by Shelt Garner
Let me begin by saying Taylor Swift is an accomplished singer-songwriter. And that’s not what may problem with her is. Her fans are totally right to adore her and love everything she produces. My problem is with how it seems every album she drops is fan service.
Now, let me be clear — I’m well aware that because I’m a white male that any criticism of Swift is opening me up to her fans flipping out. Swift’s fanbase is musical identity politics for young women. My issue is Swift is…maybe challenge her fanbase a little bit to the extent that people outside of that fan base might get good music, too?
As a counter-example, take Miley Cyrus. She is really exploring a New Sound — a call it Rona Rock — and going in some pretty cool musical directions that has the potential to greatly expand her fan base. Swift, meanwhile, is making good-to-great music…but it’s fan service. Exclusively fan service.
I guess Swift’s thinking is — she’s got a good thing, why fix what isn’t broken. It just seems to me that this is a very short-sighted world view in the sense that is she just going to coast on her fans for the next 20 to 30 years? That’s not really a recipe for any type of long-term cultural relevance.
Maybe Swift just wants to be a more popular version of Shania Twain? I guess there’s nothing wrong with that. May pique is if Swift put out a rock album, maybe rock would come back, if just for a moment. What Cyrus is doing suggests that that is at least possible.
Anyway. I got no beef with Swift. Just think there’s a miss opportunity for both she and her fans.