Taylor Swift is Tonic for the Soul

One reluctant listener has become a fan.


I’m not here to convert atheists into believers. Not everyone likes Taylor Swift; I certainly wasn’t always a fan. I thought her “nicest girl alive” thing was an act, her lyrics were melodramatic and that she would eventually fade into oblivion, dripping tears of money on her guitar.

But I was wrong. Taylor Swift is the greatest pop star alive today — a golden ambassador to a genre whose glory days are essentially dead. Where pop music once united everyone with a radio, it’s now become the watered-down cousin of hip hop and dance music, complete with rap-by-numbers verses about twerking and poppin’ bottles in the club.

Pop music needs her. We need her.

My ex-patriotism from haterville began with “Shake It Off.” The first time I heard the song, I felt blessed by the power of pop. The world was a good place again. Following that, I bought her previous album, Red, and from there my obsession developed.

Her words read like the diary I kept in my teenage years: I knew he was trouble when he walked in. (We broke up because he never texted me back.) It was a sad, beautiful, tragic love affair, but still — we are never, ever getting back together. And listening to her songs are like looking at my life’s reflection in a warped mirror with background music and added drama. I also stay out too late, Taylor! I can make the bad boys good for a weekend just like you! 

It all harkens back to a simpler time when when lyrics had a narrative arc and the beat didn’t have to drop.

Maybe I like T Swift because she’s honest in her portrayal of romantic angst and blind, eternal optimism. Yes, she stalked a man younger than she. Yes, she was abandoned in a boat by Harry Styles. She went out with John Mayer in a classic “maybe-an-older-man-will-be-better-oops-no-same-shit” move. Who hasn’t experienced at least all of these things once in their life?

She’s also unapologetic about who she is. She doesn’t try to be cool. She carries around a cat despite the media’s efforts to paint her as a crooning, lonely spinster — constantly unlucky in love just because she hasn’t found The One before age 25. She makes fun of her own dancing abilities. She called herself “crazy” on The Voice.

Taylor Swift’s songs are tonic for the soul, remedying what ails us while doing what music is meant to do: connect. Her music reminds us that everyone else has been heartbroken before too, or nurtured crushes on people who don’t know they exist, and that while being 22 looks great on television, it can hurt inside. She also reminds us that it’s all going to be more than okay. Shake it off, remember?

So here’s to Taylor Swift, the greatest pop star of our generation.

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  • Maureen Krezel French

    she is the epitome of an empowered woman. When she was fourteen she knew what she wanted to do and still puts that motive first in her life…She has been a role model for young women and (some older women too…).She loves her family and is grateful to her parents…yup she is perfect…My daughter has been a fan since the first album….and I usually despise pop music and people who “crossover” from one genre to another…but I don’t hate Taylor…nope…lets hope she stays this way. Super Nice.

  • DB

    You’re right. Even before TS became a famous pop star, I loved her because I share the same feelings on her songs. She’s honest and she’s always trying to find the love and this is most important. No matter how much a person did hurt you, we must always believe in love.

  • Allie Fasanella

    I can dig it. I definitely love that she owns her crazy. She seems like a great friend and someone that genuinely cares about other people. I do have an entire taylor swift mix cd that i whip out when i’m in a certain kind of mood. it’s usually when I’m pmsing tbh

  • She really is…I was like you and mildly enjoyed her songs before. Now that 1989 has come out, I can’t get enough of all her music.

    Flip Flops and Furs

  • Lucero

    Can I get an Amen?

  • pm.

    Not for me, but I can respect.

  • Ajnira Muminovic

    Yes, I love her too. But, there is something quite sick about miss Swift; she dates her girlfriends boyfriends, she promotes revenge and she is spoiled, oh and her writing, not as creative. I’m saying this in the kindest way possible, I have been a fan since her first album and I carefully followed her progress, but let’s hope she comes up with some smarter words, since she has such influence

    • pamb

      OK, which friend’s boyfriend did she date? Inquiring minds want to know… 😉

      But yeah, she repeats words/phrases all the time. Blank Space and Style both mention her red lipstick, etc.

    • I think she was 15 when she wrote “better than revenge”. An age where you really believe another woman can be held responsible for ruining your relationship.

  • Andrea Raymer

    I love that I don’t have to be ashamed to love T-Swift anymore. I love that she is a creepy internet stalker to her fans so I don’t have to feel weird about knowing a weird amount about her.

    I legit forget that I am not actually friends with her when I talk about her.

    I also like her music for a bit of a different reason. there are a couple of songs I can relate to (Never Grow Up, Mean, Welcome to New York since we both moved here in the same month) but for the most part I don’t relate to the rest of her body of work. I have little to no relationship experience and I have a hard time understanding what people are going through in relationships. The entire thing is so foreign to me, but Taylor has made me understand. I listen to her experiences and I get it. It gives me a little glimpse into what i have been missing out on and it makes me feel like less of an outsider.

    • Allie Fasanella

      I completely get you

  • Shake It Off is also what bought my one way bus ticket from Taylor Haterville. After that, I’ve liked her… and her videos. Even my two year old son likes Shake It off. I might have even forgiven her for Love Story, which is still the surest way to make me wretch.

    • Cara

      Same with me but….haha oh god Love Story has always been on my top secret guilty pleasures playlist…we all hope for our own Romeo right?

    • elharbeson

      You have to remember she wrote Love Story when she was 15 or 16. A person in high school has a very different way of relating to things that are happening in his/her life than some one in their twenty, or twenties to thirties and so on. I am a 72 year old man, when I was 30 I do not think I would have admitted I liked Miss Swift, (I would have listened to her but only when no one would know it.) She has said that is why she waits 2 years between releases, she believes 2 years gives her a new prospective on things. If you take all of her albums and listen to them in order you have a story of a young person growing up, and it does not matter if you are male or female every one has gone through the feelings she writes about. The song 15 was like a time machine for me. It brought back memories I did not know I had about the first day of high school and the first day of boot camp. Not pleasant memories, but still memories of my life over 50 years ago.

  • Amelia Diamond

    I have been a TSwift fan since Stay Beautiful. NOT 2 BRAG BUT.

    • parkzark

      ME TOO. Hey Stephen I know looks can be deceivin. Remember that one? Second album I think. TSwift always and forever.

      • Georgia Booth

        Hey Stephen is life!

  • I dunno. She’s awesome, because she isn’t ashamed to be who she is, and she just looks like she’s always having fun living her life. But the lyric “So go and tell your friends that I’m obsessive and crazy/That’s fine I’ll tell mine that you’re gay!” isn’t a good thing, as it could easily be interpreted that being gay is a bad thing (though, apparently her intent with the lyric was to just make her friends not want to go out with him, but intent can be less important than how it is received). Plus, some of her songs are a bit slut-shame-y, and she’s had numerous cultural appropriation problems. That being said, she has some really good things about her.

    • AlexaJuno

      I’m somewhere on the fence with her. Like some of her songs are catchy and I will enjoy them but I also believe she can’t sing to save her life. She seems nice enough yet I kind of can’t stand her. She’s got good style but it’s kind of always the same thing over and over. Idk. Something about her just doesn’t quite work for me.

    • Mat

      Oh but she changed the lyrics when she released the album because she realized it was offensive. The lyrics you know were the one she first wrote when she was on radio tour, but when she released the album she changed them. The lyrics are “that’s fine you won’t mind if I say/ by the way I hate that old pickup truck…” And the only song where she “slut-shame” is “Better than revenge”and it’s pretty light in comparison to other artists, but she has apologized for it, saying multiple times that when she wrote it she was 17 and she believed that someone could steal your boyfriend. Also she hasn’t sung the song since her tour in 2011. As for cultural appropriation, I don’t know where you got that from, cause she is no Iggy Azalea or even Katy Perry putting on Geisha or Egyptians costumes and whatnot. But that’s what I like most about her tbh, she’s a girl we’ve seen grow up since she was 16. Some of the songs on her first album she wrote when she was 12. Was she always perfect ? of course not. Did she say some stupid things ? hell yeah ! she was a teenager ! But still as a teenager, every time she made a mistake she owned it, she apologized and she grew up. And she made another song showing that evolution 😉 She’s like everyone else, we all screw up and say stupid things, but her screw ups are very public…and considering everything she did a REALLY great job, she grew up really gracefully.

  • Paris

    YESSS. lovvvee T Swift

  • Coolarrowify .

    Amen and amen. A highly talented young lady, so an easy target for all the many projections she’s received. How dare she write and produce her own songs! Since she was 14 or 15? And she’s nice? Scandal! She doesn’t need a man to be successful? How dare she. It seems unfair to be so blesed if you are insecure yourself. Haters gonna hate. I appreciate too, that she relies on her talent and not her breasts. What a breath of fresh air. I have and love each of her CDs. I’m biracial and binational going on 50. And I cry when I listen to some of her songs as they touch my soul and my heart. Long live La Swift!

  • UniStudent555

    I was a Taylor fan until I allowed the media to twist my perception of her. It wasn’t until recently that I had MAD RESPECT for her when I read of all the kind things she does in her spare time. Donating to NY schools, stalking fans, omg too many to go on.

  • yasmin

    YES. She’s so unapologetically dorky and I love that she embraces her madness and shares it with others. I’m so glad people are openly accepting her now

  • I didn’t get her appeal till Red…now, I’m in LOVE!!

  • Eliana Gil Rodriguez


  • Lulu

    I don’t care for her music but think she’s probably a decent role model for young women and someone has to fill a pop void. Also her cat is named Olivia Benson so I automatically love her.
    Also- where is that zipper top in the bazaar Germany photo from?

  • Charlotte Fassler

    This spoke to me in high school and still speaks to me.


  • Oh lord it’s like you’ve been spying on my iTunes account for the past week. For some reason or another I decided to download her 1989 album on Sunday. Since then, I have literally have listened to it Ever. Damn. Day. This. Week. It’s just so good! Sure, it looks weird among my mostly ska/punk/indie/acappella (don’t judge) iTunes list. But as one of my colleagues said when I frantically pulled her aside, horrified at how much I was enjoying the album, if you like it, who the hell cares what other people think? Besides, “life is too short to pretend you don’t like Taylor Swift”.

  • Can we also talk about how she needs to just call a halo a halo and declare herself an honorary Victoria’s Secret model already?

  • Yes yes yes yes yes yes, I love this yes.

  • Andy

    hear hear!

  • cpdion .

    You are so right that I can’t even.

  • Mary

    I’m so glad we see eye to eye on this!

  • I feel a little silly to admit this but I have pretty much listened to Taylor Swift every day since I first heard her track “you belong with me”. I absolutely adore her and her music. She makes my days better. I instantly feel better after listening to Shake It Off. Having a problem with Bullies have me instantly listening to Mean and causing me to smile, that song I find is interchangeable with “better than revenge”. Fearless for when I’m feeling scared. There’s basically a song for whatever experience you’re going through. Swiftie forever!