Female vocalists stand out

With the release of Katy Perry’s Prism and Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz, all eyes are on the leading ladies of the music industry — women who have incited both criticism and praise for their recent decisions.

The artists featured in this week’s list are refreshing additions to the recent flood of ladies making waves in the music industry. Some, such as Lorde, have become household names. Others, though less recognizable, are worth your time. So whether you’re a guy or a girl, let these impressive female vocals serve as the backdrop to your week.

“You — (Ha Ha Ha)” — Charli XCX

The name Charli XCX might sound familiar. She’s the bombshell featured in Icona Pop’s single, “I Love It.”

“You — (Ha Ha Ha)” is punchy and energetic. The beats are hypnotic and uniquely Charli XCX; it’s hard to pinpoint her molding to a traditional pop template. Twenty-one-year-old Charlotte Aitchison launched her career at the age of 14, and with tracks like this one, she’ll most likely keep it going for quite some time.

“400 Lux” and “Ribs” — Lorde 

I remember the first time I heard Lorde — like most, it was thanks to the radio. In the middle of my morning commute, I found myself fumbling for Shazam the moment something distinct from the Bruno Mars garbage I had become accustomed to came on.

Plenty of us can admit to belting, “But every song’s like gold teeth, Grey Goose, tripping in the bathroom” with our closest friends, failing to hit any of the notes with her bravado.

Though some expected New Zealand-born Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor (yes — that’s actually her real name) to fall into relative obscurity after “Royals,” Lorde has proved that her talent is limitless after the release of her much-anticipated album, Pure Heroine. The Huffington Post called Pure Heroine a “lyrical masterpiece,” Billboard magazine praised it as “thought-provoking” and Rolling Stone deemed it “surprisingly real and fully formed.” Regardless of what the critics say, it’s your turn to reach a verdict.

“Burn” — Ellie Goulding

Following the success of “Lights” and “Anything Could Happen,” “Burn” is Ellie Goulding’s most popular new track off her 2013 album, Halcyon Days. In “Burn,” Goulding seamlessly blends elements of electronic music and pop to create this catchy number. But besides devoting her energy to producing killer tracks, Goulding is a passionate philanthropist, frequently partnering with charities and organizations to raise awareness for issues from heart disease to education.

“Raggamuffin” — Selah Sue

Belgian vocalist Selah Sue received unparalleled attention for her fast-paced verses, singing cryptic lyrics such as, “The raggamuffin is one of the friends, and what you see is what you really need in the end / But what you ever gonna gonna do, I don’t know.” The acoustic component of “Raggamuffin” brings a remarkable rawness to the track, which braids strands of reggae and soul into a whimsical melody.

“Mushaboom” — Feist

Though Canadian vocalist Leslie Feist was a well-established musician, she found true international success after Apple featured her catchy track, “1234” in an iPod Nano commercial. Prior to her TV debut, Feist produced plenty of similarly cheerful numbers. Her first single, “Mushaboom,” can be found in Marc Webb’s hit film, 500 Days of Summer.

Feist makes her way onto this week’s playlist not only for her catchy music, but also for having the cojones to leave the band Broken Social Scene to cultivate her own identity. You go, Leslie Feist.

“With Ur Love” — Cher Lloyd

Like Lorde, the spotlight shined on Cher Lloyd at the tender age of 16 — a time when most are concerned about getting their driver’s licenses and passing AP exams, not touring the country to sold-out crowds. Most know her for the angst-ridden, poppy number, “Want U Back,” where she belted, “Remember all the things that you and I did first? / And now you’re doing them with her.” Truthfully, Lloyd’s music isn’t as polished and mature as her peers’ on this playlist, but her sassiness and take-charge attitude make her deserving of a recommendation.


Rini Sampath is a sophomore majoring in international relations (global business). Her column “Traveler’s Tracks” runs Mondays.

Follow Rini on Twitter @RiniSampath