Taylor Swift’s new album, 1989, embraces what the rest of us have known for a while now: Swift is no longer a country singer. She may have began her career as a country singer, but there is nothing country remaining in her new music. The song on 1989 that most exemplifies this is current hit, “Blank Space.”
I hate this song. One of the main reasons I despise it is the fact that if I hear it on the radio, I have to listen to it. Even though I think “Blank Space” is a bad song, it sucks me in like a blackhole. It is catchy, and it drives me crazy how easily it gets stuck in my head.
This song does not work with Taylor Swift’s voice. If any other pop singer sang “Blank Space”, I would have it on my iPhone and would be jamming out to it non-stop in my car. Her voice is just simply more suited for country music. It would be interesting to hear how “Blank Space” would sound if she dropped the computer-generated beat and picked up her guitar, to sing an acoustic, country version of this song.
Furthermore, the dissonance between the music and her voice illustrates who Taylor Swift has become.
I used to admire Taylor Swift for not trying to shed her squeaky-clean image like other teen pop icons before her had done. When Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and others began to put over-sexualized content in their songs and music videos, the quality of their work went down, and they began making frequent appearances in the tabloids for their revealing outfits and raucous lifestyles. Swift had not been known for this kind of behavior, but by walking the runway at the Victoria Secret Fashion Show and making a music video where she sings in her lingerie while holding a large knife, she has lost the right to claim the “girl next door” persona. Swift should look to those who have gone and fallen before her as cautionary tales, for if she continues down this path, there will be a Taylor Swift sex tape or mug shot within five years.
When examined under this lens, some of the lyrics of “Blank Space” become worrisome. Hearing Swift sing about wanting to date someone she refers to as her “next mistake” and making “the bad guys good for a weekend” should cause concern amongst her fans. This is a dangerous attitude to embrace for someone who wants to shed the image of being a serial dater. Furthermore, fans should be irked by the bridge that declares, “Boys only want love if it’s torture.” Even if this is meant as a joke, man-hating lyrics will not grow her fan base and will cause problems in relationships for people who will hear those words and believe them. These lyrics can only lead to disaster.
Taylor Swift was once a pleasant departure from the usual celebrity. She was sweet, down-to-earth, and likable, but now she is a completely different person. As society has embraced Taylor Swift, she has embraced society, and that will lead to her downfall. I hope, for her sake, she returns to her roots.