Playing on iPods in millions of young girls’ bedrooms is the music of a star who defines herself as a hopeless romantic. And what could be better than that?
Appearing live to more than thirteen thousand fans, Taylor Swift said, “I think I fall into the category of the hopeless romantic...the tricky thing about us, the hopeless romantic, is when we fall in love with someone, when say hello—and it’s magical—we never imagine that hello can turn into a goodbye. And when we kiss someone—and it’s magical—we never ever imagine that it can turn into a last kiss.”
This bittersweet fascination that Taylor Swift has with love is clearly intertwined throughout her music; in fact, many would say that it topic numero uno in Taylor’s mind. What Taylor so expertly does is convey a very human emotion and brings such a raw feel to it, that many people feel a connection with the singer. This ability to create this connection has launched and sustained the singer’s career, winning the hearts of both men and women alike.
Taylor Swift started writing at the age of 12—a “hobby,” she states—and admits that she writes when she feels intense feelings in her life. These intense feelings often spring up when she feels some sort of emotion connected to love. “It’s because we need music the most when we feel something intensely,” Taylor states to the same screaming crowed, playing a melody on her guitar. “The most intense times in your life are when you’re falling in love or loosing it, don’t you think?”
You can hear Taylor’s enthrallment with love on her debut album, the self-titled Taylor Swift. From hits such as “Tim McGraw” to “Teardrops on My Guitar,” the storyline often revolves around an attraction to a boy, and the bittersweet feelings riled up with that first crush. A summer romance that ended as school began centers in the storyline of “Tim McGraw,” a bitter breakup carries the tune of “Picture to Burn” and a lifelong love ending with rocking chairs on a front porch tell the story in “Mary’s Song (Oh My My My).” Taylor’s view of love is innocent, a sparkling ideal that we all believe in at first, full of princess fairytales and grand gestures, with equally rocking emotions when it ends bitterly.
It’s in Taylor Swift’s second album, Fearless, in which we hear a shift to a more realistic view of love. Taylor had gained some fame with this first album, and with fame comes the public eye. Her very public relationships, and breakups, seemed to play out through her music—from her promise to stay by her beau’s side in “Jump Then Fall,” to the sharpness of broken trust in “Forever and Always.” There is still an innocent feel to it all, in songs with happy endings such as “Love Story” and “Fearless”—but the listener can hear that love no longer has the shiny glittery appeal that Taylor first believed in. She experienced some heartache, and the taint of that ache is starting to be felt in this second album.
In the latest album, Speak Now, Taylor Swift seems to accept that love isn’t necessarily defined in the box she had first placed it in. Her latest single, “Ours,” portrays this perfectly:
“So don’t you worry your pretty little mind/People throw rocks at things that shine, and life makes love look hard/The stakes are high, the waters rough, but this love is ours.”
From songs such as “Dear John” to “Back to December,” the older Taylor acknowledges that love isn’t a storybook ideal, but it’s something that can only be learned through experience. She continues to believe that amazing things happen in love—from sparks flying, to the initial rush of wondering “what if…?” when first seeing someone on the other side of the room.
This new view of love is far more realistic; love isn’t defined by what others say, but by what she experiences herself—a lesson we all eventually learn.
This is probably the most amazing thing about Taylor Swift—the ability to listen to these albums, and see how her view of love transformed. It’s something every person goes through, and that’s what makes the connection between Taylor and her fans even stronger. For every situation, many Swifties will joke, there’s a Taylor Swift song. And that’s what makes Taylor Swift’s star shine ever brighter.
Arianna Chelius works as a nurse in New Jersey, has a full cardboard cut-out of Taylor Swift in her house, and has just gotten engaged to a man who will tolerate a full cardboard cut-out of Taylor Swift in the house.