When it comes to music, a song has the fundamental ability to change a listener’s mind, mood, and perspective. Just a few notes can magically transport you back to a specific moment in time, cause tears to well up in your eyes, or head to the dancefloor to dance the night away. There’s no better feeling in the world, however, than when you hear a song that inspires you to be your boldest, most confident self. If you find yourself chasing that happy-go-lucky adrenaline rush that washes over you every time Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls)” or Taylor Swift’s “The Man” pops up on shuffle, then look no further than these 25 songs that every badass woman must have in their life and their Spotify or Apple Music libraries.
While this is not a list of feminist songs per se, the tracks on this list do share a common focus on empowering and uplifting female voices and perspectives. It’s why this playlist is jam-packed with influential anthems — from the always unapologetic and powerful Lizzo’s “Good as Hell” to the rollicking country rock goddess Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” — that are all performed by female artists. One listen to any of these songs and you’ll feel ready to take on the world and make it your own.
Whether you’re in a slump or already on top of the world, a sick beat, a powerful female vocalist, and badass lyrics can really take you to the next level. So crank up your speakers and prepare to feel like a boss because these songs are sure to get you turned up.
1. “Bitch Better Have My Money” by Rihanna
“Don't act like you forgot / I call the shots, shots, shots / Like bra, bra, bra / Pay me what you owe me, don't act like you forgot.”
Having a terrible day and need a song that will turn it all around? Rihanna’s got you covered. “B*tch Better Have My Money” is a fiery, unapologetic tune that will remind you not to take ish from anyone else. Its lyrics are all about feeling confident, demanding what's rightfully yours, and remembering your own self-worth. So go seize the day!
2. “Run The World (Girls)” by Beyoncé
“This goes out to all the women getting it in, you on your grind / To all the men that respect what I do, please accept my shine / Boy, you know you love it / How we smart enough to make these millions / Strong enough to bear the children (children) / Then get back to business.”
This is a song choice that needs no explanation. Beyoncé’s feminist anthem “Run the World (Girls)” is an incendiary, unflinching look into myriad titles that women take on throughout their lives — daughter, wife, businesswoman, mother — and how the world would be nothing without them. It also urges listeners to harness their own inner power, take pride in their achievements, and keep aiming for the next goal.
3. “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” by Nancy Sinatra
“These boots are made for walkin' / And that's just what they'll do / One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.”
Nancy Sinatra's classic 1966 hit was truly ahead of its time. Its message was simple, yet effective: Cheat on me, and be prepared to pay the consequences. The track's country guitar jangle, hard-hitting bass drum, and snappy tambourine also leaned into the song's messaging and provided a hard, almost threatening contrast to Sinatra's sweet vocals. So, if anyone gets on your bad side, turn this song up, get your boots on, and start walking!
4. “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” by Adele
“I was too strong, you were trembling / You couldn't handle the hot heat rising (rising), mmm / Baby, I'm still rising / I was running, you were walking / You couldn't keep up, you were falling down.”
When it comes to breakups within music, most songs tend to veer down the path of heartbreak, endless tears, and residual longing. While Adele has not shied away from that territory in the past — who can forget “Hello?” — ”Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” centers on knowing you were too good for that ex to begin with and it’s truly their loss, not yours. Upbeat and extremely catchy, this is the song to listen to when you’re free of all the drama and ready to move on.
5. “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” by Shania Twain
“Girls need a break, tonight we're gonna take / The chance to get out on the town / We don't need romance, we only wanna dance / We're gonna let our hair hang down / The best thing about bein' a woman / Is the prerogative to have a little fun.”
Let’s go, girls! The first seven notes of country icon Shania Twain’s hit “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” are some of the most recognizable in music history. This track is all about the joy of letting loose and being your fierce, flirty, and independent self. Color your hair! Do what you dare! Be free to feel the way you feel.
6. “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” by Marilyn Monroe
“A kiss on the hand / May be quite continental / But diamonds are a girl's best friend / A kiss may be grand / But it won't pay the rental / On your humble flat / Or help you at the automat.”
Name a more iconic performance in film history than Marilyn Monroe singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. We’ll wait. While draped in Tiffany’s, Cartier, Black Starr, Frost Gorham’s best, Monroe warns listeners not to fall for the mind games men play and to instead focus on the glitzy gifts they offer instead. The idea of not needing a man — and certainly not falling for his sweet-talking and deception — but using them to obtain gorgeous jewelery is the ultimate girlboss move.
7. “Woman” by BoA
“No comparing / I shine just as I am / I’m beautiful enough / To be a woman / Hey yeah yeah yeah / In a stylish and modern picture / I’m enjoying this adventure / A true woman.”
Known for her strong vocals and dance prowess, K-pop solo artist BoA has remained at the forefront of Korean entertainment for the last 21 years. The title track of her ninth Korean album, “Woman,” is a female empowerment anthem that stands up to the harsh beauty standards forced upon women and encourages listeners to celebrate their own inner beauty instead. Feels good to be a woman, indeed.
8. “Stronger” by Britney Spears
“You might think that I can't take it, but you're wrong / 'Cause now I'm stronger than yesterday / Now it's nothing but my way / My loneliness ain't killing me no more / I, I'm stronger.”
Britney Spears’ 2000 single “Stronger” is the uplifting pop hit we all need in our lives. The track’s emotional chorus centers around the idea that, no matter what the world or the people around you might believe, you’re strong enough to get through anything that comes your way. So, like Spears, take control of your own destiny and never look back.
9. “Sour Candy” by Lady Gaga & Blackpink
“I'm sour candy / so sweet then I get a little angry, yeah / Sour candy, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah / I'm super psycho / make you crazy when I turn the lights low / Sour candy.”
With its pulsating backbeat and sugary lyrics, Blackpink and Lady Gaga’s 2020 collab track is a sensual club bop that will make you want to get up and dance. The song — which likens a person's mysterious, quick-tempered personality to the shockingly sweet treat — is not only a perfect encapsulation of both artists’ styles but also a total mood booster with its cool, confident lyrics. So channel your own sour candy and get out there!
10. “9 To 5” by Dolly Parton
“But you got dreams he'll never take away / In the same boat with a lot of your friends / Waiting for the day your ship will come in / And the tide's gonna turn an' it's all gonna roll your way.”
What a way to make a living! Written and sung by Dolly Parton for the eponymous 1980 film (which she also starred in), the timeless classic “9 to 5” shines a spotlight on the difficulties women around the world face within the workplace. This song feels almost therapeutic. Whether it’s “barely getting by,” feeling unjustly passed up for a promotion, or having your ideas blatantly stolen, Parton levels with the everyday listener and provides a glimmer of hope: “The tide’s gonna turn” one day. Keep going!
11. “The Man” by Taylor Swift
“I'm so sick of running as fast as I can / Wondering if I'd get there quicker / If I was a man / And I'm so sick of them coming at me again / 'Cause if I was a man / Then I'd be the man.”
Taylor Swift’s 2020 hit “The Man'' flawlessly called out all of the hypocrisy surrounding how men and women are portrayed within media and society. While a man is deemed “complex,” “cool,” and “an alpha type” for dating around, flaunting his wealth, and making “power moves” at his job, Swift highlights how women are painted as “rude,” undeserving, or other derogatory names for the exact same behavior. The cutting, atmospheric track is truly the feminist anthem we need.
12. “Good As Hell” by Lizzo
“Come now, come dry your eyes / You know you a star, you can touch the sky / I know that it's hard but you have to try / If you need advice, let me simplify / If he don't love you anymore / Just walk your fine ass out the door.”
Lizzo’s feel-good party hit “Good as Hell” 100% deserves a spot on this list. It’s impossible to listen to this song and not feel almost healed by its heartfelt lyrics afterward. It feels like a three-minute hug from your best friend and will leave you inspired to go out and paint the town red.
13. "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood
“I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive / Carved my name into his leather seats / I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights / I slashed a hole in all four tires / Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats.”
Every badass woman knows the power Carrie Underwood’s hit single “Before He Cheats” holds. The country rock single tells the story of Underwood getting some much-needed revenge on her cheating partner, and while its opening verses that disparage other women aren’t great (that’s 2005 for you), the sweet satisfaction of its chorus continues to make this track a must-have in all badass female playlists. Don’t try this at home, but do enjoy the fantasy.
14. “Savage Remix (Feat. Beyoncé)” by Megan Thee Stallion
“I'm a savage, yeah (OK) / Classy, bougie, ratchet, yeah (OK) / Sassy, moody, nasty, yeah (Hey, hey, nasty) / Acting stupid, what's happening?”
Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé do not miss. Ever. So you know the combination of both artists on a single song was always destined for a spot on this playlist. “Savage Remix” is a celebration of confident women who are strong in their own convictions and take no flak from anyone. Plus, if you know the TikTok dance, then there’s a fun dance element to it, too.
15. “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa
“If you don't wanna see me dancing with somebody / If you wanna believe that anything could stop me / Don't show up, don't come out / Don't start caring about me now / Walk away, you know how / Don't start caring about me now.”
Dua Lipa is done with relationship drama in “Don’t Start Now.” After a bad breakup, the cutthroat disco bop cuts straight to the chase in its funky chorus: If you don’t want to see me moving on, then don’t come out, because I will be having fun and if that makes you upset, then that’s your problem. The coy lyrics assure listeners that they can enjoy themselves without living under the shadow of their ex, which is a message we love.
16. “Nightmare” by Halsey
“No, I won't smile, but I'll show you my teeth / And I'ma let you speak if you just let me breathe / I've been polite, but won't be caught dead / Lettin' a man tell me what I should do in my bed.”
Halsey takes aim at men who try to constantly dictate the lives of women in their gritty, high octane hit “Nightmare.” In addition to growling at men who tell her to smile on the street (the ultimate power move), the track takes no prisoners when it comes to getting Halsey’s main point across: “I don’t owe you a godd*mn thing.” A true badass moment.
17. “Strip (Feat. Sharaya J)” by Little Mix
“Take off all my make-up / 'Cause I love what's under it / Rub off all your words, don't give a uh, I'm over it / Jiggle all this weight, yeah / You know I love all of this / Finally love me naked, sexiest when I'm confident.”
If you need a confidence boost, then look no further than Little Mix’s “Strip.” This song is all about celebrating the female body, mind, and soul, and its delightfully simple melody allows its empowering lyrics to take center stage. One moment “Strip” is slicing through the negativity and the next the Little Mix members are gassing you up, and for that it deserves a spot on this list.
18. “Part Of Me” by Katy Perry
“This is the part of me / That you're never gonna ever take away from me, no / Throw your sticks and your stones / Throw your bombs and your blows / But you're not gonna break my soul.”
Katy Perry’s 2012 hit “Part of Me” is not only an iconic tune, but it carries with it an important message: Never change yourself just to please someone else. The track’s lyrics paint Perry as someone who has gone through the ringer and come out the other side stronger and more assured of herself than ever before. Trust us, that self-reliance and strength never goes out of style.
19. “God Is A Woman” by Ariana Grande
“And I can be all the things you told me not to be / When you try to come for me, I keep on flourishing / And he see the universe when I'm the company / It's all in me.”
Ariana Grande’s seductive, shimmery, slow-crooning single is all about the beauty of the divine feminine energy that we all possess as people (yes, including men!). The track is soft and delicate with Grande’s lilting vocals, yet also has a no-nonsense approach to people who try to diminish the light and power a woman holds. When all is said and done, after listening to this song, you will believe God is a woman.
20. “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac
“All your life you've never seen / Woman taken by the wind / Would you stay if she promised you heaven? / Will you ever win?”
From its slow-churning backbeat to its multi-layered harmonies, there’s a sort of mystical aura that flows through Fleetwood Mac’s 1976 hit “Rhiannon.” It’s almost as mysterious as the track’s strong-willed protagonist, the titular Rhiannon, who is as beautiful as she is unreachable. Why is this track on this list, you might ask? Because Rhiannon is truly badass. Despite how many people want her, she’s focused on herself and her own dreams rather than completing anyone else’s. She is conscious of the world and the people around her, yet always chooses to go her own way instead. Need I say more?
21. “Wannabe” by Spice Girls
“Now you know how I feel / Say, you can handle my love, are you for real / I won't be hasty, I'll give you a try / If you really bug me then I'll say goodbye.”
If you wanna listen to songs performed by badass women, then the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” needs to be on that list. The 1996 bop was the British girl group’s first single and set the record straight out of the gate by declaring: “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.” The bubbly song was cognizant that, while they might seem fun at first, romantic relationships can also be temporary. Instead, it reveals that the bond between best friends is the most important; after all, “friendship never ends.”
22. “Good 4 U” by Olivia Rodrigo
“Well, good for you, you look happy and healthy / Not me, if you ever cared to ask / Good for you, you're doing great out there without me, baby / Like a damn sociopath!”
Olivia Rodrigo’s pop-punk bop “Good 4 U” is the perfect track to scream, pout, and stomp your feet along to. It’s dramatic, high-energy, and a snarky-sweet blast from start to finish that will leave you feeling powerful. So tap into your own residual teenage angst and crank up the volume!
23. “Therefore I Am” by Billie Eilish
“Stop, what the hell are you talking about? Ha / Get my pretty name outta your mouth / We are not the same with or without / Don't talk 'bout me like how you might know how I feel / Top of the world, but your world isn't real / Your world's an ideal.”
Billie Eilish’s slow-grooving, nonchalant takedown of fake friends, wannabe lovers, and haters on “Therefore I Am” is the energy we all need to take into 2022. While the world is primed and ready to criticize her every move, Eilish appears laid-back and does not diminish her own power and ingenuity to make others feel comfortable. In the end, she gets to have the last laugh, telling haters: “I'm sorry I don't think I caught your name.”
24. “Cry For Me” by Twice
“I want you to cry, cry for me / The way I cried for you, baby, cry for me / Make your rain fall, cry for me.”
K-pop girl group Twice is no stranger to releasing girl power-infused hits; the English version of their 2020 hit “Cry for Me” hinges upon the vision of wanting to see their ex cry as much as they did after their breakup. Backed by its desire for comeuppance, the deceptively sweet track is badass in all of the best ways.
25. “Just A Girl” by No Doubt
“'Cause I'm just a girl, oh, little old me / Well, don't let me out of your sight / Oh, I'm just a girl, all pretty and petite / So don't let me have any rights / Oh, I've had it up to here.”
In 1995, No Doubt vocalist Gwen Stefani — yes, the Gwen Stefani — channeled all of her inner rage at the patriarchy and society’s expectations of women into the hard rock hit “Just a Girl.” The song furiously describes all of the societal restrictions that get placed on women every single day, from being afraid to go outside to having their rights stripped away. It is a track that still feels painfully relevant to this day, and its lyrics will have you shouting: “Oh, I've had it up to here!”
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