I have a confession to make

Thursday, November 20, 2014

[via]

T-Swift. Tay Tay. T-Swizzle. Swifty.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but I love her.

When Taylor first came on the scene back in 2006 with her song Tim McGraw, I was initially hooked. I remember running downstairs all excited to play it for my mom after hearing it for the first time on Myspace (yes, you read that right... those were the days). Through most of college, I bought her albums religiously and really genuinely enjoyed her catchy tunes. I even saw her in concert once down in DC and screamed and sang alongside thousands of other pre-teen girls to every lyric. Whether it was cool or not, I was a fan.

Then, something awful happened. Taylor performed at the Grammy's in 2010 with Stevie Nicks and it was absolutely horrendous. She was terribly out of tune and her vocals were shaky and all over the place. Her performance truthfully sounded more like one of my drunk, tone-deaf karaoke ballads than something of a multimillion dollar, award-winning singer/songwriter. It left a bad taste in my mouth and for the next few years I really hated her songs. I started to believe that, while she was a fantastic lyricist, she couldn't sing at all and that her songs were probably heavily auto-tuned and overproduced. Every time she would come on the radio I would switch the station, and when her album Red came out in 2012, I wanted nothing to do with it.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago.

I still followed her on Instagram and would occasionally see her posts about her upcoming album 1989. It intrigued me, because well, for one, I too was born in 1989 and since she had promoted the album so much, I was well aware that she was breaking away from her country roots to create an entirely pop album. She was re-inventing herself and making a conscious move away from a genre I never really thought she fit into. (Listening back to her first album, it's painfully obvious that her country accent was totally overdone.) Then she started posting snippets of the reviews from Time magazine, Rolling Stone, and the New York Times that said things like:

"Ms. Swift is aiming somewhere even higher, a mode of timelessness that few true pop stars... even bother aspiring to."

"This is still an artist who likes to let it rip. Deeply weird, feverishly emotional, wildly enthusiastic, 1989 sounds exactly like Taylor Swift, even when it sounds like nothing she's ever tried before."

"Swift has already written enough great songs for two or three careers. Red, from 2012, was her Purple Rain, a sprawling I-am-the-cosmos epic with disco banjos and piano ballads and dubstep drops. But as every Eighties pop star knew, you don't follow one epic with another - instead, you surprise everybody with a quick-change experiment. So rather than trying to duplicate the wide reach of Red, she focuses on one aspect of her sound for a whole album - a very Prince thing to do."

The kind of mastery and strategy described in the last paragraph is something that Dylan did frequently. He kept people guessing all the time, evolving his music, changing with the times, and always staying fresh. You never knew what he was going to do or say next. That's why he is so classic and timeless. And that is exactly what led me straight to Target to scoop up 1989. I had to see for myself.

The verdict?

For the last two weeks, I have listened to nothing but that damn album. And I honestly can't say that there is a single song I don't like. My favorites most definitely include Blank Space, Style, Clean, Out of the Woods, This Love, You are in Love and Wildest Dreams. I also absolutely love that she included the extra songs on the Target album and the so-called "songwriting voice memos" that give you a peek into her creative process.

There are many reasons why I have come to love Taylor again. For one thing, I did my research and discovered that she really can sing, and not only that, but she's pretty incredible at it. No, she's not Adele, but she doesn't try to be. She's totally, completely, and unapologetically herself and that would be reason number two behind my recent obsession.

She also absolutely adores her fans. Did you know that she hosted "Secret Sessions" where she invited groups of 89 of her biggest fans to each of her homes around the country and one in her hotel in London where she got to know them personally and played her entire album for them live months before it was released? She scoured social media secretly looking for dedicated fans that had never met her and had them flown to her house. She even baked them cookies. #jeally

She's relatable. She writes about stuff I understand and stuff I've been through. And while breakups and relationships tend to be her go-to material, I still feel like none of her songs sound old or like they've been done before. She also happens to be friends with some of my favorite female superstar celebrities like Lena Dunham, Ella Yelich-O'Connor (Lorde), Emma Stone, Amanda Seyfried, and Ingrid Michaelson. They are all independent, strong women I respect deeply, who are also doing incredible things.

I understand that Taylor is not everyone's cup of tea, but you have to admit that... well, girl can write a hook.

Even if you don't enjoy her insanely catchy songs, I feel that she at least deserves respect as an incredibly skilled artist. She knows exactly what she's doing when it comes to the music business and the kind of brilliance and calculation that she displays when it comes to crafting her songs is somewhat unheard of nowadays - at least for pop music. One thing is for sure, she's created one hell of a brand.

All I know is, if she keeps writing, I'll keep listening. And I don't care who knows it.

2 comments:

  1. So I had to travel through your whole blog to make sure you didnt do this award yet so I have nominated you for the Liebster Award!! Here is the link to my page to follow!! http://starsaligned5514.blogspot.com/

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  2. I had the same thing happen to me, where I heard her live and it sounded terrible. But I've heard her live (well, live on TV at award shows, that is), and she sounds way better! Her songs are so catchy and have a great beat to run to.

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