Women have evolved. We’ve taken our final form and our final form hates singing love songs. Not across the board, mind you. There are definitely still acts that can’t resist the siren call of a good love jam but, these days, so many female artists would rather write hooks about hating boys than dating them.
This week, London based singer Annabel Jones dropped some misandry flavoured realness on us in the form of her newest song, “IOU”. The release is solid and features such lyrics as “I cut your ass loose” and “you settled for less, I settled on you.”
Annabel’s lyrics are bold (right before Valentine’s Day, too!) and offer some fun little aggressive lyrics to scream at no one in particular. She also seems to be following the steady pattern of female artists ditching the platitudes of eternal love for much cooler topics.
It used to be that, to make it as a woman in music, you had to sing love songs. Annabel’s “IOU” draws a stark contrast against one of 1963’s biggest pop hits, “My Boyfriend Is Back” by The Angels.
It’s a huge blast from the past and a gentle reminder that, in 1963, women so often relegated themselves to the whims of their boyfriends that it warranted a whole chart topping song about snitching on a guy to another guy. Definitely doesn’t pass the Bechdel test.
Visually, ladies in music have also abandoned big strong male leads for more daring scenes. Like, when Lorde literally set fire to her “Magnets” costar.
gif via mashable
And, lest we forget the iconic moment when Hailee Steinfeld put on a “self service” t-shirt and told the world they should “love themselves” more.
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And it’s not just songs about “self service” and being “independent”. Korean five piece, 4Minute launched their most recent comeback with a Skrillex produced “f*ck you* banger called “Hate”. And, yeah, if you’re surprised that a glossy kpop act just told a bunch of dudes to eat it, you’re definitely getting the significance of it.
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One surprising knock on effect of this new trend is the new boldness with which these ladies are professing their artistic independence in the form of more sexually charged declarations of love. Ones that steal back the lyrical male gaze and put women back in charge.
If you want to go to heaven you should fuck me tonight.Halsey, “Young God”
My pussy tastes like Pepsi-Cola.Lana Del Rey, “Cola”
In a weird way, this new willingness to sing hate songs and those with sexually explicit lyrics has probably had a positive impact on artists who want to sing relationship bangers.
Selena Gomez just released a whole album of stuff you text your ex at 2:35 am but owned the hell out it and did it in a cool way. Selena’s very well executed Revival tackles the other side of adult relationships as she sings complex lyrics like “you don’t know how to love me when you’re sober”. It’s not quite “I hate you”, but it’s multi-layered and imperfect, a theme more and more female performers and writers are tackling in their music.
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Whether we realise it or not, female artists have shifted sharply away from making entire albums about being in love and finding love.
With their willingness to sing about the not-so-fun side of adult relationships, fans are gifted with nuanced, multi-layererd, tongue-in cheek representations from artists who are trailblazing for one another.
Simply put: it’s okay to be cool now. It’s okay to sing about something other than love and it’s okay to say ”f*ck you” instead of “I love you”.