Words by Tysen Romeo
Billboard awarded her with Woman of the Decade in 2019. NYU gave her an honorary doctorate of fine arts in 2022. She is also a singer, songwriter, actress, businesswoman and a director. Long story short, Taylor Swift will go down in history for being one of the most successful artists of the 21st century. She has been a dominant force in the music industry and has grown a huge fan base, known as “Swifties,” who believe she IS the music industry.
Swift has released 10 full-length studio albums and two re-recordings of these albums in the span of 17 years. She has proven herself to be one the most versatile musical artists of all time with her genre-spanning discography.
In 2006, she released her self-titled debut album, making her the first female country artist to write a U.S. platinum-certified album. She then dove into country pop with her next two studio albums, “Fearless” (2008) and “Speak Now” (2010). Swift then experimented with rock and electronic styles on “Red” (2012), which featured “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” her first ever No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2014 she ditched all things country and went full pop/synth-pop. It was a redefining moment in her career that proved that she could evolve from a country artist into a popstar.
In 2016, Swift deviated from her usual pattern of releasing an album every two years and took a break from the public eye. She didn’t make any public appearances or release any music for several months. She decided to take a step back from the spotlight and focus on her mental health, specifically related to controversy with Kayne West and Kim Kardashian, she also wanted to focus on her personal life and writing new music. Swift returned in 2017 with the release of her sixth studio album, “Reputation,” which addressed many of the issues she faced in the previous year. She then went on her Reputation Stadium Tour from 2018. In the U.S., the tour grossed $266.1 million in the box office and broke many records, including becoming the highest-grossing North American concert tour in history.
In 2019, Swift released her seventh studio album, “Lover,” under her new record label, Universal Music Group. After securing a new label, Swift became a sort of trailblazer in the business of music. She spoke out against the acquisition of her master recordings by her old label’s music executive Scooter Braun, which sparked a wider conversation about artists’ ownership of their work. She wanted to buy her masters to her albums, but Braun would not let her purchase them back from him without signing a new contract with him. That’s when Swift decided she was going to re-record her six albums that she recorded with her old label and then release them as her version of the album, known as “Taylor’s Version,” officially making those six albums hers again.
In early 2020, Swift was supposed to tour her “Lover” album, but Lover Fest was unfortunately canceled due to COVID-19. Instead, she burrowed away like we all did and wrote another redefining album, “Folklore.” The album was a surprise release in July 2020 and signified a shift from her previous pop-oriented sound to more stripped-down, folk-inspired instrumentation and storytelling. “Folklore” went on to win a Grammy for Album of the Year and showcased just how versatile of an artist she is. In December 2020, Swift dropped a surprise album called “evermore.” Her fans joke that “evermore” is the forgotten sister of “Folklore,” as she released a documentary concert film on Disney+ for “Folklore” and did some small live performances for the album. Not so with “Evermore.” However, “Evermore” received just as much love from the fans who were just excited by the surprise of “Evermore” as they were with “Folklore.”
In April 2021 Swift released “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” and Red (Taylor’s Version) seven months later. Both albums included “vault songs,” which Swift wrote around the time the album was released but were cut from the final track-list. Along with the release of “Red (Taylor’s Version),” Swift released “All Too Well (10 Minute Version),” an extended version of a song on the original “Red” album. She directed a 13-minute short film to accompany the song featuring Sadie Sink, Dylan O’Brien and Swift herself. The short film was met with critical acclaim for her direction and went on to win an MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year and the Grammy Award for Best Music Video.
It was at the July 2022 MTV Video Music Awards, where she won Video of the Year for her short film and announced her 10th studio album “Midnights” would be released October 2022. She wanted to give it as an album inspired by her sleepless nights when anxiety, insecurity and self-criticism kept her up, and in classic Swift style, she decided to drop the “Midnights” deluxe version at 3 a.m. the morning after the album was released. “Midnights” went on to break even more records for Swift, including records she set herself
Which leads us to the Eras Tour. Swift’s sixth headlining concert tour, her first tour since her album “Reputation,” a tour that would have hits from all 10 of her albums, four of those being albums she never properly toured. The day tickets went on sale was what some Swifties called “the great war.” The demand for tickets to the Eras Tour was described as “unprecedented” and “astronomical,” as about 3.5 million people registered for Ticketmaster’s presale program. This caused Ticketmaster’s website to crash when tickets went on presale. Even with the website crashing, over 2.4 million tickets were sold that day, which broke the record for the most concert tickets sold by an artist in a single day. Ticketmaster also sold all the tickets they had available during the presale, which meant there were no tickets available for the public sale. Ticketmaster faced a lot of public criticism and political scrutiny for that whole thing.
The U.S. leg of the Eras Tour kicked off March 17, 2023 Glendale, Arizona, and is set to end August 9, 2023, in Inglewood, California. Swift’s three-hour set includes 44 songs, spanning across all her “eras” and albums. In anticipation for Swift’s arrival, local dignitaries have been giving her keys to their cities, and Tampa even made her honorary mayor for a day.
The tour is getting spectacular reviews and is projected to gross more than her record-breaking Reputation tour in 2018.
As the legend Billy Joel said, “Taylor Swift is like The Beatles of her generation.” Yes. He said that. He did. Look it up.
Basically, it is undeniable how popular Swift is. She is pop star perfection. She has the talent, the fame, and the beauty. She is already going down in history as one of the music’s most successful performers. Her writing is already being taught in some colleges around the world. She has also done so much for women and women’s rights, whether it was by empowering them through her music and lyrics, representing positive female role models in the music industry, shaping societal expectations and norms, or setting an example as a successful businesswoman. She is what you might call a mastermind.
Whether you are a fan of Taylor Swift’s music or not, don’t you think that it is just pretty amazing that we are living at the same time as her and get to see and listen to history being made? If you are still a hater, you should listen to “mean” from “Speak Now”: It’s about you.