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The Evolution of Taylor Swift’s Music and Identity

It’s fair to say Taylor Swift has come a fair way from that young country singer who released Tim McGraw. Her music has become a mirror of her life and who she is as a person. While every album might not be everyone’s cup of tea, there is a least one era which is likely to strike a chord with you.  


Taylor Swift (2006)

Taylor’s debut album proudly highlights her country roots. The songs follow narratives, something more typical of country songs. They also speak about love and heartbreak, a theme now synonymous with Taylor’s music and style. However, she also discusses more serious topics, such as self-confidence and mental health in Tied Together With a Smile. This more serious side of Taylor’s music often gets neglected.  


Fearless (2008)

This album while having hints of country Taylor, moves more towards the pop genre. On the whole, Fearless feels like a continuation of Taylor Swift (especially with the corkscrew curls) with a more mature edge The songs become more reflective, as she looks back at past heartbreaks, even going as far back as 15 in Fifteen.  

Speak Now (2010)

Speak Now shares many qualities with her earlier albums. Better than Revenge, while an amazing to song to belt out in the shower, is known by fans for its misogynistic undertones. This highlights her youth and potential naivety. One of the highlights of this album is Dear John, a break-up song directly aimed at John Mayer, gifting him the anger of Swifties everywhere.  

Red (2012)

Red dives headfirst into the pop genre and leaves behind most of Taylor’s country style. Despite this, the music still sounds like Taylor. Her voice and narrative are still present throughout the entire album.  Her fans still get insight into heartbreak and lost love, with the call for Jake Gyllenhaal to give Taylor her scarf back in All too Well.   

1989 (2014)

For me, this album is the most rememberable release. While continuing in the pop genre, it breaks the boundaries of Taylor’s past music by providing original and thought-provoking chart-topping hits. For example, Shake it Off reacts against societal criticism, hinting at her future attempts to speak out against the damaging effects of traditional and social media. 

Reputation (2017)

Now this album is completely different from old Taylor. This album just screams her frustration and anger at how she has been treated. The theme of this album of snakes comes from a tweet from Kim Kardashian. The first single from the album Look What You Made Me Do hints at her publicised feud with Kayne West and proclaims that the Old Taylor is dead – something which cannot be doubted. Taylor comes out of this album seeming strong and indestructible. 

Lover (2019)

Prepare yourself for a full 360 with this album. The words soft, light, calm, summer and happy all spring to mind when listening to this album, which contrasts heavily with the vibe of Reputation. Lover promotes being true to yourself and being happy being you, shown by her support of the LQBTQ+ community in You Need to Calm Down.  

Folklore and Evermore (2020)
Republic Records

Surprising everyone, Taylor saved last summer by releasing Folklore. Completely different from any of her other albums, she follows the folk style, combined with the storytelling aspects of traditional country music. Evermore follows this theme, enchanting listeners with its whimsical songs. 


Overall, it is clear that Taylor is on a journey with her music, evolving alongisde her coveted creations. With every heartbreak or media attack, she grows as a person, which is reflected in her music. Most importantly, this technique seems to be working, with Taylor recently winning a Grammy for Folklore. Personally, I cannot wait to see what chapter Taylor writes next.

Maisie Wood

Bristol '22

Hi! I’m Maisie and I’m a second year history student!
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