Of all the theories about why the record industry is collapsing – piracy, iTunes, bumbling digital rights management – has anyone considered the real reason is that Taylor Swift took over? Aside from her new single, “Shake It Off,” sales news remains bad: Albums are still down 15 percent, and singles are down 13 percent. It’s a trend that has lasted all year.
As Billboard’s youngest-ever Woman of the Year prepares to release her fifth album, 1989, she finds herself, as always, in the glare of a blinding spotlight of expectation – but if you think that scares her, you haven’t been paying attention. She calls 1989 her most sonically cohesive collection, and armed with first single, “Shake It Off,” she’s ready to blaze into the next phase of her still-young career, where she’ll continue to dance like no one’s watching, write like she stole our collective diary, and inevitably soar to ever-greater heights. All that’s left to wonder is how many more lives she’ll lift in the process.
Whitney Pastorek about Taylor Swift
On the track, Swift strikes back at the snark lobbed her way with every award win and rumored romance. “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate,” she sings, vowing to brush off tabloid takedowns. Defensive? Maybe, but her kicky delivery, especially on the pseudo-rap bridge (she has been hanging with Ed Sheeran a lot, after all), makes it sound like she’s simply having more fun than her faceless detractors.
13 memorable moments in the Red era
“I’d never sit here and pretend to be a figure of morality because I’m absolutely not. What I do see myself as is a mascot for kids who feel weird or out of place.”
I spent two years working on my album, RED. I called it that because of the tumultuous, crazy adventures in love and loss that it chronicles. In my mind, when you experience love that’s fast paced and out of control and mixes infatuation, jealousy, frustration, miscommunication, and all of those lovely emotions… In retrospect, it all looks red.
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