by Shelt Garner
Ms. Swift is a great singer, lyricist and performer. But I find her exceedingly frustrating. The reason is, she’s at the exact center of pop culture. She’s everywhere and nowhere musically, like pop culture oxygen.
But, I get it. She has a massive fan base. She has absolutely no reason to change. So she doesn’t. What’s so frustrating is I hear stuff from her contemporaries like Miley Cyrus or Dua Lipa and there’s something new there. There’s a New Sound — I call it Rona Rock — that seems just about to pop out. It’s like we might just be about to leave the cultural wasteland of Adult Contemporary for something, something different, something new and modern.
So, I guess I’m really being both “stupid and delusional” to think that someone like Ms. Swift might partner with, say, someone like Butch Vig. What’s more likely to happen, really, is some middle-step. Some album or song that is half Adult Contemporary half Rona Rock.
For all my ranting on this subject, the fundamentals of pop music haven’t changed — people aren’t really buying music. And we’re literally a generation away from people who grew up on that last gasp of rock that showed itself in the States as Grunge and in the UK as Britpop.
It just would be great to have music to believe in again. Music with a backbeat. Music with lyrics that told a story. Music that wanted to change the world. As it stands, Ms. Swift writes gentle pop songs about dudes who have made her sad.
You can’t have everything, I guess.