Why Do People Love Taylor Swift?


Taylor Swift and her adoring fans.

Gloria Strettell, Arts & Entertainment Writer

Taylor Swift has strayed far from the country guitars that put her on the radio, but her transition to pop has cemented her as a household name. Many of her dedicated fans have stuck with her throughout this journey, despite the music industry’s apprehensiveness towards her genre switch. Her fanbase has only grown throughout her 16 year career and today she’s the most streamed female artist on Spotify with almost 82 million monthly listeners.

But what sets her apart from the stars that came before her? What allowed her to generate such a dedicated audience? Many people are drawn to the familiar scenes and pictures painted by her poetic lyrics. Her songs are timeless because they describe emotions and experiences that anyone can relate to and sympathize with. 

A prime example of this is her song august, from her 2020 folk-pop album folklore. This song is the story of a one-sided teenage romance; a girl’s love for a boy that is in love with someone else. Her lyrical genius and talent for emotional description come out in this song, particularly in the line “cancel my plans just in case you’d call.” This expresses the endless bounds of the girl’s longing to simply talk to him, so far as to clear her schedule on the off-chance that he’ll call. A line from the boy’s perspective that highlights this is “meet me behind the mall,” not only does this represent the boy’s desire to hide their romance, but its similarity to the phrase “meet me behind them all” indicates that the girl is a very low priority to him. 

Many people, especially young women, can relate to this desire for unconditional, reciprocated love.  Swift verbalizes these feelings using vividly descriptive lyrics, touching the heartstrings of her fans, and revealing truths they may have previously concealed – even to themselves

“She’s able to put into lyrics feelings that I don’t know how to put into words,” says lifelong Taylor Swift fan and 11th grader Abigail Gottesman. 10th grade fan Julia Godwin feels similarly, adding “any scenario I’m feeling I can relate back to her music, I know exactly how she feels…and she knows how I feel.”

Even though some aspects of her songs don’t relate to the general public, she is still able to generate empathy and emotion in her listeners. Her vivid imagery and deep specificity perfectly encapsulate her experiences, remaining true to herself rather than disregarding genuineness to become more universal. 

For example, her song The Lucky One from her 2012 album Red is about her rise to fame and realization that it’s not as glamorous as it is idealized to be. The line “you don’t feel pretty, you just feel used” articulates Swift’s feeling of being exploited for the benefit of others, a core message that many people can connect to. Additionally, this song touches upon the reduction of women to beauty standards, an experience that anyone regardless of fame can relate to. 

Another appeal of Taylor Swift is the wide range of music she has created. Her first albums drew upon country music until 2014 when her first pop album, 1989, was released. She went on to make three pop albums, before releasing two folk-pop albums in 2020, folklore and evermore. This past year, with the release of her new album Midnights in October, 2022 she has returned back to her famous pop sound.

If someone likes a more pure, classic country sound then they can listen to Fearless or her self-titled album Taylor Swift. If someone prefers country-pop then they can listen to Speak Now or Red. One of the many things Abigail Gottesman appreciates about Swift, as compared to other artists, is that “she covers more than one genre.”

Swift’s long standing career cultivates a deep connection with her fans because they’ve been able to grow up simultaneously with her, through her music. Math teacher Ms. Schleissmann said that she “listens to a lot of her older stuff” because these albums were written when she was around the same age as Swift and therefore it was “around the time that [she] could relate.”

Even for younger fans this effect still applies as Swift’s maturity in her newer music compared to her first albums is stark. As Gottesman says “you can tell how she’s aged through her music.”  Fans get to witness the growth of the music and life of their favorite singer, fostering a deeper relationship with Swift herself. 

This is clearly illustrated in her 2019 song Daylight, which critiques her previous view of love from her 2012 song Red. In Red she describes a relationship as “burning red” to represent its passion and strength, but, in Daylight, she modifies this description of love by stating “I once believed love would be burning red, but it’s golden.” Over the seven years between 2012 and 2019, her perspective on love has evolved and matured with her. When she was younger she thought love was supposed to burn bright and hot, like the color red, but she now knows that healthy relationships are supposed to be soft and joyful, like golden light. 

Swift’s fanbase is not only large, but dedicated. Her connection with her fans has allowed her to become and remain the favorite artist of millions of people throughout her almost 17-year career. 

The Eras Tour, announced in November of 2022, is further testament to the devotion Swift’s fans have for her music. This massive tour, intending to span all of her albums, is the first since her Reputation tour in 2017. It has generated so much excitement that, in their desperation to get tickets, Ticketmaster crashed due to the vast numbers of people on the site.

Swift’s fanbase is not only large, but devoted. Her connection with her fans has allowed her to become – and remain – the favorite artist of millions of people throughout her almost 17-year career.