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Best of 2014

10 Badass Girl-Power Music Moments of 2014

This year was all about embracing and supporting the ladies doing it big in 2014 with history-making feats on the charts, live scene and beyond

1 / 10

Ladies Rule the Charts

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For seven consecutive weeks this fall, female pop artists held down the top five spots on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. That was the first time such a feat was accomplished in the chart's 56-year history. (The reign ended on November 8 when Maroon 5's "Animals" edged out Iggy Azalea's "Black Widow.") Collectively, Iggy, Ariana GrandeMeghan Trainor, Jessie J and Tove Lo put together a collection of hits that not only dominated their male counterparts—but also the airwaves. Jonathan Stern

2 / 10

A Little Get Together

Not only were female artists ruling the charts in 2014, they were doing it with teamwork. When Iggy Azalea wasn't giving the assist on tracks like on J. Lo's "Booty" or Ariana Grande's "Problem," she was receiving it from features by Charli XCX ("Fancy"), Ellie Goulding ("Heavy Crown"), Rita Ora ("Black Widow") and even Danish singer MØ ("Beg for It"). You can basically make your own game of Six Degrees of Female Features at this point: Ariana Grande tapped Jessie J and Nicki Minaj for "Bang Bang." Nicki cut a remix of Beyonce's "Flawless." Bey returned the favor on "Feelin' Myself." Then Nicki and Ari collaborated again on "Get on Your Knees." (Phew. This really deserves a flowchart.)

3 / 10

Nirvana Inducted to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame By Famous Females

When Nirvana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a performance from the band's surviving members, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, was pretty much in the cards. What made it iconic was the addition of some of the most badass women to pick up a guitar or microphone since the dawning of rock 'n' roll: Joan Jett, St. Vincent, Lorde and Kim Gordon all stepped in to sing in Kurt Cobain's stead. Joan on "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Kim on "Aneurysm," St. Vincent taking the riffs and chords of "Lithium" and Lorde growling her way through "All Apologies" made for a fitting tribute just as groundbreaking as the grunge gods who inspired it. Hilary Hughes

4 / 10

Lorde Catches Fire

She’s about the same age as the fans lining up to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, but instead of hitting a midnight screening with a bunch of friends, Lorde was entrusted with curating the soundtrack for one of the biggest YA movie franchises in history. The 18-year-old tapped some of the biggest talent for her take on the music of Panem. While she recorded her own contributions like "Yellow Flicker Beat" and a cover of Bright Eyes' "Ladders," the singer probably felt that Katniss needed even more badass ladies represented. Enter Tinashe's "The Leap" and Ariana Grande (with Major Lazer) on "All My Love." Much respect to Lorde’s ultimate power move: Getting Kanye to take a pass at a remix of "Yellow Flicker Beat." —Jonathan Stern

5 / 10

Neon Girls

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Before T-Swizzle was caught with her crew of fantastic and fashionable feminist friendsDemi Lovato was repping her girls and even taking them on the road with her. Earlier this year, the "Heart Attack" singer embarked on her Neon Lights tour, joined only by like-minded strong female forces: Cher LloydLittle MixFifth Harmony and Daniella Mason. The tour was uber successful and required no boys or boy bands to keep the young (and, more than likely, mostly female) crowd entertained. The star-studded shows had one real mantra: Support your ladies! Maria Sherman

6 / 10

2014 Is the Year of '1989'

Arg! We just can’t seem to shake it off. One of the most infectious song of the year ("Shake It Off," of course) helped Taylor Swift become the first artist in 2014 to snag a platinum-selling album with 1989. In fact, the album's first-week sales were the highest since Eminem released The Eminem Show all the way back in 2002. Swift also became the first woman to rule the Billboard Hot 100 with back-to-back singles when "Blank Space" replaced "Shake It Off" at No. 1. That means the only person capable of unseating Swift from the top of the charts this year proved to be...herself. —Jonathan Stern

7 / 10

Music for Every Body

"Every inch of you is perfect / from the bottom to the top," explains local bass appreciator, Meghan Trainor. More than 20 years ago, Sir Mix-a-Lot first suggested that a big butt was healthy. Now, in 2014, body-positive messages are taking over pop music. Colbie Caillat bared her own insecurities on "Try," Mary Lambert penned "Secrets" and the literal "Body Love." Even songs like Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea's "Booty" take objectification and shift the gender power back. If anything, this year proved it's not about having a perfectly svelte pop star singing about female empowerment. It's about artists of all shapes and sizes demonstrating that they love the skin they're in. —Jonathan Stern

8 / 10

The Girls Lead K-Pop's Biggest Week Ever

K-pop had its biggest week ever on the charts thanks to two of its leading female phenomenons. Released within days of each other, 2NE1's Crush album and Girls' Generation's Mr.Mr. EP both set new records on the Billboard 200 chart for K-pop albums when they soared in at Nos. 61 and 110 respectively. They also broke sales records when the former sold 5,000 copies and the latter netted more than 3,000. Boy-band fever may be alive and well, but 2NE1 and Girls' Generation proved that girl-group mania is thriving as well. Jeff Benjamin

9 / 10

Beyoncé's Is a Vanguard

INGLEWOOD, CA - AUGUST 24: (L-R) Blue Ivy Carter, recording artists Jay-Z and Beyonce speak onstage during the 2014 MTV Video
TV/MTV1415/Getty Images for MTV

As if Beyoncé could deliver anything but a full-throttle, glitter-spackled, tear-jerking wollop of a performance upon receiving one of the most prestigious accolades of her career. Bey dominated the MTV VMAs stage before receiving the 2014 Video Vanguard Award, and she made no bones about representing the strongest themes of her visual album—namely, her #FLAWLESS #FEMINISM that ran through the record like an unstoppable electric current. The Beyoncé tracks killed, but the moment of the performance may have come courtesy of baby Blue Ivy, who mimicked Mama B's choreography step for step from the comfort of daddy Jay Z's lap. —Hilary Hughes

10 / 10

Miranda Lambert Rules Nashville

While females occupied the Top 5 slots on the Billboard Hot 100 for weeks earlier this year, we challenge you to name five superstar female country artists. Tough, right? Which makes the accolades Miranda Lambert achieved with her latest album Platinum all the more impressive. The singers' fifth LP became her first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, selling 180,000 copies for her best sales week yet, and it continued her streak of successively larger debut weeks. 

In a year when "bro country" grew even bigger, Miranda showed she had more than earned her spot in Nashville's male-dominated scene. Perhaps the best proof: Earning a No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart with "Somethin' Bad" featuring, yup, fellow badass female Carrie Underwood. —Jeff Benjamin

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Photo of the day

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 25:  Lottie and Louis Tomlinson attend a party to launch her collection Nails Inc X Lips Inc Matchb

Oct. 26: Best Brother Ever

Serious ‘Awww’ moment. One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson gave some major brotherly love to sister Lottie at the launch party for her Nails Inc X Lips Inc Matchbox collection in London. On Instagram, Louis even wrote her a sweet congratulatory message "So proud of my sis last night :) well done Lots. Love you.” Awww!