Colombian popstar Shakira broke records on Spotify with her latest track, which looks back on the infidelities of her former companion Gérard Piqué. Far from being an isolated phenomenon, the “revenge song” or “revenge song” has always been a musical success.
“You changed a Ferrari for a Twingo, a Rolex for a Casio”. In her new hit titled “BZRP Music Sessions#53”, Colombian star Shakira looks back on her breakup with Gérard Piqué and does not hesitate to tackle the new companion of the former Spanish footballer.
This track propelled the single to the top of streaming platforms: with more than 50 million plays, the song had the biggest start in history on Spotify for a title in Spanish, thus dethroning “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee.
>> “BZRP Music Sessions#53” by Shakira
Far from being an isolated phenomenon, the “revenge song” has always represented strong commercial potential for pop stars. “We all recognize ourselves a little in the songs of breakups and settling scores. Fans identify with each other, they have the impression of following the artist’s life intimately and economically it works”, explains Carole Harari, founder from the Inouï music agency. “It’s also a way for the artist to show his personality and stand out,” she continues.
One of the most notorious examples of the commercial potential of the “revenge song” is undoubtedly Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River”. Released in 2002, this hit which recounts the infidelities of Britney Spears while they were in a relationship became a worldwide success, which sealed the artistic transformation of the former leader of the group ‘N Sync.
>> “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake
From Beyoncé to Miley Cyrus, many popstars have also tapped into the vein. Some even make it their business, like Taylor Swift, who transforms each of her love breakups into planetary hits.
“It says a lot about young singers today and the desire to control their image and their communication. We give our own version of the facts, we refuse to become the victim of rumours”, details Carole Harari. “There is often a feminist message behind these songs. That of a strong and independent woman, who is self-sufficient and who embraces celibacy”, she adds.
Boom on Tiktok
If the phenomenon is not new, it finds a new sounding board on social networks. An example with Miley Cyrus’ latest track, “Flowers”, which evokes her recent divorce from Liam Hemsworth: “I can buy myself flowers, I can hold my own hand, I can dance with myself, I can to love better than you.” A hymn to independence which has since been repeated on TikTok.
>> “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus
Note that the “revenge song” does not necessarily relate to romantic breakups. In the past, certain rock legends did not hesitate to take up their pen to settle their accounts. An example with the scathing “How do you sleep?” written by John Lennon to Paul McCartney: “The only thing you’ve done is Yesterday (…) And since you’ve been gone you’re but a memory.”
>> “How do you sleep?” by John Lennon
TV Subject: Cecilia Mendoza
Web adaptation: saje