The problem with Taylor Swift is not herself, but from the genre she calls her original home. Country music found Taylor Swift cute, and loved her when at sixteen-years-old she released her first single “Tim McGraw”. She was a young, twangy girl who was a nice novelty that wouldn’t go very far in her career. She wouldn’t become a threat to huge country superstars. They couldn’t have been more wrong about that though.
While her first album Taylor Swift came out in 2006, it was very country in sound and twang, her sophomore album, Fearless, is what made her career take off. Fearless was released in 2009, and was Taylor’s first take on country pop and she even had two singles make it to mainstream Top-40 radio. “Love Story” was the first single to crossover and began to play on mainstream radio. “Love Story” became a huge success along with the next crossover single “You Belong With Me”. During the Fearless era is when Kanye West interrupted her acceptance speech for the VMA’s Best Female Video for “You Belong With Me”. Even I think that this one event helped Taylor’s career skyrocket. I do believe she is very talented, and I do think she was going to get where she is now, but I think it would have taken a little longer had Kanye not interrupted the little unknown, to most, country girl accepting her award.
Taylor’s third album, Speak Now, perfected the country pop sound when it was released in 2010. All the tracks could very easily be played on country radio and mainstream radio. Speak Now had six singles, four of which were successful on both country and mainstream radio. Those four singles are “Mine”, “Back To December”, “Mean”, and “Ours”. “The Story of Us” and “Sparks Fly”, the other two singles released were more successful on country radio along with the previous four singles mentioned. Taylor even was awarded a Grammy for the song “Mean”. Taylor was so huge by the time Speak Now was released, she embarked on a world tour. Not many country, old country, or country pop artists do world tours.
By the time we get to last year for the release of Red, Taylor had become a huge star around the entire world. People every where knew her name and knew who she was, and were singing her songs. Taylor was ready to move on and experiment with her sound beyond anything she had done before. Red was released in October 2012 to high praise from most critics. Country music fans seemed to hate it before it even came out with the single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” being released to country and mainstream radio. While the single didn’t do as well on country radio, it was Taylor’s first number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100. “Begin Again” was released as the second single and fared better on country radio, but was pretty successful on mainstream radio as well. The second single, “I knew You Were Trouble” was just sent to mainstream radio and rightfully so, as it is Taylor’s least country song that she has ever made. “22” was the next single which was sent to mainstream radio. I thought this one could be played on country, as I find it no different from most of the tracks on Speak Now. The fifth single is “Everything Has Changed”, which features Ed Sheeran. It is unclear if the single is being released in North America, but it is confirmed for the UK. The rest of the tracks on Red all could easily be crossover hits for both country and mainstream radio. The next country radio single is going to be the title song “Red”. I think we could also see “Everything Has Changed”, “All Too Well”, “State of Grace”, and a few more that could be crossover hits.
Many have said that Taylor only used country music to get into the business, because it is easier to get into country. First, that isn’t saying much about your preferred genre of music. Second, Taylor has said she loves country music and I believe her. She still seems to be well liked by her country music peers, and still works with many of them. If they hated her, “Highway Don’t Care” wouldn’t have been made. Most of the hate seems to come from the country fans and critics. Fortunately neither make the business shots in Nashville. While Taylor seems to be getting exiled from country music, fans love hearing Florida Georgia Line, The Band Perry, Carrie Underwood, and many more country artists that have that same country pop and country rock sound that Taylor Swift makes. Why aren’t these artists ridiculed?
I have a feeling it is jealousy of her being so successful beyond country music. It has to do with her being that successful and a woman, as country music has never been a genre of music that has made it easy to be a woman. Before Taylor became a huge crossover success, the fans and critics were already talking her down all the time. I also think the conservative fan base doesn’t like her more Hollywood life. She does hangout with actors and actresses, and other big non-country music artists. At the same time she still comes back t her home, Nashville and hangout with everyone there. She doesn’t seem to have let the fame and success go to her head. She is never in trouble and the tabloids never have anything on her except her love life. It’s easy with nothing else to go after, they go after her music, and if she is country or not. It’s exactly all the things that made “Mean” a Grammy award-winning song.