Good music is good music—that’s irrefutable—but nothing compares to good music by the almighty girl group. Unlike many sung by traditional boy bands or just generic guy bands, some of the most iconic songs made famous by all-women pop acts pack a 1-2-3 punch of being sonically advanced, impactful in message, and generally captivating because, hello, women.

Whatever the music—whether it’s activism wrapped up in charming harmonies, like those from wartime sweethearts the Andrews Sisters during the 1940s and soul-pop icons like Martha and the Vandellas in the 1960s; bona fide hits from history-shaping girl groups of the late ’90s like the Spice Girls and Destiny’s Child; or pure-pop Aughts confections from the Pussycat Dolls or Fifth Harmony—the legacy of the girl group music is storied and, frankly, dazzling.

Everyone has their preferences, of course, but below, we’ve rounded up a handful of iconic songs by girl groups—some more pervasive than others but all iconic in their own way—that deserve a spot on any playlist, for any occasion.

“In My House” by Mary Jane Girls

Written and arranged by Rick James, 1975’s “In My House”—an unapologetic ode to the booty call, fuses synth, funk, disco, and pop. The result is a near-perfect dance track that recently received a second life thanks to its well-placed position in the pilot of FX’s groundbreaking series Pose.

“Don’t Walk Away” by Jade

The sonic perfection of true 1990s R&B is hard to match, and this track holds up better than ever. Come for Jade’s sharp harmonies and stomping New Jack Swing beats, and stay for the nostalgia factor that’ll send you if you came of age during the ’90s. The song is so iconic that samples abound, including one by superstar Diplo.

“Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child

Picking even a handful of the best Destiny’s Child songs is an exercise in futility—almost every single track the GOAT girl group released is more influential and exciting than the next. “Say My Name,” though, exemplifies everything incredible about their influence, from the now infamous DarkChild tag at the start to the razor-sharp writing, production, arrangement, tempo changes, and—of course—vocals.

“Point of No Return” by Exposé

There’s truly nothing like ’80s freestyle genre—a subcategory first made popular in New York’s outer boroughs that blended pop, Latin, disco, dance, and R&B—and this massive hit by girl group Exposé has an opening synth line that would get anyone pumped up and ready to dance whether they’re listening for nostalgia’s sake or hearing it for the first time.

“Never Ever” by All Saints

Often compared to the Spice Girls based on very little but gender and location, this band—also from the UK—was a purposely less polished version. The slinky, sexy 1997 hit “Never Ever” climbed to number one on the UK chart and became the 14th biggest-selling single of the ’90s in the UK and is, according to many music journalists and fans, one of the best breakup anthems of all time.

“Damaged” by Danity Kane

Say what you will about Making the Band, Diddy’s occasionally messy MTV pop-reality experiment that played out during the early ’00s, but the winning formation of five female singers and dancers, including Aubrey O’Day, that went on to become Danity Kane purveyed some undisputed bangers. Top example: “Damaged,” a 2008 dare-you-not-to-dance track that blended polished pop, hip-hop, and R&B, and landed just as the heyday of 2000s pop was coming to a close. Its aggressive opening beat and the unforgettable riff (“Do, do ya got a first-aid kit handy?”) make it a memorable throwback that, honestly, never gets old for true pop aficionados.

“My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” by En Vogue

Polished, sexy, sophisticated, and immensely talented, En Vogue kept the ’90s hits coming, but “My Lovin’” is arguably their most influential track thanks to its liquid harmonies, funky riffs, sampled James Brown guitar lick, and 1960s-style scatting. Ooh, bop.

“React” by the Pussycat Dolls

Yes, the Dolls had way bigger and more overplayed hits than this sinewy ode to provoking an apathetic man, but credit must be given since it was the group’s 2020 comeback hit that merges thumping beats and strong vocals. She’s versatile too: “React” can be just as at home on a hardcore running mix as on a pregame playlist.

“Ex-Wives” From Six

You don’t have to have seen Six on Broadway to appreciate its pulsating pop score which—before the show opened in 2020—had been streamed over 100 million times on Spotify and Apple Music. The musical zooms in on the untold stories of Henry VIII’s six wives but brings each story up to date by reimagining each one in the style of a current pop star. Every song has its merits, but the adrenaline-spiked opening number shows the queens as a resplendent girl group on a quest for validation and vindication.

“Sour Candy” by Lady Gaga and Blackpink

It’s easy to imagine this 2020 pop-house track at full volume thanks to the partnership between two innovative artists—Gaga and massive South Korean girl group Blackpink. Turn it up.

“Best of My Love” by The Emotions

Embodying the very best of disco, this 1977 megahit has it all—incredible instrumentals, crystal-clear vocals, danceable beats, and sweet-as-pie lyrics. A true classic!

“Work From Home” by Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign

Clever lyrics, of-the-moment beats, a pop feminist POV that permeated Top 40 hits at the time of its 2016 release, and relentless airplay makes this pop song a good one for any getting-ready playlist.

“We Are Family” by Sister Sledge

It’s hard not to fall for this glittering 1979 disco phenomenon that, despite its decades-long ubiquity, is a pretty heavenly 3 minutes and 37 seconds that’s sonically complex and encapsulates the sound of pure, uncut disco. Listen closely to the iconic opening notes, the funk-driven backing bass line, the inherently danceable four-on-the-floor tempo, and the deceptively airy vocals that are tinged with surprising grit.

“No Scrubs” by TLC

What’s to say about this absolutely iconic display of frustration with men that don’t carry their weight, a.k.a. scrubs? This song ushered that word into our permanent lexicon as a wittier and more hard-hitting alternative to loser.

“Say You’ll Be There” by the Spice Girls

Despite their history-making success, it’s hard to argue with the fact that some of the Girls’ biggest songs sound like relics frozen in a very specific time. This one, however, holds up nicely thanks to a catchy chorus and a newfound maturity and confidence that fans ate up.