I hated Taylor Swift.
This story plays out like a quintessential romantic comedy. At first, one or both persons in the movie exhibit a fair amount of hatred to the other. As the scenes play on, the hatred grows and comes to a climax. When all of the sudden, said two people realize their extreme hatred meant flirting, which leads to love, and hence, happily ever after.
Of course, Taylor Swift never hated me.
I was a loner, hating Taylor Swift from afar as she crashed into mainstream music with her sweet persona, charismatic songwriting, and country flare. I watched her dubiously, suspicious of her obsession of turning her past loves into the subject of bitter, billboard topping songs.
I was at the point of my life where anything on Billboard’s Hot 100 was irrelevant to me.
Granted, I had just come out of a long period of taking jazz guitar lessons, dwelling on the genius of Thelonius Monk, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane. When I took all of my belongings off to college, I drove to the soundtrack of Bon Iver, The Head and the Heart, and Father John Misty.
Taylor didn’t meet my supposed “musical standards”. Yes, I was that unnerving, annoying, reluctant person.
(Side note: coffee seemed like an appropriate visual for a ‘musical snob’.)
So, there was nothing left to do but hate her.
Because I couldn’t just dislike her—she was too talented for me to live in the grey of “dislike”.
And then it happened.
I never had listened to an entire Taylor Swift album—I did not want to lose dignity over owning a Taylor Swift CD. *Ahem*, more like leaving a virtual trail of Taylor Swift via Spotify.
PS – I am in fact one of those rare humans who still buys CD (see below for reference)
My freshman roommate introduced me to RED on one fall afternoon car ride.
At first, I had no idea who I was listening too. It was only when “I Knew You Were Trouble” started rolling through the speakers that it hit me: this was Taylor Swift.
I liked this.
Just like any typical college freshman, I finally let myself ease into other genres of interest, including music. My friend group introduced me to every ounce of boy band, female pop superstar, and suave country frontman there was.
Of course, they initially gained my trust by catering to my love of early 2000’s hits. Speaking of which, Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” just turned ten years old. I wrote a mandatory essay, assigned by English teacher, in 8th grade. Does this make me dated?!
Anyways, my point being—I finally came out of my snobby, little musical shell. As if hanging on to my angst from years of listening to All Time Low, Mayday Parade, and Haste the Day (who are we kidding, they still make frequent appearances on my playlists), I clung to my so-called “sophisticated” taste in music with pride and desperation.
You may never like country, EDM, or what have you.
To be fair, I don’t like Florida Georgia Line. But, I can still jam to “Cruise”. There’s a reason it stayed on the charts for so long—it’s catchy.
The wonderful thing about music is the hard work behind it.
The talent that crafts a lyric so compelling that you can play a song over and over again, and still get a chill down your spine.
The engineers, producers, and talent behind a song put in the work to make it admirable.
Don’t let someone like Taylor Swift simply trickle into your stratosphere to finally win you over.
All good music deserves appreciation.
Even if it does not receive the appreciation or recognition it should, all good music deserves appreciation.