I’m back with more Taylor Swift news: Taylor Swift’s Red is the most streamed female country artist on Spotify. It has surpassed 1.5 billion streams to get there and I immediately fired it up to give it a listen through and boy did the memories come rushing back. Red came out when I was 17 and I was a Taylor Swift fan out of loyalty. Red escaped me as a country album – I remember complaining that her music was becoming too pop for me – but she remains in the country game to this day. Do you know how powerful a number one streamed female album is? Red isn’t the Taylor Swift album that pops up in my head as her most famous album, maybe Lover, maybe even reputation that grew on me, but it’s quietly powerful in that it was an icon of the decade. The goat screaming along to “I Knew You Were Trouble” meme that torpedoed the internet? Anybody? Bueller? I mean, I guess so. But what about the album as a whole? What made this album so powerful to rise to the top?
Red is sort of, quiet, but the power is there. “Red” the song itself – I remember making fun of all her light similes back in the day. Let’s remember this album came out in 2012, 8 years ago, so I was a little unrefined and not as compassionate as I am now. Now I’m more sensitive to what artists put behind their work. Taylor does sound like she’s taking a risk describing her fiery red love of 2012 in her album much less the titular song. I remember being able to understand “Red”, thinking “Treacherous” hit too close to home to listen to too many times, and “All Too Well” remained on my #nowplaying playlist well into 2015. I forget why “All Too Well’ was so special, I forget who I was singing along about, but it was such a classic classy country middle finger to someone who must have done something wrong back then, but it remains on my mind and at one point, my Instagram feed.
Is Taylor Swift a feminist? With all her slamming of ex’s and lovers, she’s pure country. But a feminist? I think so. She obviously hasn’t let many men take her as weak and isn’t afraid of confrontation. She isn’t fragile and she writes so passionately that you hear the honesty in her music. Taylor rising to the top of the streamed charts also makes her modern and current – Taylor Swift, really? Who knew she cared that much. Let’s go back to the album – I’m still doing percussion to “Holy Ground” on my laptop keyboard when I hear it today. “Darling, it was good” Taylor, why am I so hesitant to be more excited about folklore? Was it your surprise overnight release? Because I hate a lame marketing gig. Maybe is was the horror flashback to the cringeworthy Riverdale reference with “Betty” because believe me I am done with that show, Cole freaking Sprouse or not.
I fondly remember Taylor battling stardom with “The Lucky One”, you mean like Britney Spears? Does anybody know what I’m talking about? “Lucky” by Britney sounds remarkably the same. You should listen to them both, you’ll see. Why I was able to empathize so well with someone who lived Nashville I’ll never understand. Taylor battle some hard truths too, “Begin Again” was the first song I gingerly touched on the album, listening to it out of pure will and not because the radio was pumping it. I was really into starting over then too, and at 24 I am starkly the opposite so maybe I, like Taylor, have gone through some character development. I’ll have to listen to folklore again.
But on a Wednesday, not at a café because of quarantine, I, like Taylor Swift am alone with my thoughts, although I’m dropping reviews of the albums she’s dropping. I am a Swiftie, after all.