By Isabella Darcy
It has been an exciting and devastating month for fans of sad-girl music, following the release of Olivia Rodirigo’s sophomore album, “GUTS” on Sept. 8 and Mitski’s seventh studio album, “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We” on Sept. 15.
Both of these albums feature multiple slow, somber, sob-inducing tracks. They hurt, but the pain is liberating. Though it is ironic, sad-girl music is often an aid in finding contentment.
The term “sad-girl music” floats around social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok and X when folks are referring to artists who make music with soft sound and dark lyrics. Some big names in the “sad-girl music” genre include Phoebe Bridgers, Billie Eilish and Lana Del Rey.
Bridgers, Eilish and Del Rey do not shy away from writing melancholic lyrics. They unapologetically sing about heartache and heartbreak while other artists sing about love and exuberance.
Music that depicts dismal times is so important, since not everything in life is positive. Listeners who are going through tough times can find solidarity in sadder lyrics. This can make listeners feel less alone in whatever they are going through.
When a lyric hits too close to home, it can be painful to listen to.
In my own experience, when a lyric touches a sore spot, my initial reaction is “oh yeah.” “Oh yeah,” is when I realize that it reminds me of something in my own life that evokes emotion. I cannot always immediately identify which part of my life it is making me think of, but through introspection and more listening, I usually figure it out.
It is when I decipher why the song touches me, that I experience liberation from whatever the lyrics remind me of. Liberation comes from gaining the language, through the artist's lyrics, to articulate feelings, and from rediscovering that I am not alone.
By digesting the music, I can reclaim what had once caused me to hurt. This acceptance often allows me to move on and experience contentment.
Because of the positive experiences that I have had with sad-girl music, I almost exclusively listen to it. I have had Mitski and Rodrigo’s new albums on repeat since they were released, and Bridgers is my most streamed artist of all-time.
Sad-girl music is by far my favorite genre of music. It has gotten me through tough times, and I am forever grateful that artists like Bridgers, Mitski and Rodrigo are brave enough to be vulnerable in their songwriting.