It’s no secret that popular music has been a bit of a boys’ club lately. With chart-toppers like Drake, Ed Sheeran, and The Chainsmokers dominating radio airwaves, it’s hard for new female artists to break through the hip-hop and EDM-heavy pop scene that was once ruled by pop princesses.
Some musicians are jumping on the bandwagon and shifting their sounds to fit in with familiar radio hits, while others are taking a “back-to-roots” approach (a la Joanne) to try to reach a broader audience. However, these leading ladies are sticking to what they know: perfect pop. And they’re kind of slaying.
It’s been a year since I first discovered “Hotter Than Hell,” thanks to a curated Spotify playlist, and I haven’t stopped obsessing over Dua Lipa since. I was immediately addicted to Dua’s sultry, smooth voice and knew that this girl was about to be huge. With other pre-album singles including the summery bop “Be The One,” and perfectly sassy kiss-off track (pun intended) “Blow Your Mind (Mwah),” Lipa was certainly set up for a stunning debut.
“Dua Lipa,” the self-titled debut album far from disappoints. The namesake LP is one of the most fully-realized debut albums I’ve ever heard. It’s hard to find an artist who fully understands their sound and vision so early in the game, but Lipa has done it.
I know what you’re thinking. “Another musical Cyrus?” And believe me, I was a bit skeptical too. But with three singles and a debut LP (“NC-17”) in the works, Noah Cyrus is certainly holding her own in the industry. “Make Me Cry (feat. Labyrinth)” fits perfectly into the EDM-leaning sounds of pop radio today, while current single “Stay Together” is the perfect summer night jam. Her newest release, “I’m Stuck” is a country-tinged profession of love that straddles genre lines, fitting perfectly into the Cyrus-family brand while remaining undeniably Noah.
Since ex-Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello announced her exit from the group last December, Harmonizers and casual music fans alike have all wondered what was next for the girl-group standout. Cabello made it known that a solo endeavor was definitely in her future, but die-hard Harmonizers like myself certainly didn’t expect it to come so soon.
With chart-topping features like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” with Shawn Mendes and “Bad Things” with Machine Gun Kelly already under her belt, pop radio proved ready for Cabello’s solo debut. After announcing her upcoming debut album, “The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving.” due later this year, Cabello came out strong with her Sia-penned debut single, “Crying in the Club,” which is an absolute bop made for pop radio. Additionally, Cabello has released “I Have Questions,” a hauntingly honest heartbreak ballad she wrote while crying in a bathroom on tour with her former bandmates.
While certainly the most seasoned artist on this list, Halsey is just now making the mainstream impact that she has long deserved. Many know her as the female feature on The Chainsmokers’ #1 hit, “Closer,” but this dark pop princess already had a platinum-selling album when Top 40 listeners began learning her name. Her debut album “Badlands” featured smash singles like “New Americana” and “Colors,” as well as several other tracks that were featured in tv and film.
Now that everyone knows her name, all eyes were on Halsey to release a strong sophomore album and she certainly didn’t disappoint. The “hopeless fountain kingdom” era made a promising start with current hit “Now Or Never,” which is still gaining attention and radio play. “HFK” also features collaborations with known hit-makers Quavo, Cashmere Cat, and Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui.
“Hopeless fountain kingdom” debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Not only is this Halsey’s first #1 album, but it is the first #1 album by a female artist in 2017.
Check out all the tracks mentioned in this article, as well as other favorites in the playlist below.