3 major pop artists simultaneously redefine themselves

Amanda Meyer

Reinvention within pop music happens all the time and most notoriously it occurs in big name female artists at some point in their careers. Some are praised for their newly acquired identities while others are harshly speculated against.  

But when big name artists change at the same time, it raises the eyebrows of fans and critics everywhere. Lady Gaga, Perry and Miley Cyrus have all recently altered their approaches to artistry and are releasing new albums within just a month of each other, and many critics and fans are asking why.

Some changes have been gradual, whereas others have been more blunt and surprising. Gaga has been working on and speaking publicly about her new and revolutionary album “ARTPOP” since a short time after her album “Born This Way” was released in 2011. On the other side of the pop music spectrum, Cyrus drastically changed her appearance overnight from Disney sweetheart to edgy rebel in August 2012, and went on to shock the world during her provocative performance at the 2013 VMA’s alongside Robin Thicke.

In between is Perry, who had briefly spoken about the new “darker” direction of her upcoming music, but never said anything more until announcing her new album “Prism” which drops on Oct. 22. Perry has changed her approach since initial interviews, stating in an interview during “Good Morning America.”

“The last record was very thematic, and the theme this record for me is just me. It’s kind of like stripped down, more raw, more essential oils of who I am,” Perry said in the interview.

Cyrus and Gaga have also released statements regarding their upcoming albums. Gaga, like Perry, seems to be focusing on making her next album more personal than past works. Cyrus is looking more than anything else to shed her Disney persona.

From a fan’s perspective, Riley Smith, an avid zealot of pop music and a student at Iowa State said that he does not mind these artists reinventing their images.

“I think they’re reinventing their styles because pop music would be really bland if artists themselves didn’t change who they are and how they act. The timing is the record label’s doing. The record label wants their artist to be the best, so they purposely put them against each other for sales. I don’t think the timing has to do with the artist at all,” Smith said.

David Stuart, music professor at Iowa State who teaches History of Rock and Roll, supports this notion, stating that often times there can be healthy competition, that artists will egg each other on, and the result is each of them trying to do better. He continued to say that reinvention does not only occur in big names.

“For people who want to be artists and create music that communicates to other people, I can imagine they’re always digging and trying to find something to do that they think is going to work and that also fulfills themselves,” Stewart said.