It’s time to Vote for the 885 Greatest Songs by Women! - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Joni, Brandi, Beyoncé. Taylor, Lana, Aretha. We’re declaring this the year of women in music. And to celebrate, we’re counting down the greatest songs by women, as chosen by you! Dive into your playlists and join your fellow XPN music lovers as we curate the 885 greatest songs by women

Your Selection, Your Voice

This is not just a countdown — it’s an opportunity to celebrate the muses who have shown up for you over the years. From heart-wrenching ballads and soul-scorching rockers to timeless classics and contemporary chart-toppers, if a woman’s voice is leading the song, it’s eligible for the countdown.


Some of our previous countdowns, while abundant in talent, sometimes miss the mark when showcasing the female voices shaping music. This year’s countdown aims to bring some balance and female energy to our end-of-year celebration.

“‘Best Music Ever’ countdowns always tend to be dominated by the same male artists,” says World Cafe host Raina Douris. “I’m excited to see what songs come out on top when those artists who are too often considered the ‘legends’ are taken out of the running. Who are the ‘legends’ we haven’t been celebrating?”

On the heels of the summer of Barbie & Beyonce, I can’t think of a better time for a list recognizing women artists.

On Gender Diversity and Inclusivity

We’re all about celebrating every pitch and tone in the musical world, and we recognize and respect the full spectrum of gender identities. This current spotlight just happens to be on cis and trans women. In prepping for this countdown, our team, led by WXPN digital producer Emily Costello, did some deep dives into gender studies. “Since XPN is part of the University of Pennsylvania, I figured why not reach out to their gender studies department to get some clarity,” says Costello.

Local gender, sexuality, and women’s studies luminary, Dr. Gwendolyn A. Beetham, offered this feedback: “On the heels of the Summer of Barbie & Beyonce, I can’t think of a better time for a list recognizing women artists. More seriously, of course, this list comes at a time when women’s rights are suffering huge setbacks. Focusing on women during this time sends a strong message to those who would like us to return to a time when women’s contributions were not recognized in the public sphere.”

XPN fam, this is your moment to shine a light, celebrate, and uplift the female musicians you love. Let’s come together and make this countdown one for the books! Listen to our playlist below for inspiration, and for more information — and to cast your ballot! — head to our countdown page.

As XPN Morning Show Host Kristen Kurtis enthuses, “I’ve been told by too many bosses over my 20 years working in radio not to play women back-to-back. I am excited to break that rule over and over again 885 times!”

This playlist was curated by some of the ladies of WXPN, including Raina Douris, Kristen Kurtis, Wendy Rollins, Kathy O’Connell, and Debra Dalessandro.
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