Picture this: It’s Sunday, Aug. 28. The MTV Video Music Awards are on but you’re sitting on your couch doing homework. Suddenly, your friend texts you, panicked, that Taylor Swift just announced that her tenth studio album, "Midnights," will be released Oct. 21 in her acceptance speech for Video of the Year. Everything in the world feels right again.
You don’t have to be a seasoned “Swiftie” to know that Swift is not just a game changer, but invented the game that she continuously beats herself at. She released her debut album at 16 and has not gone more than three years without releasing an album since. Now, at 32, she broke the record for the most Video of the Year awards won at the VMA’s, has earned 42 nominations and 11 wins at the Grammys and is one of the best selling artists of all time.
Starting off in country music, Swift skyrocketed in the music charts. At the time, she became the youngest artist to win the Grammy for Album of the Year. Some people love to hate the underdog, so when her shift from country to pop was made official with "1989," there were countless people who were convinced that the album would flop. Spoiler alert: it didn’t, and is one of the most successful pop albums of all time. The "1989" World Tour grossed $181.5 million in the United States alone in 2015 and set the record for the highest grossing U.S. tour by a female artist, which she broke again with the "Reputation" Stadium Tour in 2018.
All of this is to say that the music industry would not be what it is without Swift. Far more artists merge into other genres without concern, and her songwriting has inspired a whole new set of amazing pop artists like Olivia Rodrigo and Conan Gray. Additionally, she set a historic precedent of the importance of owning your work, and despite how harshly she has been criticized throughout her career, she is still constantly at the top of the charts.
Regarding the latter, there are plenty of artists who have crumbled under far less pressure than a public feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian and the general scrutiny women in music face simply for being talented. "Reputation" and its subsequent tour were expected to flop, but it is forever a top tier comeback album and the tour remains the highest grossing tour in the U.S. by any artist.
Artists revisit and re-record their music all the time, whether it’s to alter a song slightly or ensure they have ownership of their masters when they switch record labels. However, no artist has done so like Swift.
In comparison to the typical greatest hits album or new version of a beloved song, no re-recorded albums have ever had such highly anticipated releases. Swift has only released two out of the six albums she lost the masters to and fans are unrelenting in attempting to figure out when she will release the next one. No, re-creating the original success of something like "Fearless (Taylor’s Version)" is not easy, but by incorporating previously unreleased “From the Vault” tracks with iconic feature artists like Maren Morris and Phoebe Bridgers, and new versions of songs – hello, “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” – Swift comes pretty close.
Swift’s specific manner of perfecting her craft is a huge reason why Swifties new and old have fallen in love with her music, even acknowledging she is aware that if she didn’t write her own songs, she wouldn’t be where she is today. With each of her albums came a sense of familiarity but enough change to differentiate each as its own era. From what she was writing about to tour fashion to color schemes, she dug her heels further into where she has cemented herself in history with each album she has released. The fact that Swift is always telling a story has been so influential that she has essentially “raised” a new generation of singer-songwriters.
Above all else, Swift is an artist that always has something to relate to in her songs. For fans like myself who have been listening to her music since they were a little kid, it’s hard to imagine not having her music to lean on. She has shaped the lives of so many people and that legacy will last for centuries.
Tate Raub is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Tate know by tweeting her @tatertot1310.