Henry: Life lessons from Beyonce to Taylor Swift

Katie Henry

Taylor Swift has had a very interesting career which took a running start when she was sixteen, and since then, she’s sold more than 22 million albums worldwide and has received seven Grammy Awards. In my opinion, her career has plateaued. It’s no doubt that she knows how to pen relatable music, but the redundancy of her “America’s Sweetheart” act and lovey-dovey music is starting to get irritating. The biggest culprit in the decline of her appeal is her love life.

Taylor Swift has had six boyfriends/romantic flings since 2008, which is more exes than her number of released albums. What do they all have in common? They all have either an apologetic or an extremely vindictive song penned in their honor. It’s no secret that her broken love life serves as inspiration for the majority of her million-dollar career. Good for her for finding a muse that’s launched the career that she’s clearly so passionate about.

The problem that I have with Swift is the reputation she’s created for herself. Maybe it’s because I’m no longer a 13-year-old girl suffering through an identity crisis and crying through “Teardrops on My Guitar.” I find myself identifying with her music less and less. As therapeutic as writing vindictive breakup songs might be, it’s starting to get a little old. Where’s Kanye when we need him? This age group will always exist, but as artists age, so will their audiences.

Swift’s songwriting seems to be like playing Mad Libs. How many different ways can she say, “I hate you” or “I never want to see you again?” Despite its catchiness, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” sounds like something I had as my MSN Messenger status when I was 14 years old. Now that Swift is 22 years old, her songwriting needs to be less whiny and a little more mature. Since 22 is apparently her golden age, maybe she should start acting like it.

We can only hope that one day, she will see the light and write a song called, “Maybe I’m the Problem.” Sounds like a hit, right? She needs a breath of fresh air and a new muse for her music.

I tried to come up with somebody that is extremely independent, talented, and all-around fabulous. Then, after Beyonce’s show-stopping Super Bowl performance, it hit me. Think about those 15 absolutely beautiful minutes when every woman in America decided that their new life goals were to turn into Beyonce Knowles. That is who Taylor Swift needs as her muse.

Beyonce leaving Destiny’s Child and focusing on herself and her solo career was probably one of the best decisions she’s ever made. Although we had to close the door on hits like “Say My Name” and “Survivor,” Beyonce’s new career paved the way toward four solo albums and seventeen Grammy awards, all of which were accomplished in Beyonce’s 20s. One of Beyonce’s best qualities is that she is charming, beautiful and basically flawless. People want to be her. Right now, Swift’s on the fast track to irrelevant, and I don’t know who the teenage girls are going to turn to once she is off the radar.

So, the question Taylor Swift should be asking herself is, “What would Beyonce do?” Luckily, Swift is moving in the right direction. Songs from her recent album such as “State of Grace,” “22,” and “I Knew You Were Trouble,” show that maybe, just maybe, she’s seen the error of her ways and is focusing on living out her glory years in her 20s, because they’re going to fly by before she knows it.

So, instead of going to Ellen Degeneres or social media every time Swift goes through a breakup (let’s be real, it’ll happen again), she really should just remove herself from the world for just a little bit. For now, Swift really just needs to take a lap and treat herself to a nice spa weekend and some soul searching.

Who says you need a man in your life to be happy? I don’t think I’ll ever be able to understand why she feels the need to constantly have a man in her life. Take a leaf out of Beyonce’s book and have a 10-year relationship before you settle down and get married. Beyonce and Jay-Z both said they wanted their careers to be about their music and not their relationships. And, after more than 10 years of being together, they are at the top of Forbes’ Highest Paid Celebrity Couples List. Neither of them truly committed until they had accomplished what they wanted to in their careers.

Once Swift learns how to focus on herself, give her music the spark it needs, and quit chasing men, she’ll rediscover herself and avoid the dangerous path to irrelevance. I’m not saying she’ll turn into Beyonce overnight, nor should she, but she needs to find a way to channel her newfound independence into something great.

Katie Henry is a senior in journalism and political science from Pella, Iowa.