International Women's Day is a globally celebrated day focused on the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This year the team have highlighted some of their favourite tracks from female musicians from Australia and abroad.

Camp Cope - ‘The Opener’

Camp Cope is well known for shaking things up in the music industry, calling out misogyny since day one. This is most clear in their 2018 track ‘The Opener,’ which fittingly opens their second album, How To Socialise and Make Friends

In the track, Georgia Maq sings of the band's experiences in the Australian music industry, particularly referencing the sexism they faced. It is most directly addressed in the third verse, where Maq recalls times when others claimed the three pieces’ success was due to their gender (not their talent). 

‘The Opener’ reaches its peak when Maq yells “Show ‘em, Kelly,” before bassist Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich does in fact, show them. The line acts as a middle finger to those who doubted the group, and was adopted by fans as their own “fuck you” to the world.

Mulalo - ‘Tracy Grimshaw’

Mulalo's 'Tracy Grimshaw' is a colossus of Australian cultural reference, all of which is cleverly used to draw power back to the artist. It's worth listening through a couple times just to try and catch all the little callouts. 

Aside from the titular reference to journalist and television presenter Tracy Grimshaw, Mulalo evokes the power of the female icons like Cathy Freeman, Lee Lin Chin, and Kylie Minogue, using golden punchlines that land every time.

The spoken outro on the track is a powerful declaration from the artist, where she positions herself as the new face of Australia, noting Australia's black history and claiming its going to have a black future.

Nasim Patel

Maisie Peters - ‘BLONDE’

Maisie Peters has a post-breakup transformation in ‘BLONDE,’ all thanks to a box of bleach. Nothing like making an ex re-evaluate their decisions by getting even hotter! 

In true “I'm not gonna do it, girl, I was just thinking about it” fashion, Maisie completely changes her look in an act of revenge. If blondes have more fun, then Maisie is fully embracing it. 

The song is incredibly fun live, often appearing as the encore track. With the crowd screaming their lungs out to “I’ll fuck your life up as a blonde,” the power of female rage is strong.

Ariana Silver

BENEE - 'Green Honda'

BENEE's recent single shares a similar sentiment to 'BLONDE' - with a post-break-up transformation. This pop banger was created by an all-female team, something BENEE found "really cool" (this was her first time in an all-female writing session).

The track details the moment BENEE moves on from an ex, realising that they were a "waste of fucking time." This angry but groovy vibe is perfect for yelling along to.

Sampa the Great - ‘Let Me Be Great' [feat. Angélique Kidjo]

Sampa the Great imbued self-empowerment into her very identity when she announced her stage name with her first EP in 2015. Since then, she has gone on to become a steadfast voice advocating for women and African cultures, particularly of her home cultures from Zambia. Both of these are heavily at play in 'Let Me Be Great', one of the strongest tracks on her latest album, As Above, So Below.

I've also got to mention the track has a feature from arguably one of the greatest living musicians in the world, Angélique Kidjo. Kidjo drives the emphatic two-word statement of the chorus, which becomes almost a mantra: 'Let me', leaving the conclusion of the statement for the audience to fill in.

Nasim Patel

WAAX - ‘Labrador’

If you feel like yelling “fuck the patriarchy” but in a more subtle and sarcastic way, look no further than Brisbane punk rock band WAAX - particularly their seminal single ‘Labrador’. This song looks at the pressures of being a non-man in the music industry - or just in general, really - and how often they get looked down on or treated like they’re not good enough. It’s very much tongue in cheek, which is my favourite type of expression. 

The pre-chorus really gets the point across: “Must be high if you think that you're gettin' ahead / No, it never begins, no, it never begins / You're a girl and a girl isn't welcome in here / Yeah, it is what it is, yeah, it is what it is”. It’s like anyone who isn’t a man should just accept how the game works and that’s that. 

But the passion and anger singers Maz puts into this song shows just how anyone - yes, men included - should respond to this kind of attitude. It’s not something we can stand for any longer; it’s time for change.

Dani Brown

Halsey - ‘NIGHTMARE’

Halsey finds their power in her 2019 single ‘NIGHTMARE,’ which introduced fans to her “punksey” side. The song was inspired by the frequently uttered  “Why don’t you smile” that women will often hear from others, particularly men. 

After spending years being referred to as a “nightmare,” the track sees Halsey fully embrace themselves, refusing to act a certain way just to appease those around her. 

Throughout the song she recalls moments where she has fallen apart, picking themselves up once again. Ultimately, Halsey reminds her listeners that they don’t owe anyone anything.

Bonus fact: The song's music video features Cara Delevingne (model/actress), Debbie Harry (Blondie) and Suki Waterhouse (model/actress).

Ariana Silver

Barkaa - ‘King Brown’

When Barkaa smashed onto the hip-hop scene in 2020, her music was deeply infused with concepts of matriarchy, pushing against the misogyny and sexism often present in the male-dominated genre as well as in wider society.

'King Brown' was the lead single for her debut EP Blak Matriarchy and is a standout track in the project. Contrasting with her often dark tone, 'King Brown' is a break-up song that makes you want to get up and dance thanks to the upbeat bossa nova piano and hard-hitting percussion. 

As the chorus says, this is Barkaa's house, and we're just lucky enough to be living in it.

Nasim Patel

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