Thursday, 30 January 2014

Empowerment Songs Are Terrible And Are Continuing To Run Out Of Ideas


Empowerment songs are nothing new. Of all the things that you can sing about and get the average Joe on your side, then what better to sing about than average Joe topics like falling in love, or becoming rich or just feeling better about yourself for just being you in spite of having neither of the aforementioned nice things that would mean that you actually had something to feel better about. 

So empowerment songs are nice and profitable standardised morale boosters. One size fits all gruel that everyone can take from your song and lie to themselves that it was a good song, when in fact it just massaged the gaping fear of inadequacy that they and everyone else feels every moment of their fleeting lives but never actually confronts and so sedates with alcohol, empowerment songs and other people's misery in soap operas that they can compare with their own misery and so feel superior in comparison.

Empowerment songs have always drawn from a deep pool of arbitrary events and situations in order to make the listener feel good about themselves. Most empowerment usually comes about from the artist having experienced a bad relationship in which they were taken advantage of by their other half and that this time they have risen from it stronger, like a phoenix rising from a steaming pile of shit and will never let him happen to them again. This is in fact the pool where a majority, if not all of Destiny's Child and many other girl bands of the time drained most of their success from. However it's mostly female empowerment that comes from this bad relationship angle and for most part most men's empowerment songs outside of boy bands is usually inspired by having enough dollar and hoes to be fundamentally better than everyone else that has ever and will ever exist.

From what I can tell, the lowest rung of empowerment song are those which tell you to be empowered by simple genetic traits that you had no control over. This is an empowerment for the truly futile existence, where they are so stuck in the abyss of stagnancy, that it has left them with nothing left to take pride from other than they are a thing that you have to be almost by default to be a human being. Taking pride from your gender falls into this category. I Am Women by Jordin Sparks and I Am Woman by Helen Reddy, both named the same but in fact different songs; both set out to inspire listeners who are also women that they should feel good about themselves because they are a woman as well. It doesn't matter who you are or what you've done, but simply by the fact of having a vagina, you are a fundamentally strong and good person. This is scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as self congratulating gets, since it seems to suggest that any actions you've taken or thoughts you've had are basically worthless to any of your success or character. Instead simply by having a doubling up of X chromosome, you are now officially good.

A film about legend empowerment

Male empowerment songs based solely on default gender are a lot rarer but that's not to say that there isn't a lot of the same lazy genetic pride out there to hear. The problem is that men usually focus of genetic factors such as muscle mass or dick length to make you feel empowered with, leaving you to face facts that if you are just a male with neither strength nor a swinging dick, then you are still a failure. Overall though any of these songs are in no way as wide spread as We R Who We R by Ke$ha, who aside from pointlessly using the letter R, also says everyone should be pleased because they are part of the human race and that by default means you should be pleased with yourself. I'm not sure whether or not this is actually a philosophical point about the worth of sentient life in the universe, or what I suspect to be an inane statement to include everyone into a potential consumer, but at the very least at least small dicked males finally have something to feel proud about.

But what I've begun to notice, and what made me want to write this in the first place, is the number of lazy number of metaphors that are creeping their way into recent songs about empowerment. I suppose people have described themselves as so many traditionally grand and impeding things like mountains or a blazing sun or an unbeatable fighter, that eventually you have to refresh the formula; because eventually even stagnancy can get too stagnant, even in the music industry. So with all the good imagery already taken, any new
songwriter is hit with a problem of what to use to demonstrate the qualities of strength, power and grandeur and whilst some have managed to pull it off, most recently with Katy Perry's comparison to herself as a lion in Roar, there have been less successful attempts, such as Katy Perry's comparison as someone being like a Firework.

How is a firework impeding in anyway. Maybe in a large group they can make one hell of a show, but even then it'll still be boring after 5 minutes and outstay its welcome. And Katy doesn't even mention several fireworks, she's just talking about one measly firework. A firework doesn't even have enough explosive power to kill a person and although it might remove an eye or maybe cause some second degree burns, I'd like to think that if I wanted to be empowered, I'd like that to coincide with my ability to be able to kill a man. A firework is a small, novelty explosive that rushes into the air during its brief moment of usefulness ringing out a pitiful shriek before exploding into a ephemeral period of colour which is barely enough to entertain even the most retarded of children. Whoever for a second feels empowered by that image should be immediately escorted off and destroyed by a third party because they have such a low self image that they aren't even aware that they exist anymore and should be put down on their own behalf.

But the modern metaphors of empowerment just get more depressing as time has gone on. Skyscraper by Sam Bailey of X Factor fame and soon to be Celebrity Big Brother fame, describes herself as having all of the properties of a glorified tower block. Standing tall and proud on a busy street, Mrs Bailey feels at her best when she's stands idle in all her concrete glory, trapped on some dirty city street, being entered by depressed office workers day in and day out, whilst being constantly at the risk of electrical fires and terrorist attacks.

And then there's Titanium by David Guetta, in which the singer claims that “I am Titanium”. This goes beyond all levels of metaphor because I'm not even sure this is a metaphor anymore as the singer doesn't even use a simile to separate both herself and titanium but instead refers to herself as titanium itself. I've always liked this song because I feel I can empathise with the idea that I feel at my proudest when I imagine myself as a lump of metal that has a high resistance of corrosion to both sea water and Chlorine. One day I hope to awake to find myself free of my highly corrosive human constraints to find my conscious has been transferred to a lump of Titanium that is stuck to a lit firework by some other fittingly self descriptive adhesive like duct tape or something else strong like that. Only then I will be fired off of the top of a skyscraper, launching myself high into the air and then to descend down the throat of a proud independent woman, who accepts me down her oesophagus and into her stomach, where her digestive acids struggle to impotently dissolve me to no avail.

Someone should put that all into a song and then we can get the next X Factor winner to sing it and get to number one and then we can all dance around and sing off key along to it as it loops incessantly across every radio station available, whilst in the backdrop of our minds we fantasise about how great we are as the lyrics serenade us with our own false self image of just how inspired we all are.

Isn't music just so empowering. I feel better already.

Anyway I'm out of words now because all of this has annoyed them all out of me. But to leave it on a good note so that I haven't affected any of your day, I'm going to do some karmic tweaking and give you something to balance out the damage I may have done. On that note, previously you just saw someone getting annoyed at something that was pointless and stupid, so here's a video of some people being overly enthusiastic about something that's pointless and stupid.


  1. I'm easily empowered, I eat my Reddy Brek and feel like a real man.

    Well done, H, another good one.

  2. Most trotted out empowerment song is I Will Survive which irritates the life out of me. OK, you will survive, now shut up.


  3. Comparing oneself to a firework, so you are loud and annoying especially in a group and often don't deliver what's expected. Oh no, I'm a firework.

    1. I think we all might be fireworks D=

  4. Do you do requests?

    I'd like an article on reality tv shows.

    You do these type of blogs extremely well.

    1. I guess I'll do a request if it correlates with something I want to do about. Which is more of a stealing of an idea under the guise of doing a request. I sort of already wrote something about reality tv when i made an article ages ago about how depressing tv was, although I can't track it down here because of how bad the website search is.

      I might write something about reality tv, although I actually don't hate reality tv that much at all. It's such a throwaway bit of tv that it doesn't really bother me for some reason. But I might do something about why american reality tv is so much better than british reality tv.

      Glad you enjoyed it anyway.

  5. Mr pink cracks me up.

    Well done, Billy Bob, you stormed it again.

    1. I raelly enjoy reading the comments. They are like an extra treat after the article

    2. we all enjoy the comments on this end as well. My phone alerting me that people have left a comment gives me a strange and undeserved thrill for some reason.

      Glad you enjoyed it anyway anonymous (number 1). I'm glad to see an anonymous on the site again. Alot of commenters are starting to actually have names now. Sometimes I think we're losing our roots.

    3. Just wanted to make your phone beep and spread some joy.