Here is a cover of Side To Side by Ariana Grande done by upcoming boyband Citizen Føur.
It bothered me.
In this cover, they change the lyrics from “and boy, got me walkin’ side to side” to ” and girl, got me walkin’ side to side” and it’s not an isolated incident. Their song Cold makes it clear the song’s subject is female. Every line in the bridge starts with “she.”
My issue with this is that Austin (the best member of the band) is gay. Why should he have to betray his identity for a pop song?
It’s also done in the music of Union J. Jaymi Hensley has the biggest vocal of the group which sings songs explicitly about girls regularly. He’s engaged to a man and former member of the band George Shelley has also had relationships with men. Jaymi even seems to be the lead vocal on this song called She’s In My Head. That’s a mess.
This is not new, but today it’s especially out of place.
If the argument is that these bands are being marketed directly to girls, then that’s no excuse. It doesn’t make a difference. Troye Sivan has a huge fan base in that demographic. They also love countless gay YouTubers and continue to bankroll every piece of merch or book they release.
There’s really no need to use pronouns at all in a boyband song. Four or five guys singing to one girl is weird as hell but just saying “you” makes it open to interpretation and slightly less insane.
Gay pop stars are singing to dudes on the radio now. It’s fine. Whether intentional or not, this lazy songwriting puts these guys back into the closet. It may just be for a few minutes at a time, but it’s an issue. There’s no need for their identities to be repressed.
Stop doing it. Any “she” can be replaced with a “you.” You’ll be fine.