The enduring power of Taylor Swift. I am sure that some of you are rolling your eyes already or have even scrolled straight past this article. At the same time so loved and yet so hated, I want to think about what makes Taylor Swift’s music so universal. Reflecting upon her music during lockdown, I have had plenty of time to decide what exactly it is that gives her music such a relevant yet nostalgic power. At least in my eyes.
Faced with endless days of boredom, I turned to music to pass the time like many others, I’m sure. And Taylor, amongst many others, demonstrates through her range of subject matter a true means of escapism. How many young teenage girls can, or at least think they can, relate to her tales of love, loss and heartbreak? By contrast, how many turn to her music in order to feel something deeper? To live vicariously, if you will, through her plethora of romantic successes and failures? I know I for one I am guilty of all the above. Looking at her songs explains clearly why.
If we begin with heartbreak, I believe the true appeal of her music is in its universal truism. Songs like Fifteen, Teardrops on my Guitar and Back to December depict relatable scenarios. Whether you’re in love, falling out of it, feeling heartbroken or even pining after someone you can’t have, there is no end to the themes the artist explores through her music. Especially when considering her target audience of adolescent and young adult females.
On a more positive side, though, with the downside to love also comes the beauty and joy of being in love. Starting from the very beginnings of relationships, as with You Belong With Me and Everything Has Changed, and going right up to that feeling of being in a long-term relationship, for instance in Our Song and Mine, she really does express it all. Often hailed by the media as a serial dater, it’s evident that her personal experiences can act not only as an outlet for her own emotions but can also serve as an emotional support network for others experiencing similar things in their own lives.
Not only this, but her music can be so fun. Some of us love to hate it, but songs like ME!, 22, Shake it Off and Trouble always ignite a reaction. There’s no denying they can lift the energy in a room.
So there you have it: my brief observations on an undoubted icon in the music world today. You can love her, hate her, or feel something in between. For me, she’s going to continue to be my number one most played artist on Spotify. What can I say, the girl just gets me.
Image: Eva Rinaldi on Wikimedia Commons