Last week, Taylor Swift became the first artist to have her songs be the entire top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. This was also the first time in history that there hasn’t been a single man in the top 10. This monumental and historical achievement makes for the perfect moment to celebrate this beloved musician.
Taylor is known for her beautiful melodies, catchy beats, and lyrics that are not only poetic but undeniably true. Taylor has been a household name in music for more than half of her life, beginning her career at just 14 when she moved to Nashville to become a country singer-songwriter. She released her first album entitled Taylor Swift in 2006, making her the first female country artist to write a platinum-certified album at only 16 years old.
Her first few albums–Taylor Swift (2006), Fearless (2008), and Speak Now (2010) –established her country style, and explored her experiences with young love. With Red (2012), Taylor incorporated rock and electronic elements into her music, then 1989 (2014) was pop. Though a certain number of people were unhappy with this shift from her country roots, her experimentations with style have become culture-shifters. The albums she’s released over the last decade in coordination with different periods of her life have become fondly known as her “eras”, eras which her fans have come to identify with in their own lives.
After staying quiet for three years, Taylor Swift came roaring back with Reputation (2017)..
Following 1989, Taylor was involved in a feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, which led to a mirage of media scrutiny towards her. After staying quiet for three years, she came roaring back with Reputation (2017), about her undeserved fall from grace and subsequent maturation from a “good girl” to a strong woman who sticks up for herself. The album’s success, and later proof that Taylor had been in the right all along concerning Kanye West, firmly cemented that she was back and better than ever. In 2020, she released pop album Lover (2020), primarily about her relationship with actor Joe Alwyn which blossomed as she hid away from the media in the years preceding Reputation.
After Lover, a documentary directed by Lana Wilson came out about Taylor’s life from the beginning of her career to the present. As I wrote in a post for SWAN Day 2020, “Because she found fame so early, Swift has really grown up in front of our eyes. Miss Americana documents her journey, beginning as a crowd-pleasing ‘good girl’ to a headstrong, politically active, self-sufficient woman. The carefully compiled footage in this doc is a wonderful mix of home videos of young Taylor, intimate moments of her with her family and friends, and incredible performances to spellbound audiences.”
The COVID pandemic brought sister albums Folklore and Evermore, which took on more of a folk style and showed Taylor experimenting with storytelling and writing from others’ perspectives. After these albums, Taylor began to re-record her old music, a decision she made because her former record label had sold these albums and left her with no control over what happens to her music. The re-recordings allowed her to take back ownership of the rights to songs which should have always been hers.
If Folklore and Evermore consisted of perspectives outside of Taylor’s, Midnights brings us back to introspection…
Recently, Taylor released a new album, Midnights, inspired by all of her songs from the past. If Folklore and Evermore consisted of perspectives outside of Taylor’s, Midnights brings us back to introspection; it’s about the self-reflection that occurs in the middle of the night. With Midnights, Taylor took the whole top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first person to ever do so, and there isn’t a single person who’s more deserving. After facing so much gender-based scrutiny over the years, from shaming for all of her different relationships, to picking apart her body and weight, to blaming her for a feud in which she was not at fault, this achievement is the ultimate victory against all the men who have put her down. It’s incredible that the first time there isn’t a man in the top ten is because Taylor took all ten spots herself.
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On November 1st, Taylor announced her upcoming “Eras” tour; which will take fans through all of her different eras in a retrospective of her career. As someone who has defined the life experiences of a whole generation of fans with her eras, and someone who is known for her incredible live shows, this tour may be her magnum opus.
Taylor is a defining voice of her time – not only musically but socially – and her impact will be felt for years and for generations. We are in the era of Taylor Swift, and I’m sure that there will be many more eras to come.
© Julia Lasker (11/7/2022) FF2 Media
LEARN MORE/DO MORE
Read Julia Lasker’s SWAN Day post about Taylor Swift here
Read Danielle Solzman’s review of Miss Americana here
Listen to Taylor Swift’s music here
Read about Taylor’s historical achievement taking the Billboard Top 10 here
CREDITS & PERMISSIONS
Featured photo: “HAIMO2210722 (29 of 51)” by Raph_PH is licensed under CC BY 2.0.