I’ll start by saying I’m honestly surprised I’m writing about Taylor Swift.
When I first saw or heard anything by Swift, I was in my early years of high school or late middle school. I’m not sure of the exact year. I was watching music videos on one of those really high channels on Comcast, and Teardrops on My Guitar was playing. I remembered liking the lyrics, the pretty dresses she wore, and the tone of the song. I started looking her up and finding more music. I’m pretty sure I found whatever MySpace or music page her management was currently using.
Taylor Swift was all cute country love songs, and as a young teen, those love songs were there through my first ‘heartbreaks’ (what I thought was heartbreak, but what was actually just disappointment) and I poured my heart out along with her. My friends did too. My best friend would even leave me Facebook videos on my wall singing along to T.Swift’s songs. Everyone began to love her.
As the years progressed, she became more mainstream. I recall reading a Rolling Stones article about her, when she was on the cover for the first time, and that was what initially turned me off to her and her music. Rolling Stone painted her as a teenage girl with a 4.0, straight-edge, and virgin that was singing love songs for teen girls to swoon over.
You know why this made me like her less? Because I wasn’t that.
I wasn’t perfect in school, I’d made some mistakes, and was willing to accept the fact that I wasn’t perfect at an early age. Now they were making one of my favorite artists appear to be perfect, and this was something I could no longer relate to. The magazine also made this seem to be the ultimate goal: be the “good girl,” and I thought it was unfair to assume that young women had to be perfect and the good girl. Especially at such an early age. We are still learning! How can we already know what perfect and good is?
Why couldn’t we mess up? Why couldn’t we experience things and learn? Where were Taylor’s flaws? Where were her mistakes that we could say yes, I made that mistake too, but look, Taylor handled it so well? I wanted to learn from her, not be compared to her and realize I was failing miserably by comparison.
So I detested her music after that article. She went over to more pop music and I wouldn’t listen to it. To be fair, I was also growing up, graduating high school and going to college, and my music taste was changing. Her music still seemed appropriate for the age group I was growing out of. But when I turned 22, I did not blast “22.” Then recently, when Shake it Off came on the radio, I cringed. I thought this is why I can’t stand her. It was crap. I still do not like that song.
But then 1989 dropped, and I was impressed by the album sales. I liked the artwork and I liked her new look. I reminded myself that I used to like Taylor Swift, I used to like her positivity and smile, before the Rolling Stones article painted her to be this angel in the music industry. My friend played Blank Space for me, and for the first time in years, I loved a Taylor Swift song.
I like that it’s honest. I like the sound of it. It’s pop, still her new sound, but I didn’t hate it. I like turning it up in my car and singing along. I play it on repeat sometimes. It makes me happy and I need more music in my life that evokes happiness for no reason whatsoever. Taylor Swift is great at doing this.
I also really liked the music video too – it did not paint an image of a perfect girl with a perfect love story. It portrayed crazy. It portrayed jealousy. To me, that’s more human and raw. We are crazy when we are in love. Taylor Swift knows this.
To me, 1989 also shows maturity with her new sound. She seems more human to me now, the way she was when I first was introduced to her. She is definitely an icon of my generation. I want to experience that while I can. It’s amazing watching people become icons before your eyes.
I guess you can say I’m back on the Taylor Swift bandwagon.