Updated: Jan 29, 2021
Well, I think it's safe to say that the start of 2021 has been a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck (borrowing from my guy Jake Tapper here). One of my favorite
ways to process and get out of my head is to move that angst through my body and have a solo dance party. Here, I present to you my growing winter playlist. Load it up, blast it loudly, and let it all go. Don't overthink it.
*Disclaimer: my musical taste is made up of mostly female power pop. That's what speaks to my soul and influences my own sound and style. Every once in a while, a male singer or rapper will hook me with their beats, but mostly what you're going to get from me is gritty pop princesses. Go with it.
"My Head & My Heart" by Ava Max: Ava is a relative newcomer to the scene, but she's had a few big hits in the past year. I recently listened to her entire album, and while it all mostly sounds quite similar, there's no denying that all the tracks are dance club worthy and the vocals are powerful. This is a perfect banger to start with.
"Prisoner" by Miley Cyrus feat. Dua Lipa: Miley's new album is 80s inspired and sounds the most authentic so far. She seems liberated in a way that's not trying too hard (unlike the Dead Petz era...) This collaboration with Dua Lipa works really well.
"34 + 35" by Ariana Grande: I am a huge Ariana Grande fan. I truly believe that she is the best white girl vocalist of my lifetime. I could defend this endlessly with technical and stylistic examples, but that's probably a whole different post. This song is just fun and clever. I'll leave it at that.
"no body, no crime" by Taylor Swift feat. HAIM: Conversely to Ari, I am not really a Taylor Swift fan. I respect her songwriting and think she puts on a good show, but her musical style is just not my favorite. This song, however, is masterful storytelling with a deep bluesy groove. The addition of HAIM gives the vocals a full harmonic sound that I am not used to hearing from Taylor. Things get dark real fast with this one, in a real good way.
"Sweet Melody" by Little Mix: I love me some Brit pop. You probably know at least one of these ladies' hits; they've put out six studio albums and were rated earlier this year as the second highest grossing female girl group of the past two decades, outranked only by The Spice Girls. This group is stacked with four powerhouse vocalists, resulting in melodies showcasing a much wider range of notes than you'd typically get with one singer. I love the harmonic shifts in the verses here.
"My Reputation" by Jeezy & Lil Duval feat. Demi Lovato: I told you some rap would make it's way onto the list! To be honest, the only reason I stumbled upon this was because of the Demi feature. I haven't connected to much of the solo music she's put out in the last year, but she's finding her way back to life and all that, so I support her. She provides this track with a strong hook that adds to the fun beat.
"Last Laugh" by Fletcher: If you've been sleeping on Fletcher, stop it. She's a 26 year old queer singer-songwriter from Asbury Park, NJ (home of Bruce THE BOSS Springsteen and my beach town of choice). Her songwriting is incredible and sits on top of beats that get my angsty-pop loving blood moving. She's put out a few EPs, but we're still awaiting a full-length studio album. This song is from the soundtrack of the new film "Promising Young Woman". You should also watch the music video for some boss leather outfits.
"Positions" by Ariana Grande: Okay, technically this was on my fall playlist, but it was added so late into the season that I had to carry it over. This song provides the power vocals and whistle tones that I want from Ari, with a little bit of a dirtier beat than is featured on the rest of her album (she had to go and get into a happy, healthy relationship, didn't she?) I also appreciated the video's political jabs that weren't as cringe-y as Demi's attempt at musical politics this year. It's beyond time for a woman in the White House, Amiright?
BONUS: "Gloves Up" by Little Mix: I had to include this additional track from Little Mix's latest album, Confetti. It's just pure woman power, which the group does better than anyone else out there, IMO. End your dance session with this anthem and scream out the end of the hook while the world is burning around you.