Musicians and Development: Results?
A lot of musicians popular today started their careers when they were younger and were more innocent. Or started in groups which were the anti-thesis to who they are today. And still retain their popularity. Like comparing Justin Timberlake's musical career back when he started in *NSYNC compared to today. Some musicians who have made fairly mature sounding songs can progressively create new songs that were an anti-thesis to their usual style. Like Taylor Swift's Bad Blood. As a sign of development, some musicians also created songs that were the lyrical opposite of their previous songs. Such as Meghan Trainor's No, which was about a lady not wanting to pursue a relationship with a man, rather than the usual songs about a lady singing how she would be faithful to a man. But there can be several justifiable reasons as to why musicians change their musical aesthetics. Some reasons included:
- Breaking away from the old ways. When a musician gets older, he or she may want to try to make songs that were vastly different to what made them popular in the first place. Like when Justin Timberlake introduced the album Justified in 2002. It was different compared to the songs he sang while in *NSYNC, but it is understandable that he wanted to break away from the boy band image he made of himself.
- Variation. Sometimes making a song that was different from previously made songs can help a musician get more fans. Which must have happened when Meghan Trainor created No. It sounded awesome, but it was vastly different compared to Meghan Trainor's previous work.
- Shock value. Taylor Swift: Musical Theme Evolution showed two versions of Taylor Swift songs, immature and mature. A song like Bad Blood, where she became violent must have surprised listeners.
When Justin Timberlake released Justified in 2002, this was after his breakup with *NSYNC. Understandably, some of the songs were different or sounded like something that one would not hear a boy band sing. Like Cry Me a River, a song that most likely referenced his breakup with Britney Spears. Cry Me a River also had aesthetics that would not have normally been shown in a boy band song. Some examples included:
- Justin breaking and entering an ex-girlfriend's house. All while saying that he was seriously hurt when his ex dumped him.
- Filming himself and another girl making out. The girl was scantily clad,
- Spying on his ex-girlfriend taking a shower. Fortunately, this scene was censored.
- Leaving the ex-girlfriend with a tape of him making out with another girl.
Justified was meant to show Justin Timberlake moving away from *NSYNC to be his own musician. And while not all of his songs were as extreme as Cry Me a River, Justified showed just how good Justin Timberlake was as a singer. And helped hive him the chance to make more solo albums.
The picture above was taken from the Taylor Swift music video Bad Blood. Now, while Taylor Swift has made a wide variety of songs, as written in Taylor Swift: More Interesting Songs, Bad Blood can be seen as Taylor Swift developing into a singer who can appeal to fans using a different genre. In this case, a song about getting betrayed by a friend as opposed to experiencing the usual romantic shenanigans of Taylor's other songs. One of her more recent songs, Shake It Off, was a song about Taylor Swift dealing with people who disliked her. But it was sung in a more whimsical manner. Bad Blood does away with the whimsical elements of Shake It Off when talking about someone who disliked or hurt her and instead sounded a lot more vindictive in comparison. Especially when one sees the music video of Bad Blood start with:
- Taylor and a friend beating up people.
- The friend backstabbing Taylor. Then kicking her off a window.
- Taylor singing the chorus of Bad Blood as she fell and crashed onto the hood of a car.
The rest of Bad Blood then portrayed itself as a big revenge movie. Scenes that were included were:
- A scantily clad Taylor Swift getting healed and outfitted with new wardrobe.
- A montage of her going through a training facility. Many weapons were shown.
- Taylor gathering a team and training with them. Most of that training consisted of using various different weapons and tools, hand-to-hand combat, and even vehicle training.
- Bad Blood ending with Taylor and her new team confronting the person who kicked her off of a building at the beginning of the music video. An epic fight scene was implied to have happened.
While Bad Blood did not look like a song about a messy breakup with a boy like some of Taylor Swift's other songs, the fact that Taylor Swift experienced breakups in the past supports the idea that Bad Blood could have been written with those breakups in mind. Just a lot more spiteful rather than sad. Which makes sense. Breakups, or any acts of betrayal, can hurt. And sometimes a more violent solution can be the result.
Meghan Trainor is a fairly recent musician. Releasing her first album in 2015, Meghan Trainor has already made many songs that were featured in shows or movies made in the same year. And most of those songs were about having fun in spite of life's difficulties. Or wanting to be in a relationship with a boy. Songs like Dear Future Husband were songs where Meghan sang about how her and a boy would make a cute couple or how Meghan would make an awesome wife. Songs like Lips Are Movin were about breaking up, but sung in a way that still retained Meghan's upbeat tone. In 2016, however, Meghan attempted to go a different direction. Starting with the song No.
As shown in this music video:
- Meghan initially sounded like her usual music videos. She was saying how someone who wanted to talk to her was brave. However, once she made it clear that she wanted to be left alone, that was when No went a different direction.
- Rather than let down the boy gently, Meghan made No seem like she was annoyed that certain boys would not give up on trying to ask her out. So much so that she even advised other girls to basically say no firmly and without a hint of playfulness.
- The aesthetics were different. Compared to earlier music videos, No has to be the bleakest. Everyone wore primarily dark colors, various scenes were not as bright and colorful compared to other music videos, and Meghan was dressed in a more mature ensemble.
No was Meghan Trainor's attempt at making a song that was different compared to the other songs she wrote in the past. And it sounds awesome in Pop Music standards.
Musicians change their singing style frequently. Whether it is because they want to break away from their previous image, trying to be more mature sounding because of life experiences, or just an experiment to sound different, any reason is both valid and justifiable. Especially since most of these changes actually helped increase a singer's popularity.