I’m over Taylor Swift

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The cover photo of Taylor Swift's upcoming album, "The Tortured Poets Department." Photo from taylorswift.com.

Let me get this out of the way: the title of this article is clickbait (or lookbait I guess if you’re reading a print copy). In what world did you think that I, an OG Swiftie, would ever fully stop listening to the music that defined my childhood and adolescence? Now, if you know me, you might think my main qualm with Swift is the potential grammatical error in her upcoming album’s title: “The Tortured Poets Department” (shouldn’t there be an apostrophe after “poets”?). But, I digress. My primary issue with Swift at this time is her oversaturation. 

Taylor is everywhere. At first, I thought it was my algorithmic bubble feeding me more content similar to what I had already interacted with. But when my grandmother started telling me about the gifts Travis Kelce got for Swift’s birthday, or how the couple is already talking about marriage, I knew that I was not the only one with a feed dominated by all things Taylor. We are living in an age of Taylormania, the likes of which have not been seen since the height of The Beatles’ fame (I wasn’t alive then but just like trust me). To a general audience, Swift is becoming more of an idea than a person. Looking at Google Trends, a data collection tool used to track how much certain topics are searched, the term “Taylor Swift” has reached its peak popularity between Feb. 4-10. Looking at Enews’ Instagram coverage of the Super Bowl, I concluded that around 32 percent of the posts covering the event were about Swift. 

Talking about Taylor in the year 2024 inevitably leads one to the topic of Travis Kelce. Kelce and Swift are arguably the definition of a power couple. Two consecutive Super Bowl wins and four Album of the Year Grammys are just some of the accomplishments that the pair boast. They’re beloved; representing an American ideal that if you work hard enough you too could earn millions by playing for a football team with a racist name. Kelce’s macho attitude coupled with Swift’s girl-next-door image perfectly represents American ideals of white heteronormativity. Obviously, I’m not accusing Swift of intentionally perpetuating these notions, however, the over-the-top Americana, almost Rockwellian image that the general public has of Taylor and Travis is concerning, to say the least. I hesitate to make such bold declarations, but I worry about putting this relationship on too high a pedestal. 

Swift, who has recently risen to billionaire status, has filed a lawsuit against a college student who uses public information to track her private jet. Oh, you thought I wouldn’t bring up the plane? Think again. Despite her recently “downsizing” to JUST one private jet, Swift still has one of the largest carbon footprints of any individual person. As previously noted, Swift’s legal team is in the process of suing Jack Sweeney, a college student who runs social media accounts that track the flight patterns of the ultra-wealthy. Swift is alleging that Sweeney is exhibiting behavior that qualifies as stalking and harassment. I do not understand how this legal action is defensible. It effectively makes Swift look more out of touch than she ever has. Does her unrelatability make her more endearing? Or is it causing her to lose the ability to connect with her fanbase through her lyrical relatability?  In my opinion, this lawsuit does no favors for her public image. Yet some of her fans still defend her. How is it that all billionaires are bad except when that billionaire is a tall, blonde, millennial white woman who writes songs that you enjoy? 

Taylor Swift is politically engaged only when that political engagement is beneficial to her. For instance, her Netflix documentary “Miss Americana” detailed her bravery in speaking out against the Trump administration and emphasized the importance of civic engagement among young voters. However, how brave was this act when a documentary was necessary for it to be carried out? Swift has remained silent on massive geopolitical issues, including the current war in Gaza. Yet, she associates herself with musicians like the members of Boygenius who have openly called for a ceasefire. Is association her way of getting around having to explicitly comment on political events? 

I think that the greatest sign that you respect someone is the ability to thoughtfully critique them. Taylor Swift isn’t perfect and she isn’t our friend, so we shouldn’t feel the need to praise every move that she makes. Holding our favorite celebrities accountable for their actions is vital, especially in such a contentious era. So, let’s be critical thinkers, and make sure that we do not let our love for certain art overshadow our perceptions of the artist. 

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