I write when I can. Usually the moments when writing hurts the most are the moments when it is the most necessary.
Written By: Ella
April 13, 2015
The first time I heard of Taylor Swift I was ten years old, sitting in my cousin’s room while she listened to “You Belong With Me.” Since then, she’s been my musical role model and inspiration, there to sympathize with me in times of hardship, and celebrate in times of elation. I’ve followed her through Fearless, Speak Now, Red, and her greatest creation yet, 1989.
1989, named for the year of Swift’s birth, signifies the artist’s full transition from innocent country star into pop sensation. While some scorn and belittle her for “betraying” her roots, it’s clear that the criticism doesn’t bother her. Confident and outspoken as always, Swift’s hit single, “Shake it Off,” sends a clear message to the critics that she’s not bothered by their opinions.
In fact, a large part of the album seems to center around the idea of getting a fresh start, leaving the negative behind, and just having fun. “Welcome to New York” encapsulates the idea of beginning anew, telling how “Everybody here was someone else before.” In Clean, Swift sings of ridding herself of something that’s been hanging over her head for too long: “Rain came pouring down. When I was drowning, that’s when I could finally breathe. And by morning, gone was any trace of you, I think I am finally clean.” And of course, “Shake it Off” speaks the message loud and clear, that no matter how many people are trying to get her down, “I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it off!”
As usual, Swift manages to woo us with her fun, well-written love songs. For the girl in a summer fling, who just wants to have fun while it lasts, there’s “Blank Space,” where Swift embarks on a romantic and daring adventure, without caring about where it’s going. “Style” is the story of a couple who fit perfectly together, because, “When we go crashing down, we come back every time. Cause we never go out of style.” “This Love,” a slower, breathier number, reminds us that although sometimes you have to let go of love, it might just find its way right back to you.
To me, as a songwriter myself, Taylor Swift has always been an inspiration. Starting from simple, Pennsylvania roots, Swift’s passion and dedication drove her to become an international musical icon, and won 7 Grammys and countless other awards. She is known for her songs that speak directly to their listeners, holding them through the hard times and rejoicing with them through the good ones. As I struggle to write songs that do the same thing, I can understand that what she does is miraculous and incredibly difficult; she deserves every ounce of her success.
Contrary to popular belief, Swift has not “betrayed” her country origins by any means. At 25, she’s nearly a decade older than she was when she released her first album at the young age of 16. Perhaps her songs don’t have the same sound they used to back in the day, but she was just a teenager back then. Her tastes and preferences have evolved, as they have a right to. If you’re going to blame Swift for diverting from the country course, don’t you also have to scoff at college students who don’t listen to the same music as they did in high school? Just like anyone, Swift has a right to change her mind.
1989 is, undoubtedly, a masterpiece. As always, Swift sings from her heart, carrying us through every range of emotions, never judging us as we cry it out or dance until our feet ache. Because her music does exactly what it’s supposed to do--it makes us feel something. The passion in the music carries over to the listener. Go on, plug in your iPod. You won’t regret it.