“Old Taylor Swift” Refers to anything Taylor Swift produced musically and theatrically before the album “1989”.
“New Taylor Swift” Refers to anything Taylor Swift produced musically and theatrically after and including the album “1989”.
Chad Echakowitz defending New Taylor Swift
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of my argument, I shall just concede the point that old T-Swizz is amazing. “Fifteen” makes my heart sore like an eagle, and “Enchanted” makes me feel like the princess I never was. As such, I am in no way arguing that Old Taylor Swift is bad. What I will be arguing is that New Taylor Swift is better.
It is clear that since Miss Swift moved to New York in 2014, something inside her changed. She was looking for a new career path. This is evidenced from the lyrics to the 1989 track, “Welcome to New York”:
Everybody here wanted something more / searching for a sound we hadn’t
Taylor obviously found that new soundtrack, and we all danced to its beat. There is a drastic change in style, tempo, and genre between Red (released in 2012) and 1989 (released in 2014). Most artists lose a huge fan-base when they change their style. This is mostly due to puritans who feel that the artist has “lost their sound”. New Taylor not only kept her original fan-base, but increased her popularity by diversifying into genres such as hip-hop, and pop. New Taylor Swift is like a drug-resistant bacteria: she adapts, she survives and she infects us all (but like, in a super good way).
Now, let’s talk cold, hard figures. 1989 remains her highest selling album in its first week of release with a whopping 1.28 million copies sold. Reputation comes in at a close second with 1.216 million copies sold in its first week. Not only that, but the World Tours for both 1989 and reputation were two of the highest grossing concerts this decade with $250 million and $266.1 million gross sales respectively. The reputation Tour actually grossed more revenue than The Rolling Stones 2007 Tour. Yes, that is correct, New Taylor Swift is bigger than The Rolling Stones.
But if the money doesn’t prove that New Taylor is better, let’s talk about her accolades. The music video for “Blank Space” was the first video ever to hit 1 billion views on Vevo. The music video for “Reputation” hit 43.2 million views on its first day on Youtube, breaking the website’s record for the most viewed music video within 24 hours. In 2016, New Taylor Swift won 3 Grammys: Album of the Year of 1989, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Music Video (for “Bad Blood”).
New Taylor Swift is built on the foundations of Old Taylor Swift, and without those foundations, New Taylor would not even exist. But, much like the foundations of a building, they are only good for one thing: holding up what is built on top of them. Progressing in to her new role as this dark, gritty badass has helped New Taylor surpass any and all expectations of the Old Taylor. With the reshaping of her image, we can only expect more wonderful things to come from this booming star. This is definitely not the end, and who knows, maybe this is not the New Taylor Swift, maybe this is Midway Taylor Swift and we’ll be seeing a Newer Taylor in the near future.
Grae Westgate defending Old Taylor Swift
It’s all good and well to quote figures of album sales and tour revenue when it comes to measuring the ‘success’ of New Taylor, but, let’s face it. When people line up to see Bon Jovi live, filling out stadiums in the process, do they clamour to hear material from This House is Not for Sale and Burning Bridges? No. If they go home not having heard “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Always”, they’re going to be pretty disappointed.
The same can be said of Taylor. There are going to be few people in the audience screaming for “Look What You Made Me Do”. They are there for “Mean”. They are there for “Story of Us”. They are there for “Love Story”. These are the songs we love, and these are the songs that made us love Taylor, and why we can forgive her for the dross she has been producing over the last few years.
That’s not to say it’s all been bad. Yes, 1989, that great turning point in her career, produced the beautiful “Wildest Dreams” and the absolute masterpiece “Out of the Woods”, but as an overall experience, quite frankly, Ryan Adams’ acoustic version of the album in better. There. I said it.
Because, at her roots, Taylor is a country singer. She is a girl with a talent to tell her story with little more than her lyrical prowess and a natty little guitar riff. Her self-titled debut album, written during her freshman year of high school and released when she was just sixteen, topped the Billboard Country Chart for twenty-four weeks and gave us the emotional might of tracks such as the ingenious “Tim McGraw”, and the utterly heartbreaking “Teardrops On My Guitar”, as well as sneakier little rocky numbers such as “Should’ve Said No”.
Following that we were met with Fearless, home of the now inimitable “Love Story”, the song that truly brought her into the eyes of mainstream audiences, along with such classics as “You Belong with Me” and the absolutely beautiful “Fifteen”. Fearless built on everything Old Taylor had learned from her debut and proved to the world that she was here to stay.
And then we had Speak Now and Red. There’s no need for me to wax lyrical on these; if you’ve listened to them, you know full well that they are two of the finest pop-country albums to ever have been crafted. Had Old Taylor decided to retire after “Speak Now”, the world would still have held her in revelry, safe in the knowledge that one of Country Music’s most charming voices would forever keep its place in our hearts.
Through these four albums, Old Taylor took us on a journey through youth, innocence and love. We don’t need New Taylor to give us grit and anger; we have a thousand other pop divas to do that for us.
Screw the figures; Taylor is all about the music, and New Taylor with her synths and sex can’t hold a candle to Old Taylor and her simple guitar.
No matter on what side of this argument you stand, we Taylor Swift fans can all agree on a few things. First, Taylor Swift – in general – is a perfect human being and all of her music is amazing. Secondly, she will always have a special place in our hearts. And thirdly, “Love Story” is her most iconic song of all time.
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