Breaking Down Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift. I LOVE her music. Most of the time.

Her music is poppy, country, and full of teenage optimism and angst – simultaneously. It’s hard to argue, sometimes.

But sometimes, I do want to argue. Because sometimes, I can’t figure out how to integrate my love of Taylor Swift with my worldview, in which women are far more than Taylor lets them be.

Take “You Belong With Me.” Taylor is basically sitting around shaming her best friend’s girlfriend for wearing short skirts and getting upset with his jokes, while criticizing her music taste. Taylor Swift is obviously madly in love with this boy – but all she’s doing (besides criticizing the girlfriend) is “dreaming ’bout the day when you’ll wake to find that what you’re looking for has been here the whole time.”

Dear god, I wish this song had been around my senior year

And there’s the problem, I guess. This song is absurd. “You belong with me,” but I’m just going to sit around, criticizing your girlfriend and waiting for you to figure it out. And every single girl can relate to this.

“Today was a fairytale, I wore a dress.”
“If you could see that I’m the one who understands you/been here all along so why can’t you see/you belong with me.”
“She’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers.”
“I can feel my heart/It’s beating in my chest/Did you feel it?/I can’t put this down.”

I mean, there are other eerily relatable lines in other songs, but those two songs (“You Belong With Me” and “Today Was a Fairytale”) are the two easiest for me to connect with.

So is Taylor espousing a life choice, or is she relating an experience that everyone I know understands? The problem with her music is that she frequently seems to be doing the former. She does have a few songs that don’t fit this stereotype (“You’re Not Sorry” and “White Horse” come to mind), but Taylor Swift is waiting around for a “Fairytale,” begging for a Romeo and Juliet “Love Story,” or deciding that “Two is Better Than One.”

It’s not just that Taylor Swift writes and sings music about love – plenty of female artists do that and don’t make me feel like a terrible person when I sing along (KELLY CLARKSON). It’s that she sings about love in a way that makes her entire powerless. In every single one of her songs, Taylor Swift in the princess in her own fairytale. She sits around and WAITS for boys to shape her world. In “Love Story,” all she has to do is say yes. In “You Belong With Me,” she’s mope and hope he realizes how good they could be together. In “Fifteen,” high school is about cute seniors with cars who determine her entire four year experience (oh hello sophomore fall how are you).

I love Taylor Swift because I can relate to her. I hate Taylor Swift because sometimes, she is a reminder that I am – or that I was – so many things I don’t want to be.

Or I could just stop taking my music so seriously. Whatever. :)

    • Purple Shoes
    • April 14th, 2010

    On the other hand:

    • maraalyse
    • April 14th, 2010


    I think this is her new music. Maybe indicative of the fact that she’s growing up a little bit. That would be good. She’s still pretty young.

    Also, I’m really glad that the whole I’m-a-crazy-revengeful-freak-who’s-vandalizing-your-house thing is only in her imagination, and that she’s actually just “over it.” It’s so much sweeter that way.

  1. April 13th, 2010

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