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Reasons for Taylor Swift’s Popularity

Harper’s Bazaar
Photo of Taylor Swift at Eras Tour, provided by Harper’s Bazaar

Taylor Swift is one of the most prolific artists from the last few years. Her songwriting, entrepreneurship, and career has influenced the music industry and pop culture ever since she debuted. 

There has been a Taylor Swift explosion in popularity since she started her Eras tour. Some people wonder what it is about Swift in particular that makes so many flock to her.

“I remember being in elementary school when “Love Story” came out and she was kind of rising as this country star,” said Marie Knight, choir teacher. “I remember singing “Love Story” with my friends on the bus as a kid, and then [experiencing] her Red Era. I loved it, she’s just grown as a musician throughout all these years. I wasn’t too intensely listening to her but I knew all her hits. And the Eras tour, I see so many clips and TikToks of videos of her show. Seeing all of that, I think it’s so impressive, what she’s doing for 3-4 hours every single day is crazy.”

A big part of Taylor Swift’s cultural impact and notoriety in the music industry has to do with her fanbase loyalty, her skills in songwriting, the way she handles business, to her albums, from debut to “Midnights.”

“I love her songs and listen to them all the time,” said senior Nimrat Bal. “I think she’s a genuinely talented writer, singer, and performer and to an extent, I do believe she deserves the fame she has. I just wish she would use that fame and her platform for good.”

One thing to factor in is the many personas and aesthetic styles that Swift uses with each album release, which she and her fans have dubbed as her different eras.

“I think her lyricism is what makes her stand out,” Bal said. “Especially the writing on “Folklore” and “Evermore,” I think that’s why a lot more people started becoming fans after their releases.”

“Folklore” and “Evermore,” two alternative indie albums, have been said to be examples of Taylor Swift’s best songwriting. “Folklore” won Swift her third Album Of The Year at the Grammys, making her the first woman to accomplish it.

“I think few artists have long enough careers to have different eras like Taylor Swift,” Knight said. “One example is the Beatles, so I like how she does that. I also love the thought she puts in her albums and how she’s three steps ahead of everyone else. I love when artists put intent into their music. The fact she knows what she wants [is great].”

Others point out the style of songwriting, as well as her artistry that draws others to her.

“I think her music is pretty accessible, especially in the west. It’s very pop-y, she writes about things that resonate with a lot of people,” Knight said. “It makes her approachable, the fact she started out as a country singer. Also the fact that she writes her own stuff. Her stuff has so much meaning to her, plus the fact that she is three steps ahead of everyone else, and how she plans ahead gives people things to look forward to. It makes people feel seen.”

Swift is one of the few artists in the music industry who is known for being a “mastermind.” She frequently leaves little hints and Easter eggs in almost every product she releases, leaving fans to theorize over possible meanings for hours afterwards. On top of that, she has cultivated a loyal fanbase through continuous interactions such as meet and greets, and an active social media.

“Again I think it comes from her lyrics and how genuinely good her songs are. I think people are usually like, ‘Oh all of Taylor Swift’s songs sound the same,’ when each album has its own sound. I also think it comes from how she’s aligned herself with the idea of girlhood and how appealing she is to young girls,” Bal said.

Along with that, Swift’s relationships have also drawn in many curious people. The singer is known for writing about her past relationships in her songs, which urge many people to try to decode and guess who she writes about.

“Her relationships are a big thing, she was always talking about them,” Knight said. “Who you’re with and how it reflects on you… her connections to other people are definitely big in pop culture. It makes you feel like you’re in her inner circle. Her interactions with other celebrities, her fans know a lot of it.  You know who’s beefing and who’s friends. Especially with Kanye West. Her writing songs about them made people think, ‘Oh, who’s this about?'” 

The thought she puts into her branding, as well as the storytelling she crafts through her music makes her artistry that much more appealing.

“With millions of followers, I think she her impact is huge when it comes to pop culture or just the world in general,”  Bal said. “She encouraged people to vote during the 2020 election and voter registration skyrocketed.”

Along with the recent explosion of interest in Taylor Swift, she has also made a lot of waves with the recent NFL Superbowl. 

“There’s a lot of people who don’t watch the Super Bowl but watched it because she was there. I think people get mad at her, and say she shouldn’t be involved, but she’s just out there supporting her man [Travis Kelce],” Knight said. “It opens up the NFL to fans who normally wouldn’t give it the time of day. NFL is seen as this very American dude-bro thing, but then fans of her watch it and think, ‘Oh yeah, I can be interested in this like Taylor Swift too,’ It opens them up to new experiences. 

Due to fans’ interest in her relationship with Travis Kelce, the tight end for the NFL Kansas City Chiefs, there was a huge increase in popularity for the 2024 Super Bowl. Along with that, Taylor’s attendance to said games caused a stir among many people, some who were happy to see her in the crowd, while others not so much.

“I think a lot of people are overreacting on Taylor’s ‘impact’ on the NFL,” Bal said. “She’s been a football fan before dating Travis and has shared her love for her hometown team, the Philadelphia Eagles, multiple times. I mean she even name drops them in one of her songs. Taylor showing up to football games has resulted in the NFL’s female viewership rise, as more young women and girls have started tuning in. I also think a lot of the men hating on Taylor showing up to games are always enforcing the ‘sports are for boys’ rhetoric that is so harmful for young girls who are seeing this.”

Along with the many people who love Taylor Swift are many people who don’t like her. There are those who’s dislike for the singer, either due to not liking her music, fanbase, or relationships with other celebrities that have recently come out to share more reasons to not support her. Mainly, her carbon footprint.

“I think those complaints are very valid and I agree with many of them,” Bal said. “A 13 minute flight is so unneeded and comical. People are saying, ‘oh she needs her jet because she’s too famous to fly in regular planes,’ and I find that argument so dumb. She can make that flight into an hour drive or hire more security. There are also complaints of her making herself the face of feminism but staying quiet on issues when they don’t impact her and I heavily agree with all those complaints. I feel as though if you’re a millionaire and have the resources to help others, you should. I also think she can’t call herself a feminist when the only feminism she advocates for is white feminism.”

There are many who dislike Swift due to the belief that she practices “white feminism,” a term used to describe a form of feminism that focuses on white women but does not take into account distinct forms of oppression faced by ethnic minority women and women lacking other privileges. Swift is a known feminist and has made her stances on women’s empowerment publicly, but she has also been criticized for being silent about the plights of non-white women, and for only speaking out when it benefits her.

Furthermore, her status as a billionaire and discussion about her carbon footprint has caused divide, due to people pointing out her frequent jet flights that cause harm to the atmosphere.

“It’s not great, which I get, especially if she takes a short flight,” Knight said. “But you have to consider security reasons too. If Taylor Swift gets on a cab or in a Tesla in LA, there’s going to be some security issues. But I get it, and I don’t know too much, but I feel like there are ways for her to combat her carbon footprint through other ways, like making sure her albums and merch are ethically sourced, to reduce emissions. There’s ways for artists to combat their carbon footprint through things like that.”

On top of that, some people believe that Swift does not deserve the fame she has. 

“I love her songs and listen to them all the time,” Bal said. “I think she’s a genuinely talented writer, singer, and performer and to an extent, I do believe she deserves the fame she has. I just wish she would use that fame and her platform for good.”

Some people also claim her music is basic, or that she is an average singer whos fame does not match up to her talent or skill.

“I think there are a lot of artists that deserve the fame she has, but doesn’t,” Knight said. “Like the fact Beyonce hasn’t won a grammy yet, that’s messed up. I think it just depends. I think she’s worked hard for what she’s done, she has put a lot of effort into her music and fanbase, which is huge, so that’s awesome. The amount that she thinks about stuff is really great, I think there are other artists that could be built up more, and she could use her power to help build them up. Which she does, she has artists like Sabrina Carpenter open up at her concert. I know it’s hard to back people because you don’t know what will happen to them, but she could use her power.”

Taylor Swift was already popular before the Eras tour, but said tour has received a lot of press and increased her exposure, showing a renewed interest in Taylor Swift.

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About the Contributor
Hope Nguyen
Hope Nguyen, Staff Writer
Hi, my name is Hope Nguyen! I'm a senior at Freedom High School. I'm a staff writer for the Freedom website Uncaged. I like listening to K-Pop, drawing and writing and watching anime. Outside of school, I like to job-hunt, thrift clothes and drink boba tea.