Photo: Youtube
Top most popular female songs of all time. Photo: Youtube

Some of the most powerful songs—electrifying hits, moving ballads, or rebellious anthems—have come from women. The artists here celebrate their womanhood and what makes them different, inspiring us to do the same.

Sometimes, all it takes is one song to inspire—but luckily, we’ve gathered a few dozen. Whether it's Women's Month or any month, treat yourself to a confidence boost with these empowering melodies. The list given below is all about 20 best female songs in the history.

20. Adele, "Rolling In The Deep"

Photo: Youtube
Photo: Youtube

Few contemporary artists can captivate a flock as far-flung as Adele, but there was a time before the mononym became the monolith of pop. Before "Hello" or "Someone Like You," "Rolling in the Deep," the leadoff track of 2011's 21, solidified the Brit's status, ultimately spending seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite its ubiquity, the smoldering sendoff got prominent play on Triple A and Adult Contemporary formats alike, ensuring that Adele would come to occupy the CD slots of cars across the country forevermore. —Lyndsey McKenna

READ MORE: When We Were Young Lyrics - Adele

19. "Let it go" by Idina Menzel

Walt Disney knew they had a winner when they heard the song "Let it go" from the movie Frozen. In an effort to turn the song into a mainstream hit, they hired pop star Demi Lovato record a version to be released as a single. However, what they didn't expect was that Broadway superstar Idina Menzel's version of the song in the film would be so appealing that the "pop" release was overshadowed. Outside of its role in the plot of the movie, "Let It Go" is an outstanding inspirational tune encouraging listeners to soar on the wings of their own personal qualities and hide nothing from the world, according to Liveabout.

18. “Wannabe” by The Spice Girls

Released on the group’s debut album, Spice, “Wannabe” was the single that made the Spice Girls overnight icons. But what makes this song one of the best of all time — aside from the bizarro lyrics “I wanna zigazig ahhhh” — is the fact that it addresses the importance of female friendships over romantic bonds. “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends,” the Girls advise in the chorus, defining the notion of “chicks before dicks” long before it became an overused aphorism. Thus, the British pop group became a symbol of female empowerment, and to this day, “Wannabe” remains one of the best and the catchiest girl power anthems of all time.

17. “Umbrella” by Rihanna

TOP 20 most popular female songs of all time
Photo: Dazed

Though she’d be steadily building a following with her earlier releases, it was the sauntering “Umbrella” that propelled Rihanna to international pop icon status. Embracing a new sound that included uptempo dance-pop beats, Rihanna enlisted The-Dream, Tricky Stewart, Kuk Harrell, and one Jay-Z to help her craft the song, with which she kicked down the door to the mainstream — in stiletto heels, naturally. Featuring a verse by Mr. Carter, the song is known for its infectious beat, incredibly catchy hook (“'ella, ‘ella, ‘ella…”) and, ultimately, for topping the charts in 13 countries and selling 6.6 million copies worldwide, Laweekly noted.

16. “Bad Romance” By Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is a mad genius, and her 2009 magnum opus “Bad Romance” is the pop music equivalent of a violent orgasm. The song, which has been covered by everyone from Frank Ocean to the cast of Glee, pulses with dark desire and leather-studded sex. It's also an operatic tour de force on which Gaga gets progressively more demented amid a fiery ode to a past lover. (“I don't wanna be friends,” she's literally shouting by song's end.) “Bad Romance” upped the ante on the artful brand of crazy Gaga first presented on The Fame and cemented the former Stefani Germanotta as a boundary-pushing cultural disruptor who mattered.

15. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston

This club-shaker led the string of hits that came off Houston’s sophomore album, Whitney, and landed at the top of the Billboard chart, making it the singer’s fourth song to do so. Despite critics’ dismissal of the tune as too safe and similar to her previous “How Will I Know,” the song won Whitney a Grammy and an American Music Award, according to Timeout.

14. "Shake it off" by Taylor Swift

When you think of American singer/songwriter Taylor Swift, you think of a unique fusion of pop/country that has flourished through her albums since her debut self-titled album back in 2006; steadily her sound has been making a transition from her trademark pop kissed country to a purer pop. In the lead up to the release of her fifth studio album 1989, Taylor has given the world a taste of what’s to come; her own anthemic swipe at her haters, the boppy lead single Shake It Off, Renownedforsound said.

13. Lana Del Rey, "Video Games"

Photo: Youtube
Photo: Youtube

When Lana Del Rey released what would eventually become her breakthrough single, old-guard rock critics weren't quite certain how to receive her. For a while, the extra-musical narratives about Del Rey — that she was too passive, too vapid, too scripted — subsumed any talk about "Video Games" itself. Yet the song is rich and transfixing, a devotional in the old-fashioned sense: Del Rey is pledging undying allegiance to the man she loves, regardless of whether or not he appreciates or even returns her feelings.

READ MORE: Full lyrics of "Summertime Sadness" by Lana Del Rey

12. “Toxic” by Britney Spears

In 2003, Britney Spears was the biggest pop star in the world, and “Toxic,” the come-hither single from her most sophisticated and adventurous LP, In the Zone, was Britney at her fiercest and best. Auto-Tuned within an inch of sounding like an alien siren call, Britney purrs about a man so bad he’s good with the sexual bravado that had defined her persona since she appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in her panties clutching a Teletubby. Add all that to Britney strutting around the music video in a stewardess uniform, and it was altogether the picture of a pop star peaking.

11. “Vision of Love” by Mariah Carey

Few pop stars have arrived as powerfully and fully formed as Mariah Carey did with her 1990 debut single “Vision of Love.” Though her later work has devolved into empty, melismatic one-upmanship, there’s no denying that Mariah has one of the most technically formidable voices in the history of pop. “Vision of Love” matches that talent with songwriting and a delivery that not only withstands, but upstages it. As a result, it’s not her technical skill and control that make the song so striking, but rather the rawness and vulnerability that she evokes in spite of them.

10. "Chandelier" by Sia

TOP 20 most popular female songs of all time
Photo: Youtube

Shuffle Sia’s "Chandelier" into a playlist of songs she’s written for pop stars bigger than herself, and at first you might think it was yet another surefire hit gifted away by the uncommonly prolific Australian singer. Is that Rihanna's accent on the first verse? Is the call to have a drink Lea Michele’s attempt at a party rock anthem? But then, the chorus hits and Sia’s voice blasts off, the swelling strings propelling her past her contemporaries in the inspirational-pop stratosphere, Pitchfork commented.

9. "Unbreak my heart" by Tony Braxton

The bestselling solo R&B artist finally opens up about her rocky past and her path to redemption While Toni Braxton may appear to be living a charmed life, hers is in fact a tumultuous story: a tale of personal triumph after a public unraveling. In her heartfelt memoir, the six-time Grammy Award-winning singer and star of WE tv's hit reality series Braxton Family Values is unapologetically honest in revealing the intimate details of her journey.

Unbreak My Heart is more than the story of Toni's difficult past and glittering success: it is a story of hope, of healing, and, ultimately, of redemption.

8. “Like a Prayer” by Madonna

Floating atop a Latin rhythm and funky synth bass, with a gospel choir providing the ethereal harmony, Madonna's voice on “Like a Prayer” isn't just confident, it's downright heavenly. Supported by a chorus of angels in D minor, 1989’s “Like a Prayer” was the moment when Madonna went from being the voice of America's teenagers to the worldwide high priestess of pop.

7. “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé

If Destiny’s Child was Beyoncé's adolescence, 2003’s “Crazy in Love” was her debutante ball. And she didn’t arrive without a date. The song, an expert mélange of James Brown-inspired horns, jazz percussion and an infectious “uh-oh, uh-oh” hook recalling girl groups of decades past, was the official announcement that Young B and the ROC, Jay-Z himself, were not just an item, but officially Crazy In Love. Beyoncé’s delivery, all glitz and swagger, made the song as much about feminine strength and self-awareness as it was about romantic madness. She was crazy, yes, but also fully in control. The first track on her first solo LP Dangerously in Love, “Crazy in Love” was a tour de force announcement that the reign of Queen Bey had begun. All hail.

6. Lorde, "Royals"

Photo: Youtube
Photo: Youtube

Dismissing materialist luxe and bloody drama, Lorde's debut single was interpreted by some as a closed-minded critique of hip-hop. Really, it's more like a love letter to the form. "Royals" is a classic origin story detailing its 16-year-old writer's scrappy social scene that reveals her to be no less impervious to beauty and power than her assumed targets. She uses her low-slung suburban gospel to transform a defiantly simple beat — a huge flex amid 2012's maximalist pop scaffolding — and betrays her fascination with opulence with vocal harmonies that glitter like sunbeams glinting off a twirling diamond.

5. Alabama Shakes, "Hold On"

It's always a good thing when a band challenges musical categorizations and visual expectations and wins. This single introduced the world to singer and guitarist Brittany Howard, who, perhaps unwittingly, defied popular culture's expectations by simply refusing to be categorized by her gender and ethnicity. Despite her ability to quickly transition from a sultry croon à la Janis Joplin to a bellowing, often disembodied howl, it's the lyrical wisdom that masks Howard's young age and makes this song special. "Hold On" is not just a mantra offering the encouragement needed to get through life's rough patches; it's a timeless song that wouldn't work without Howard's ability to interweave a myriad of emotions with raw honesty.

4. "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston

The power. The passion. The soaring notes. "I Have Nothing" fantastically showcases Whitney's dazzling talent. Ranging from breathy to an all-out golden belt, Whitney takes us on a thrilling vocal roller coaster with this song from The Bodyguard. "I Will Always Love You" was obviously her biggest hit from the film, but "I Have Nothing" outstrips the Dolly Parton cover with pure, raw emotion. The richness of her voice tears through the lyrics of a woman begging her lover not to let her hurt anymore. When you listen, you feel the pain and longing that Houston emotes. And, truly, we have nothing if we don't have Whitney, Billboard cited.

3. Beyoncé, "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"

Photo: Youtube
Photo: Youtube

As thrilling of a musical production as it is, "Single Ladies" wouldn't be cemented in pop culture history today if it weren't for the music video. In the 2008 clip, Beyoncé and two backup dancers twist, sashay and strike power moves around a white room for a total of three intense and influential minutes. The impact was immediate, inspiring many to imitate the video and upload their versions to YouTube. Bey ultimately credited the inspiration of the choreography to a mix of a black, Southern style of dance called J-Setting and a vanilla yet viral routine choreographed by Bob Fosse decades ago. The visuals, though, wouldn't have been made possible without the song itself: fierce, flirtatious, assertive and uplifting all at once, "Single Ladies" was the roll call women in search of a barometer of self worth had been wanting, and in some cases needing, to hear. It was Beyoncé demanding excellence and devotion on every woman's behalf. —Kiana Fitzgerald

2. "My heart will go on" by Celine Dion

In the U.S. "My Heart Will Go On" was released as a single for a limited time, allowing it only a short two-week run at the top of the charts, when, in actuality, the song was a much bigger hit. In Europe the single was released with dance mixes, which eventually crossed the Atlantic to reach American shores and kept gringo club goers shimmying to the shimmering ballad-turned-disco track through the spring of 1998, Allmusic noted.

1. "I will always love you" by Whitney Houston

TOP 20 most popular female songs of all time
Photo: Youtube
Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" -- a cover of a Dolly Parton single from 1974 -- was released on Nov. 3, 1992. It debuted at No. 40 the Billboard Hot 100 and took two weeks to hit No. 1, where it stayed for 14 weeks, a record at the time. As we all remember, it came from The Bodyguard soundtrack, a messy sales powerhouse that was front-loaded with six Whitney tracks (including her "I'm Every Woman" cover and the gospel number "Jesus Loves Me") and then swiftly slid into Kenny G territory. What we might not remember is that the soundtrack went on to sell 17 million copies and break SoundScan's record for single-week sales. Twice. (First it shattered the mark held by Guns N' Roses' Use Your Illusion II; seven days later, it became the first album to sell more than a million in a week.) Oh, and The Bodyguard earned a Grammy for album of the year, and "I Will Always Love You" won record of the year as well as best female pop vocal.

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