Valentine’s Day, second grade. I remember coming home from school and my mom giving me the newly released Taylor Swift album, Fearless. I made my dad listen to that album every day on the way to school, along with Speak Now and each of her other albums that shaped my adolescence.
On the playground, my friends and I, rather embarrassingly in retrospect, made up interpretative dances to songs like “Tear Drops on My Guitar” and “You Belong with Me” and relished in the romantic, pop drama of it all. As cliché as it may sound, there is something about her music that feels like home, like a safety net, the type of comfort that comes with talking to your childhood best friend or someone who has seen you in your most raw, unfiltered moments of both joy and pain. That’s one of the most entrancing things about Swift’s music—the intimacy of it.
The passion and vulnerability in her lyrics are why people connect to it—because she makes the listener feel like they’re the only two people in the world, like it’s a late-night conversation in your living room over wine and tears. I would say that Taylor Swift has been the soundtrack to my life more than any other artist, simply because there are certain songs from each of her eras that bring me back to a very specific time in my life, or a specific person. The power she holds in people’s lives, of being able to capture a feeling, a moment in time in such a beautifully, sometimes painfully personal way is, in my mind, what sets her apart in the music industry.