(Photo by Jess Sanchez)
Resurface: Teen Pop
By Sarah Komisky
Before One Direction, R5, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, and Taylor Swift, there was Plus One, Stacie Orrico, Phat Chance, and Zoegirl. The late 90’s and the dawn of the millennium brought a slew of teen and twenty something year-old pop acts that offered songs about crushes, the opposite sex, and heartbreak wrapped in candy coated melodies and bouncy bubble gum sound. Yet, the Contemporary Christian music genre brought something else – pop music with the same mainstream style but substituted with uncompromised lyrics.
Christian Teen Pop reflected the life of a teen that loved Jesus. Discussing issues of life with honesty, these songs showcased the teen spiritual journey that included highs and lows, doubts and belief, and joy and pain.
So whether you’re a product of that generation or apart of a new one, enjoy this list of re-surfaced Teen Pop that will help you along your spiritual journey and also provide a great dance soundtrack along the way.
Plus One: Obvious
Plus One’s second release is by far my favorite. With catchy hooks and five piece harmonies that are legit, Plus One is a boy band just as good as veterans N Sync, Backstreet Boys, and 98 Degrees. While their earlier project focused on slower ballads, Obvious shows a different side that features more dance type tunes such as “Use Me” and “Under the Influence.” Yet it also has the staple boy band ballads like “You,” “Calling Down An Angel,” and “Who Am I” that are great. And if you want a good, clean, love song, Plus One doesn’t shy away from it with “Let Me Be The One.” Fans of 90’s and early 2000’s Teen Pop won’t be disappointed.
Stacie Orrico: Stacie Orrico
With female pop runs that often mimicked Brittney Spears signature sound and style, songs like “Tight” and “I Could Be The One” fit into that mold. Yet, Orrico also adds a unique R&B flavor to her music that compares to R&B Pop artist JoJo. With vibrancy and perspective of a teenager, Orrico gives songs that reflect real life issues such as the song “Stuck,” “Bounce Back,” and “Maybe I Won‘t Look Back.” Other songs like “There’s Gotta Be More To Life” and “Hesitation” ponder spiritual realities. Slower songs like “Strong Enough,” “I Promise,” and “That’s What Love’s About” cross over to a more Christina Aguilera powerhouse/ R&B ballad style that is also appreciated.
Overall, the album reflects the journey of a teenager and her walk with God that is relatable to many teens.
Phat Chance: Without You
Fans of secular bands Bbmak, A* Teens, and the late 2000’s boy band Jonas Brothers, this fun-filled album will be one you can appreciate. This album also talks about teen issues but with a spiritual perspective – which makes it a good pick. Many of the songs celebrate God and the need for Him in songs like “Protection” and “Give You Everything.” While most of the album is celebratory towards the character or God, other life issues are addressed in songs like “Hide Their Eyes,” and “Without You.” While the album is noteworthy because of its fun flair, it is also a standout for one song entitled “The One,” that focuses on waiting for “the one” God has for us.
One of the few girl groups in Christian music, ZOEgirl is comparable to secular girl groups like Dream or Danity Kane. This pop girl trio focused on struggles young women encounter such as self esteem and relationship and emotional issues. One such song, “Dismissed” warns girl’s of the perils of finding the wrong guy while “Plain” encourages listeners to see their beauty in Christ. Songs like “With All of my Heart” and “R U Sure About That?” fall under the same sound of Mandy Moore or Jessica Simpson. For fans of their first album, “Even If” carries an electronic sound that was more present on the first album. Slower pop ballads like “Waiting” and “The Truth” also give a nice balance to the album. All in all, Life is a positive album for young women and teens but also one that’s great to sing along to!