snapshot, 10

My father puts a cd in the player. He hits the small orange lit button tothe large black amplifier. He sits me in the middle of the room, on the floor, and hands me a CD case. The paper inside of it is red. He hits play and something about the world changes.


After living with T, in Mongolia, and alongside Korean pop culture, I grew to love pop music. I am by no means an aficionado, but I am quite capable of singing along to One Direction, spitting out most of the words to some Nicki Minaj, and arguing about which of the Beibs’s songs is the best. (I actually think it might be Baby. The one he does with the little Smith boy from Karate Kid is also pretty cute.)

In order to share my love of pop music with some of my friends, I am putting together a Powerful Women of Pop Music dance mix.

Criteria, in order of importance

  • Sung by a woman (or women)
  • Danceable
  • Powerful voice
  • Empowering/not disempowering to women
  • In the Billboard Top 50 sometime over the past 10 years (album it’s from is also acceptable, but not preferable)
  • I know at least 30% of the words
  • Original song

Why these criteria?

  • Obviously, a powerful women of pop mix needs to be done by women
  • It’s a dance mix. Side note: “dance mix” in this case means “things I will dance to in my kitchen,” not things I expect to hear in da club.
  • The powerful voice was inspired by listening to Xtina. She’s all about the talented ladies with powerful voices. I think this fits well into pop music, but also fits in with this theme of “power” I want to put into the mix.
  • Jessie J, Xtina, and Kelly (Clarkson) have a lot of songs that are empowering to women. Sure, a lot of this empowerment is based around “I don’t -need- you, I’m strong/powerful/capable without you.” There is also lots of stuff about individual success and strength/competence on their own. Feeling good about yourself. I’m not going to even pretend that all these songs will be empowering, but my goal is to have none of them be disempowering. (My favorite danceable Jessie J is “Domino,” which is not as empowering as her songs about making it even when people say she can’t. Oh yeah, and Ke$ha is so in.)
  • Pop music. Okay, when I start making lists of music I like, I have a tendency to drift to not-Top 40 stuff pretty quickly. I might have a dance I do to Call Me Maybe, but most of what I listen to isn’t Top 40. (explain top 40 When I start just putting music I like–in general–into mixes, even music I like to dance to, it’s a lot less beaty than Top 40.
  • This is about sharing music I like with people. I need to know the songs.
  • Anyone can do a cover of House of the Rising Sun or Brown Eyed Girl or anything by a Beatle, but that’s not what a powerful pop woman should be known for singing. Even if she is.

I present lists:

Definite Songs (in no particular order)

  1. We R Who We R, Ke$ha
  2. Call Your Girlfriend, Robyn
  3. What Doesn’t Kill You, Kelly Clarkson
  4. Starships, Nicki Minaj
  5. Raise Your Glass, P!nk
  6. S&M, Rhianna
  7. Beautiful, Dirty, Rich, Lady Gaga*
  8. Till The World Ends, Britney Spears
  9. Hot N Cold, Katy Perry
  10. Party in the USA, Miley Cyrus**
  11. Lady Marmalade, Christina, Lil’Kim, Mya, and P!nk***
  12. Call Me Maybe, Carly Rae Jepsen

*I am not sold on this, but I want a Gaga song.

**There’s a very specific story about why this is included. Someone I know once blew out his speakers playing this at a party.

***This is a cover, but the super group overwhelmed my sensibilities.

Maybe Ladies (in no particular order)

  1. Jessie J
  2. Adele
  3. Taylor Swift
  4. Amy Winehouse
  5. Florence + the Machine

The list of Maybe Ladies are people I would like to include, but I can’t find the right song of theirs.