Addison Rae: The Pop Industry Saviour?

by Patricia Byrnes

The pandemic brought upon many sudden changes to our world, including the shifting definition of what it meant to be an online celebrity. Gone were the days of friendly, untouchable YouTube daily vloggers with sky-high quiff haircuts and royalty-free ukulele music, and in came vertically-framed dancing, scrunchie-wearing TikTok influencers. Amongst those who rose to fame on the new app was Addison Rae, a name many associated with the Hype House, the words “bad bleep,” and having a mother romantically linked to Yung Gravy. Safe to say, Addison was in many people’s bad books for being an immensely popular representation of a “basic” teenage girl, gaining popularity for her TikTok dancing and seemingly not much else. Misogynistic tones aside, Addison represented a new age of infuriating Gen-Z celebrities that the general public perceived as simply too annoying to pay further attention to. However, her debut EP’s rumoured 9.0 score on Pitchfork begs to differ.

Like many young starlets, Addison used her TikTok fame to branch out into other media avenues like beauty, film, and music. Her debut single, “Obsessed,” resulted in many negative reviews, being labelled as a generic cash-grab with a music video budget of $50. It seemed nothing could save her plummeting reputation until a saving grace came in the form of a 30-second TikTok proclaiming they had found a leaked Addison Rae demo from her “lost album.” And she actually sounded… good? Video after video began to surface on the app, with users proclaiming that this “lost” album sounded a lot like a Gaga-esque reject in the best way possible. A girl who wore scrunchies had the capabilities to create a genuinely great dance-pop party record? Impossible!

Leaked music making waves on TikTok is not a new phenomenon. Despite the negative connotations that it can have, the explosion of an unreleased song can propel an artist even further into stardom. The constant stream of leaked Lana Del Rey demos keeps many aesthetic-based TikTok communities alive, even earning the artist an additional spot on the Billboard 200 chart after she decided to release the viral sensation “Say Yes To Heaven” officially. Despite this, some artists consider a posted leak a disrespectful act of stealing, most notably Ariana Grande, who has also had her fair share of highly-praised TikTok demos. Legal and moral questions aside, the leaking of her lost music created a lot more for Addison than just social media success, it shifted her entire public perception. In the span of a year, Addison shed her perceived “cringeworthy” basic persona and blossomed into the internet’s new pop-singing, miniskirt-wearing It Girl. 

I have to admit, her music isn’t the most revolutionary. Her latest EP, AR, even includes a scrapped Lady Gaga track, so the target audience is quite obvious. But can’t a girl have fun? The simplicity of her music hit the sweet spot of pop perfection, carving out a place for Addison amongst Twitter (sorry X) users and gay people everywhere. The official release of her leaked tracks is a grand reclamation of the music people would scrutinise her for, which is quite poetic in a Taylor’s Version kind of way. Establishing steady interest in her leaked music also guaranteed a successful online debut, especially when she has the celebrity support to prove it. The agreed legitimate factor of the Addison Rae Experience seems to be her musician connections, with hyperop gays, in particular, giving her the stamp of approval for collaborating with Charli XCX and listening to Arca. 

These factors all aligned at the perfect time to grant Addison the best debut week she could have dreamt of, and it only helps that her music is genuinely fantastic.

If it isn’t obvious, I would highly advise checking out AR by Addison Rae. Her album cycle is a reputation rags to riches story for modern times, proving that whilst stolen music has its moral downfalls, it has the potential to propel even the most scrutinised TikTok girls into pop superstardom. 

Patricia Byrnes is a current second-year student studying a Bachelor of Media (Comms. And Journalism)/Arts. She is an enthusiast of all things pop culture, specifically Bill Hader movies, former members of One Direction and attends every single concert she physically can. You could most likely find her constructing her own album tier lists in her bedroom, for her own enjoyment.

Blitz Editor

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