« I know I am stronger in my songs than I am in real life. Like everyone else, sometimes I need to listen to those songs again to give me strength. » This admission of weakness which isn’t one, comes from Beyoncé, the unchallenged queen of self-empowerment anthems (« ***Flawless », « Run The World (Girls) », « Formation », « Freedom », « Bow Down », « Irreplaceable », « Me, Myself And I », etc.). She was quickly able to witness the impact of this musical genre on her audience, starting with her first hits with Destiny’s Child. With the help of her bandmates Kelly and Michelle, she delivers a divine message to all « Independent Women »: if something goes wrong, never forget that you are a « Survivor » and that you can pay your own « Bills, Bills, Bills ». The audience, boosted to the max, asks for more, as DJ Louie XIV, creator of the podcast Pop Panthéon, analyses: “Let’s not kid ourselves, the audience of these artists are young women and gay men, that’s why the lyrics speak of the necessary freedom to be oneself, an important subject in the eyes of these two categorie. Women feel the need to assert themselves in this man-dominated society, and gay men see in pop stars a feminine avatar of themselves who are not afraid to say out loud what they feel. These role models are constantly evolving, the costumes change over the decades, but the basics remain the same.” And it is fair to say that record companies have been successfully cashing up on these basics. In the vein of the 90’s girl bands, a new generation of pop princesses arrived on the market, led by Britney Spears, who sold over 10 million copies of her first album Baby One More Time. Each feminine artist was then given a very precise set of specifications in her repertoire, with the self-empowerment anthem at the top of the list. Their only mission?: Making the lyrics drip with self-love. Britney comes up with « Stronger », Jennifer Lopez does the same with « I’m Gonna Be Alright », Katy Perry enters the arena with « Firework » and Lady Gaga kills the game with « Born This Way ». This list is, of course, not exhaustive. Behind the scenes, however, real catfights are going on between the artists to get their jackpot track. We are indeed witnessing a literal traffic in hits where business prevails over art, as is the case of « Beautiful », one of the leading anthems of self-assertion in the 2000s, which was awarded to Christina Aguilera instead of Pink. It took years for the pink-haired singer to recover, even going so far as to show off a blow-up doll of Xtina at a concert to get back at her. And there’s no shortage of such stories in the pop world. So hold on to your hats, there’s going to be more twists and turns than in an episode of Dynasty.