From Kitty Pryde to Azealia Banks, Why Girl Pop Beats the Boy Bands

I may not be a huge fan of today’s boy bands. But while that phenomenon has come and gone, I feel like it’s been an awesome couple of years for young female solo artists to roll out weird pop love songs that are full of ambiguity, hedging, and occasional joy, to be silly, and self-aware. So because it’s Friday, have a mix tape.

Most recently, there’s rapper Kitty Pryde, who, if her name wasn’t awesome enough, riffs on and undermines the sentiment in popular songs and laces them with sips of Bud Light Lime and cigarette smoke in “Okay Cupid”:

I’ve mentioned my love for Carly Rae Jepsen’s video for “Call Me Maybe,” but the lyrics are also charmingly ambiguous about loving the idea of someone more than you actually care for the person obscured by those ideas — and the prospect that you might not want to disturb that idea with actual contact:


Both of these songs, of course, are kin to what will probably the best Miley Cyrus song of all time, the “Sunglasses at Night”-biting, best-song-about-awkwardness-to-dance-to “See You Again”:

Then there’s Rye Rye, who remains my favorite new rapper despite having not actually released an album, does the impossible and revitalizes the Venga Boys back catalogue while turning herself into a victorious video game avatar in “Boom Boom,” where she talks about watching porn — or lying in the grass and watching clouds go by — with her chosen guy:

Adele’s voice is incredible, but she’s not the only young Brit turning out fun love songs. I’m partial to Little Boots, particularly when she gets her romantic sci-fi on:

If you’re in a goofier mode, hang out with Ke$ha, who was dismissed as an embarrassment but who I think is a lot more self-aware creation, a critique of the kind of thing Rihanna does when she slaps on a bunch of harem pants and tries to pretend she can dance:

But if you prefer your critiques of pop tarts to be sincere and gorgeous (and want your sincere white girls to cover something other than hip-hop) rather than goofy, there’s always Ingrid Michaelson’s gorgeous a capella cover of “We Found Love”:

And in her inimitable, filthy (and I really do mean filthy) way, Azealia Banks is having way more fun than the rest of us: