In Defense of Taylor Swift

Whenever a successful (OK, “poppy” mainstream) artist goes outside their box, there will be inevitable questioning of their talent, integrity, and sometimes, family lineage ☺️. The “I’m too GOOD for their music” snobs will come out in profusion, immediately dismissing the artist and music without bothering to listen to a note of it. And, these are people who pride themselves on music sophistication and open-mindedness.

I know people read the title of my articles because I can actually hear the eyes rolling, the arms crossing, and the sighs–I just had to turn the stream up to make up for it. Yes, Taylor Swift just dropped a new album out of the blue — there was a single release and then the album followed with little/no warning on a Thursday night/Friday morning at midnight. I heard some rumblings about it, but caught a guy on the local Fort Collins community station (that I used to volunteer for) playing a track from it on his normally gritty blues/rockabilly show. I had downloaded the whole album within an hour.

No, Folklore is not typical Taylor stuff (at least, I don’t think so — I’m not sure I’ve ever listened to a Taylor Swift song before). Facing quarantine and pandemic idiocy (“quarantine” is her term, “pandemic idiocy” mine), she collaborated with the likes of The National‘s Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) who joins her for a duo on one track. The album was recorded at home during the past four months.

I don’t pretend to be (actually, I really don’t want to be) a music reviewer. So, I’ll spare you all the alliterative prose about the nuances of the compositions and artistry. I’ll just tell you that I like lots of the music. I’m not thinking the work is”deep,” with tons of hidden stories and meanings. It’s just fun to listen to. We’re rotating several tracks. In fact, Denise turned me on to a YouTube video already covering a Folklore track. While it didn’t help get the YouTube artist on The Other Side (I decided to pass), I did end up adding Swift’s version.

Suffice to say, my musical ears were opened a little bit a couple of weeks ago. Have a listen for her tracks — give them serious consideration. OK… I can turn the stream back down now. The sounds of disapproval are abating.