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Now Playing: The Divine Feminine

February 16, 2023

The late, great Mac Miller had the right idea in his fourth studio album The Divine Feminine. To be honest, I had never heard of the term before its release in 2016, and I had no idea what it  meant. It’s a quite beautiful sentiment: the existence of the divine feminine suggests that  complementary energies exist within each being. This seems like a very gendered concept, but  that’s not necessarily true; femininity is not constrained within the bounds of body parts or  reproductive functions. The divine feminine merely asserts that there is a balance of energies in  the world, and they might very well depend on one another to exist. 

The music industry is known to be traditionally male dominated. Women’s place in the industry nowadays is a hard-fought reward, and with the waves of more and more women entering the sphere, we see a restoration of balance in the world. Thus, the divine feminine. This week’s Now  Playing: seeks to highlight the voices of some of my favorite female artists to celebrate the  accomplishments women have made in an industry that has so long been controlled by the  patriarchy. This week, we celebrate the voices of those who have always deserved a place among  the men who too easily inherited dominance. Feel free to audibly follow along by navigating to  the playlist equivalent of this column, titled “Now Playing:” on Spotify. Sorry, Apple Music  users. 

Jazz. It doesn’t get better than Norah Jones. These are the best songs to play on a rainy evening with a cup of tea; the vibes are immaculate. Plus, Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie”—but the live  version—is such a great tribute to her memory. They’re romantic and dreamy, they kind of songs  you dance to in the kitchen. These women feel like a hug.  

  • “32 Flavors” by Alana Davis 
  • “Sunrise” by Norah Jones 
  • “Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones 
  • “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman 
  • “Morning Sun” by Melody Gardot 
  • “Don’t Wait Too Long” by Madeline Peyroux 
  • “Is This Love” by Corine Bailey Rae 
  • “Just Like Heaven” by Katie Melua 
  • “I Try” by Macy Gray 
  • “Valerie – Live At BBC Radio” by Amy Winehouse 

Indie & Bedroom Pop. This is such a great genre. Out of all of them, I’d say that Sarah Kinsley  is the most underrated; she’s the one who did “The King,” that TikTok song from a couple years  ago. These genres are soft girl core galore, and I highly recommend these are driving songs. 

  • “Dreams Tonite” by Alvvays 
  • “we fell in love in october” by girl in red 
  • “Punisher” by Phoebe Bridgers 
  • “Steeeam” by Shelly 
  • “Road Head” by Japanese Breakfast
  • “Amoeba” by Clairo 
  • “Female Energy, Part 2” by WILLOW 
  • “Ribs” by Lorde 
  • “circle the drain” by Soccer Mommy 
  • “Karma” by Sarah Kinsley 

New Wave & Early(er) Pop. Such a great dance category. I’m talking headbanging in the  kitchen and swerving the car because they’re so groovy. I honestly love The Bangles so much,  and if anyone has watched Gilmore Girls, they’ll know why the group holds a special place in my heart. The playlist of mine that encompasses all of these is called POV: it-girl of the pre 2000s. Not to plug my own playlists, but if you’re having a bad day, trust me—you’re going to  want to put it on. 

  • “Our Lips Are Sealed” by The Go-Go’s 
  • “Hazy Shade of Winter” by The Bangles 
  • “Heart of Glass” by Blondie 
  • “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tiffany 
  • “Like a Prayer” by Madonna 
  • “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper” 
  • “Drop The Pilot” by Joan Armatrading 
  • “Fantasy” by Mariah Carey 
  • “Love in the First Degree” by Bananarama 
  • “Cloudbusting” by Kate Bush 

Classic Rock. Not only one of the most iconic genres of all time, but when you narrow it down  to just women, it gets even better. Pat Benatar, Heart, Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks…awesome. Just  plain awesome. 

  • “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar 
  • “Barracuda” by Heart 
  • “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways 
  • “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks 
  • “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes 
  • “Love Hurts” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts 
  • “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin 
  • “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac 
  • “Alone” by Heart 

Disco & Soul. Aretha! Etta! ABBA! Gloria! It only gets better and better. Groovy doesn’t get  any better than this, and these women are definitely divine in my book. Just like the new wave  and early pop category, these are instant serotonin boosters, and mandatory dance tunes. If I were  to recommend a time and place for these, I would say the shower. Sing into your shampoo bottle,  and I think ABBA would approve.

  • “You Send Me” by Aretha Franklin 
  • “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield 
  • “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James 
  • “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight & The Pips 
  • “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” by Nina Simone 
  • “I’ll Take You There” by The Staple Singers 
  • “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor 
  • “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” by ABBA 
  • “I Love the Nightlife (Disco ‘Round)” by Alicia Bridges 
  • “Never Can Say Goodbye” by Gloria Gaynor 

Bonus Round. Usually, I limit these playlists to fifty songs, but I couldn’t leave these songs off.  I know there are so, so many more songs by many more wonderful women, but I had to limit  myself. Otherwise, you would’ve gotten a two-hundred song playlist. Some of these are songs of  my childhood—“Complicated,” “18 Wheeler,” and “Applause.” Great memories are attached to  each of these songs, and it’s nice to give them some recognition this week. Rounding off this  playlist with “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” seems poetic.  

  • “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne 
  • “Hand in My Pocket” by Alanis Morrissette 
  • “18 Wheeler” by P!nk 
  • “Brick by Boring Brick” by Paramore 
  • “Zombie” by The Cranberries 
  • “Applause” by Lady Gaga 
  • “Back To Black” by Amy Winehouse 
  • “Sugar Hiccup” by Cocteau Twins 
  • “Be My Angel” by Mazzy Star 
  • “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” by Shania Twain 

Don’t forget, if you want to actually listen to these songs instead of reading them, follow my  playlist on Spotify, called Now Playing:. If you want to check out any of the rest of the playlists I mentioned, my username is @sabrina.capello.

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