You know it by now—with the release of “1989” and pretty much all she’s done this year, 2014 has quite the year for Taylor Swift. She has not merely “transformed” her image, but sharpened it, defined more of what she wants to say and is saying (and singing) more about it—how she wants to.
When her first album came out, I not-so-sneakily put it in my mom’s Target shopping cart and have semi-shamelessly (wow, can we even talk here?) loved her music since. There was something oddly renewing about coming home from a long day of 8th grade and listening to “Our Song.” (I totally apologize for being weird again, here.) I mean, you also have to feel like dancing when “Hey Stephen” comes on!
“Breathe” with Colbie Caillat was my favorite for some time. It’s a gorgeous duet, and while I was unsure of some of Taylor’s anthems of scorned love, I could agree with this song’s confessional humility.
Now it’s all about rocking out to “Blank Space” and shaking it off, yeah? Taylor’s newly reclaimed brand laughs at the former things, trims off the unnecessary and celebrates moving forward. Basically, if you’ve been scoffing about her, she offers a laugh about the old as well, but she’s not staying there.
I would be lying if I didn’t say I totally, albeit weakly, identify with her sense of rebirth particularly in this year.
In January, I finally got my driver’s license. As spring began, I celebrated, and as spring ended my heart broke. In August I faced fears. And I learned to drive freeway two weeks before needing it to pursue a dream of mine. (I’ve already told all two people who I would have been embarrassed to know this, so boop.) In the fall, I faced a great many faces that I didn’t want to, including my own. And now that it’s winter, in the lull I have nightmares every night, but I’ve never ever been so assured that it’s time to be open to all the love and courage I can embrace, even if I’m a tight clamshell.
A friend retweeted an article on the renaissance of T. Swift, and I took one down and tweeted it around. You can find the New York Times piece here, by Matthew Schneier from Dec. 19.
My favorite part is a quote summing up Tay’s piercing x-factor in this:
I think she’s made friendship cool.
—Cindi Lieve, editor of Glamour
Between surprising herself with a massive move, her sleek cut hair and a fervor for cheering so many others on, she’s given an example of what it can be like to use your power for good while you grow up.
Whether you’re hopping on the Swiftie train or not, that’s something we can all say cheers to. You go and keep going, Taylor.
I’m totally listening to “Hey Stephen” now.