Sia says a lot of pop songs follow certain formulas, contain certain universal themes. There’s “victim to victory.”
“The ‘victim to victory’ theory,” she says, “is that, if you listen to the radio, a large percentage of the hits are … about victim to victory, like 'I’m having a terrible time.’ And then the pre-chrous is 'I don’t know what’s gonna happen next.’ And the chorus is, 'Now I’m brilliant, and everything is great, because something happened to make it great.’”
This is fascinating—because not only is it true of pop songs, I find it tends to be true of a lot of YA hits as well. You start out with the protagonist in a victim situation and over the course of the book they are forged and molded by the crucible of the plot and their choices into something stronger, more fiery, incandescent.
It’s certainly not true of all YA, but I think it says something about the kind of story that appeals to young women right now. The idea of emerging from victimhood—whether physical, emotional, societal—into strength and independence is so compelling that it takes over even our fantasies, even our art and music.