuff. One could definitely put her into the underdog category of female pop singers as well, but I do see her as more of a free spirit.
Kesha is gritty and full of glitter. She’s raunchy, and hopeful, and trashy, and super intelligent. I have very, very few things in common with Kesha, except for her vulnerable soul, and of course, the glitter. But she’s someone I aspire to be more like. She’s not scared. She jumps head first and puts fun before most things. She’s become more serious over the years, but I think that’s a sign of growth. She’ll never lose her grit, and I’m glad, because the world is a better place when she exposes her raw spirit.
There are so many Kesha songs that I love, I can’t really even catalog them all here. Her lyrics are nasty and funny. But they can also make you cry. She’s truly amazing.
SONGS TO SAMPLE IF YOU NEVER HAVE
- Rainbow (serious)
- Gold Trans Am (fun)
- C’Mon (fun)
- Thinking of You (fun)
- Animal (serious + fun)
- Praying (serious)
- Woman (fun)
WHEN TO LISTEN TO KESHA
- When you want to feel all of your emotions
- If you are in a joy-seeking mood
- When you need strength
- In the car when you’re alone
- When your heart is full of passion and hope
THE STRONG ONE
Oh Kelly. She knows my soul. She is me and I am her. She’s been through hell and back all before the age of 15.
She’s kinda tough on the inside, but sometimes we need to hear that from female pop singers. Sometimes it’s time to get your shit together and stop fucking around. Or sometimes, it’s time to STOP being so hard on yourself and just own your goddess-ness. Just do it! Kelly inspires all of this. She also completely allows for lots and lots of anger. Anger is good and healing and empowering, if expressed and felt in a supportive way. Kelly will be a witness to your anger, and you can be a witness to hers. She represents sisterhood, although she doesn’t really sing about that. She sings about herself and her stuff, but as she does, you become one with her and realize you are never alone. Not if you have Kelly.
Kelly is also a chameleon. Her songs appeal to different folks at different times. And someone could also not really be a fan of Kelly’s but just “love that one song” of hers. That’s okay. That’s great! She’s a well-rounded soul and a self-actualized woman. She has many perspectives because she has lived many experiences, and has such wisdom to show for it. Her voice also kicks ass!
KELLY’S CHRISTMAS ALBUM
A final note about Kelly Clarkson’s Wrapped in Red Christmas album. This is a very special album that my twin sister and I share so much love for. Christmas is a very nostalgic time for us (as it is for so many). Our childhood kinda sucked in many ways, but our Christmases remained magical through it all, somehow. And my sister and I attribute much of that to the effort put in by both of our parents, to make this holiday beautiful every year. We still carry around those magical, childhood feels when Christmas season hits. And one of our favorite things to do is drive around town, shopping for gifts, and rock out to this album. It’s not for everyone, but it was made for my sister and I, that’s for sure.
WHEN TO LISTEN TO KELLY CLARKSON
- When you need a kick in the ass or a self-esteem boost
- After a break-up or after you’ve been dumped or rejected
- In the car with friends
- In the car alone
- When you want to be reminded of your strength and power
Pop music and female pop singers are a massive part of my life. I honestly can’t believe it’s taken me this long to write a post about pop music. So, thank you again to my twin who inspired me to write this. I know for a fact that she will not agree with all of my selections, because we do have varying and nuanced preferences. But I’m pretty sure she’ll dig this article, for the mere fact that I’m trying to honor pop music in a way that most people don’t. Because it’s not cool, apparently. But as I’ve said before, I don’t give a shit. It makes me happy. And therefore, it’s a spiritual thing for me. It’s important to me and it’s not silly. Female pop singers have saved me in times of darkness. I owe them more than this article, but at least it’s a start.
THANK YOU TO ANY HATERS WHO WERE REMOTELY OPEN TO THIS ARTICLE
My twin in the front and I behind her, desperate to be seen. I can’t really think of pop without my twin. They are interchangeable and interwoven. Pop music + my twin + me = Trifecta of Goddess Joy
If you liked this article, you might also enjoy my other articles from the GODDESS section of this blog.
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Featured photo obtained from here
Miranda Lambert photo obtained from here
Fiona Apple photo obtained from here
Alanis Morissette photo obtained from here
Kim Petras photo obtained from here
Lady Gaga photo obtained from here
Katy Perry photo obtained from here
Taylor Swift photo obtained from here
Christina Aguilera photo obtained from here
Florence and the Machine photo obtained from here
Kesha photo obtained from here
Kelly Clarkson photo obtained from here