Ten essential records written by legendary female artists

Here's a list of some of the most incredible albums of all time written by women.

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 3rd Jan 2023

Today, January 3rd marks the celebration of Women Rock! day. Taking place on the day that Aretha Franklin became the first woman to be inaugurated into the rock and roll hall of fame in 1987, it celebrates the enduring legacy that female musicians are leaving upon music. Here, we've picked ten of the most iconic albums written by women to shout about. From modern classics to legendary albums that have endured the test of time.

We think all of these are essential listening.

 

Lauryn Hill- The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill's 1998 album may have been her only solo effort but it is one that left a lasting imprint on the history of hip-hop. The Fugees singer managed to craft an album that was released at a key juncture as hip-hop was breaking into the mainstream and well on its way to becoming one of the most dominant forces in the world. This album will never age and Lauryn's vocals will forever be a standalone imprint that no one will mimic.

 

 


 

PJ Harvey- Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea

When you think of iconic figures from 90s music, PJ Harvey has to be pretty high on that list. She was prolific in the decade and beyond, with 'Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea' being released in 2000. She has left a lasting impact on the music industry and songs such as 'Good Fortune' prove how impactful and gripping the whole theatre contained within her songs could be.

 

 


 

Taylor Swift- Folklore

Taylor Swift keeps breaking record after record and most of her albums have been huge commercial successes. 'Folklore' is perhaps the most surprising of all. Released during the height of the pandemic with little warning it cemented Swift's place as one of pop's greatest songwriters. Able to effortlessly blend fact and fictional, the mythology within her own work is a staggering achievement.

 

 


 

The Breeders- Cannonball

What The Breeders best encapsulate is just how eclectic 90s rock music could be. Breaking away from Pixies, Kim Deal started The Breeders with her sister and they went on to form part of the hugely successful North American grunge scene in the early 90's. Yet, The Breeders encapsulate so much more than grunge and you'll find indie rock, shoegaze and folk dotted around their discography too.

 

 


  

Fiona Apple- When The Pawn...

Fiona Apple had one of the most powerful voices of the 90s but still manages to feel underrated for her work. 'When The Prawn...' is one of her most devastatingly emotional pieces of work. Apple's voice is as dynamic as they come, able to delightfully shift between octaves at ease, one factor that makes sure that her songs never tire.

 

 


 

Kylie Minogue- Fever

From TV star to pop star, Kylie Minogue managed that transition seamlessly and went on a journey up the charts that might as well have been propelled by a rocket. 'Fever' is the definitive page of Kylie's career, one which has seen her create some of the most iconic imagery ever seen in pop music, you cannot listen to her without wanting to dance.

 

 


 

Lorde- Melodrama

'Melodrama' is the perfect album to discover if you're a teenager. Taking place during a crazy night out, it takes you right back to a very specific time of your life. Listening to it makes you want to discover the life of the party all over again as it's full of ecstasy-inducing pop and plenty of moments of spontaneous ecstasy. 

 

 


 

Joni Mitchell- Blue

At this point, Joni Mitchell might as well be Canadian royalty with the way that her music is regarded. She has a knack for getting through to people's souls in a way very few can. Creating a folk rock sound, 'Blue' is considered a masterpiece by many and is the blueprint on how you should write introspective songs.

 

 


 

Beyonce- I Am...Sasha Fierce

It is hard to pin down Beyonce's career to a single album because all of them deserve to be here for various different years. 'I Am... Sasha Fierce' was Beyonce in her prime and features songs such as 'Halo', 'If I Were A Boy' and 'Sweet Dreams', which are all instantly recognisable to the vast majority of people. There's power in everything that she creates and there was no shortage of it here.

 

 


 

Dolly Parton- Jolene

One of the shortest albums on this list but definitely one that deserves to be recognised as a classic. Of course, the title track is one of the most recognisable sing-along anthems of all time but you have to appreciate the beautiful songwriting that courses throughout this record onto songs such as 'I Will Always Love You' and 'When Someone Wants To Leave'.

 

 



 

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