The radio is notorious for playing the same hit songs over and over until people can’t bear to listen to them anymore. Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” and Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” come to mind as just a few of the most overplayed songs in recent years. But whenever an artist’s song is overplayed, the fallback seems to be on them, not the radio, for this.
Whenever an artist’s song is overplayed, they’re referred to as “overhyped” or “overrated,” or anything that insinuates that their talent is negatively correlated with their popularity. Most people are never shy to state their opinions, out loud or online. They’re not afraid to call these celebrities names or angrily lash out at their success. They don’t seem to be bothered by the fact that they’re treating celebrities like they’re not real people with real lives.
Take Taylor Swift, for instance. Swift has been torn apart by haters, bashed in the media and trolled online more times than anyone could count. Despite all of this, she continues to break records and be known as one of the most successful pop artists of all time.
If she was really overrated, if she really lacked the talent people say she does, would she have the ability to accomplish all that? The answer, simply put, is no.
While Swift is a businesswoman, charisma and charm can only take a person so far. When it comes down to it, her talent for writing deep, inspiring lyrics coupled with her vocals and a team which can create catchy beats for her songs has led her to the successful spot in which she resides in the pop industry.
A catchy tune might secure an artist a few radio hits and short-term stardom, but to hold onto a secure fan base like Swift has for this long, there has to be more there.
From her first self-titled album to her latest album, “Lover,” fans have been able to grow with Swift, which is why her following of self-proclaimed “Swifties” is so strong.
Her first album, released in 2006, followed the struggles of a typical teenage girl, describing the intimate details of her life from subjects like relationship problems to trying to find a sense of belonging.
As Swift matured, so did her music. Her 2017 album, “Reputation,” acknowledges the criticism she receives from the media and highlights the importance of rising above judgment and staying true to oneself. “Lover” takes those themes one step further and prioritizes loving herself and those who are close to her.
In her lyrics, Swift puts her heart on the line and allows herself to be vulnerable. This gives fans something to relate to, something deeper than what much of today’s music is becoming.
More than that, after receiving years worth of criticism for never speaking up politically,, Swift has decided to avidly begin voicing her political opinions. Most recently, Swift’s music video for “You Need to Calm Down” showed her support for the LGBTQ+ community. The song and video were followed by a letter written to Senator Lamar Alexander regarding Senate support for the Equality Act, a letter which many celebrities and public figures have gone on to endorse.
Ariana Grande is another artist that critics often deem overrated. While people typically don’t doubt her vocal talent given her four-note range, her songs are often torn apart for being nothing more than lyrics composed of sexual innuendos and her favorite word: “yuh.”
But there’s more to Grande than that, and it doesn’t take much digging to see.
The bombing at her Manchester concert is something Grande understandably felt on a deeply personal level. In the same year, she ended a two year relationship, got engaged, lost her ex-boyfriend to an accidental drug overdose, and broke off that same engagement.
The world watched her life take each and every one of these unexpected turns. They watched as she tried to cope with PTSD following Manchester on top of the anxiety she has had her whole life. Through everything, Grande spoke out about the importance of mental health, self-care and self-love.
Like Swift, fans have grown with Grande through her albums. While the first three might have been based upon more superficial principles, with “Sweetener” and “Thank U, Next,” Grande has shown the world a more vulnerable, honest side of her. This side of her that proves that, despite being constantly told by negative press that she doesn’t deserve the success she’s had, she’s human, too. She’s worked hard for every last accomplishment in her career.
Moreover, Grande is also working to make “Thank U, Next” a saying which goes further than just a meme, and even further than its original message of self-love. At all of the U.S. stops on her Sweetener/Thank U, Next World Tour, Grande is working to create something called the “Thank U, Next Generation.”
Thank U, Next Gen is a program created by Grande and HeadCount to promote voter registration. In order to kickstart the program, a booth where eligible people can register to vote will be present at all of Grande’s U.S. concert venues during the tour.
Maybe celebrities like Swift and Grande are advertised as being nothing but overrated, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to each of their stories than meets the eye.
Both women not only acknowledge the criticisms they receive each and every day through their music, but serve as an inspiration to young women everywhere, inspiration that they’re capable of rising above negative feedback, raising their voices to speak about what they believe in and accomplishing their dreams.