1. “Drew Barrymore” by SZA

SZA has modernized R&B with her distinctive vocals and deeply personal lyrics. Grab some friends and chill to this ballad of unrequited romance.

2. “Across the Universe” by The Beatles

A classic off of the Beatles’ final album, this song explains why the band has such a long-lasting legacy: innovation in musical style with unparalleled songwriting abilities.

3.“Gods & Monsters” by Lana Del Rey

“God’s dead, I said, ‘Baby that’s alright with me.’” Del Rey’s lyrics are interspersed with similar philosophical musings, all sung over a melody that’s as modern alternative as it is 60s pop.

4. “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes

This song has everything you could ever want from an early 80s soft-pop love song. The unlikely image of of the titular actress makes it all the more nostalgic.

5. “Always Remember Us This Way” by Lady Gaga

Though not as popular as its counterpart “Shallow,” this track from “A Star is Born” carries just as much emotional weight without the vocals of Bradley Cooper.

6. “White Teeth Teens” by Lorde

It’s been six years since Lorde debuted Pure Heroine, but every song from the album remains as eminent today as it did then. No other artist captures the growing pains that all youth comes to terms with.

7. “Judas” by Lady Gaga

Easter is just around the corner. What better way to celebrate your sinful side than with Gaga’s iconic ode to this biblical character?

8. “Knuck if You Buck” by Crime Mob

If you’ve ever needed a hip-hop/crunk song that delivers nonstop energy, look no further. The fourth verse sung by Diamond will have everyone in the club going hard.

9. “When Doves Cry” by Prince

The late Prince was never one to shy from vocal experimentation and sultry lyrics. “When Doves Cry” successfully delivers on both and so much more.

10. “Hey Mama” by Kanye West

Sure, Mother’s Day isn’t until May 12, but it’s never too early to say thanks to the woman who raised you. Kanye says it best with a simple but poignant rap.

11. “Kozmic Blues” by Janis Joplin

Existential angst is nothing new. Listen to this Woodstock legend grapple with growing older and finding purpose in the drug-fueled 70s.

12. “Two Weeks” by FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs might be the most renowned female artist in experimental pop to date. Listen to layered echoes of her vocals wrapped neatly into lyrics about love bordering on obsession.

13. “Truth” by Alexander

Featuring simple guitar strums, subdued vocals, and a whistling intro, Alexander delivers a soft-rock anthem that explores self-identity and ethical motivation toward truth. 

Contact Andrew Kish at akish@colgate.edu

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