Why is pop music still obsessed with madness?

Sweet but psycho: Ava Max
Sweet but psycho: Ava Max

For the past month, the UK Top 40 top spot has been occupied by a surprise hit called Sweet But Psycho. Sung by Ava Max, the song is an unapologetically generic piece of pop. But it boasts lyrics akin to clickbait, perjoratively using terms such as "psycho" and "crazy" to evoke a sentiment that seems starkly at odds with the recent progress the music industry has made in how mental health is discussed. On face value, Sweet But Psycho feeds into a long history of stigma over mental health in pop culture. How has it made it to Number One? 

Perhaps sensing an  inevitable online backlash, Max (who was born Amanda Ava Koci, and is 25), has gone on record to explain what the song actually means. “It’s...

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