“It’s a man’s man’s man’s world,” declared the godfather of soul James Brown in 1966. Well, times have definitely changed, specifically in music. Just look at the current Billboard Hot 100 chart and you’ll notice that 7 of the top 10 songs are by women. Rihanna, Katy, Britney, Lady Gaga, Jennifer, Adele and Fergie (well, technically it’s The Black Eyed Peas, but what are they really without Fergie) are all battling out against each other in a smack down for supremacy; one diva to rule them all.
Just a few years ago, the landscape of the pop charts probably would not have looked this way. Mostly dominated by hip-hop, which very much happens to be an almost exclusively man’s world, the music scene has undergone quite a change in just a few years. Specifically, the emergence of more dance-oriented pop, fueled by veterans like Madonna’s “Confessions on a Dance Floor” and Britney Spears’ “Blackout,” that’s become immensely popular and more radio-friendly by Lady Gaga’s “The Fame” has stormed the charts with its escapist and infectious beats. In turbulent times, it is refreshing to turn on the radio and hear songs about clubbing and dancing and having a good time rather than lament over one’s heartbreak or loss. And for whatever reason, nobody can do dance pop better than the ladies. With a great mixture of seasoned divas and new up and comers, it’s an incredibly exciting time for music.
Rihanna, who earned her 10th Hot 100 number one a couple weeks ago for “S&M” with a little help from featured artist Britney Spears (this is her fifth number one), is the youngest female to ever amass that many number one hits since her first one, “SOS,” back in 2006. Katy Perry’s “E.T.” was her fourth number one single from her “Teenage Dream” album, making it only the ninth album to ever do this, and the fifth female to do so. Jennifer Lopez has earned her first top five hit in five years with “On the Floor,” while Britney Spears continues to ride the comeback train with her second top ten single, “Till the World Ends,” from her new album. With the resurgence of these decade old divas comes the emergence of an exciting new one. In her breakout song, “Rolling in the Deep” Adele proves that one can have a hit song without a throbbing bass and with emphasis of sublime vocals. And the unstoppable tour de force that is Lady Gaga earned her ninth consecutive top ten hit as new single “Judas” debuts a couple weeks ago at number 10. These ladies are kicking ass and taking names, but the praise and credit they should be getting is being masked by something foul.
The one thing that comes with all of these women achieving this massive amount of success is brutal competition. The music industry and those involved love to pit women against one another, perhaps because of the stigma that comes with women in the industry being demanding and headstrong divas. If the chart was inhabited by mostly men, this sort of microscopic attention over who comes out on top would not exist. Instead of pitting these women against each other in a dramatic brawl and relentlessly comparing them to each other in terms of vocal ability, style, originality, and dance technique, we should be relishing in the fact that these incredibly talented women have delivered to the public some great music for our listening pleasure. In the end, what does it matter when we dissect each of these women? They’re making more money than any of us, and they clearly have tailored their sounds and image into mass success. So instead of bickering over this and that, can we just all agree to stop with the fighting, plug in our iPods and rock out to these amazing divas? It’s much more fun that way.