By Brigid Choi
1. “Run The World (Girls)” – Beyonce
While a lot of the songs on this list are underground, banned from radios or rare tracks, this one was one of the hottest dance songs ever. The beat is insanely catchy, even if it isn’t an entirely original beat (heavily sampling “Pon de Floor” by Major Lazer), and the dance to go with it is just as difficult and impressive as Beyonce’s usual.
The most powerful lyrics on the track are: “Boy, you know you love it, how we’re smart enough to make these mil-lions / Strong enough to bear the children / Then get back to business.”
2. “Woman Is the N—-r of the World” – John Lennon and Yoko Ono
As you can guess, the use of the N-word was controversial, not to mention the lyrics, “Woman is the slave of the slaves” and “We make her paint her face and dance.” The song was Lennon’s lowest-charting U.S. single in his lifetime, and it most definitely increased fans’ antagonism toward his wife. Besides the lyrics, the track is beautiful, with a smooth saxophone and Lennon’s usual post-Beatles vocal reverb.
3. “Rebel Girl” – Bikini Kill
Even if the song lacks an original melody and chord struc-ture, it still packs a punk-rock, riot grrrl punch. That crazy, screamy singer Kathleen Hanna incorporates into her lyrics the sisterhood that so tightly binds the feminist community when she says, “Love you like a sister always / Soul sister, rebel girl / Come and be my best friend.”
4. “Women Is Losers” – Janis Joplin
Out of all the female classic rock singers, it’s strange to realize that only Janis Joplin has a song that’s explicitly feminist, and even then, it’s a rare track that sounds like it was born out of a jam session. In a groovy 12-bar blues, Joplin chants, “Women is losers … women is losers…”
5. “Kropotkin Vodka” – Pussy Riot
I felt obligated to include a Pussy Riot song, considering all the hype surrounding them. Even though their songs mostly attack Russian President Vladimir Putin, this song makes sure to label his supporters “sexist Putinists,” opening with “Occupy the city with a kitchen frying pan / Go out with a vacuum, get off on it.”