This story starts when I was quite a bit younger, as my family and I were driving home. It was dark, and Mom was flipping through radio stations, trying to find something good. She landed on a country station, where a girl with a thick country accent played a song about Romeo and Juliet. I instantly fell in love with it, and told Mom that we needed to find this girl and see what other music she had out.
Fast forward to the next day. I got up, got dressed, and half the day passed. Then I remembered the song from last night, and the girl whose beautiful voice had captured me. So I ran to my Mom and dragged her into the room with our computer in it so we could find the girl on Zune. We found the girl, this fresh, curly-haired girl named Taylor Swift, and listened to every song off of the two albums that she currently had. And I loved every single one of them.
So everyday after school, I went back to the computer and pulled up her albums. And listened to them again. And again. And again, until I knew every word of every song and every guitar riff and until she was officially my favorite musical artist EVER.
Her next album, titled Speak Now, came out a year later. Of course I fell in love with that one, too, and it became my mission to memorize it. Every piece, every musical note spoke to me. It was like reading 14 diary entries, where she revealed her most terrible and wonderful secrets. Where she let out her frustration. Where she confessed true love.
And then one night, my family and I were watching an award show and there she was, sitting alone at the piano, pouring her heart out in a song called Back To December. A song about lost love that was her fault. There I watched her finish the song and stand, tears in her eyes, as the most humble star I’d ever seen.
It was that performance of Back To December that made me cry. Cry for all the real emotion she made flood into the heart of every man, woman, child, and elder who had ever felt like it was all their fault. Long story short, it was another one of her big hits. But to us who had seen that first powerful performance, it was so much more than a hit.
In early 2012, she contributed two great songs for the Hunger Games soundtrack.
Her newest album, Red, is a powerful and moving record. To help her write this album, she brought in a handful of well-known Pop songwriters such as Shellback, but she also brought back some of her old collaborators. Most of the songs on the album have a Poppy kind of vibe, but there are songs like All Too Well and Begin Again that make you remember that she’s still a country artist. The kind of tunes that make you reminisce about her curly hair and old cowboy boots.
In all of her albums, there are lyric books. The lyric books contain little “hidden” messages that give you a bit more insight into what was happening around the time she wrote the song. One of them, the song titled I Knew You Were Trouble, has the message “When you saw me dancing”. There has been much speculation about whom the song was written, but at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that she fell in love, she got hurt, she got angry, and she wrote a song about it. And she acquired another million.
Over the years, a few things have changed here and there. She has ditched the sun dresses and cowboy boots for sparkly dresses and super high-heels. She has dated celebrity after celebrity, who have mostly all broken her heart and earned her another couple million dollars from the songs she wrote about them. She got her hair cut into bangs, and started keeping it straightened. Her music has become less country and more pop.
But there are some things that will never stop. Like the powerful break-up ballads. The shocked, humble face of a young woman who just had no idea that she would win all of those awards, one after another. The heart-wrenching realness in her songs that still brings tears to our eyes. The rage that we feel over those who have broken her heart.
She has often said that we, her fans, are the most wonderful fans ever. In some respects, I must agree. We are the ones who will vote for every award she will ever be nominated for, and defend her to the ends of the earth. We are the ones who will never say die.
Even though the necklines have gotten lower, the heels higher, the hair straighter….at the end of the day, it’s still the same sweet, odd-ball, “invisible”, beautiful Taylor Swift. And the real fans will never turn their backs on her.