Growing Up with Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift knew that when her latest album Reputation came out, “gossip blogs will scour the lyrics for the men they can attribute to each song, as if the inspiration for music is as simple and basic as a paternity test” (Swift’s  words, not mine).

            She’s not wrong; since putting Joe Jonas on blast all those years ago, the public has attributed every public affair that the singer has ever had to each song that she has written and released. While it’s been said that Taylor Swift is a drama queen who plays the victim in order to sell albums, I personally believe that it is because Swift is so open and vulnerable that she is very relatable. The fact that she’s a drama queen is not why she’s a success, but the fact that so many people can understand her problems and understand the emotions that she puts into her music, and that is why she is successful. Each album that has come out relates to a specific time period for each fan, and that's why, at some point, every one has probably felt like they were a part of T-Swift's squad.

The Era of Taylor Swift

When Swift’s first ever single “Tim McGraw” came out in 2006, I had just moved to Florida and I was about to start third grade. At that age, I don’t think that love with the opposite sex really registered for me yet, but I understood missing people in a different place, and I understood wondering if those people and the place missed me too.

            Then the album dropped later in the year, and I had learned some things. Like there was a love that existed that made people act differently, whether it made them want someone so bad that there are “Teardrops On My Guitar”, or that they can only be themselves when they’re with someone else (“I’m Only Me When I’m with You”) and have a melody that they would call “Our Song”. A love that caused people to rage about a “Picture to  Burn” or the betrayal of someone who “Should’ve Said No”. I didn’t understand it yet, but I think “Mary’s Song” is what made me feel like I did.

The Era of Fearless

Fast forward two years, and middle school is starting. The most romantic song comes out, and makes all the middle school girls swoon as the hormones are rampaging as “Love Story” plays. Not long after, the world gets news about the 27 second phone call that was the end of Taylor Swift and Joe Jonas.  But how can that be if Swift was singing about such a beautiful romance?

            Not long after, Fearless drops, and as periods start and cooties disappear, everyone wants to be a little more fearless themselves. All the kids want to yell “You Belong with Me” to the people they think they should be with “Forever and Always”. However, not many of the kids realize that they weren’t even “Fifteen” yet. But Swift knew, and she held that close as she pursued her dreams like being on the cover  of Vogue, or hosting Saturday Night Live.

The Era of Speak Now

This album comes out another two years later, after Taylor  Swift started dating  Taylor Lautner and after Kanye West infamously took the mic from Swift at the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards. At this point, I kind of understood what heartache was. At least, as much as any girl finishing middle school could. In middle school, having heartache seemed as basic as being disappointed in a relationship, that for all the hopes and expectations you had, the relationship could not measure  up. It’s wishing that a relationship could go “Back to December” when the relationship was in a simpler stage, when you were “Enchanted” by the boy you were seeing and  said “Mine” on the phone all the time. But he was never yours, that was an “Innocent” and naieve idea on your part, and when you realized that, you thought that there was nothing would be “Better than Revenge” on him. Granted, that wasn’t true, that was the “Mean” girls talking, and you could never do it, but the fantasy did not hurt.

The Era of Red

While I wasn’t “22” at  the time of this album release, I was a sophomore in high school who felt like “The Lucky One” because I was getting comfortable with myself. This was the point where “Everything Has Changed”: my version of Swift’s Abby was being told “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” because the boys in high school caused us to drift apart, and I wasn’t feeling like a “Sad Beautiful Tragic” angst-y middle school student anymore. I was in my own “State of Grace” as I wore iconic red lipstick and sunglasses and became more of who I was supposed to be, where I had a steady group of friends, as well as a few “Treacherous” girls that I chose to ignore. This year was “The Moment I Knew” that I had the capability to accomplish anything, and from that point on high school made me feel like “Starlight”,  but I knew “All Too Well” that it would not last forever with college around the corner. That didn’t stop me from hoping for a love that was “Red” though, because it was high school, and I had yet to learn that the boys there would be trouble.

 

The Era of 1989

It was senior year of high school in 2014 when Swift released “1989”, and I would say this is the album that I relate to the most. This album was Swift’s declaration that she wanted to take a step away from country music, the same way that I was just about to leave this high school life behind and start college to discover my own “Style”.  Back then, I expected my “Wildest Dreams” to come true as I left behind anyone that I had “Bad Blood” with. I had also found “This Love” that I thought would be amazing one day, when I was successful and doing wonderful things and that he would just love me too. I guess that’s “How You Get the Girl” out of the “Wonderland” that’s high school: let her think that she’s “Out of the Woods” when she graduates, and welcome her some place new, but really  it’s a place that’s a little less magical than a “Blank Space”.

The Era of Reputation

This is the era that is unfolding now. While it’s not my favorite album of hers, it’s still relatable. I’m in college now, a junior who is trying to create and control the narrative of my life, the same sentiment that Swift had when she cleared her social media history before this album dropped. The album opens as Swift asks her fans if they’re “…Ready for it?”, it being her reputation. This album if basically how I feel as I go through college, with two predominant emotions as she introduces her new public persona. There’s her sentiment of “I Did Something Bad” and “Don’t Blame Me” because the opinions of the public don’t matter, which I understand and I wish I could get to when I’m trying to slay life after pulling an all nighter. Then there’s the one thing that has not changed since the start, and that is the lovey-dovey Taylor Swift still exists, because there’s a “King of My Heart” who she is “Delicate” with because she’s found a love worth fighting for. However, it seems that there is more maturity when she talks about love now, because there’s all the sexual tension that she expresses in “Dress” that could be compared to the sexual tension in a college bar. All in all, I am waiting for the “New Year’s Day” that makes me feel  like everything is in place the way that Taylor has found comfort and love in the arms of Tom Alwyn as I wish her a happy birthday.

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