November 11, 2014
I'll Shake it Off and Begin Again
"Because I haven't liked her for the last two years... it's a matter of principal", I explained to a friend the other night. I'd made a post on Facebook about my urgent need for Swiftamine; I had just watched the new music video for Blank Space, and found to my horror that I really, really liked the song. Like, really. Not only that, but I loved Shake it Off as well, and based on the few second clips from the album on Amazon I had a feeling I would end up liking more of her songs as well.
Anyhow, so this friend was wondering why it was such a bad thing to admit to liking Taylor Swift. I used to like Taylor Swift, a lot. I can still remember the very first time I heard one of her songs on the radio. It was "Tim McGraw", and I was in Chicago going to visit my great aunt with my family. I liked it a lot, and the next song I heard was "Love Story", also in the car when I was being dropped off by some friends after a club meeting. After I discovered ITunes and got my own iPod, I bought a bunch of her songs and put together my own CD, and we listened to it quite a bit. And then I stopped.
"I'm about the same age as Taylor," I continued to explain "and I think for Speak Now and Red, I felt like I outgrew her for a bit. Especially with Red, she was just singing the same type of music about the same things and she wasn't changing or "growing up". That, and there was the whole "country music genre" issue. Yes, yes, I know that there is country, and there's pop country but I think there's a difference between pop country, and country pop and Taylor Swift became very heavily country pop. It bugged me when her fans would argue that she was still country because really, she just didn't fit into that genre anymore.
And yeah, I think part of it was what I call "the bandwagon effect". She was just too popular, her fans were too fanatical - two things I typically avoid, with a few exceptions but that's a whole other post.
So yes... the fans. To be quite honest, "Swifties" were the biggest reason I stopped liking Taylor for a good couple of years, and why I've been reluctant to admit that I'm a fan again. For a while, I saw way too much of the "Taylor is a goddess and you must worship her" attitude, paired with "WHAT? You don't like Taylor's song? You must be a hater. You nasty hateful hater, you." I swear, I'm not exaggerating. It was all up in my newsfeed and on any comment section of anything remotely Taylor Swift related. I knew people who would go on long defensive rants about how "poor Tay tay is hurt and abused and everyone is so mean and cruel", like, every week. And then I saw a comment (not from anyone I knew) on some photo that was poking a little fun a something Taylor had done, that whoever posted the photo should kill themselves right now - I was 100% officially done. If that was the kinds of fans she had, then Taylor and I were never ever getting back together. Like, ever.
Yet after listening to 1989 (Thank you Grooveshark!) I've found that... Taylor Swift isn't that bad anymore. To my ears, she finally matured. She finally made some changes and got a new look, anew genre, new style, new subject matter for her songs. She isn't the teenager crying over her ex-boyfriends anymore, she's taken her place as an adult performer and I think the pop genre suits her better than country ever did. I'm still not a fan of her fans, so don't ever think I've become a Swiftie, but I'm ready to shake it off and let things begin again.
Let's party like it's 1999. Oh wait, no, that's a different thing.