It’s 2013, and in the ever changing and culturally mixed world we live in, artists still tend to surprise us. They create unique music that fits no genre, or put on elaborate over the top performances that cross many boundaries. The public eye translates these forms of creativity into being strange or sometimes inappropriate. But when it comes to album and ticket sales, these acts sell the most. What is it about being different that appeals to so many people? Why are the unique stars talked about the most?
Media outlets from news broadcasts to celebrities on Twitter have called Miley Cyrus’ recent remodel from innocent Disney actress to provocative pop star an outrage. Her now infamous performance at the MTV Video Music Awards was called inappropriate beyond belief, along with her edgy videos for her singles We Can’t Stop and Wrecking Ball, and the explicit language she uses often on her new album Bangerz. These, and every other aspect of her life, have been evaluated and pulled apart by the general public and have been said to be over-the-top and definitely crossing every moral line possible. But why did her album top the Billboard charts at number one? Why do her two music videos have over 500,000,000 views on YouTube combined? Why does she have over 15,000,000 Twitter followers? Is there an explanation for why Miley is one of the biggest artists in the world right now? It’s as simple as this: people are infatuated with different. They crave the unique, the outrageous, the over-the-top. These celebrities do things that many of us would never dream of doing, and make us wonder what would it feel like to be doing that? “Even people who want to hate on me, they can’t even shut down the fact that I’m literally what everyone is talking about. I don’t want to say that I’m on top right now – I feel like I’m kind of an underdog in a cool way. It’s almost punk rock to like me because it’s not the right thing to do. Like, society wants to shut me down,” said Miley in a recent interview for Cosmopolitan Magazine. Other celebrities like Lady Gaga and Madonna have also become mega pop icons from crazy and explicit actions. And when they are being praised or even criticized, all that’s happening is they are becoming more… and more… famous.
This method has been used not only for performances, but also music genres. The 1975, a relatively new band based in the UK, have been criticized for their 80’s influenced, punk rock sound, that seems to have little to no true genre. "The tastemaker press didn't understand it,” said lead singer Matty Healy in an interview for The Guardian. “Because we aren't a dance band, because we don't sound like the Libertines. I think we've got quite a postmodern attitude to the creation of music, and it's split a lot of people down the middle because they don't know how to take it." Some love their sound, calling it fresh and inventive, as Healy takes from everything from U2 to Michael Jackson. Others find The 1975’s music to be confusing and “too unique”, taking into consideration that most of their first, self-titled album, is based mainly on the theme of love and drugs. Even with all of the abhorrent comments, their edgy tunes have gotten to number one on the Billboard charts within a week of release and sold out shows all across the UK, America, and Asia.
As for me? I believe that fame is truly a game, a game of attention, money, and all out creativity. I myself am a huge fan of Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and The 1975. Unlike some others, I have no shame in saying that I find weird interesting. I think we all need to embrace the craving we have for unique artists in the music industry. After all, without them, who would put the pop in pop culture?