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Women Are The Fabric Of 21st Century Pop

Our new canon is a celebration of the women and non-binary musicians shaping the sound of this century, and an attempt to interrupt the history-making process before it's calcified by the status quo.
Robyn performs at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on February 5, 2011. Source: Mike Coppola

In 2014 I listened to "Dancing On My Own" by Robyn every day for 24 straight days. I wasn't alone; four of my friends did it, too. We were on a road trip, driving from Massachusetts to the west coast, down through California and back again. Someone put Robyn on the car stereo the first night of our trip, on a whim. This was four years after the song came out — just enough time for it to have faded into that somewhere between short- and long-term memories. I had maybe listened to the song a handful of times in the intervening years. I thought of it as a good song, but perhaps one whose moment had passed. But listening to it that first night of the trip — deliriously thrilled and sleep-deprived, surrounded by the warm buzz of excitement and nerves and the open road — it occurred to me (and everyone in the car around me) that it was, actually, a great song. So the next day, someone recommended listening to it again, to lift everyone's spirits in the midst of a daylong drive west.

The next day, it felt like it would be kind of funny to listen to Robyn . And then eventually, it just became a habit: at least once a day; at least one Robyn song ("Call Your Girlfriend" was in heavy rotation, too.) The song became an anchor on days with no plans; it became the soundtrack to finally witnessing places we'd always wanted to see. We woke up to it and fell asleep to it; listened when we were tired of driving, when we were fed up with each other, when we were overcome with joy. The song is now permanently lodged in my memory. Whenever I listen to it, I'm immediately in that van with my friends, singing a song about loneliness that made us feel like a family.

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