10. P!nk, “The Truth About Love”
Okay, let me just say that I HATE putting my girl so low down on this list. I. Love. P!nk. Love her. With each single she puts out, I think to myself, “Self, this song is amazing. There’s no way she can top herself.” And then she DOES top herself. I really can’t think of a P!nk song I don’t like. However, even though she’s only at #10, it’s still in my Top 10 list of favorite female pop albums, which is basically like being in my Top 11 list of favorite albums (see: Fleetwood Mac, “Rumors”). This album is killer. Powerful vocals (“Try”), brilliant songwriting (“Just Give Me A Reason”), and still with that edge (“Blow Me (One Last Kiss)”) we love about Alecia Moore (her real name, FYI). Unfortunately, P!nk is probably going to HATE me for calling this album “pop,” but not as much as I hate myself for the same reason.
Best part: The “Try” music video, which looks like it was inspired by Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” video, but with a spin that is totally P!nk.
9. Britney Spears, “Circus”
She’s back! She came back to us! Oh, happy day! Our gurl Britney survived 2007 and KILLED IT with this album. “Oops!… I Did It Again” was ALMOST her best album, until she rose from the dead. “Womanizer” was the lead single and hit #1, this after “Break the Ice” didn’t even crack the Top 40. She then followed it up with “Circus” and “If You Seek Amy,” a not-so-subtle command that wouldn’t be out of place in Madonna’s playbook.
The best is yet to come: This comeback album was no fluke. She followed it up with the hit single “3,” which was somehow dirtier than “If You Seek Amy,” and the album “Femme Fatale.” She’ll be around for a while.
8. Taylor Swift, “Red”
Okay, now hear me out. My girl Tay-Tay gets a lot of flack for writing about how much boys suck. They says writers write about what they know, and when you grow up on a Christmas tree farm and you’re a 20-something year old girl, you KNOW about crappy break-ups. The point is, T-Swizzle writes about this well, as evidenced in her first #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” which may have been the ultimate pop hit of 2012. Originally a country artist, Swizzle Stick experiments with genres in this album, from rock (“Red”) to dubstep (“I Knew You Were Trouble”), her country roots (“Begin Again”), and back to pop (“22,” which has nothing to do with break-ups). With this album, she establishes herself as a true pop princess and probably the one most likely to take Madonna’s crown (after Kylie, of course). To top it all off, she’s a total diva and style icon, and she dated a Kennedy, just because she felt like it.
More non-breakup tracks: “Stay Stay Stay” (Just listen to the lyrics. It’s funny.), “Starlight” (an ode to Bobby and Ethel), and “The Lucky One” (which is probably about Marilyn Monroe).
One more thing: If you’re still hating on Taylor Swift for writing about break-ups, Adele writes about the SAME THING, but nobody ever gives her a hard time.
7. Lady Gaga, “The Fame”
The outfits, the music videos, the hordes of gays doing the “Bad Romance” snap dance move in clubs…this album started it all. “Just Dance” drew in all of the Britney fans who were lost after 2007, and other tracks gave us some great lines like “bluffin with my muffin” from “Poker Face” and “disco stick” from “Lovegame.” Then came “Paparazzi,” easily one of Gaga’s best songs. It probably WAS her best, and then “Speechless” came out. Yeah “Bad Romance” and “Born This Way” are classic Gaga songs, but this album, as a whole, is impeccable.
Don’t miss: Gaga kills Eric Northman in the “Paparazzi” music video.
6. Beyonce, “4”
Who run this motha!? Who run this motha!? WHO RUN THIS MOTHAAA!? WHO RUN THIS MOTHAAA!?
Answer: Beyonce. Beyonce run this motha.
PS: “Love On Top” will be my wedding song.
5. Whitney Houston, “Whitney”
Oh, Whitney. To this day, no 80s night in a club is complete without everyone bursting out in unison to the chorus of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).” Rounding out the album are other #1 hits like “Didn’t We Almost Have It All,” “Where Do Broken Hearts Go,” and “So Emotional.”
Whitney’s legacy: The fact that our love for her outweighs every “crack is whack” joke ever.
4. Blondie, “Parallel Lines”
First of all, a note: Blondie is a group. However, the heart and soul of the group is Debbie Harry, the lead vocalist and song writer. And yes, before the comments begin, I know it’s not TECHNICALLY a pop album. While Blondie is known for tackling every genre they can get their hands on, “Parallel Lines” contains the band’s biggest pop hit, “Heart of Glass,” the disco (but, by today’s standards, pop) track that made every other disco song look passé. It has survived the decades as a classic break-up song. Other Harry-helmed hits include “Picture This” and “One Way Or Another,” which they keep fresh to this day by referencing Facebook in live performances. Harry rounds out the album by belting out “Hanging on the Telephone” and crooning, partly in French, “Sunday Girl.”
Hidden gem: “Will Anything Happen,” which is right up there with “T-Birds” as the greatest song they never perform live.
3. Sheryl Crow, “Tuesday Night Music Club”
Few artists hit it big with their debut album, but TNMC went 7x platinum and resulted in three Grammys for Crow, including Best New Artist. It’s almost impossible to hear “All I Wanna Do” and not sing along. Other powerful tracks include “Strong Enough” and “Leaving Las Vegas.” While the album came with controversy over songwriting credits, Crow would “demonstrate her might” (show some love if you get the reference) again and again as a spell-binding songstress. And look at that derpy face! That’s reason enough to play the video.
Gettin dirrty: “The Na-Na Song,” which makes absolutely no sense and also mentions “Frank Dileo’s dong.”
2. Kylie Minogue, “Fever”
“Can’t Get You Out of My Head” should be enough of a reason to include “Fever” on this list. However, this album also blessed the world with “Love At First Sight,” “In Your Eyes,” the title track “Fever,” and “Come Into My World.” The latter song is supported by an incredible music video which, if you haven’t seen, is missing from your life. It’s also included in this entry, so you have no excuse not to watch it.
Note: The woman behind this album is the Australian Madonna. And speak of the devil…
1. Madonna, “True Blue”
The top spot goes to the Queen of Pop. While many will argue her greatest album is “Ray of Light” for its vocals or “Like A Prayer” for its songwriting (I had to force myself to only list one Madonna album), “True Blue” was a defining moment in Madonna’s career. Coming off of the success of “Like A Virgin” and “Material Girl,” Madonna had to prove she wasn’t going anywhere. “True Blue” secured her status as a superstar and produced singles like the hauntingly powerful “Live To Tell” and the controversial “Papa Don’t Preach.” Among the tracks with heavy themes are instantly recognizable dance hits like “Open Your Heart” as well as the title track. Despite the seeming mishmash of styles among the songs, the album is a cohesive work of art that entertained, enraged, and inspired the world.
Stay through the end: “Love Makes the World Go Round” is a wonderful feel-good track.