Hayley Kiyoko

Hayley Kiyoko is one of the many female musicians who are making their diverse perspectives and voices known in the modern music world.

In the United States, March is National Womens History Month. The purpose of this month’s dedication is to celebrate women from all walks of life, regardless of factors such as race and sexual orientation. This playlist seeks to represent a diverse group of women across genres.


“Twentytwo” — Sunflower Bean

In “Twentytwo,” Sunflower Bean addresses the pressures women face to continue to appear young, while also being a song of healing. The line “I do not go quietly” in particular stands out as a moment of strength and defiance against expectations.

“What I Like” — Gia

The catchy chorus of “What I Like” propels the song forward with expert ease. The lyrical focus is on what the narrator finds fun without being inhibited by others’ opinions: “We so bad, it’s why you mad, I don’t see haters.” Gia champions self-love and acceptance on other tracks like “Only a Girl” — “Only a girl can make me feel this way. It’s getting better.”

“Sister” — The Japanese House

“Sister” grapples with tight-knit relationships, like that of twin sisters, in which some emotions and memories are withheld. The Japanese House’s generally ethereal sound lends itself to this song, giving it a ghostly quality and emphasizing the strong connection of sisterhood.

“Bros” — Wolf Alice

Wolf Alice, fronted by Ellie Rowsell, is a band that’s not afraid to tap into a more abrasive rock sound.  “Bros,” however, balances both the dynamic power of Rowsell and a slightly smoother sound. The lines “Jump that 43 are you wild like me, raised by wolves and other beasts,” lyrically tap into the band’s untamed side. A song of friendship, the narrator and her friend are “Bros.” However, the original artwork of two young girls and the lyrics “Remember when we cut our hair? We both looked like boys, but we didn’t care,” suggest the song is referring to two women.

“True Trans Soul Rebel” — Against Me!

Frontwoman Laura Jane Grace made waves not just in the punk scene, but across the music industry, when she came out as transgender. Despite the turbulence that this brought personally and in her career, Grace has also become a role model particularly for youths in heavier music scenes. The band’s more recent albums such as “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” and “Shape Shift With Me” explore topics not as commonly represented in music.

“Gravel To Tempo” — Hayley Kiyoko

In “Gravel To Tempo,” Hayley Kiyoko struggles to come to terms with her attraction to women. Kiyoko addresses the images society has pressed into her mind of gay women being “monsters,” and pushes back against this idea in order to be herself.

“Salute” — Little Mix

Anthemic and empowering, in “Salute,” Little Mix (a pop group of four women) brings to the forefront the warrior strength of women. The song includes all women regardless of viewed levels of femininity: “Get your killer heels, sneakers, pumps or lace up your boots.” Part song and part rallying cry, “Salute” is about women who embrace themselves, by women to embrace themselves, in order for women to do just that.

“Wolf” — Sylvan Esso

In “Wolf,” the lyrics’ plot revolves around a man, but vocalist Amelia Meath has said the story is her own. The song embraces sexuality while questioning some of the motives behind hookups and casual encounters.

“The Kids Are Alright” — Chloe x Halle

In “The Kids Are Alright,” sister duo Chloe and Halle encourage listeners to be themselves, regardless of what media presents as the “right” way to look or act. This song’s airy flow emphasizes its fun and free-spirited aspect.

“LGBT” — Lowell

Indie pop singer Lowell from Canada hides behind no images or metaphors in her song “LGBT.” Lines like “Some old people hate to change except when they’re praying away the things they need to shame,” and “Some young people like to act like old people, wearing bows ties and telling us we're wrong,” squarely hit on some of the conflict the LGBTQ+ community faces. The repeated line “Don’t hate our love” and spelling of “L-G-B-T” and “L-O-V-E” set the song up as both a message to the close-minded and an anthem for the LGBTQ+ community.

“Unravel Me” — Sabrina Claudio

R&B artist Sabrina Claudio’s slow pace in “Unravel Me” stretches a feeling of longing throughout the track. In this song Claudio shows her strength as an artist, making the song almost painful to listen to because of the emotional power in how it aches.

“Django Jane” — Janelle Monáe

On this track, Janelle Monáe raps about being a black woman. The song highlights the success she has had in order to emphasize the power and influence of women. Lines like “We fem the future” are particularly inspiring. Monáe also uses language that some would call crass, yet it serves to not only call attention to the song, but also break down some of the stigma surrounding it.

“Capable” — The Wild Reeds

“Capable” is about recognizing your own potential even when no one else around you does: “I’m capable of so much more than you people give me credit for, and I just need to show it.” The song’s build and resolution at the end align with the lyrical shift of uncertainty to belief in oneself, and makes the message more powerful.

“The Animals” — Emily King

In “The Animals,” Emily King addresses a relationship where someone is a “taker.” In the lyrics, King resolves to never again fall victim to that kind of uneven relationship – she won’t “feed the animals.”

“Hungry Ghost” — Hurray For The Riff Raff

“I been a lonely girl, but I’m ready for the world,” sings vocalist Alynda Lee Segarra. As the music video and Segarra herself has addressed directly, the song emphasizes the importance of safe, queer DIY spaces. The song’s strong bassline anchors the song as Segarra’s vibrato flickers around like how her “love’s on the funeral pyre.”

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