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Artist Edition: Taylor Swift

September 3, 2008

Country music has ushered in a new era with the incorporation of Taylor Swift as the latest childhood star. Like Billy Gilman and LeAnn Rimes before her, Taylor has brought youthful momentum to the genre with her own brand of music and songwriting. Although she is only 18 years old she has managed to top even Carrie Underwood as the fan’s choice for most popular female vocalist in the genre and has completely overshot all other contending newcomers as probably the most popular new act in country music sense Sugarland a few years back.

Not only did Taylor burst onto the scene with immense talent as a singer and songwriter, she was also one of the first artists in today’s world to popularize the “name drop” in her songs, her debut single being called “Tim McGraw”. It appeared that she was destined for country music stardom when her debut hit landed her a top 10 and earned her a place on Brad Paisley’s tour with Kellie Pickler and Jack Ingram. Her debut album entered at #3 and has sense become one of the few albums in more recent history to rebound and enter #1 after its release date. It has held the spot for most of the time sense then despite new releases from powerful acts like Toby Keith, Sugarland and even Tim McGraw himself.

After the success of her debut hit earned her such a following Taylor released her second single, “Teardrops On My Guitar” which once again received an excellent following from fans of all ages. Not only did this song help keep Taylor on the map, it helped bring about a new feel for how this blond teenage goddess is inspired for her songs and how personal she makes them, incorporating the name “Drew” in the lyric which turned out to refer directly to the boy who inspired it.

It was after the success of her second single that Taylor hit a crossroad in the ears and eyes of country music lovers. Her third hit “Our Song” did bring out a more enjoyable aspect of her as a performer, but while it was running on country radios a new, remixed version of “Teardrops On My Guitar” became a huge hit on pop radios and “Our Song” soon followed. As a result Taylor’s maturity status through the eyes of critics suffered a huge blow when her higher powers helped her release “Picture To Burn”, considered her most immature and childish song to date and her least successful hit sense her debut. This song also made waves on pop radio making Taylor a pop sensation in a country music world.

As her popularity at pop radio grew so did her album sales, thus her dominance on the country chart has continued. In addition she has become more included in pop based events earning recognition among a younger crowd of girls who have come to look up to to likes of Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers and it has even recently been confirmed that Taylor and lead singer Joe Jonas are a couple. While it is appropriate that Taylor act as a role model for her peers, she has lost a great deal of the feel of maturity and potential that she showed in country radio early on in favor of a more childish sound. Taylor has what it takes to be a star in country music, she has proven that, but her venture into pop music has left it to question which genre she really belongs to right now. The unfortunate stereotype of her age and position in today’s musical society has left mixed positions on just how grown up or commited to the genre Taylor Swift really is.

So I leave it up to you guys. What do you think of Taylor Swift?


My Opinion:Taylor is a talented a smart teenager who has worked hard to get to where she is today. I believe it unfortunate that she has fallen victim to stereotypes brought about by the likes of Disney’s current greats, but I think her next album Fearless will help rebuild some of that greatness she promised with her first two singles.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. sugar permalink
    September 4, 2008 3:22 am

    Not sure where you get that she is the biggest thing since Sugarland and that she has even beat out Carrie for fans favorite female vocalist, Uh last I checked Carrie has sold 9 million albums, won Grammys and is the reigning female vocalist of the year for both the CMA and ACM. Carrie has done all this without selling herself out to pop, Taylor is not Country and is just using the genre as a launching pad for her career. Oh and By the way……. Latest Opry Member…. Carrie Underwood.

    Taylor is popular no doubt but she has sold her soul to the devil to get that. Carrie refuses to do so. Bravo

  2. penny permalink
    September 4, 2008 4:43 am

    Taylor in my opinion is all hype no substance, I agree with the poster above that she would sell her soul and is I might add to become a pop superstar and is only using Country as a guise to do so. She fits right in with pop…… you don’t have to really be able to sing in order to be popular.

  3. Gail permalink
    September 4, 2008 5:46 pm

    She has always reminded me of Avril Lavine instead of any woman in country music. She has a great personality, but that’s about it for me.

  4. cowboybleau permalink*
    September 4, 2008 11:28 pm

    In respnse to Sugar, I meant nothing against Carrie, in fact I am a bigger fan of Carrie myself. What i meant was that taylor has dominated over Carrie in “fan voted awards” particularly at the CMT Awards beating Carrie in favorite video, female vocalist, and all others they shared. Other than Carrie and Sugarland Taylor is the only new artist to catch on so flawlessly in the past few years with #1 hits and such consistancy.

    Carrie being in the Opry and winning awards from the ACMs and CMAs does have to do with fan support, but it is not determined by that. Taylor is more of a fan based artist than Carrie is because of her young age. There is no dought much of her success in country is due to her pop crossover because it is her fans, as she so often credits them, from “myspace” and other venues that are keeping her in line with Carrie.

    I loved “Tim McGraw” and thought she had something going for her in country when it came out. I’m hoping her sophomore album can bring that back.

    Also, Gail, now that you mention it she does remind me of Avril as well.

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