The music industry reflects the current state of the world. The popular songs show hints of the “current culture.”
For example, Various Artists’ cover of “We Are the World” was a hit after Haiti experienced the most severe earthquake in 200 years. That showed that people are compassionate and they are ready to help those who are in need.
K-pop idols and artists’ popularity nowadays indicates that the world is more accepting of each other. People have grown to love each others’ cultures.
One place to know about these trends is YouTube. It is the platform where you can find music videos for popular songs. By looking at how many views these videos have garnered, you will understand today’s culture.
Recently, one song that represents a movement has achieved a milestone. That is “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper. Its music video has reached the billion-views mark on the Google-owned video-sharing platform.
It has been 39 years since the release of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” And it has been 13 years since its music video got to YouTube. Still, its popularity has not waned. There is an endless list of cover versions of this 1983 smash hit. You can often hear it in karaoke bars, ads, movies, and Instagram videos. Even Britney Spears has used it on her own social media.
This year, the music video for the song surpassed 1 billion views on YouTube. That makes “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” the fifth song from the 1980s to achieve that milestone. More importantly, it is the first song from that decade sung by a woman that achieved this.
The secret behind this staying power is its political meaning. It is the unofficial anthem of the new feminist wave.
Lauper said in a statement that not many people realize that the song is very political. Unbeknownst to many, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is not an original song. Lauper is just the one who popularized it by tweaking it a little.
Robert Hazard wrote the song in 1979. It was from a male point of view, contrary to Lauper’s version. The story was about a man apologizing to his parents for having too many sexual partners. He blamed the women who he claims “just want to have fun” with him.
Lauper was offered a chance to include the song on her debut album, “She’s So Unusual.” And she knew she had to take it. However, she gave one condition. She demanded that they allow her to change the protagonist’s gender. Moreover, she wanted to rewrite several lines to eliminate the sexist overtones. They did, and hence, the version of the song you hear now was born.
That move was quite revolutionary, comments the culture reporter Elena Cabrera. She says Hazard’s version implies women must always act responsibly and prove their worth to the outside world. Then, Lauper came in, saying women indeed want to have fun, and they should allow themselves to get it.
At first, people thought Lauper’s version was only about female sexual freedom. But the singer says it goes beyond that. She explains to The Atlantic that it is about women’s desires to have the same experience that any man could have.
The edited lines of the song made it the anthem for the latest wave of the women’s rights movement. You will often see its title on posters, paraphrased as “Girls Just Want to Have Fun-damental Rights.”
Feminism gets lots of support nowadays. The song reached 1 billion views on YouTube, so it attests to that. That said, Cyndi Lauper has two things to celebrate.
“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is also successful in music-streaming platforms like Spotify. Users have streamed it more than 600 million times. But its success on those platforms is not seen as the key to its staying power.
The key is the YouTube music video. One remarkable thing about it is how diverse and inclusive it is. It is one of the first music videos to include actresses from various ethnic backgrounds. Lauper says that she wants every little girl to be able to actually see herself in the video. That way, they will know that they are entitled to this joyful experience – she tells The Atlantic.
The video also slightly showed a comparison between women with not much freedom and those who do. In one scene, the video showed her mother looking bitter while she cracked eggs, and her father was preaching moralistic sermons. Then, the video showed her having fun with her friends in public spaces like in the streets. They stood strong and kept smiling despite the looks people were throwing at them.
The video strengthens the song’s message by providing visuals and metaphors that are easy to understand. Thus, it became so influential it reached one billion views – a feat not many content creators can say they have achieved.
The impact of Lauper’s song on pop culture is very noticeable. Two years after the song’s release, they made a movie based on it. Songs have been made into a movie in the past. But the occurrence is rarer than basing movies on books. It only happens when the song proves to be very meaningful.
Another evidence of the song’s impact on pop culture is the long list of singers that have covered it. It includes some of the music industry’s biggest names like Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and The Killers.
On Instagram, you will see the hashtag ‘#girlsjustwannahavefun’ plenty of times.
Emma Green and other journalists also underscored the track’s influence on new songs with feminist themes. Green wrote that it set a template ” for how future stars would sing about social issues.”
The song grows more and more popular each day. So, you can expect that this would not be the last time the YouTube video will be in the news.
Date: April 11, 2022 / Categories: Uncategorized, / Author: Rich Drees
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