‘The first singer I chose to love’
Julianna McKenna | Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Music has always been a part of me. Some of my first childhood memories include sitting in the back of my car singing along to my Mom’s classic CDs, most of which included U2, Celine Dion and Fleetwood Mac. I grew up around this music, but I vividly recall nine-year-old me coming home from school one day and telling my mom that I found a new song that she needed to listen to. I remember pulling up YouTube (feeling so accomplished because YouTube was just starting to become popular), typing in the song, and telling my mom to listen to it. That song was an old Taylor Swift classic: “Teardrops on my Guitar.” I fell in love with it. Taylor Swift was the first singer I chose to love.
While Taylor Swift has become controversial over the years, she will always be a personal role model. As she’s evolved as a singer, I have grown right beside her. From the very first album “Taylor Swift,” I connected with the innocence of first crushes. As Taylor grew with her next album, I connected with the romantic idealism of “Love Story” and related to the nerdy girl Swift portrayed herself to be in “You Belong With Me.”
“Speak Now” reflected the growth in both of us. Much like Swift, I was now beginning to become more self-aware, I too had regrets and had begun understanding the complexity of relationships.
In the “Red” era, much like Swift, I was beginning to find myself. I had just begun high school and I resonated with her powerful lyrics as I experienced first love, societal pressures and a struggle to find myself.
As high school progressed, in the “1989” era, I found myself resonating with Swift’s miraculous ability to redefine herself, something that I was craving during those years. As college applications loomed closer, I found myself asking “Are We Out of the Woods Yet?”
This past Friday, “Reputation” was released. I admit that at first, I was hesitant. I mourned the loss of the “old” Taylor partly because I missed her old sound, but mostly because in a far less dramatic way, it meant the old me was also dead. As I embrace my first year of college, I realize how much I too have grown. I am no longer the young girl who listened to the words of “Love Story” to imagine what it would be like to love someone. I understand the complexity of life, relationships, love and identity.
“Reputation” has given the world a completely new Taylor Swift sound, but despite the dramatic departure from the Taylor Swift I once knew, I resonate with this message more strongly than ever before. The girl who jammed out to “You Belong With Me” is still a part of me, but, like Swift, college has helped me to step out of my comfort zone and make a statement. Now as I grow, I find myself stepping up and asking myself, “Are You Ready for It?”
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.