As part of a wider conversation about the (often marginalized and underreported) role of women in popular music, NPR has put together a list of the 150 greatest albums ever made by women. The list was compiled by close to 50 women in the NPR and public radio spheres, and is a start on a new musical canon, which reverses the popular (mis)conception that popular music starts and ends with men.
Here’s the top 10, in case you’re pressed for time, but you should really check out the whole thing for some unexpected entries. Of course, there’s tons of the usual 70s staples—this is still NPR, after all, there was no way #1 was going to be anything other than Blue—but the inclusion of groups like The Raincoats, The Slits, and Live Through This coming in at #50 show that serious people put serious thought into this. I mean, putting Supa Dupa Fly at #5 overall is pretty rad for any list, but as part of the 150 greatest of all time, it’s a pro move. They’re right, of course.
10. Carole King – Tapestry (1971)
9. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (2006)
8. Janis Joplin – Pearl (1971)
7. Patti Smith – Horses (1975)
6. Beyoncé – Lemonade (2016)
5. Missy Elliott – Supa Dupa Fly (1997)
4. Aretha Franklin – I Never Loved a Man The Way I Loved You
3. Nina Simone – I Put A Spell On You (1965)
2. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
1. Joni Mitchell – Blue (1971)