Erykah Badu's 1997 album "Baduizm" earned the number 12 spot in NPR's list of the 150 best albums made by women.

Erykah Badu's 1997 album "Baduizm" earned the number 12 spot in NPR's list of the 150 best albums made by women.

When you see a list of the best albums of all time, what’s behind it? Sales? Influence on other acts? Or the subjective opinions of a magazine or website editorial staff?

“Lists have their limitations,” writes NPR Music critic and correspondent Ann Powers. “It’s arguable, in fact, that beyond getting the groceries, lists are fundamentally lies. They reflect unconscious biases and whispered compromises; they solidify beliefs that may seem relevant in the moment, but become incomprehensible to the next generation.”

In the Turning The Tables series, Powers and about four dozen other women at NPR re-examine the idea of lists and canon, then create their own.

The list of 150 greatest albums made by women spans genres and decades to show how women have been at the creative forefront of a field that has been less equal for essentially all of its existence.

See the list

Guests

  • Ann Powers Music critic and correspondent, NPR; @annkpowers
  • Jim DeRogatis Co-host, Sound Opinions; Music Critic and Blogger, WBEZ; @jimderogatis
  • Keanna Faircloth Host, "Evening Jazz" on WPFW 89.3 FM in Washington, DC; @jazzygirlrockin

1A's Producers' Picks

The 1A producers picked some of their favorite songs by women. Enjoy the playlist and let us know what you would add — and, please be advised, there is some explicit language in a few of the songs.

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