I Think I’m Too Old For Taylor Swift

I, like millions around the world, anxiously awaited Taylor Swift’s new single. I’ve always enjoyed her music – even the ones that are explicitly slamming someone. Then “Look What You Made Me Do” dropped.

It was catchy and the theme was in line with what you would probably expect – she’s using her personal experience as creative inspiration.

And yet, I found myself disappointed, sad and quite frankly, annoyed. It didn’t have the cheekiness of “Blank Space” or the innocent naivete of “Mean,” or the more uplifting message of “Shake It Off.” My first thoughts were that the message was trite. Incredibly petty. Lacking any sort of positive substance. Part of me wanted to shake her and give her a lecture on being the bigger person.

But most of all, I just didn’t get it, nor could I identify with it. Was it supposed to be empowering and highlighting a new Taylor Swift? That she can overcome anything? That she’s growing?

I’m still not sure. But I don’t think it did any of those things. I think it was a message to those who criticize her, to those who have “wronged her.” I hear her saying: “How dare you continue to criticize me. You’ve made me turn revenge. I’ve done nothing wrong. And now, watch out.”

This is not meant to be a slam on Taylor Swift or those who enjoy the song. Her songs, like most music, are inspired by her life, her experiences, where she’s at in her life. And she didn’t change her M.O.

The only thing that really changed was me. Like her music reflects her, my reaction reflects me and my experiences. And I think I just may have out grown T-Swift.

I think it’s mostly a symptom of maturing. It’s realizing that feuds do nothing but make both parties miserable. It’s understanding what issues are important to stand your ground on and which ones aren’t worth the anger. That there are always two sides to every story, and it takes the actions of two people to have a feud. That stooping to the level of your enemies only let’s them win. And ultimately, the only way to win is to be the bigger person and forgive.

But I think it’s also a consequence of how I felt coming out of the last election. With the divisiveness that’s permeating this country, the last thing I want to listen to is music that promotes revenge, points fingers and completely lacks an inspiring message. In this current climate, give me something that will help me escape. Or make me want to be and do better. But I don’t want anything that will make me hate.

I may be alone in my reaction. But as I approach my next birthday, it’s just a reminder that I’m continuing to grow, continuing to learn new things about myself. And at the end of the day, that’s all I can really ask for.

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Katelyn Stiver

Katelyn Stiver is a marketing professional at a venture development organization. She has a passion for learning, a love for online shopping and an aversion to small talk. A proud introvert, she tends to be a homebody, but will never turn down the opportunity for a good conversation (except if it’s on the phone). While she lives in Akron with her husband and adorable pup, she loves working in Cleveland and treasures her commute as it allows her uninterrupted alone time.

10 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Part of the fun of being a fan is enjoying all of the different styles and voices an artist has. They too, are growing up as they release new music to fans. I think TS has done a great job at remaining kind in an unpleasant world (it’s not a perfect world for her either, and she too, experiences what we experience in society). I respectfully disagree with the notion that her songs are too revengeful - because one can look at them as empowering. Let’s not forget that she just recently ended a court case, standing up for women who have felt abused/assaulted/victimized. Again, everyone is entitled to their opinion and it’s completely normal for music tastes to change as we age.

    • Appreciate your comment, Katie. I think a few years ago I might have agreed with you, and I too, was happy with her handling of the court case. If she writes a song about that, I will be more than happy to listen to it. And I don’t disagree that she gets a lot of media scrutiny, but that’s part of the package when you become a pop superstar. Quite frankly, she’s made money and her career by fueling these feuds. She is not blameless in them, like these songs make her out to be.

      I (respectfully) disagree that her songs are empowering. I think her songs are indulgent, which can be fun, don’t get me wrong. But that can also be harmful and I think this song went too far on the harmful side because it’s about completely disregarding her role in any of those situations and blaming others, which isn’t a great message to send.

      What would be empowering to me would be to hear a song about what’s she’s learned from these situations and how she’s trying to be a better person because of it. Most of her songs don’t take any ownership of her own role in these situations and in her songs, she’s not really trying to combat any societal injustices. It’s just sort a list of personal grudges and catchy beats. Again, this can be fun to listen to, but after awhile, it gets hard for me to feel empowered by listening to a very wealthy celebrity explain why she hates another extremely wealthy celebrity over and over…maybe I’m just getting old 🙂

      She’s not the only musician who’s done this! But I would argue that she’s been the most successful at it, especially in the pop realm.

      I do understand your points above, and this post actually came out of a conversation with people who loved the song and come at it from a very different perspective than I did so I really do appreciate your comment.

    • I really, really, really wanted this song to be directed squarely at her assaulter - the lyrics seemed to fit (abusers often twist their actions to tell the victims they are the one who made the abuser do it - so I thought/hoped she was being clever and turning it around!) and it dropped kind of at a time to build off her statements. But pretty quickly it seemed to be clear that it’s about one or some of her exes. So I was a little disappointed about that.

  • Great perspective. Perhaps it has nothing to do with you outgrowing her music and more to do with her lack of creativity. Taylor has always been able to create great pop music and this the first time I didn’t get it. It lacked cohesiveness. Bottom line is the song is a mess.

  • Great perspective. Perhaps it has nothing to do with you outgrowing her music and more to do with her lack of creativity. Taylor has always been able to create great pop music and this the first time I didn’t get it. It lacked cohesiveness. Bottom line is the song is a mess.

    • Very true! It’s probably a little bit of both — even going back and listening to some of her other songs, they just don’t feel the same to me.

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