For Country Music Month, we’re taking a look at some of the best songs about strong women. It’s a really tough list to compile, because “strong” is about many different things. Is the woman in the song righting a wrong, seeking revenge, just being “ornery,” or is she a great example to others? It’s fun to figure out, and here’s our list. What did we leave out?
10) Martina McBride– “Independence Day” – This song almost didn’t make the list – I agonized about it, but the woman in question does one “strong” thing, which as the song admits, “Now I ain’t sayin’ it’s right or it’s wrong but maybe it’s the only way”. Still, as an anthem against domestic abuse, it’s one amazing song.
9) Gwyneth Paltrow– “Country Strong” – Pretty obvious, right? Not a huge hit, but it does tie a nice bow in a pretty decent Country movie.
8) Gretchen Wilson– “Redneck Woman” – “I ain’t ever been the Barbie-doll type” sings Gretchen, and we know that this is not a woman to be messed with. The most empowering or scariest thing about hearing this song in your favorite bar is how many women shout “Hell Yeah!” every time they hear it. Guess it depends on your point of view.
7) Shania Twain– “Man I Feel Like A Woman” – Here, by contrast, is a woman who can “go totally crazy, forget I’m a lady” and “color my hair – do what I dare” while wearing men’s shirts and short skirts. Less intimidating than #8, but don’t forget, it’s by the same woman who sang “Any Man Of Mine better be proud of me, even when I’m ugly he still better love me”.
6) Carrie Underwood– “Before He Cheats” – There’s a good reason that this is the MOST over-sung song at most karaoke bars (sorry you’ll have to trust us on that). There’s just so much pure satisfaction in messing up the guy’s truck after the woman has been wronged. See how zealously your lady sings this, and then judge for yourself what you can get away with – fair warning.
5) Jason Aldean– “She’s Country” – We’re not sure if the fact that “she’s country” makes her strong, but it doesn’t hurt. Jason Aldean tells us that she knows exactly what she wants, she was raised right, she likes to raise a little hell, and she’ll put you in your place – even if she loves you. The woman in the song is definitely strong (shoot!)…and it’s only fair that a guy sings one of our songs. Maybe you can think of a better one?
4) Taylor Swift– “Should’ve Said No” – Taylor has a lot of broken heart or first love songs in her repertoire, but this song really puts the singer in a position of power. It’s not about anything the girl is going to do to be strong, but more about the strongest move she can make – moving on without the jerk who “should have thought twice before you let it all go”. And if the song doesn’t sell you on the woman’s strength, the video should. You do remember this iconic Taylor moment, don’t you?
3) Reba McEntire– “Fancy” – Back in the 90’s Reba was still a woman with two names – “Reba McEntire”. But with this re-make of a Bobby Gentry hit from 1970, she was propelled toward even greater fame. Now one of Reba’s signature songs, “Fancy” is all about power and strength in a man’s world. Fancy’s mother puts her on a dubious career path designed to save her from life in “that rickety shack” – “Just be nice to the gentlemen, Fancy, and they’ll be nice to you”. The lyrics of the song admit that the end justifies the means. The video, from 1991 is priceless – definitely PG.
2) Jeannie C. Riley– “Harper Valley PTA” – Hey, as long as we’re back in time, let’s play the song we could easily have placed in the #1 slot. Harper Valley PTA, a classic penned by Tom T. Hall, blew up the music world in 1968. It sold SIX MILLION copies and spawned a movie and television series. Woman can be as strong as they want, but there will never be one quite as bold as on “the day my mama socked it to the Harper Valley PTA”. Jeannie C. Riley had some great hits, but none that came close to this monster. If you’ve never heard it, skip the lack of a formal music video, and just check out the ‘tude of our heroine!
1) Sara Evans – “A Little Bit Stronger” – Our top pick could easily be just another broken-heart song, but check out the great lyrics. It’s more about empowerment, and Sara Evans chose the perfect way to “come back” to the airwaves after working out her personal life over five years, a struggle she’s still dealing with. “Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger.” This song works for grief, battling illness, depression – it just WORKS. That’s why it’s become an anthem.
So there ya have it – ten great songs about strong women. I’m sure you have other choices – be sure to leave a comment!