Mrs. Perfectly Fines Not-So-Perfect Musical Journey

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Madi Madiha, ENN Staff

Pop culture has taken the world by storm and it would not be surprising to many if the world was soon known as Pre-Taylor Swift and Post-Taylor Swift. The music industry has certainly been changed by this 31 year old singer-songwriter and it is often a rare occurrence that someone doesn’t know who she is. Taylor Swift started out as a country music singer, a very popular one to be exact. At just 15 she had written what some say were many of her best pieces. Over the years Swift has earned recognition as a pop and country singer-songwriter, making debuts with popular songs like ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together’ and ‘You Belong With Me’ which have been the anthem to many peoples’ childhoods. Swift has won over two dozen awards so far in her career. 

One of the biggest reasons Swift is so popular is the actual content of her music. Her songs are most often written from her point of view and inspired by her personal experiences, which give listeners a more authentic feel for her music. One of her most popular songs, ‘Love Story’ was inspired by a boy Swift liked. In an interview with Spin.com Swift said, “Love Story is about a guy I almost dated. But when I introduced him to my family and my friends, they all didn’t like him. All of them. For the first time, I could relate to that Romeo-and-Juliet situation where the only people who wanted them to be together was them.” Another one of her songs, ‘Teardrops on My Guitar’ was inspired by a serious crush she had on a boy named Drew Hardwick, as she mentions in the song. Her sometimes-successful and other-times-not-so-successful encounters with love have given her the perfect artifact to write her music. That, combined with her need to get her bold, very-feminist thoughts out into the world, have made her the ultimate go-to for many Swifties, like freshman, Destyni Ford. Ford enjoys having a T-Swift song for every occasion and mood.

 “She writes her songs with meaning, most other artists write their music without anything, it just rhymes, but Taylor Swift- she has a country blend, she has a hiphop and a pop blend, and she has so many different albums that are just amazing and I love listening to all of them. Like, I have a station of her songs for when I’m really sad and when I’m really happy or I really wanna party. She just has so many varieties,” said Ford. 

For many, their favorite Taylor Swift songs are all based on perspective and their own personal experiences. With over 150 songs, there is bound to be at least one for people to relate to, and based on her approximately 80 million global streams, it’s safe to say people do find something to plug into their headphones on the way home from a long day of school. To many, music is the most appealing when they can truly understand the lyrics and rant vicariously through the singer. For junior, Kaitlyn Jung, it is just that. 

 “I think she affects her listeners, generally, by being able to tell stories throughout her song and bring a new perspective to it. Personally, she just gets me and my feelings and it always feels like she has a song for everything,” said Jung. 

Newbies might misinterpret Taylor Swift as a romance singer, but Swifties are especially into her breakup songs. For some, the best way to let out their anger is to scream into a hairbrush about a hypothetical boy who swears he’ll change but never does. Swifts breakup songs have helped her reach her target audience: strong, independent women who sometimes need to hear from a fierce feminist that they don’t need a man in life. While her music is commonly popular amongst teens, adults like AP Human Geography and Economics teacher, Ashley Hicks, love to listen to Swift’s breakup songs as a guilty pleasure. Although Hicks is now happily married to her high school sweetheart, she grew up listening to quite a few Taylor Swift breakup songs.

“She’s pretty good at embodying especially breakup songs. That was always my go-to when I was like ‘you know what I need someone who also understands what I’m going through’ so she’s pretty good at embodying emotions, I think,” said Hicks. 

Swift’s music and actual musical journey tell very different stories, though. While fans are able to thoroughly enjoy her music, the journey is found to be more disturbing in reality. Swift started off at 15, when she signed a label with Big Machine Records, run by executive Scott Borchetta. She grew as a singer and songwriter, her music becoming more valuable over the years, and she left Big Machine to sign a label with Republic Records, but alas Borchetta refused to give her her music when the contract expired. He told her, according to the contract she signed at the young age of 15, in order to get ownership for the masters to her first six albums she must rejoin Big Machine Records and also ‘earn’ her records back by submitting one new album for every old album. In an angry Tumblr post she wrote, “All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at [Braun’s] hands for years . . . Essentially, my music legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.” And thus started Swift’s journey to give the world what they didn’t know they wanted: Taylors Version. 

The universally known iconic singer surprised many, if not all, of her fans when she started re-recording her albums and releasing them as her own, stamped ‘Taylors Version.’ In April 2021 she released ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ and from then started an uphill journey for Swift. The singer released more of her old songs, dubbed ‘Taylor’s Version’ and had fun while she was at it, dropping hints all over social media. The newer releases filled an overwhelming amount of teens and adults with nostalgia. Hicks especially enjoys listening to the newer versions of the songs she first heard when she herself was a teenager, like the country-pop song ‘Fifteen.’

“I will always have a special place in my heart for Fifteen because I was 15 when Fifteen came out, when I heard it I was like ‘Ah!’ I think Fifteen will always be my favorite. When she redid Fifteen it felt more like, both nostalgic and also a little more grown up, more to who I am right now but also nostalgia of when I was 15,” said Hicks. 

Whether it’s the originals or ‘Taylor’s Version,’ Swifties are powered by Taylor Swift’s fierce music and get a confidence they would rather not find elsewhere.