The first time I heard a Taylor Swift song it was back in 2008. I was sitting in an empty movie theatre shoving fistfuls of popcorn into my mouth as I watched the preshow movie countdown, the part of the movie going experience where people meander in and out while movie trivia scrolls onscreen and music plays. The song was a mid-tempo banjo driven track describing the exploits of young love it was called “Our Song.” I nodded my head in sync with the tune and made a point of jotting down the song title and artist’s name as it is customary for it to be announced before launching into the coming attractions. I went home that night and purchased the song.
Interestingly “Our Song” cohabited my iPod along with Aerosmith, Alkaline Trio, New Found Glory, The Ramones, The Clash and some Latin music from my childhood. Whenever the song would shuffle on I’d smile and think, “I like this” but that’s as far as my love for Taylor Swift went. I’d see her on award shows racking up the trophies, see her on red carpets smiling and waving to the crowd. I’d see her on the cover of magazines; one which hangs proudly above my teenage sister’s mirror in her bedroom.
Smash cut to October 2014 Swift releases her fifth studio album “1989” following the success of her 2012 release “Red” which launched the smash hits, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and the equally infectious “22.” “1989” officially marked Swift’s departure from country music to mainstream pop. Her first single, “Shake It Off” became an anthem of sorts with its “sick beat” consisting of saxophone and catchy lyrics addressing the rumors and things said about her in the media. The accompanying video featured Swift dancing in different scenarios as an interpretive dancer, a ballerina, a boombox carrying break dancer and featured her in short shorts grinding as women twerked in the background.
What sealed the deal for me was her October 29th appearance on abc’s “The View” where during the commercial break she took the time to greet and pose for selfies with the crowd. Her legion of fans known as Swifties camped out for hours to attend the taping. While on the air she spoke candidly about reading comments online from her Instagram, tumblr and twitter feed and realizing the circumstances of what others have been going through may differ but the outcome is the same, you can’t control what others say about you and “you have to let go of things you cannot control” hence her song “Shake It Off.” While for her fans rumors may be “whispers in school hallways or rumors at work” hers are “on the newsstand when [she] checks out at the grocery store.”
While other pop acts her age or even younger are busy gyrating on inflatable penises and running around with their tops off Swift is simply trying to make good music you can dance to and that made me realize I genuinely liked her. And what’s not to like? She writes and produces her own music, seems to genuinely care and communicates with her fans and her music is catchy, well-written and fun. At age 25 Taylor Swift is a music phenomenon and for all the reasons mentioned above “1989” is among the best albums of 2014 voted by SinisterGirlz.com