As Isaac Newton discovered four hundred years ago: What goes up must come down. And, the sniping has already begun.
Katy Perry’s boyfriend, dance producer Diplo, mockingly joked that Swift could use a crowdfunding campaign to pay for a new butt for her slender frame.
He drew an immediate rebuke from New Zealand singer Lorde, who counts herself one of Swift’s best buds.
But Swift was left pretty defenseless after she was mocked at the Country Music Association Awards. Hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood made her the butt of a joke for “abandoning” country music.
Her new album, 1989 created a vacuum in county music that the hosts called “PPTSD – Postpartum Taylor Swift Disorder,” said Underwood.
“You can’t turn on the TV or open up a newspaper, click on a website, without being reminded of the epidemic we’re all facing,” Paisley joked.
It was all tongue-in-cheek, but still there was an undeniable edge to their joke and a tinge of bitterness. While the rest of the music industry sucks wind, Swift is a force unto herself.
She sat sheepishly in the audience amid the guffaws.
There are at least a half a dozen “I Hate Taylor Swift,” pages on Facebook and at least one “I hate Taylor Swift” Twitter account on social media. Most of those sites pre-date her latest success, so who knows where it will go from here.
Taylor seems to infuriate the hipster crowd, too. One writer with a Sociology degree questioned whether music needed another “carefree white girl singing heteronormative songs about mooning over boys?” “Heteronormative?” Really?
Even the religious Christian Times newspaper published an article last year with the headline: “Why Do We Love to Hate Taylor Swift?”
In a very un-Christian observation, the article called Swift “one of the most reviled singers of her generation.”
That seems like a gross overstatement. And don’t forget the fact that she has millions of followers on social media who make up a tenaciously loyal fan base.
But if the sentiment was evident a year ago, what’s it going to be like going forward? If she was on a high-wire before, she’s working without a net now.
To her credit, Swift has been true to herself from the beginning. After Nashville brushed her off as a budding teen singer, she trusted her own instincts, created her own music label and went out on her own.
She’s been calling the shots ever since.
“When I wanted to call the album 1989, people on the team questioned that,” she told the magazine. Every single element of this album has been called into question, and I’ve had to say ‘No, this is how we’re doing it.’
“And the fact that we came out and did the kind of numbers we did in the first week — you have no idea how relieved I was, because it was all on me if this didn’t work. It was a little hard to sleep the night of the album release,” she said.
Indeed, after racking up more sales the first week than any album in more than a decade, Swift knows she has the power now.
Her first move was to dutifully bitch-slap Spotify by pulling all her albums from the streaming service. She believes streaming devalues music.
“I tried it and I didn’t like the way it felt. I think there should be an inherent value placed on art. I didn’t see that happening, perception-wise, when I put my music on Spotify,” she said.
And she let it be known in the interview that she’s capable of rolling with the punches.
“I just keep writing songs. And I kind of stay open to feeling humiliated and rejected, because before being a quote-unquote celebrity, I’m a songwriter.
“Being a celebrity means you lock your doors and close your windows and don’t let people in. Being a songwriter means you’re very attuned to your own intuition and your own feelings even if they hurt,” she adds.
And she empathizes with other women in music.
“I just struggle to find a woman in music who hasn’t been completely picked apart by the media, or scrutinized and criticized for aging, or criticized for fighting aging — it just seems to be much more difficult to be a woman in music and to grow older,” she says.
If and when the backlash comes, Swift seems prepared for it.
“It’s honestly like, if I’m in the mood to be held accountable for every single article of clothing on my body, and whether it matches, and if it clashes, and if it’s on trend, then I go out,” she says.
“But if I’m not interested in undergoing that kind of debate and conversation — regarding how I’m walking, whether I look tired, how my makeup is right, what’s that mark on my knee, did you hurt yourself? — I just don’t go out.
“I try to evaluate whether I’m in the right emotional space to deal with that, and if I’m not, then I just stay in. And I’m perfectly happy staying in.”
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