Movements in Music

By Niyatee Jain

Every few years, a new teen pop sensation emerges. In the early 2000s, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were all the rage, in the 2010s it was the Disney Channel trio of Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato and in 2021, Olivia Rodrigo released “Sour,” launching her into teenage stardom. 

These women have defined pop music, by releasing platinum singles and award-winning albums. Yet, when discussing their songs, the first thing that comes to mind is breakup songs. The stigma surrounding songs of heartbreak needs to change. Singers draw from experience, and though society may think that teens cannot go through heartbreak, breakups are not only limited to adults. 

Talented songwriters like Taylor Swift and Rodrigo have built their following on these songs. And while the songs may be catchy, they have also garnered many negative stereotypes.

TEENAGE HEARTBREAK ANTHEMS: Young artists can appeal to an age-appropriate audience by writing about love. (Photo Courtesy of Interscope Records)

For example, Swift is known to write about her breakups, but by doing so, she has been stereotyped as an artist who just sings about her love life. In reality, even though she has many breakup songs, she is also able to connect with fans because they can relate to teenage heartbreak.

When phrases like “Taylor Swift only writes breakup songs” or “Olivia Rodrigo is too young to understand heartbreak” are thrown around, society completely neglects their talent to bring feelings into powerful songs that are not only relatable but are also infused with incomparable passion. No one said a thing when Justin Bieber took his rounds with songs about Selena Gomez, a relationship that was predominantly during his only teens, yet Rodrigo and Swift were written off as artists who are only able to write sad breakup songs. 

Breakup songs are insignificant in the grand scheme, so instead of hating them, their achievements should be celebrated. For example, heartbreak anthems filled Rodrigo’s album “Sour” and was labeled as the number one album of 2021, according to Rolling Stone

When I listen to music, I search for artists who create songs I am able to relate to. Rodrigo, Swift and other young stars provide exactly that because their perspectives and lyricism on breakups are similar. Evidently, from the popularity of teenage anthems, failed relationships seem to be the key to success. It takes two to be in one so why are women in the industry the ones shamed for penning them?