Pop & Circumstance: Getting Over Taylor SwiftBy Allison Berger | November 3rd, 2010 | 1 Comment »
About a year ago, I was at my favorite college bar when I felt the need to get defensive about my love for Taylor Swift. The cover band in the back was doing its interpretation of Swift’s “Love Story” so I grabbed my boyfriend’s hand and pulled him with me to sing along. “You are so in love with Taylor,” he said, rolling his eyes.
My adoration for Swift at the time was not, in fact, an attraction. I didn’t look at her like I look at other certain celebrities, say, Mary-Louise Parker. Swift is not sexy. She’s sweet. She’s kind. She’s a child who makes a sincere effort to give two-armed hugs to her fans. Swift is harmless, naive and honest. Right?
Last week, Taylor Swift released her third full-length album, “Speak Now.” It debuted at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 to no one’s surprise.
My “thing” for Swift started the summer after freshman year. It was my last summer living at home. My best friend had me listen to this sweet little jingle called “Tim McGraw,” which immediately made any indie cred I had plummet into the depths of pop music purgatory. I started having reoccurring dreams in which Swift and I were friends.
Then there was the Swift/Kanye debacle at the 2009 VMAs, and the girl ultimately became the most overexposed celebrity of the year. You couldn’t go to the grocery store without seeing Swift’s squinty eyes and gangly body on the cover of every magazine or hearing her endless singles squeak tinnily from far above the aisles.
She doesn’t have the best singing voice, nor the best lyrics. I looked past this. People accept Swift because she puts her shit out there and she’s not afraid to sound cliched. Because that’s what we all are: cliches. Swift turns vulnerability into likability, and I appreciated that — until the much-anticipated release of “Speak Now” and her current single “Mine.”
Artists are supposed to grow, aren’t they? I’m no musician, but I do know that’s what artists of any medium are meant to do (that’s largely why I stopped writing poems about boys — because they all started to sound the same). If Swift released her self-titled album at the age of sixteen with hits like “Tim McGraw,” “Teardrops on My Guitar,” and “Our Song,” shouldn’t she be writing songs of a different caliber at age 20?
The only difference between albums is the substitution of the word “college” for “high school” and music videos that take place in starter homes instead of hallways. “Mine” incorporates the same themes — boys, remembering, crying, bodies of water/rain — as the majority of her other songs.
So is Swift a hoax? I now think that maybe she really was just doing the love songs, the two-armed hugs and the uninhibited interview giggles for the money. Now, in the car, I roll my eyes as my boyfriend sings along to “Mine” when it comes on the radio (which is often, sometimes two stations at once). Occasionally I chime in. Sometimes it’s harder to get over a crush than you think. Surely Swift can relate.
Allison Berger is a Philadelphia-based writer and a Pop music columnist for Reverb. Check out more of her writing here.