The Surprising Legacy Of 'Teen Mom' Farrah Abraham's 2012 Album
Farrah Abraham started out her career in 2009 with MTV's 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, both of which pushed her towards the spotlight.
From the beginning, Abraham was open with her fanbase about her daily life and struggles -- including the passing of her daughter's father, as well as stories of her mother's alleged abusive ways -- which served to develop a fairly strong connection with her following.
She'd later branch out into the adult industry, starring in two adult films, releasing three books in her Celebrity Sex Tape series, and even launching a sex toy line. Abraham would then bounce around the reality TV circuit, including returning for Teen Mom OG. Sadly each of these moments seemed to place her deeper and deeper in the tabloid joke fodder pool.
However, one project became a lightning rod for the joke storm over all others. I'm talking about Farrah Abraham's 2012 electronica album, My Teenage Dream Ended, with its accompanying autobiography of the same title.
When the album was first dropped, it was dismissed as a "sonic mess" auto-tuned disaster. Many review sites called it a pop failure and even compared it to Rebecca Black's infamous "Friday." The hate reviews continued to roll out; however, most were focused solely on the negative aspects of the beats -- not so much on the lyrics. In a 2017 interview, the album's producer, Frederick M. Cuevas, mentioned that Abraham actually recorded all of the vocals for the album without ever listening to the music. She knew what the tracks sounded like for each song, but while recording, she would just listen to a click track, which would keep her in the tempo of the song.
Then along the way, something changed as more outsider, niche reviews viewed her album through a different critical lens. Chat forums and underground review sites began calling it "brilliantly baffling and alienating." Though impossible to understand lyrically, some songs were captivating listeners through their warped sound and noise and pushing its possible interpretation through the outsider art lens. This is where reviewers and fans alike saw the beauty of My Teenage Dream Ended via the clash between her voice and the production of the songs.
Lyric-wise, the songs were all recalling detailed moments of her life and traumatic experiences. It felt almost as if she had to push these words out of her body for some sort of release.
Now, I'm a musician, and personally, when I create music, I do it as a form of release or catharsis. The simple act of creating lyrics that tell a personal story is therapeutic enough, but recording it and putting it out onto a whole song simply adds to the experience of releasing the tension all these lyrics could hold for someone.
I think Abraham felt that way, and although many people back in 2012 dismissed the album for its auto-tuned and overly edited audio, that lyrical release gave her some sort of power over her story. As the years passed, more people began to notice the impact the lyrics created on her fans, with many thanking Abraham for her honesty and even for changing their lives. Her music became a form of catharsis for many dealing with their own troubles in their lives. My Teenage Dream Ended became an emblem of surviving whatever life threw at you, giving many listeners a space to feel listened to and safe.
Now, was My Teenage Dream Ended intentionally made to feel like outsider art? Probably not. But it found a home outside of the norms of what art is supposed to sound like, and with it, a bit of redemption amongst the rest of Farrah Abraham's eventful life.
Top Image: Farrah Abraham