Let's Discuss: How Taylor Swift Is Making Waves

On Monday, Taylor Swift unveiled the title to her new album (1989), released its first single (“Shake It Off”) and a music video to accompany said song. Swift, one of the biggest names in pop culture, has been ensnared in animus ever since.

When one thinks of Taylor Swift, the initial notion that comes to mind is not a controversy. She is as close as the 2000s have come to having a respectable Sandra Dee or Doris Day-like role model. She conducts herself in a mature demeanor and has sidestepped the shenanigans of her pop counterparts.

When the media denounced the envelope-pushing antics of Miley Cyrus, they said she was setting a bad example for young girls and youth in general. Then Taylor Swift, an idyllic bearer of role model lightness in the morally dilapidated caldron of current pop culture, steps out of the darkness, and they still throw stones or, as Swift would put it, “throw rocks at things that shine.”

This week’s criticism stems from various sources, one of those being that she announced ‘1989’ will be her first official pop record. Per that admission, there will be no country, flavoring the soundscape of her new material. Her declaration did not come as a significant shock given ‘Red’ barely qualified as a country effort, and music observers were quick to note that upon its arrival.

They said it was not country and they were right. It was a hybrid of the two genres that leaned towards the pop side of the equation. Some wanted Taylor Swift to clarify her position and declare her chosen genre. Well, she has. Personally, her country sound will be greatly missed, as the lyricism that country music lends itself to, was a perfect outlet for the kind of songwriter Taylor Swift is

Taylor Swift's songwriting had been about her relationship troubles and her family. It has also addressed the elephant in the room -- her supersonic rise to stardom. Swift, her critics will say, has invited the public inside of her diary pages and made a living off of her press-documented relationships.

The allegation hints she is doing something no other artist in history has done. Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Sheryl Crow, Carly Simon (infamously), and many more have done the exact same thing. No one has been ranting about any of those artists for doing so either. Taylor Swift has not invented anything new. It is simply business as usual. 

Taylor Swift faces another issue as time has gone on: staying relatable despite her enormous ascent. When she was a fresh-faced country crooner, she had not made it to the big time yet. Swift was still the teenage girl next door with long curly hair, cowboy boots and loads of sundresses.

Years later, she is in her mid-twenties. Taylor Swift a global phenomenon with a sleek bob, high-heels and a chic trendsetting wardrobe. She is no longer the girl making her dreams come true. Instead, Swift has turned them into a reality.

In “Shake It Off” she shares a bit about her current life dilemmas. It is still from her diary pages. They just read a tad different now. For Swift, not acknowledging the change in her life would mean staying in a bubble that the public knows is false.

Taylor Swift is grappling with a life that’s different than most and we all know it, for her to say otherwise would be disingenuous. Something she has never seemed to be. The video presents, which she conveys in interviews, a person who does not take herself too seriously.

The attacks on her moral character have reached deafening levels in the past two years. Every time she is photographed with a male companion, the press draws their own implications. It’s not been an easier road to be "wholesome." But, among the landscape of her peers, it has led to more scrutiny than the average celebrity faces. She has set high expectations, and the lens has gone from a magnifying glass to a microscope as a result. 

The press has watched her rise and now it seems they want to see her fall. If the media is honest with their sentiments towards Miley Cyrus' behavior, Swift would not be treated as such an affront. Cyrus has given them headlines, though, and with Swift, their job is trickier.

People are going to talk about Taylor Swift and what she has proven is that people still want to talk about her even when she is good. Is that so bad?

[Featured Image by Big Machine Records]