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Thread: New wave of young female artists who make arty, edgy pop

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    Default New wave of young female artists who make arty, edgy pop

    In the 90s and early 2000s young female pop stars were associated with bubblegum pop and their music was mostly just lighthearted entertainment. They didn't take themselves seriously. It wasn't meant to be taken seriously. It was just meant to sell well and to be a summer hit. Britney Spears is probably the most canonical example of this type of pop stars.

    But something has changed. Recently there has been a significant wave of very young female musicians who take themselves very seriously, and who try to make daring, artistic, edgy music. I am not sure if this whole trend is fully authentic, or perhaps this too is engineered (Perhaps people in charge of music industry have realized that nowadays, when socially conscious hip hop, me too movement, and woke culture in general are trending highly in public discourse - socially conscious, ambitious, feminist pop would sell very well too) , but whatever is the case, it's hard not to notice really large number of very young female artists who make ambitious, experimental, very modern, edgy music, and manage to achieve huge popularity with this.

    I hope it's not engineered though. Perhaps it's consequence of further emancipation and self determination of kids from affluent families... so they can afford these days to make such sophisticated music that wasn't the case in the past.

    Perhaps this trend started with the likes of Lana del Ray, Grimes and Lorde, but it has definitely established itself with Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo...

    I've taken a notice also of Spanish singer Rosalia though she's a bit more into hip hop, but has otherwise similar esthetic.

    What do you think of this whole trend?

    Here's one of the most recent songs by Billie Eilish, which, IMO is not forgettable type of pop that we've seen in 90s... Perhaps even a bit pretentious... but in general I kind of like it...

    Last edited by ZJovicic; Sep-11-2021 at 18:31.

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    Another hit from this new "genre" shall we say?



    Your opinion?

    IMO, it feels a bit weird that so young people take themselves so seriously... but I guess it's just me.
    Weird yes, but I think it's a good thing.

    I just know when I was her age I was way less serious. I mean, I was serious about various kinds of things, but I didn't take myself that seriously.

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    Senior Member SONNET CLV's Avatar
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    Unfortunately for me, the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Julie London, Nina Simone. Sarah Vaughan ... and in more recent times Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Patricia Barber, Chrissie Hynde, Alicia Keys, Diana Krall, Teena Marie ... and a few others haven't yet worn out their welcome enough for me to spend what precious time I have left exploring beyond these tried and true angelic vocal cords.

    But I will keep options for further explorations open, as always.

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    This song rocks, even on the very first listen:


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    It's true that there seems to have been an increase in the number of solo female artists gaining commercial success, but there has been a long tradition of female singer-songwriters who "took themselves seriously" and were not just manufactured by the music industry. You might want to look back at least to the 1960s for Carole King and Joni Mitchell, the 1970s for Kate Bush and Joan Armatrading.

    One of my favourites from the 1990s is Stina Nordenstam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZJovicic View Post

    Perhaps this trend started with the likes of Lana del Ray, Grimes and Lorde, but it has definitely established itself with Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo...
    From a bit back, but Gaga was one of the earlier ones I remember in that sort of edgy, artistically elevated mode among woman pop stars - MIA as well.

    As the above post said, there's many older cases of solo female artist creating "serious pop" like Kate Bush, too. I'd put someone like kd lang or PJ Harvey in that category in the 90s. The modern ones seem to take a more postmodern view where the concept of pop fame is a deliberate part of the image, though (this was especially true with Gaga and currently with Lana Del Rey - maybe this started with Madonna? I certainly remember her to be one of the first notable woman pop artists to deliberately play with the concept of the artifice of pop as part of her image).


    In all honesty I have trouble listening to this stuff because it reminds me that I'm getting old.
    Last edited by fbjim; Sep-13-2021 at 18:24.

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    Yeah Lady Gaga as well... she was a bit more typically commercial, but still she made some edgy stuff, and songs that stood test of time. Bad Romance is a typical example:



    In my opinion great song, and smashing hit, deservedly so.

    But I think Billie Elilish and Olivia Rodrigo are even more weird, arty, radical, different, whatever... which didn't hurt their popularity.

    Lady Gaga was still a bit more standard pop.

    PJ Harvy, Kate Bush, etc, on the other hand are even less commercial and more indie/arty, but they never achieved mainstream popularity.

    With Billie Eilish the weird thing is that she's both very radical and very popular at the same time.

    Perhaps, indeed, Madonna is the most similar example from the past. She also did some edgy and shocking things, and she was insanely popular. But Madonna was also always deeply rooted in pop. Shocking, yes, but still pop...

    Billie Eilish kind of managed to leave the pop territory almost completely, and to retain popularity typical of pop music.

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    St. Vincent would definitely fall into that category. In addition to being musically edgy, she's all about female empowerment. All the men in her band wear a stocking mask, so they're completely faceless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZJovicic View Post
    Perhaps this trend started with the likes of Lana del Ray, Grimes and Lorde, but it has definitely established itself with Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo...

    Great opening post. I'd add Halsey and Courtney Barnett to this list.
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    St. Vincent would definitely fall into that category. In addition to being musically edgy, she's all about female empowerment. All the men in her band wear a stocking mask, so they're completely faceless.

    Good call.

    But maybe she is from a different era. Yes, I know she is still active but I would not put her in this group. Maybe in a group with PJ Harvey and Amy Winehouse.
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZJovicic View Post
    Billie Eilish the weird thing is that she's both very radical.
    You mean like Hendrix or Stones at birth?
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SONNET CLV View Post
    Unfortunately for me, the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Julie London, Nina Simone. Sarah Vaughan ... and in more recent times Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Patricia Barber, Chrissie Hynde, Alicia Keys, Diana Krall, Teena Marie ... and a few others haven't yet worn out their welcome enough for me to spend what precious time I have left exploring beyond these tried and true angelic vocal cords.

    But I will keep options for further explorations open, as always.
    Don't say that! You always have time for new!
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
    Voltaire

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    Senior Member Red Terror's Avatar
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    My problem with the POP genre is that the music is generally bereft of any interesting ideas. Artists like Gaga and Eilish present an interesting image, but that's where the 'edgy' schtick ends. Their music is woefully pedestrian and predictable—it bores to tears.
    Last edited by Red Terror; Sep-13-2021 at 19:47.

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    Senior Member Simon Moon's Avatar
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    Fans of this style maybe interested in the newest release from this LA band (now located in NY), Sloppy Jane. There are some definite nods to Kate Bush.

    While this style isn't something I am into, this artist seems quite a bit more creative than most.


    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

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    Not mentioned yet: Eivør from the Faroe Islands.

    I replayed over a thousand of my pop/rock albums in the second half of 2020 and early this year, aiming to make a list of about 500 favourites. In the end, the list now contains 546 albums, 5 of which by Eivør: Krákan, Eivør, Larva, Bridges, and Slør - which I would probably pick as for me the best of her work.

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