by Madeline Lee
Are you aware of Taylor Swift’s drastic shift from country songs about love and heartbreak to edgy pop? Read about her vibrant stadium show in Nashville and her new controversial album “Reputation.”
Photo by Laurian Gilliland
Imagine becoming a country music phenomenon as a teenage girl in high school. Well, that is exactly what Taylor Swift did. When she was just 16 years old, not yet even a senior in high school, country singer Taylor Swift released her first album after moving to Nashville to pursue her music career. But today, twelve years later, her style of music has undergone a clear transformation, evident both to those who have grown up listening to her songs and even to those who barely know them. Her songs have changed from honest and pure country songs to an edgier alternative-pop blend.
Swift is currently on her “Reputation” stadium tour, and the Nashville show occurred on Saturday, August 25. Many St. Mary’s girls joined fans from several other cities for the concert, which many SMS girls, especially those who have been Taylor Swift fans for much of their childhood, said was unlike any other. Neeley Mathes (10) has been listening to Swift’s music ever since lower school, and, as a result, Swift has made an impact on Neeley’s life. “Going to the concert brings back a lot of memories from my childhood” said Mathes.
During the concert, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill came onstage to join Swift in singing her song titled “Tim McGraw. “It was my favorite part of the concert. It was evident at the show that many people thoroughly enjoyed this moment as the entire stadium erupted with screams and cheers” Mathes said.
At the concert, Swift sang many of her old songs, so her change in music style was obvious through the juxtaposition of old and new songs. When asked about Swift’s personality and music change, Neeley explained “Everybody is going to change, and I respect the fact that [Swift] wasn’t afraid to do so. She also tries to connect to an older audience now.” Swift’s fans have also grown up, so a change needed to happen to keep them engaged.
She also enjoyed seeing Swift perform back in the city where her career first began began 12 years ago. Elizabeth’s favorite parts of the concert were when Swift performed her old songs such as “Love Story” and “You Belong with Me.” Elizabeth said, “I like her old songs better, but I support her change because it shows that you can be whoever you want. Her new album shows that she’s growing up and becoming a new person without caring about the opinions of others.” Elizabeth also added that “[Swift] has already been at the top in the country world, so she is moving on to a new [genre].”
All that being said, there is plenty of controversy surrounding Swift’s shift in music genre and how she portrays herself to the outside world. Jennifer Ruffin (10) dislikes Taylor Swift because of her tendencies for apathy toward her reputation and the question of whether or not she has lied about her feelings and experiences. Jennifer said, “After the Kanye West scandal, I think she should’ve done more to clear her name; I don’t [approve] of her apathy.”
There is also a question of whether or not her country songs about heartbreak were meant to manipulate people into thinking she was a victim. Jennifer argued “I think she manipulated people into thinking she was a certain way; I feel like she was playing the victim to make people like her.” However, Jennifer respects Swift for starting her career so early and working hard for her success. She stated “[Swift] moved to Nashville when she was so young, and I think it’s cool how she worked her way up; I think she deserves her success.”