She can sing, she can dance and she totes around an arsenal of guitars that would melt any music geek’s heart.
She gracefully handled one of the most infamous celebrity debacles in recent memory and has managed four years in the spotlight without even a public binge-drinking incident. The only problem with this picture-perfect blonde is that the public can’t stop hating her.
Taylor Swift’s country warbling has been infecting airwaves since 2006. Her list of awards and accolades stretch far for the 20-year-old’s short career, and set lists from her sold-out stadium tours read like a veritable greatest hits album. Whether you like it or not, Swift and her massive mane are here to stay.
Why is Swift so hated? She should be a godsend. She breaks the conventional idea that all young, somewhat successful female pop stars will inevitably meet their downfall as their burgeoning careers coincide with rebellious teenage years. Swift, rather than opting for the easy-to-despise Britney Spears route, has maintained a squeaky-clean image that makes her bearable for parents escorting their children to her shows.
Her songs are never explicit, she works with the governor of Tennessee to help fight sexual predators online and her fashion sense is always age-appropriate. Swift somehow even managed to sidestep a public meltdown when Kanye West robbed her of a speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. As the world looked on in horror while Kanye ripped the microphone from her hands, there was a still moment of disappointed resignation that- once again- Swift would be immortalized for. Her tact rather than the realization that maybe Beyonce’s dancing really did deserve the award remains.
If listeners are looking for a hate scapegoat in her music, they still hit snags. Her songs are catchy, memorable and written by Swift herself. One of the easiest ways to be forgiven for accidentally humming “Teardrops On My Guitar” is to blame the balding music executive that manufactured it with barbed hooks to implant itself and subsequently poison ear canals everywhere.
Swift robs the public of that satisfaction and suddenly the image of young, sweatpants-clad Taylor furiously scribbling lyrics in her journal becomes unshakable. Her empty shells of songs easily appeal to masses of teenage girls who are somehow surprised when they can so easily relate to someone their own age who writes a generic song about a common phenomenon – teenage heartbreak. Even the New York Times was duped, saying that Swift was “one of pop’s finest songwriters, country’s foremost pragmatist and more in touch with her inner life than most adults.”
Blame social media. Without platforms like Twitter, blogs and Facebook to constantly keep one update on others’ mundane activities, everyone might be able to take a step back and realize that no one actually cares what their old classmate had for lunch. Swift’s songwriting style is a deeply personal, open-journal type review.
Trace through her albums and the saga of Joe Jonas and Taylor Lautner shine through the songs with all the same brand of covertness a 6-year-old ballerina employs while peeking through the curtains on recital day. While it could be argued that all love songs have a source, Swift’s ballads are so overt and linear that any mystery is gone. As a child of the social media revolution, Swift somehow got the notion that every malice and dream should be publicized and capitalized upon. Her songs are written with the same attitude as a status update – everyone can and should know the intimacies of daily life that most do not even clue their mothers into.
In a way, Swift cannot be blamed. She was corrupted by a tell-all culture, and unfortunately her blog entries translate surprisingly well with a strummed acoustic guitar backing them.
Whether one is holding their breath for a pregnancy scandal or to be first in the ticket line for her upcoming tour, Swift deserves recognition. She has managed to stay in the spotlight and be a positive figure, which is a feat akin to magic in current times, and she is still managing to pull the wool over the heads of prominent critics deeming her talented. Hated or loved, this deserves applause.