|© 2012 Lukasz Porwol, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio|
* = language warnings
1. My Strongest Suit (Aida)
Amneris may not be the typically "strong female character" in the show, as she's pretty flighty most of the time, but this song sure is confident and happy. And if fashion is your thing, then, hey, you go right ahead and own it.
2. Big, Blonde and Beautiful (Hairspray)
This whole show is full of awesome girl power songs, but this is by far my favorite. This character is completely comfortable with who she is and is not about to let anyone else tell her to change or make her feel bad about herself. It's one of my favorite songs to sing along with because it just makes me feel cool and awesome.
3. The Spark of Creation (Children of Eden)
In this musical version of the first eight chapters of Genesis, Eve finds herself wanting to explore and do more awesome things than Adam, who is comfortable enjoying the good life in Eden. This has long been one of my favorite showtunes, and it just makes me want to go out and make things and do things and see things.
4. Buenos Aires (Evita)
This fast-moving, fast-paced song is all about Eva looking forward to find a better place for herself in the big city, where she can really be a star. She's bursting with confidence and certainty that she's on her way to where she belongs.
5. What You Want (Legally Blonde)
OK, this one is kind of long and story-based... but it's super empowering. We follow Elle Woods from when she decides she's going to go to Harvard to win back her ex, all the way through her acceptance. When they finally announce she's in, there's such a triumphant sense of "YES! SHE MADE IT!" From me, anyway.
*6. Roxie (Chicago)
Aside from being an incredibly catchy and fun song, it's an incredibly satisfy one to belt out along with Roxie, who is completely determined to be a superstar and has no trouble visualizing how great it'll be when she makes it.
7. Naughty (Matilda)
Matilda is a truly awesome child character -- she trumps Annie and young Cosette any day. This song is all about changing your own story when the world around you seems to be in the bad guys' favor... and how sometimes that means bending the rules to even out the playing field, because "if you sit around and let them get on top, you might as well be saying you think that it's OK, and that's not right!"
8. I Want It All (High School Musical 3)
Sharpay may not be portrayed as a bad guy a lot of the time, but she is SO much more interesting than... whatsherface. Gabriella. That's her name. Sharpay is confident and bold and doesn't spend all her time sitting around sulking about how she has to do the right thing. And that definitely fits nicely into this mix.
*9. Bring It On (Sleeping Beauty Wakes)
This song has two amazing female characters, and I've given them each a song on this list. This one is the rebellious princess who is sick and tired of being sheltered her whole life and has finally decided she'd rather run away and live her life on her own, even if it means she ends up falling under the curse her parents live in fear of.
10. You Haven't Seen the Last of Me (Burlesque)
I was not crazy about this movie, but this song! This song is awesome. It's all about refusing to give up even when you're pushed to the breaking point, and Cher sings the heck out of it. It's one of those songs that makes me feel better on days when I'm feeling super overwhelmed.
11. Let It Go (Frozen)
Oh, sure, like I was going to leave this one off the list.
12. Get Out and Stay Out (9 to 5)
One of my favorite "I do not need a man" songs, where this character finally decides to get out of a toxic relationship and realizes she can stand on her own two feet. It just makes me want to stand up and yell, "YES!"
13. Don't Rain On My Parade (Funny Girl)
This original version by Barbra is still my favorite. She sounds so determined and ready to push people out of her way if they're trying to hold her back. Another great one to belt along with.
*14. Out Tonight (Rent)
This song has so much restless energy and makes me want to go out partying, even though in reality that's something I'd absolutely hate doing. :-) But it's a great song to get me hyped to go accomplish something.
*15. Dead Girl Walking (Heathers)
This is one of my new favorites. It's just so much fun to listen to and dance along with, and it was one of the main inspirations for me making this mix in the first place. I just kept listening to it and thinking, "I should collect other songs that kinda feel like this..."
*16. Cell Block Tango (Chicago)
I don't actually condone murdering sleazy boyfriends, but some days it's just awfully fun listening to this. It is more talking than singing, but the sung choruses just keep growing in intensity and getting even more fun to sing along with.
17. Uninvited (Sleeping Beauty Wakes)
This song sung from the POV of the evil fairy in Sleeping Beauty is one of the most satisfying angry songs to sing along with. The lyrics are smart, the music is interesting, and, especially by the last chorus, it's just this awesome "Don't you DARE mess with me!" anthem.
18. I Will Prevail (Wonderland)
This section of my mix is pretty much all the "evil girl power" songs, as this one is also sung by the show's villainess -- the Mad Hatter, who is forcibly taking over Wonderland as the queen. It's one of my favorite songs in the show, especially when it gets to the huge power ballad-style chorus.
19. Defying Gravity (Wicked)
And obviously this one belonged on the list. Idina is the queen of girl power showtunes.
20. So Much Better (Legally Blonde)
There's nothing quite as "girl power" inspirational as suddenly finding out you've accomplished something you didn't think you could. In this song, Elle has found out that she's made it into a very exclusive internship program, and she realizes that she is much more than the relationship that has been defining her identity until this point.
21. You Can't Stop the Beat (Hairspray)
For me, there may not be any more empowering song than this. It's so joyous and triumphant and every person singing is so confident in themselves and the decisions they've made. I find it almost impossible to listen to this and not feel at least a little better -- it's definitely a go-to song for me when I'm feeling discouraged.
Download the whole mix here, and then go and buy the cast recordings for any of the songs you liked. :-)