Taylor Swift’s newest album, Reputation, comes out in November 2017. With singles “Look What You Made Me Do” and “…Ready for It?” breaking records and topping the charts, it looks like another commercial success. It also sounds like another pop album.
But Taylor Swift got her start in country music, and that’s where she needs to return. The singer-songwriter achieved incredible success with her first albums, breaking into the Guinness Book of World Records for album sales and becoming the youngest person ever to win multiple Songwriter and Entertainer of the Year awards.
Her success didn’t stop once she became a pop star with her album 1989. Taylor Swift became the only artist to knock herself out of the No. 1 spot and made history at the Grammy’s for winning multiple awards. But her success came at a high price.
The trouble started when Kanye West took the mic from her during her acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards. Kanye West interrupted her to say that “Beyoncé had the best music video of all time.” When this happened, Taylor Swift was only 19. Her troubles in the pop music scene were just beginning.
As Taylor Swift gets more involved in pop music, her reputation and happiness have suffered. She had a fight with Katy Perry and bad, public breakups with fellow stars Calvin Harris, Joe Jonas, and others.
Meanwhile, her feud with Kanye West escalated. Kim Kardashian got involved, and by the end of it, many had branded Taylor Swift a “snake.”
Reputation comes on the heels of this controversy. Fans have pointed out the many references her new hit songs make to the feuds. The style of music is very far from country—it’s electronic dance pop. With this album, Taylor Swift is once again competing in the pop genre. While the album will undoubtedly be successful—the single “Look What You Made Me Do” broke records for most downloads and streams as soon as it was available—what Taylor Swift should really do is make another country album.
When Taylor Swift was primarily a country singer, she never had the kind of personal problems she does in the pop world. The country circuit still welcomes her and she is a frequent guest on awards shows and events. As a songwriter, Taylor never really left the country world. She helped write Little Big Town’s hit song “Better Man”—but without all the drama that came with co-writing “This Is What You Came For.”
At heart, Taylor Swift is a songwriter and a storyteller. This is why she always shined as a country star. She connects with people through the lyrics and stories in her music. Her new songs don’t tell stories as much as show that she’s on the defense. She wants to defend her reputation, which is the theme behind her latest album.
But Taylor Swift built her reputation through country music. While the pop scene has tried to brand her as a “snake,” the country scene has always supported her. She became popular through country music, and it’s where her roots lie. A new country album could be just what she needs to put the damage from toxic people in the pop music scene behind her.
A new country album from Taylor Swift would give her the opportunity to tell her story on her own terms. By returning to her roots, Taylor Swift could show off her amazing talent for songwriting. It’s an area where Kanye West, Katy Perry, and others simply can’t chase her to. These artists simply don’t have any experience or talent when it comes to the storytelling power of country music.
While the fans that first made her famous would love it, it isn’t for them that Taylor Swift needs to write a country album. To experience a revival and rise above the drama and venom of the pop music scene–she needs to do it for herself.
[Featured Image by Stephen Chernin/AP Images]