February 18, 2010

Taylor Swift

That’s right. Her.

The name probably calls to mind images of Kanye West or Beyonce, and rightly so. We all know how Kanye West dicked over our young starlet at the 2009 VMAs. Why did Kanye do this, exactly?

Well, Taylor had just won the award for best female video of the year for her song “You Belong With Me”, a popular single from her 2008 album titled “Fearless”.

The video is actually quite cute and funny.

Taylor plays a high school loner girl (autobiographical, actually!) pursuing a close friend who is enamored by a more popular, but distant cheerleader. The lyrics are highly clichéd, but extremely approachable and memorable. The true power of Taylor Swift is both in the simplicity and cadence of the lyrics she chooses, and her twangy, youthful voice influenced by artists like Dolly Parton and Shania Twain.

Her lyrics are often very simply composed. Simple rhyme schemes (aba, cdcd, etc), with very obvious metaphors. Taylor sings “she wears short skirts. I wear t-shirts.
She's cheer captain, and I'm on the bleachers” in the song “You Belong With me” calling to mind experiences almost all listeners have had or have. A simple dichotomy is created between a popular, materialistic, fashionable and a more authentic, approachable individual. One can see the lyrics as an expression of possible internal conflict in maintaining a down-to-earth appeal while being so overwhelmingly successful. Her grace and social tact, however, make it seem quite easy.

She began her career by rejecting RCA Records when they offered her a development deal. Part of the appeal in this young lady is in her authenticity and self-made attitude. The lyrics are extremely specific, personal, and through this openness and transparency the audience and listener is drawn in and is able to empathize and appreciate the lovely voice.

I hope the future of Taylor Swift is as bright as her beginnings. Her style reminds me of other female singers I happen to really enjoy. The country and folk influence definitely harkens thought of an acoustic Tegan & Sara or Jenny Lewis with a vocal talent able to garner Grammys and mass appeal.

Check out "Forever and Always" if you want to hear what I mean by resemblances to other, more independent and less popular female artists.


Anonymous said...

Toward the end of the debacle that was "Taylor's Awards Sweep" even Swift was agreeing with Kanye West. To make up for one admittedly stupid display Swift was given quite a few awards that might have better served someone else, mostly poor Lady Gaga. If anyone got screwed over it was Lady Gaga. Darn you Kanye West!!! Anyway this is a cute song, but... Swift has got to work on her live performances... Kind of pitchy.

girl scout said...

Lady gaga is a-mazing. I should let my roommate do an entry on her.

It was a bit unnerving to see a video win best of the year, but not best female- but reasoning as to why it didn't is quite understandable. They probably just didn't want to give Beyonce all of the awards, and chose to give Swift the award for best female video. That was the only award she won that year, and her only nomination, but I can see how GaGa probably should have won over her.

I think Swift has a lot of potential. If she's smart, maintains her image and her writing style, and at the same time continues to develop vocally, lyrically, and musically with piano/guitar she will continue to be a huge icon and probably the best bridge between pop and country that we have seen in a long time.