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Saturday June 15th

The polarizing nature of Taylor Swift

<p><em>Swift’s artistry seems to either attract or deter people. (Photo courtesy of </em><a href="" target=""><em>Wikimedia Commons</em></a><em> / Toglenn, March 14, 2019)</em></p>

Swift’s artistry seems to either attract or deter people. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Toglenn, March 14, 2019)

By Lake DiStefano
Staff Writer

Pop megastar Taylor Swift is seemingly omnipresent these days. With her concert film dominating at the box office, her newest high-profile relationship with football player Travis Kelce and the recent release of her version of her album “1989,” Swift appears to have a chokehold on the media. She is everywhere, all of the time.

This consistent presence is felt by both fans and skeptics alike, and it has created an interesting polarization in regards to opinions about the singer. Everyone seems to have an opinion of her these days. Neutrality has been forfeited in this debate, as people take up their spots on either end of the spectrum.

In terms of adoration for Swift, there seem to be a few factors which have led to the passionate following she’s managed to cultivate over her career. 

“Taylor’s artistry always appeared to me in a way. I remember being a little kid and hearing ‘1989’ songs on the way to the Jersey Shore with my family and liking the way the songs sounded,” said Gianna Montalbano, a fan of Swift. “Nowadays I like how a lot of the deeper lyrics in her songs are relatable to issues I have happening in my life and listening to them makes me feel less alone in those ideas and thoughts.” 

Beyond this though, Swift’s fan base seems to border on a cult of personality. It’s a level of devotion not often displayed in other artists' communities. However, public adoration is a fickle thing. The tides can change with a single scandal or poorly received single. So what is it about the ways in which Swift caters to her audience that keeps them engaged to the utmost degree for such a prolonged period? 

When questioned about what keeps her engaged as a fan, Lyric Burnett cited Swift’s “ability to reinvent her sound and come back with a new era of music each time she releases an album.” 

“Taylor keeps me engaged as a fan by always keeping me on my feet with references to new albums and stories that are going on. I also like how she has an almost one to one level with her fans, often saying her appreciation for them and listening to what they want,” said Montalbano, in a similar vein. 

Swift seems to be aware of the deep love her fans have for her, regardless of if that affection blurs any lines or not. However, this fanservice seems to embolden fans of the singer to be extra vocal with their appreciation of this fact. What makes Swift as huge as she is also happens to alienate and scare off other potential listeners who may not have an instant interest in her to that extreme extent. 

Freshman undeclared major Eliel Serna expressed some cynicism in regards to these elements of Swift’s fanbase. 

“I would say her fans definitely deter me from her,” said Serna. “Maybe I just want to be different but sometimes they get too excited and that deters me from her.”

As for his overall opinion on Swift, Serna said, “I am not gonna deny her as an artist, even though she is not for me she is still reaching a wide variety of people.”

In terms of what may be the seed of this dislike, he had a simple reason.

 “I would say that I just find her music kind of bland or more so her voice. It sounds really bad but I would say her intended audience is not me and because of that I don’t necessarily like her music.”

In a sense, Swift’s constant exposure, as well as the extreme lengths her fans go to in order to vocalize their love for her, seem to only heighten any negative feelings towards her. What may have been a casual dislike morphs into a larger distaste, with the constant forceful exposure acting as the catalyst.

It seems that this push-and-pull will continue so long as Swift seems content to remain in the epicenter of popular culture. Her fans will continue to express their undying love for the singer, and her skeptics will continue to feel more annoyed and more resistant towards any mention of the singer. This divide is what makes up the machinery of Swift's polarizing nature.


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