How two young women are defining the music industry

Sarah Buchmann

As more prominent women take over the music industry, we see two major queens arise with Taylor Swift and Lizzo. 

Relatively similar in popularity these two artists differ drastically in their appearance, sound and overall message. 

Taylor Swift has been America’s sweetheart for over a decade, since her self-titled album was released in 2006. 

Blonde, blue-eyed, tall and thin, Swift has aesthetically pleasing looks and charm of the typical girl next door. 

While Swift’s image has definitely changed over the years, she still has the reputation of being an innocent, southern girl with her acoustic guitar.

But Taylor Swift isn’t as special as she seems. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of her music and marketing strategies, but she isn’t the only golden girl of the music industry. 

Another artist has emerged on the popular music scene – and she’s Swift’s bolder opposite. Lizzo is curvy, loud and black. 

She’s not afraid to swear, show off her body or scream into the microphone at live performances. 

I can’t remember the last time I saw an overweight, black woman was this popular in the pop music scene – and a classical flutist at that. 

Lizzo isn’t exactly “new”. 

Her first album, Lizzobangers, was released in 2013 but the artist’s music became popular this past summer with the hit song “Truth Hurts”. 

Cuz I Love You, Lizzo’s most recent album, brought even more fame and popularity with a four out of five from Rolling Stone.

This past week, “Truth Hurts” remained at number one on Billboard’s Top 100 songs. 

“Good As Hell” is still climbing the charts at number 20, up four places since last week. 

Taylor Swift, on the other hand, might have two songs on the charts, but both are in the 30s: “You Need to Calm Down” at 33, and “Lover” at 37. 

While both artists are incredibly popular and successful in their own ways, Lizzo and Taylor Swift are polar opposites. 

This could be what contributes to their mutual success; Lizzo is not stepping into Swift’s “territory” or vice versa. 

Swift’s typical target demographic has been young girls and hopeless romantics; Lizzo has taken over the hip hop market and has mostly explicit music. 

Any songs played on the radio have been highly edited to take out direct expletives, and even then she still has suggestive content.

Taylor Swift’s songwriting is still heavily based in love songs. 

It’s been like this in the past, and will likely continue as her music career does. 

Swift is good at love songs, no doubt, but they’re practically all she writes. 

Her music may vary in tone and mood, but Swift writes about what she knows: love and heartbreak. 

Lover had a few songs that break out of this tradition, such as “False God” and “You Need to Calm Down”, but this album was still heavily reliant on songs about romance. 

Lizzo also writes about love and heartbreak, yet she focuses mainly on body positivity. 

“Good As Hell”, “Soulmate” and “Juice” all inspire the listeners to love themselves before anyone else. 

In her song “Like A Girl”, Lizzo raps, “Woke up feeling like I just might run for president / Even if there ain’t no precedent.” 

Singing along to Lizzo gives a sense of empowerment and pride in being a woman. 

The last time I felt that way about Taylor Swift’s music was “Shake It Off” in 2014. 

Sure, Swift has female-positive music and Lizzo has love songs of her own, but these women have an overall “vibe” to their music. 

Lizzo’s lyrics are inspirational and motivating; Swift’s lyrics are better as an Instagram caption. 

Despite being each other’s opposites, Swift and Lizzo have been able to navigate the music world without a feud or overlap. 

This makes it easier to enjoy the “best of both worlds”, so to speak. 

The albums from both artists are amazing, but it really depends on what mood you’re going for. 

If you’re in need of some music to just jam to, dance around the room or anything to get hyped for, Lizzo is the way to go. 

For “easy listening”, road trips and homework, I would suggest Taylor Swift. 

Either way, strong female artists are being listened to and are staying at the top, where they deserve to be.

 Argus Quick Poll:

Who does IWU like?

Lizzo – 55 %

Taylor Swift – 17 %

Both – 28 %