Why Do I Find Taylor Swift So Annoying?
It was hard not to cheer for Taylor Swift over the past couple days.
Less than 24 hours after she penned a blog post criticizing Apple’s new music streaming service, the company backtracked and confirmed that it would, indeed, pay artists full royalties during the trial period. After a few polite, eloquent paragraphs outlining her argument and the importance of compensating both struggling artists and established talent, Swift signed off with this succinct little mic drop to let them know she meant business:
“We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”
Seemingly all corners of the Internet came together in support and admiration of the 25-year-old Berks County native. As for myself, I decided it was finally time to figure out why I absolutely can’t stand the woman.
I know I’m far from alone in this. Swift has notoriously devoted (and/or rabid) fans, yes, but a quick Google search will turn up plenty of the haters who fueled her massive No. 1 hit about shaking it off and going about your charmed, successful life. Most of the people working through their Swift feelings are far crazier and more fixated than myself, but even so, I have to wonder what I find so offensive about this complete stranger who does nothing more than put out harmless, catchy pop songs (not that I ever allow myself to listen after I realize who’s behind them).
There is, of course, the obvious: She’s younger, richer, thinner and blonder than me. Irritating, yes, but not grounds for turning the channel every time the commercial for her 1989 tour comes on.
You can argue that her lyrics border on the trite and confessional, but that’s what happens when you release your debut album at 16 years old. Have you paid a visit to your long-lost Live Journal lately? Perhaps you should — and then immediately delete it before anyone else does.
But what I suspect is unforgivably annoying is how she’s flat-out killing it in this job market, seemingly without any of the tricks or charades or buzzwords that our generation tends to think is necessary. Or perhaps wants to think is necessary, because the alternative is to sign off Twitter and get our hands dirty. (I’m being generous here and including myself in Swift’s age bracket. I’ll extend her a similar courtesy and consider Berks County the Philadelphia area.)
It pains me to admit it, Philadelphia Millennials, but Taylor Swift is simply the better version of ourselves. I hate to break it to you fellow creative snowflakes, but someone figured out how to do meaningful work and get paid in 2015 just fine.
The secret to Swift’s insane success is actually kind of boring: She took a skill, worked really hard at it, and then worked even harder when people noticed. She’s social media-savvy and probably pretty smart, but let’s not forget she dated John Mayer. She simply owned what she was good at, and then when country music felt too small she made her move and took her place at pop culture’s center stage.
Compare this to the “new media strategist” flailing her arms and demanding a raise while frantically Googling grad school programs. Or the “branding consultant” who thinks having a Squarespace makes him whatever a “branding consultant” is. Or the failed journalist writing a Taylor Swift think piece on a keyboard full of toast crumbs.
Guys, I say this with love and as one of you, but what are we doing with our lives?
I have no illusions of being Beyonce. Beyonce is meant to be worshipped from afar, not studied. And while I always turn up Katy Perry, something tells me that she, too, has cried into a container of Cool Whip after a long week. But as for Taylor Swift? I’m going to stop changing the channel and start taking some notes.
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