There comes a time in every girl’s life when she needs to assemble a repertoire of kickass songs. Kickass songs for marathon training. Kickass songs for getting over a breakup. Kickass songs to help you make it through a Friday afternoon. Never fear: We’ve assembled a list of some of our favorites to help you power-up for any occasion.
Mia Jones: There are so many Missy Elliott songs that hype me up for life (grocery shopping to “Get Ur Freak On,” cleaning the house to “Pass That Dutch,” doing my taxes to “Lose Control”) but the jam that can get me off my ass and grinding on the nearest person/pole/chair/dance floor/poster of Mila Kunis faster than Sarah Palin can add 1+1 is “4 My People.” Seriously, take cover if you’re near me and that song comes on.
Dorothy Snarker: “Piece of My Heart,” Janis Joplin. Best drunk sing-along song pretty much ever. “Cherry Bomb,” The Runaways. Sex on a Stratocaster. We just won’t think about how old they were when they recorded it. “Oops (Oh My),” Ladytron cover. Seriously. Awesome. So awesome. Not that the Tweet/Missy Elliott version wasn’t awesome. But, come on. “We Run This,” Missy Elliott. Speaking of Missy.
Drummerdeeds: “DID IT ON EM” BY NICKI MINAJ. Sorry, that’s just how I feel about it. (“Bitch, I can’t even spell welfare.”) Ooh, is anyone feeling Beyoncé‘s 4? “Love on Top” is freaking amazing. And “Countdown.” So good!
TheLinster: I have to go to the classics: Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock & Roll,” the Pretenders’ “Middle of the Road,” “Back on the Chain Gang” (and everything else on the Learning to Crawl album), Janis Jopin’s “Piece of My Heart,” and “Me & Bobby McGee,” Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” and, of course, Aretha’s “Respect.”
Of course, if I’ve just been dumped, it’s Melissa all the way. Nothing is quite as cathartic as scream singing “I’m the Only One” to your invisible ex.
Heather Hogan: Reba McEntire‘s “Fancy” is essentially a song about a destitute mother who’s dying of, like, smallpox or something and has to make a deathbed choice about how to save her teenage daughter’s life. Well, one of her daughters. The other one is a baby who’s inevitably going to end up in the hands of the “welfare people.” So this mom uses her last dime to gussy-up her daughter, Fancy. And Fancy goes, “What do I do?” And her mom says, “Just be nice to the gentlemen, Fancy. They’ll be nice to you.”
Right? Her mom sells her into a prostitution to save her life. And she does save her life! Fancy becomes this high-priced call girl who charms kings and congressmen and aristocrats, and then she saves up her money and buys herself a Georgia mansion and an elegant New York townhouse! At the end of the song she says that haters are gonna hate, and then she goes, “I might have been born just plain white trash, BUT FANCY WAS MY NAME!”
And I don’t care, man. There isn’t a single crap thing in life that can’t be cured by shouting “Fancy” as loud as you can along with Reba.
Courtney Gillette: There was a golden moment, circa 2002, when Le Tigre had just released Feminist Sweepstakes and their live shows were a positive riot of intense, sweaty dancing and shouting along to some of the best political pop the world would ever know. Thus, I’ll never forget being indoctrinated to my favorite kickass song, “On Guard.” Kathleen Hanna fiercely telling all the smarmy dudes in the world that they can’t take away the way she felt when she woke up that day; JD Samson shouting the gender blending refrain, “Are you a girl or a boy?! Are you a boy or a girl!?” To this day, I can face just about anything with that song in my headphones.
Grace Chu: From the 1980s, Irene Cara’s “What A Feeling.” Not only will this song lift the Monday blues and prevent homicidal thoughts on the morning commute, it conjures up images of Jennifer Beals in a leotard.
From the 1990s, PJ Harvey’s “Rid of Me.” “Lick my legs I’m on fire! Lick my legs of desire!” Bust out your Doc Martens. I know I just brought you back to earlier, possibly angrier and more confusing times. Your heart was in shreds, but at least you felt alive.
From the 2000s, Evanescence “Going Under.” Dramatic, bombastic, meant to fill stadiums and your living room with Amy Lee‘s uncommonly grandiose voice. And if you blast it loud enough on surround sound, you won’t even hear the cops knocking after the neighbors call in a noise complaint. Because that’s how you roll.
Now, Jennifer Lopez “On the Floor.” Don’t call it a comeback. She’s been here for years. And she’s going to introduce you to a new generation of party people. And did you know that that badonkadonk is like a trunk full of bass on an old school Chevy? Well thanks to Pitbull, now you know.
Dara Nai: For your basic “Eff you, I’m awesome” shot in the arm, my pick is Pink‘s “So
What.” I support any song where the female singer is half-yelling. And I
love this line a lot: “And you’re a tool.” If you’re an ex and you’re
reading this, I don’t mean you.
For a great, drivin’ too fast with the top down, life-is-good tune, I choose
a classic with no lyrics at all: “Cliffs of Dover” by the ridiculously
amazing guitar virtuoso, Eric Johnson. I dig synthesizers, sampling and
Nicki’s “Super Bass” as much as the next girl, but music that flows from
actual human hands instead of a computer needs a listen, too.
What are some of your favorite kickass songs?