|Stylistic origins||Swing music (1940s)
Bubblegum pop (1960s and early 1970s)
R&B, hip hop, rock (1990s)
contemporary R&B, country pop (present)
|Cultural origins||1940s, United States|
Teen pop is a subgenre of pop music that is created, marketed and oriented towards preteens and teenagers. Teen pop copies genres and styles such as pop, dance, R&B, hip hop, country and rock. Typical characteristics of teen pop music include auto-tuned vocals, choreographed dancing, emphasis on visual appeal (photogenic faces, unique body physiques, immaculately attended hair and designer clothes), lyrics focused on teenage issues such as love/relationships, finding yourself, friendships, coming of age, fitting in, and growing up, regardless of the artists' age and repeated chorus lines.
Teen-oriented popular music had become common by the end of the Swing Era, in the late 1940s, with Frank Sinatra being an early teen idol. However, it was the early 1960s that became known as the "Golden Age" for pop teen idols, who included Paul Anka, Fabian, Ricky Nelson and Frankie Avalon. During the 1970s, one of the most popular preteen and teen-oriented acts was The Osmonds, where family members Donny and Marie both enjoyed individual success as well as success as a duo apart from the main family (Donny also recorded with his brothers as The Osmonds). Other successful singers and bands appealing to tweens and teens were Bobby Sherman, The DeFranco Family, The Partridge Family, Shaun Cassidy, David Cassidy and a pre-disco Bee Gees.
The first major wave of teen pop after the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s occurred in the mid to late 1980s, with artists such as Menudo, New Edition, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany and New Kids on the Block. In the early 1990s, teen pop dominated the charts until grunge and gangsta rap crossed over into the mainstream in North America by late 1991. Teen pop remained popular in the United Kingdom with the boy band Take That during this period, until the mid 1990s when Britpop became the next major wave in the UK, eclipsing the style similar to how grunge did in North America.
In 1996 the girl group Spice Girls released their single "Wannabe", which made them major pop stars in the UK, as well as in the US the following year. In their wake, other teen pop groups and singers came to prominence, including Hanson, the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Robyn and All Saints. In 1999, the success of teenaged pop-singers Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, and Mandy Moore marked the development of what Allmusic refers to as the "pop Lolita" trend, sparking the short careers of future pop singers such as Willa Ford, Brooke Allison, Samantha Mumba, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Mikaila, Amanda, Nikki Cleary and Kaci Battaglia. In 2001 artists like Aaron Carter, Swedish group A-Teens, girl groups 3LW, Eden's Crush and Dream and boy band Dream Street were teen pop artists and hits. Alternate "looks" for female teen pop stars include Hoku, and girl group No Secrets. Another popular girl group was Play. Britpop surged with Ellie Campbell, Atomic Kitten and Billie Piper.
The "Carter legacy" continued with the failed pop career of Leslie Carter, whose only single was a song titled "Like Wow".
According to Gayle Ward, the demise of this late 1990s teen pop was due to:
- promotional oversaturation of teen pop music in 2000 and 2001;
- the public's changing attitude toward it, deeming teen pop as unauthentic and corporate-produced;
- the transition of the pre-teen and teenage fanbase of these teen pop artists during 1997–1999 to young adulthood (and the accompanying changes in musical interests);
- a growing young adult male base classifying the music, especially boy band music, as effeminate, and
- other musical genres such as post-grunge rock (like Nickelback, Puddle of Mudd, Three Days Grace, Creed, Seether and Linkin Park) and hip hop (such as 50 Cent, Eminem, Lil' Wayne and Lil' Jon) began increasing in popularity.
1990s and early 2000s teen pop artists entered hiatuses and semi-retirements (*NSYNC, Dream, Destiny's Child) or changed their musical style, including the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore, 3LW, Aaron Carter and Hanson. Many teen artists starting incorporating genres such as Pop Rock, Contemporary R&B and Hip-Hop. B2K, a hip hop, pop and R&B group, was made up of teenage boys, so it was considered a boy band and was popular across the world, though their they were only active from 2001-2004. Their style of music was very different than other teenage artists, sounding more mature than the typical boy band, though the members were all in their mid-teenage years as well. Other teenage artists who sounded more mature in this way were Jhene and Mario.
Around 2005, teenaged singers such as Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan, JoJo, Aly & AJ, Jesse McCartney, Rihanna, Cheyenne Kimball, LAX Gurlz and Chris Brown achieved success, indicating new relevance of teen-oriented pop music.
Since early 2000s, but some did many years before that, many teen stars have developed careers through their involvement with Disney. Alongside Disney, other teen pop stars emerged by 2007, among them American Idol winner Jordin Sparks and Nickelodeon star Miranda Cosgrove. Meanwhile, singer-songwriter Taylor Swift emerged as a major star on both the country and pop music scene, scoring major hits with songs such as "You Belong With Me," "Love Story" and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."
The introduction of Canadian singer Justin Bieber, a protégé of Usher, created a resurgence of interest in teen pop. At the time of his debut album's release, Bieber set records as the only four songs in to the top forty of the Billboard Hot 100, the first artist to send all songs from an album in the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2010, the creation of Ark Music Factory helped contributed a new generation of teen pop artists via the internet, such as Rebecca Black and Jenna Rose, despite major criticism with these artists due to the excessive use of auto-tune.
- Lamb, Bill. "Teen Pop". About.com. Retrieved January 28, 2007.
- All Music Staff. "Teen Pop". Allmusic. Retrieved October 26, 2007.
- Wald, Gayle. "'I Want It That Way': Teenybopper Music and the Girling of Boy Bands". Retrieved January 27, 2008.
- "Official News: Good Morning America and My World Pt 2". Island DefJam. 2009-11-13.