Pure Romance – a new trend?

The other day, Mom and I were in the car on the way to the airport when we were meeting Marlayne. I had brought along “Josh Groban: Awake – Live” CD to listen to, and aside from enjoying his beautiful voice, I found myself constantly laughing at the screams we got to listen to thanks to the ‘live’ recording. Apparently there were a bunch of teenage girls in the front row…

But while we were listening, Mom said “Do you have any idea why teenage girls like his music so much?” I said “No, it’s funny, isn’t it?” and we mused over why the twenty-nine-year-old singer would have become such a big hit with girls ages 14+. It hit me on the way back – I now have a theory. What he sings is about love – not the ‘you broke my heart, now I’m gonna break yours’ type – the only one I can think that comes close to that is ‘Broken Vow’.  Much of his music is about pure, romantic love – here are a few lines from some of his songs.

From “When You Say You Love Me”

When you say you love me
The world goes still, so still inside and
When you say you love me
For a moment, there’s no one else alive

From “Don’t Give Up”

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don’t give up
Because you are loved

From “In Her Eyes” (one of my favorite)

I am not a hero
I am not an angel
I am just a man
Man who’s trying to love her
Unlike any other
In her eyes I am

And then I started thinking about Owl City. Here is what Adam Young himself said in a Christianity Today review:

Did you set out to write music to appeal to teen girls, or is that just how it turned out?

Haha, I’m afraid I didn’t really pay attention. I just write the music I would like to hear as a listener myself, so needless to say I was pretty shocked when teen girls connected with my music so well. Somehow I feel it’s a bit too “random” for that age demographic. But I’m certainly not complaining!

Why did it turn out to be such a big hit with teen girls? After all, it really is ‘random’ music. Here are a few lines from some of his songs…

From “Butterfly Wings”

Asleep in a warm cocoon
We dream of lovely things
We’re both gonna wake up soon
So we hope that tomorrow brings us our butterfly wings

From “Sunburn”

But when her smile came back and I didn’t feel half as horrible
She gave me a heart attack just because she looked so adorable
We both put our sunblock on, played on the beach and
Vowed that we’d live and we’d learn
Yeah, but she got a tan, and I got a sunburn, I got a sunburn

From “Vanilla Twilight”

I’ll watch the night turn light-blue
But it’s not the same without you
Because it takes two to whisper quietly

The silence isn’t so bad
‘Til I look at my hands and feel sad
‘Cause the spaces between my fingers
Are right where yours fit perfectly

His lyrics are quirky, cute, and abstract – and often focus on innocent, childlike love.

Now compare these two to Hannah Montana’s song, G.N.O –

I’ll dance with somebody new, won’t have to think about you/cuz I don’t and I won’t see you… hey boy/doncha wish ya coulda been a good boy/try to find another girl like me, boy/cuz I am fine and it’s time for me to draw the line’

Considering she was ‘then but fifteen years old’, those lyrics are ridiculously sad. If you read the rest of the lyrics, you would piece together that

1. A fifteen-year-old girl (assuming the girl is the same age as Miley was when this song came out) broke up with her boyfriend and is out for a night on the town to have fun with new guys and ‘dance’ – implying she is at a club or a party. (By the way, do you know how hard it was to find a picture of Miley C./Hannah M. that was modest enough to put on this blog!? Sheesh! Of course, after I’d FOUND one, I had the bright idea to cover most of it up… alas, alack, and Alaska..)


I never hear anybody talking about that song, do you?

But I DO hear Josh Groban and Owl City being talked about quite frequently.

I think I see a hopeful rise in good, clean music popularity among teenagers – let’s hope it keeps on coming!


13 thoughts on “Pure Romance – a new trend?

  1. Yeah, Miley is… yeah. I just recently watched her performance on Britain’s Got Talent. The song was called “Can’t Be Tamed” and it was… bad. The lyrics, anyway.

    Let’s hope Owl City and Josh Groban get even more popular. 🙂

  2. Josh Groban! Owl City! I know, that’s one reason I love both of those artists’ music–it’s so sweet.

    Adam Young has done an amazing job keeping his love songs innocent, pure, and sweet. Vanilla Twilight is one of my favorite songs–as is Saltwater Room and Bird and the Worm.

    Josh Groban’s music is…*sigh* In Her Eyes is a favorite, too…and When You Say You Love Me, You Raise Me Up, You’re Still You, With You…yeah. 😀 Did I mention that I love his music? 🙂 And Awake is just…wow. Love that song.

    *applause for Owl City*


  3. Great thought, Earwen. I enjoy Josh Groben’s music because I love the more “classy” vs rock syle music and his is dead on, but I had never thought of it this way before. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Well, I’m not sure. I totally agree that their music has very sweet lyrics, and I am an avid fan of Owl City, but I don’t know if that’s the only reason girls love his music.

    I agree that Miley’s music isn’t as good concerning lyrics, though I have heard some of her songs that are kinda good. But not many.

  5. I love Owl City! I like Josh Groban a lot too, but I haven’t heard any of his recent work. I put his Awake CD on my Amazon wishlist.

    I agree with this post so completely that I would like your permission to link to this post on my blog. May I, Mirriam?

    Love you, Alice!

  6. I heard my friends mention Vanilla Twilight once! I’m one of those people who listen to Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Pirates of the Caribbean half the time I am listening to music at all. Though I heard a song called Fireflies once that I LOVED, (Is that by Owl City or is it Josh Groban I think it’s one of the two but I’m not sure.)


  7. Goodness I HOPE the populous is on to a new trend! All that other garbage is getting a bit thick.

    Josh Groban has pretty much always been a favorite of mine. His songs, as well as being decent, beautiful, and original, are inspirational! I have have thought of many a new scene for my book thanks to his wonderful voice and music.
    Owl City, though the only time I hear his music is when I visit certain blogs, is a nice fresh breath of air. I may not be a *huge* fan but when I tire of listening to Celtic, or Josh Groban-ish types music, it’s nice to have *cute* music around 🙂


  8. Oh, I hope that’s true! I’m getting tired of this “if you dump me, I’m dumping you. Poor me!”
    And I love Owl City! His songs are clean and the tunes are beautiful and original, and he doesn’t only write romance songs. The ones he does write, though, are very pure.

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