Whenever a magical, illuminating light glows, darkness looms in wait, hoping to stifle or dissolve the brightness. To witness such acts play out once again on a massive stage is a reminder of the importance of positivity and faith, a faith based in knowing that goodness always triumphs. After spreading her beauty and talent nationally and internationally with poise and grace, and, yes, a cosmos of light, it was inevitable that the naysayers and the negative ones were going to appear at Taylor Swift’s door. With her recognition at its highest point thus far, in the past few months, the firings of the attackers have increased. Yet, though wobbly from the direct hits, she manages to continue walking on a path of love and truth, accepting and understanding her greater purpose.
Standing on a stage at the MTV music awards, shaken by Kanye West’s disrespectful and shameful behavior, Taylor Swift managed to send a message that no one can take our power away unless we let them. With Kanye informing her and the world that she shouldn’t have won the award, Taylor might have believed him, deciding in that very moment that she wasn’t as good as Beyonce. If her self-worth was coming from her ego, that’s probably what she would have done. However, when Beyonce, showing lots of class and integrity, invited Taylor back out on the stage to rightfully own her special moment, and I watched as she thanked everyone, I knew then that the only person who could destroy Taylor’s power was Taylor, for her heart is driving her car, and her ego is riding shotgun, where all of our egos should ride.
More than a few prominent people have recently made statements in the form of criticisms that Taylor’s music isn’t country music. Being from the South, I grew up listening to all the legends, Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash to name a few. What made all of these great people country music singers wasn’t their accents or the fact that certain instruments such as the fiddle or banjo could be heard in their songs. It was the fact that they wrote, sang or played simple songs of life experiences as interpreted by their hearts and souls. Country music has a confessional nature to it, too, and I don’t think anyone can argue over how honest, true and heartfelt Taylor’s music is. Songs of good love and good love gone bad are dominant themes in country music, as is songs about Mama and Daddy. Both of Taylor Swift’s albums are filled with these themes, and she even has a song about Mama and Daddy. Though “The Best Day” isn’t a classic yet like Dolly’s “Coat of Many Colors” or Loretta’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Taylor has managed to write and record an ode to her parents, acknowledging their sacrifices and their love, in the same vein as these classics.
The other day I read an article stating that some are complaining that Taylor Swift’s voice isn’t strong enough and is “embarrassingly weak.” If I were a betting man, I’d wager a top dollar that Taylor Swift doesn’t think she has the most perfect or most robust voice in music today. However, I’d bet even more that she has the most far-reaching and most powerful voice in music right now, for she is the voice of millions of girls and young women in America and abroad. She is writing and singing about their emotions, their feelings, their thoughts and their experiences. And we are all humans with a need to love and be loved, so even older women, boys and men can relate to the subjects and stories in her songs. I pose the question then of how can you label a voice of such importance and power as one that isn’t strong enough or is too weak?
The 70s had Joni Mitchell and Carole King. The 80s had Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. The 90s had Alanis Morrisette and Sarah McLachlan. All of these women used their writing and singing to capture the attention of the world, for they were saying something we wanted to hear, maybe something we needed to hear. This decade has Taylor Swift doing the same. At a younger age than any of these icons were at the height of their fame, she’s performing the same demanding and formidable job, and she’s doing it with sophistication, maturity and dignity.
Whenever visibility seems non-existent, continue to shine on, Taylor Swift. Be the beacon you are, the leader you were meant to be, the leader who lets her open heart guide.
By Jerry Lee Davis
Love Angeles Staff Writer