Like, OH MY GAWD – OMG – Taylor Swift has gone pop! Just reading that exclamation is shocking, right? Well, not really. Sure, Taylor Swift taking a hiatus from country music itself is surprising, but anyone who’s heard her albums, knows that Swift has always had a soft spot for pop. Furthermore, anyone who saw her on the Grammys the year Fearless won Album of the Year knows she likes to dance (Flashback, Eminem, Drake, Lil Wayne on “Forever” anybody?)
Anyways, Swift’s pop side, as referenced earlier has been evident throughout her career. Fearless definitely wouldn’t be described as straight-ahead or traditionalist country in the least. Single “You Belong With Me” was about as pop as they come, even if it had a dab of country. Still, there’s a reason that the song was nominated in the pop performance category instead of the female country performance category. The single would peak at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 – how many country singles do that these days?
Speak Now seemed more firmly planted in country for the musician, but still, songs like “Mine,” “Mean,” and even “Back To December” had enough goods to get the pop world onboard. By the time Red materialized, everyone should have expected Swift to step into the ‘dark side.’ Red, arguably, was Swift’s least countrified album, with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble” sitting right at home on mainstream radio. Neither sounded particularly country. It should be noted, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” was a #1 pop hit.
So Taylor Swift going pop isn’t really that far-fetched examining her past work. Even given her polarizing nature, Swifts musical versatility is undeniable. Sure, she could always stand to strengthen her live vocals, but she’s come a long way by all means. But this isn’t about trying to forget that sketchy performance with Stevie Nicks. This is about the newly liberated Taylor Swift.
Swift’s first single and the accompanying video clip, “Shake It Off,” is ridiculous. Consider it to be ridiculous in a good/decent way, much like Swift’s incredibly catchy brand of country was. The song itself does deserve praise, sporting a different sound than what is dominating radio currently. Sure, it’s not as if Swift is reinventing pop as a ‘transfer’ or ‘transplants’ of sorts from country, but she knows as a savvy business woman, she has to bring it.
Even though the song is a solid first statement, the video may be the bigger draw. It is definitely, DEFINITELY entertaining. If there was to be an OMG moment about Swift’s conversion to pop circles, it is this fresh, fierce video. It’s so ‘over the top,’ your mouth will go agape while watching it the first time. Taylor Swift imitates every pop star possible (Lady Gaga might be the best), with numerous costume changes. Carefree, Swift does just what her single says – “shake it off.”
So how does this pop thing work for Taylor Swift? Well, pop radio will likely continue to embrace everything she does – everyone knows she’s Midas. As for the country crowd, well, maybe if she has one song with one ounce of country, they might still roll with her. She won’t fit the country mold as a pop star obviously, but, those who follow contemporary country know that synths and drum programming have become part of the script in many cases, not to mention the occasional rapper.
But didn’t everyone know that Taylor Swift “was trouble when she walked in, oh-oh?” Too corny – “sorry not sorry!”
Taylor Swift’s new album, 1989, arrives on October 27, 2014.