The thing is, I don’t completely hate Taylor Swift. I know I probably should. By now everyone else does, but I can’t.
That’s probably because I’m still holding out hope for her. Hope that doesn’t seem to be a reality now with the release of her first single “Shake It Off” off of her next album “1989.” We can’t deny it any longer: Taylor wants to be a pop star. And that is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night.
If we went back in time I wonder what 16 year old Taylor would think of this “1989” version of herself. It seemed, at least for a while, that Taylor was the anti-pop star. She played guitar, listened to country music, and wrote her own songs.
What happened to that? I am totally fine with artists evolving, experimenting with their music, but Taylor has swayed too far away from her rightful path. Some, like her pal Brad Paisley, may think that’s OK but I for one can’t take it any longer. And here’s why:
Taylor has such potential. She can write and don’t let lyrics like “haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate” fool you either. She can write actual good songs. If we look back at “Fearless” and “Speak Now” we find a wide range of guitar and country driven songs that are sung and written so effortlessly. Sure, most of her songs are about boys, but when done right that can be an excellent song.
“Speak Now” is one of the only albums like ever to feature tracks only written by a female artist. She wrote the music and lyrics for everything without any help. And event some of “Red’s” songs like “All Too Well” and “Begin Again” still have that Taylor-like singer-songwriter vibe that made people love her in the first place.
I know I rat on pop music a lot, but the truth is some of it is OK. Taylor’s music was definitely crossover material before she got big name pop producers involved. She was doing fine on the radio. Her music was country-pop, a unique genre that most artists would struggle creating, but again, she did it with ease.
This is why I find myself asking, “Why on earth did she have to change what she was doing?” There’s nothing wrong with a little change, but Taylor did a complete 180, maybe even a 360. She ditched her unique country-pop vibe that made me love her and sold out completely. When was the last time we saw her hold a guitar? When was the last time she just stood there and sang without backup dancers?
Some people can pull pop like this off, too. Rhianna, Beynonce, Lady Gaga, and even Katy Perry are the type of artists who dance around with men in flashy outfits. Britney lip syncs and everyone knows it. That’s not Taylor Swift.
And it’s not to say that Taylor can’t dance a little and have a little computerization in her songs, but it’s the fact that she looks so damn uncomfortable and wrong doing it.
My favorite Taylor Swift moment was when she performed with Stevie Nicks (one of my personal heroes) at the Grammys. Some criticized Taylor for singing off-key during that performance. But I didn’t think it was awful. It was Taylor being herself. We all know she doesn’t have pipes like Christina Aguilera, but that’s one of the things people loved about her. She was real. And, just like Stevie, she wrote songs and sang them because she loved it, no matter what her voice sounded like.
Now we have Taylor paying homage to the year 1989 and the pop hits that came out of it. Personally, I love that idea for an album. However, this album belongs to someone else. When I think Taylor I think singer-songwriter. I think of lyrics like “Say you’re sorry that face of an angel comes out just when you need it to. As I paced back and forth all this time cause I honestly believed in you” not “Players gonna play play play play play.”
And I know there are some people of the Internet that might read thing blog and say “Whatever Taylor is growing up and changing, you’re wrong!” To those people I say this: It’s perfectly fine to grow as an artist, but she’s growing in the wrong direction.
She’s trying so hard to be pop Taylor because she wants people to like her. She wants people to worship her again and she thinks pop is the way to do that. What she doesn’t know is that a change in music genre is what’s hurting her. It’s why we are so annoyed with her.
And the boyfriend thing. The “I can’t make ’em stay, at least that’s what people say” thing. Lots of stars have had lots of famous boyfriends. Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz, even Sheryl Crow have had a lot of famous significant others that haven’t lasted long. Why do we hate Taylor so much for it? Is it because they are famous boyfriends? Or is it because when she writes about them it’s all their fault? She puts the blame on everyone else for her downfalls. Or, and this is my reasoning, is it because a girl who once had so much potential, is now drowning in an attitude that is way too high school. Think about it. All of Taylor’s supposedly famous friends like Selena Gomez and Lorde are all way younger than her. Let’s not forget Swifty is 24, almost 25 I believe.
Which leads me back to the music. I don’t really care about her personal life. I don’t hate her because I want Harry Styles to myself (Who doesn’t? Although, if he doesn’t get a haircut soon the answer to this question may change.). But with her seemingly high school social life, her music is stuck at an age that does not fit it. She should be making Adele-style anthems, songs with guts and strong lyrics, because we know she is 100 percent capable of doing so, but instead she’s playing with girls that keep dating Justin Bieber and keeps writing melodies that include awkward raps.
My problem with Taylor Swift isn’t in the change in music or in her constantly exhausted personal life. My problem with her is that she is so good and she’s forgotten that. She could be one of the greats, we could be talking about her in 30 years and how she changed country and pop crossover. She could be labeled as a Bob Dylan-type singer-songwriter genius. But instead she’s just going to shake it off off off off off off and leave me disappointed in her once again. Come on Taylor. You can do better than that.