Nelson: Bring the “old” Taylor back from the dead

Rebecca Nelson

As a born and raised “country gal,” “Our Song was my anthem and Taylor Swift was a goddess. The country-pop sensation was not only stunning, but also had an empowering feminine vibe that led little girls on the playground to stick up to the “dumb” boys breaking their hearts.

As she gravitated toward pop, her fans followed without a choice, blasting her “Red” album through stereos and slathering on lipstick in hopes to be as trendy as their new pop queen. When she cut her hair, so did I. When she brought back leather pants, I was wearing them the next day.

She was my hero, my style icon, my everything. But, like all of her other fans, I grew up. I moved on, went to college and began to cringe every time her auto-tuned voice came through the radio. The obsession was gone, which is good because apparently “the old Taylor is dead.” 

To recap the last couple weeks, our overplayed but loved idol came out with a new single previewing her latest album Reputation to be released Nov. 10, 2017.

In one week, the song Look What You Made Me Do climbed from No. 77 to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, as well as breaking the record for the maximum weekly streams by a female artist.

The song, however, is nothing short of a disappointment. The direct quote from her single, “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now… why? Oh, ’cause she’s dead,” buried the Taylor Swift we knew and secretly loved.

As fans from around the world heard these lyrics, they were shocked. Harry Lewis from the Huffington Post seemed particularly upset stating that, “she’s not saying much of anything anymore, in her music or in her life… Swift in the past has been one of the most expressive, personal songwriters in the pop industry. Her vulnerable, honest lyrics were a breath of fresh air in a genre dominated by computer generated mundanity.”

Not only is her song boring, but Taylor is acting like a capitalistic jerk. The old Taylor would never try to make a quick buck on her beloved fans. For instance, selling the snake ring shown in her music video for Look What You Made Me Do going for $60 and a tagline t-shirt going for $30. Is this the art of music making or money making?

Some may suggest that the media is being too hard on Taylor and that instead we should accept her. Zayn Malik, former member of One Direction, was quoted in an interview with FADER and said, “I think she’s cool, I think she’s successful and I think she deserves her success because she’s worked hard.

As meaningful as that is, I believe that Taylor Swift single-handedly killed her legacy as well as the memories her fans shared with her. Yes, her single is trending, but good statistics can’t make up for the fans she’s lost.

To me, it seems like Taylor just doesn’t know who she is, and maybe she never has. From country to pop, and pop to rebellion, someone has to ask the question… Where is she going with this? And better yet, are her fans going to follow? How other ISU students feel, I don’t know. However, I can bet all of the students walking around campus with headphones in aren’t listening to the “new” Taylor Swift.