Jenny Gathright

When NPR Music published its list of 150 Greatest Albums By Women two weeks ago, we who created it firmly intended that this be just the beginning of a conversation that puts women's musical artistry at the center. Immediately, others took up our call. Lists began proliferating, representing different taste affinities, time periods and genre focuses than what our list encompassed.

Music is doing its job when it makes you feel like you can actually sit with your angst. With her new single "Wicked Ways," the DMV R&B singer Saba Abraha crafts a rich aesthetic from the feeling of uncertainty. "Wicked Ways" describes the point — in life, in relationships — when things stop coming as easily as they used to.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.


Nick Hakim writes songs that honor his own complexity and the complexity of love (they are, in part, inextricable), delivered through brilliant, pillowy, jazz-inflected arrangements. But, perhaps above all, it's the voice — a striking vessel of emotion and an impressive technical force.

Witch Prophet's Ayo Leilani clearly had healing intentions when she wrote "Listen." It's the official song of the #AnchorCampaign, which Canadian musician (and guest vocalist) Lucas Silveira started to spur conversation about mental health, self-harm and suicide.