I could, I suppose, cut this playlist down further. But I didn’t see a reason to do so. I mean, I started with over one hundred and fifty songs in contention.
The playlist has some obvious lacks and faults. Not enough women of color. Not enough songs by women who are not from the U.S. I’m missing some major, important, icons and songs — there’s no Madonna, for instance, no Lauper, and not enough country music. Country music is awash in amazing songs about female agency, I just don’t happen to know enough about the music to pick some out.
I loosely grouped the songs into sections, sort of kind of thematically. In my head, the whole playlist is not about a specific single female character. But it is, sort of, about the nature of being one kind of woman. The sections are titled in that character’s voice. (Songs are listed in the format “song title — band name”.)
1. I’m tough, amazing, and possibly dangerous. You certainly don’t want to mess with me.
TKO — Le Tigre
Heads Will Roll — Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Consider This — Anna Nalick
I Like Playing With Fire — The Runaways
Rockstar 101 — Rihanna
One Beat — Sleater- Kinney
Paper Planes — M.I.A.
People Got a Lot of Nerve — Neko Case
UNITE! — Hamasaki Ayumi
2. And these other women, that I’m singing about here? They are also amazing, and fascinating, and I can’t stop thinking about them.
Karen By Night — Jill Sobule
Gloria — Patti Smith
Rebel Girl — Bikini Kill
Once And Never Again — The Long Blondes
Caroline — Concrete Blondes
Gloria — Laura Branigan
Maria — Blondie
Crimson and Clover — Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
All The Things She Said — t.A.T.u.
3. When I set my eye on who I want, I don’t stay quiet about it. If I want you, I tell you.
Call Me — Blondie
Connection — Elastica
See You Again — Miley Cyrus
Heard It Through the Grapevine — The Slits
Long Shot — Kelly Clarkson
Piece of My Heart — Janis Joplin
Take it Off — The Donnas
When You’re Good to Mama — Queen Latifah
I Touch Myself — The DiVinyls
Because the Night — Patti Smith
4. Sometimes, though, you don’t want me back. Or it’s more complicated than that. And that hurts. Sometimes it’s you that’s hurt me, and I can’t feel anything but anger.
Insomniatic — Aly & A.J.
Girlfriend — Avril Lavigne
Love is a Battlefield — Pat Benetar
Why Can’t I? — Liz Phair
Telephone — Lady Gaga w/ Beyonce
Criminal — Fiona Apple
Like the Way I Do — Melissa Etheridge
You Oughta Know — Alanis Morrisette
5. It’s the world, sometimes, that just sucks. That hurts. And the choices I make to get through that sucky world may be bad choices, but they are still mine.
Celebrity Skin — Hole
Just a Girl — No Doubt
Queen of Apology — The Sounds
Like O, Like H — Tegan and Sara
Pretend We’re Dead — L7
The Moneymaker — Rilo Kiley
Down by the Water — PJ Harvey
6. They are still my choices, it is still my life.
When I Grow Up — Garbage
Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) — Florence and the Machine
Control — Poe
Fighter — Christina Aguilera
7. And I am and I do what I please.
Sweet About Me — Gabriella Cilmi
Gimme Sympathy — Metric
People We Want — Kenickie
L.E.S. Artistes — Santigold
So What — Pink
Goodbye to You — The Veronicas
Barracuda — Heart
Xxxo — M.I.A.
8. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating me.
I Live for the Day — Lindsey Lohan
Piece of Me — Britney Spears
Tougher Than the Rest — Emmylou Harris
Bad Reputation — Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Fingerprints — Katy Perry
Respect — Aretha Franklin
I’m Ready — DJ Rap
Invincible — Pat Benetar
Let the Flames Begin — Paramore
Wild — Poe
Because I’m Awesome — The Dollyrots
9. Because when all of this is said and done, I am still tough, amazing, and possibly dangerous. if that’s what you’re up for, come along.
I Walk the Earth — Voice of the Beehive
Evolution — Hamasaki Ayumi
Dance This Mess Around — The B-52’s
I Will Survive — Gloria Gaynor
Pull Shapes — The Pipettes
We Got the Beat — The Go-Go’s