Time for another edition of Tom’s Top Ten – this time looking at my favourite Female solo artists. Music. Not art. Though music is pretty much art. So, yes. (And, in the interests of equality, there will one day be a Male version.)
I love music, that much is true. Looking at my library, there’s a mixed bag of what I listen to on a regular basis – including a large number of female solo artists.
Most of them are ‘pop’ music, but that’s fine because I love me some pop music – especially catchy tunes, that mainly seem to be sung by females. Many of which are on this list.
Who is the best? Well, here’s my Top 10. Including the best at the end.
TEN. Kelly Clarkson
I like Kelly Clarkson just enough to squeeze her into this list ahead of someone else like Charli XCX – think that might be down to her being around for just that bit longer than her competition. 2002 in fact? Boy, she’s ancient.
I have zero interest in American Idol – mainly down to the fact I’m not American and we have enough of these things over this side of the pond. But fair play to KC for being the winner of the very first American Idol and still being around producing really good music – shame the same thing can’t be said about the true winner of our first Pop Idol series; what’s Gazza Gates up to these days?
Looking on my music library, I only seem to have the one Kelly Clarkson album in my collection (plus a couple of songs from those NOW-like albums). But it’s her ‘Greatest Hits’ album. So that’s got all the good songs on it, so I’m kind of sorted when it comes to having good music to listen to.
Tough to pick but my favourite Kelly Clarkson song is…My Life Would Suck Without You.
Not going to cheapen this moment by saying that my life would suck without Kelly Clarkson…well, it might. But that’s not her fault.
NINE. Carly Rae Jepsen
Two down and another talent show product? Really? But, as was the case with Kelly Clarkson, I had no idea that Carly Rae Jepsen was even on Canadian Idol. Hell, I didn’t even know there was a Canadian Idol. (Who am I kidding? There’s probably one of them in every country in the entire world. Except North Korea. Where Kim Jong-un won them all.)
Less of that though, CRJ makes it onto the list for making some hella catchy pop tunes over the year – kicking off with ‘Call Me Maybe’, which pretty much made her as a pop singer. And the 900+ million YouTube views on it. Wowzers.
Her third album Emotion is by far my favourite though – although, in saying that, I don’t actually own it…terrible fan. Surprisingly it didn’t hit the heights of her previous work, which is a damn shame given how good it is. I mean, the best song on it hasn’t even scraped 25m views…silly internet.
That song is Run Away With Me. And you can add to that palty viewing figure by listening to it below…if you want…
(insert joke about wanting to run away with Carly Rae Jepsen here)
EIGHT. Marina and the Diamonds
Finally, someone not off a talent show – which is a shame because Marina Diamandis would destroy the competition and win in a landslide. But, hey, she’s released three very different albums without the help of a silly contest to launch her career…so she can’t be doing that badly.
In fact, it was the BBC Sound of 2010 competition which brought her to peoples’ attention – finishing 2nd behind some woman named Ellie Goulding? Never heard of her. Following that came her first album, the excellent ‘The Family Jewels’. Jewels. Because diamonds. See. Clever.
Once again though, the charts are a poor indicator of her talent – the fact her highest charting song, ‘Primadonna’, only reached a high of 11 in the UK Charts is a bloody joke. Considering some of the shit that makes it to number one, it’s criminal that that song didn’t make it.
Anyway, from that album to her second, ‘Electra Heart’ and the 3rd, ‘Froot’ – there is a lot of diversity which makes all three great listens for different reasons. As again though, I don’t actually own any of them. I really am terrible at this being a music fan thing.
So, my favourite Marina and the Diamonds track. It has to be Hollywood.
Congratulations to Marina for being the highest-placed Welsh-born female on this list. I think…
SEVEN. Lady Gaga
I’ll get those old-hat jokes out the way…here goes; oh, hey, what’s Lady Gaga doing on this list of female solo artists when he’s a man? They’re still not funny and never have been, so can we move on? Thanks.
So, we’ve got the Superbowl coming up soon (or, if you’re reading this after The Superbowl happens…had) and Lady Gaga is going to be the half-time entertainment. Not quite as hyped as I was for Bruno Mars last year, but still reckon she’ll be decent enough. Provided she plays some of her older stuff as I’m not a big fan of her most recent album.
But, hey, if she plays my favourite track (FYI, it’s Judas) then all will be right,
SIX. Katy Perry
Just missing out on a spot in the Top Five of my list is Katy Perry but it was a close call, thought long and hard about putting her just one more spot higher but I couldn’t.
Enough of that hoo-hah though, Katy Perry is amongst my top female artists for many reasons – the fact she delivers catchy pop tunes almost every single time being the main one. From ‘I Kissed A Girl’, to ‘California Gurls’ and to ‘Roar’…plus countless others in-between…it’s not often you hear a bad song from Ms. Perry.
Heck, she’s even featured on a number of really good songs as well – 3OH!3’s ‘Starstrukk’ and that one she did with Timbaland as well. Both tunes.
My favourite KP track is definitely The One That Got Away.
FIVE. Amy Winehouse
In at five and we have the tragic tale of Amy Winehouse. Such a talented woman taken far too early because of drugs and stuff, awful that the music world was robbed of many more amazing albums of hers. Two albums was nowhere near enough.
It was her second album, ‘Back to Black’ which brought her to my attention and, no doubt many more given the success which she had with that album. Songs like ‘Rehab’, ‘Back To Black’ and ‘Tears Don’t Dry On Their Own’ are still mainstays in my music collection to this day.
Not quite music related but still Amy Winehouse related but I must credit the amazing ‘Amy’ documentary that was released in 2015. Incredible piece of work and just highlights what a tragic tale it all was. I would urge anyone to check it out.
Onto my favourite track. It’s You Know I’m No Good. But, in all honesty, it could be anything from Back to Black. What an album.
FOUR. Lily Allen
It seems as though Lily is more famous for her tweeting these days than she is for her music – though Sheezus wasn’t that bad, just not as good as previous efforts – she makes it onto this list for some excellent pop music from her debut album right through to the present day.
Another artist who has been in my life for a long, long time – hell, I even remember listening to her for the first time back on MySpace – so perhaps it’s of no surprise that she finds herself so high up on this list. As much as I liked her debut album, ‘Alright Still’, her second one is so much better in every way – ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ is full of amazing songs from start to finish.
Picking a favourite Lily Allen song is easier said than done. I’d plump for The Fear though.
THREE. Avril Lavigne
Avril Lavigne has been around forever. But, unlike Kelly Clarkson, I’ve been aware of Miss Lavigne for a long, long time due to her ‘Sk8r Boi’ hit being massive when I was younger. That came out 2002 so I was like 12? Damn, that long ago.
Since that original release, there have been some really good songs from Avril Lavigne…but also some not so good. But, I guess, that’s the same for most artists. Nobody is going to like everything they ever release. Still, she’s released enough good to make it this high up in my top 10.
Favourite track? This is a very tough one. I think it might be I’m With You.
Honestly though, it could be one of many.
TWO. Taylor Swift
Well, there it is then. T-Swizzle just misses out on the top spot. A tough, tough decision to make but I think I’ve made the right one.
So, why would Taylor Swift be amongst my Top Female Solo Artists? Well, she’s a solo artist. And she’s female. So she already had a good chance of making it onto the list. And she is so high up because music. Obviously. (The fact she is just 4 days older than me matters not…)
Like many others before her, Taylor Swift’s music has been a part of my life for a very long time – helps when you’re old. Love Story first came out in 2008? Damn, it seems like forever ago. She had an album before that one but I don’t think it ever made it over here and certainly didn’t kick-start her career like ‘Fearless’ did. Not only did Love Story feature on it but so did “You Belong With Me”. Which might be my favourite Taylor Swift song.
From then on, she has simply gone from strength to strength as she takes over the pop world one album at a time. ‘Speak Now’ and then ‘Red’ both containing some incredible songs – “December Again”, “We Are Never Getting Back Together” and “22” the stand-out tracks.
Arguably it is her most recent album that is the best of her career – so far – with the likes of ‘Shake It Off’, ‘Blank Space’ and ‘Bad Blood’ (the Kendrick Lamar-featuring version is awful by the way.) being ridiculously popular pop tracks that you seem to hear on a daily basis. Or at least I do because I choose to…so maybe that’s why.
Regardless, Taylor Swift is an incredible artist and I had a very tough decision to make on what was my favourite song is. I’ve gone with the classic, You Belong With Me. VINTAGE TAYLOR SWIFT!
Now how do I say “Hey Taylor, you belong with me…” without sounding like a complete wierdo? I don’t think it’s possible. Oh well.
ONE. Ellie Goulding
Eluded earlier (I think) to Ellie Goulding being featured somewhere in this list…so, here she is, my #1 Female Solo Artist. (Yeah, I did have Taylor here but then I got writing and realised that Ellie should be #1. So she is.)
So, Ellie Goulding. It’s fair to say I’ve been a fan of hers since the very first time I heard ‘Under The Sheets’ back in 2010. Her debut album is incredible and got even better with the re-release (which I own, because it was cheaper than the non-deluxe version) and is full of hit after hit. If I had to choose a favourite, I couldn’t.
Then she follows Lights up with Halcyon which, again, is an incredible album full of awesome hits. Again, a re-release saw it get even better because it added ‘Burn’ to the playlist (but I don’t own ‘Halcyon Days’, so don’t have that song. Sad.) and made a brilliant album even better.
Onto album 3, ‘Delirium’ and, whilst not as good as the previous two albums, still has some ridiculously good songs on it. As Meatloaf once said, two out of three ain’t bad. Or something like that.
She’s also featured on some of my favourite dancy-type music songs – ‘I Need Your Love’ by Calvin Harris. And ‘Outside’ by Calvin Harris. Both bangers.
Favourite Ellie Goulding track? Bloody difficult. I think it might be Burn. (I really need to buy this for my music collection.)
Whichever song I chose though, Ellie Goulding is a deserving #1 on my list.
I stand by the decision. I think.