Music can negatively impact impressionable teens

By heavily associating themselves with certain styles of music, many artists generate a greater influence upon their fans, who in turn mirror their lyrics and lifestyle. This influence can be dangerous to impressionable fans.


Across various music genres, artists implement certain tones, lyrics, associated aesthetics and sounds to impose a stronger influence amongst listeners and set them apart from other artists.
Music establishes specific stereotypes that are recognizable, specifically among teens who are more easily influenced. These influences aren’t limited to just fans.
Many music genres have made their way into popular culture and trends. This includes indie music, which originally referred to independent artists that produce songs themselves, becoming mainstream through clothing trends and social media.
Clairo’s soft melodies, Mac Demarco’s distant, raspy voice and Rex Orange County’s upbeat but longing lyrics transformed into a distinct fashion fad where fans wore primarily colorful, thrifted sweaters, beanies, baggy jeans and Air Force 1s.
Another genre with a large fan base that has become intertwined with style trends is alternative music.
Specifically in the early 2000’s, many people dressed to showcase their dedication towards living a certain lifestyle associated with their music choices.
Singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey managed to cultivate a fan base largely made up of teenage girls and an entire aesthetic and behavior to go along with it. Her songs often revolved around themes of her experiences with mental illness, drug addiction, unhealthy relationships, abuse, etc.
Teenage girls gravitated towards this “Sad Girl” aesthetic, mainly on Tumblr, because it gave them a place to feel recognized and relate to other girls dealing with the troubles of girlhood.
However, in attempts to mature and become what they might feel defines a woman, many teenagers started to romanticize the themes Lana sings about with the mindset that going through these experiences is part of womanhood.
For example, many young teenage girls began to romanticize the idea of being in an unhealthy relationship with an older man, which then sprung the “Lolita” aesthetic; an aesthetic that grossly romanticizes relationships like 37-year-old Humbert and 12-year-old Dolores’ in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel titled “Lolita.”
In Lana’s song “Off To The Races” she sings, “My old man is a bad man…And he grabs me, he has me by my heart,” describing a relationship in which Lana, a young woman, is with an older man who she recognizes is toxic but still adores.
She also sings, “Light of his life, fire of his loins,” a direct reference to “Lolita’s” opening lines of Humbert describing his insatiable desire for Dolores.
This romanticization is very dangerous, as young teenage girls could find themselves in abusive and exploitative relationships similar to those portrayed in Lana’s lyrics, under the false impression that the relationship is typical and idealistic.
Overall, the community on Tumblr provided a space for teenage girls to express their troubles but in an unhealthy, romanticized way that spurred them to feel like they shouldn’t get better to further relate to the Sad Girl aesthetic.
This is still prevalent amongst impressionable teen girls.
This correlation between musical influences is not solely modern, as popular bands from the past still retain large fan bases. People use listening to these bands to fantasize about living in the time period the music was produced during.
One of the most influential bands ever is The Beatles, who popularized the concept of boy bands.
The Beatles formulated a never before seen craze among a fan base with their romantic songs and trendy styles.
This carried over across generations, as The Beatles songs are recognized by a wide variety of people.
More recently, boy bands such as One Direction or BTS have gained a significant popularity among heavily influenced teenagers, as the teens are able to relate to the songs about exciting and desired teenage love.