For the last ten years, I’ve had to brace myself before uttering the words “I like Taylor Swift.” It felt as if I was placing a target upon my head just for enjoying her music, a feeling I know all too well (little Taylor pun for you there). As silly as it may seem, it is the root of many issues within the music community. Whether from a self-proclaimed music connoisseur or, honestly, a very spiteful person; there is always a wave of judgment that falls upon anyone who openly admits to enjoying her music.
The obvious answer would spark a debate about societal misogyny, especially within the music industry. Instead, I want to focus on the more reasonable answer here. Her music has always been targeted to teenage girls – that has essentially prohibited most people from even opening themselves up to the idea of being a “Swiftie”. It is, to no fault of her own, a grave that was dug the second she stepped into the music industry. Her talent and potential have been perpetually dragged through the mud because of preconceived notions on her character and the type of people she writes music for. Her name has been obliterated in the media for doing the things everyone else was doing.
Independently looking at her successes in the industry, she is a record-breaker. With sold out arena tours, Grammy-winning albums, and record-breaking album releases back-to-back. Sure, her songs are mostly about break-ups or romanticized relationships, but whose songs aren’t? Over the years she has changed her sound over and over to adapt to her growing personality and warping into whatever the music industry was eating up at the time. Beginning with her infamous country twang and now ending with her pop-folk Esque albums. Every single time she broke the industry, selling out venues and hitting a million streams within one week over and over again. There is no doubt here that she has more talent in her pinky than most of us have in our whole body, so why must we demonize her femininity and token flare for the dramatics. Are these not the same things we praise artists like Queen and even Harry Styles for? What is so different about Taylor?
Last year, the effects of quarantine bared their weight on all of us, and Taylor had the remedy under her sleeve. She surprise-released not one, but two albums completely under her name. Both of these albums were huge successes, ‘Folklore’ broke many streaming records and even won ‘Album of the Year’ at this year’s Grammy’s. The albums were completely different from her past albums, taking on a more pop-folk sound and being almost entirely composed of fictional stories she crafted with her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn. Her fans have been left with their hands full for the last year in decoding her easter eggs. Picking apart each song and post has revealed an array of small references and incredibly well-thought-out musical choices. My personal favorite is on her song “Marjorie” (which was written in honor of her late grandmother) some of the background vocals feature actual clips of her grandmother singing opera. These are the things that don’t get recognized by the industry and “music snobs” who refuse to accept Taylor as a talented artist. She worked endlessly to craft these albums, but that isn’t the end of her achievements just in the last year.
Currently Taylor Swift is working on re-releasing her first five albums: ‘Taylor Swift’, ‘Fearless’, ‘Speak Now’, ‘Red’, and ‘1989’ after a tumultuous legal battle with her former record label that resulted in a $300 million deal. Her original music, which can still be enjoyed on most streaming platforms, is not actually owned by her. The deal settled with her needing to wait out the clause before she could re-release the music under her own production and name, and the time has come. In November of 2020, she was granted the rights to her songs again and now has been tirelessly working on releasing not only the “Taylor’s Version” of these songs but also releasing vault songs that didn’t make the cut when these albums were released the first time. Her first rereleased album came out on April 9, 2021, and was fantastic. Between the vault songs and hearing her vocals on the classic T-Swift songs, her fans were left on the floor by the end of the album.
Now, Taylor has just dropped the bombshell (after months and months of brutal hints) that on November 19th, 2021 she will be re-releasing her album ‘Red’ (the best Taylor album). To make it even better, she has promised all THIRTY songs for the album will be released this time and one of those tracks will be ten minutes long (I am still screaming over this). This led fans to go into a frenzy, knowing that a 10-minute song will more than likely be the infamous full version of ‘All Too Well’ and reignite the rage all Swiftie’s feel during the mere 3-minute version. Taylor works hard to keep us on our toes, but believe me that none of us were ready for this one.
Here is the link to preorder ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’
It is clear that Taylor has changed the game, and continues to do so, ever since she was 15 and releasing the break-up songs we all truly needed. She is constantly breaking records and influencing the new generation of female artists, evident in Olivia Rodrigo’s success with her songs ‘Drivers License’ and ‘Déjà vu’ which she has openly credited to be influenced by Taylor’s music, considering she is a die-hard “Swiftie”.
There is no stopping Taylor Swift’s talent and influence, and I feel it is time that she begins to get the POSITIVE recognition in the media, and by “music connoisseurs”, that she deserves.