Taylor Swift cleaned up well at the 2010 Grammys, netting four awards and adding to her already staggering list of achievements and accomplishments.
This year, she was nowhere to be found.
Despite the fact that her latest album Speak Now was released several weeks after the nomination cutoff date, she still had a few good singles under her belt that could have been strong contenders in the country category (or whatever she's calling herself these days). "Today Was a Fairytale," "Fearless," "Fifteen" and "Mine" all fell under the right time frame. But why was she left off?
I would say it's because she's not "country." Last I checked, country songs consist of four major things: twang, beer, sex and guns. But perhaps I am expecting too much, because Jewel is on the Grammy list for this year under the country header. Jewel. Who's next, Nelly Furtado?
No, Taylor is no Loretta Lynn or Bocephus. But who in the country world is anymore? Several country artists are walking the line between country and pop these days. Rascal Flatts. Lady Antebellum. Carrie Underwood and Miss Swift herself.
But in my opinion, T-Swizzle falls into a separate category, the category of artists who sell themselves out to the commercial industry and then go dating Jonas brothers, werewolves (in the guise of Taylor Lautner) and Jon Mayer. (See also the category of artists who write songs about dating aforementioned washouts). I know she got her start in the country music industry and people the world over consider her a country girl, but lately that seems to be false.
Furthermore, it is my firm belief that if girls 10 years younger than you come and scream at your concerts and request that your music be played at their grade school dances, you become dangerously close to losing your place in any real genre. Add in the fact that your music videos are played constantly on MTV and VH1 and that your songs have been remixed for Top 40 stations, and you have lost your country crown. You have now been shoveled into the cliché, synthesized, bubble gum, and dangerously addictive brand of music we like to call "pop."
Other poppish country artists are come to mind, but none of them are as widely worshiped as Taylor. It's like she's Miley Cyrus, only better and more prolific.
Taylor cleverly tried to prove that she was a country artist by writing a song reminiscing about her life as a younger girl at the age of "Fifteen." Country artists live in the past. They thrive on their breakups and the innocence of their childhoods. Plenty of other country artists have written the proverbial adolescence song: Brad Paisley with "Letter to Me," Carrie Underwood with "Don't Forget to Remember Me," Jason Aldean with "Laughed Until We Cried," Miranda Lambert with "The House That Built Me." All respectable country artists.
Taylor, I hate to break it to you, but writing a song about when you're 15 is only cool when you actually are 15 or when you're 35 and reminiscing about it. Not when you're 20.
Furthermore, no one is buying that "oh my God I never expected to win and I'm so innocent" shtick. You were Forbes' 69th most powerful celebrity in 2009 and 12th in 2010. You make fistfuls of money. Your hair is perfect. Your concerts sell out. You now God knows how many awards...the Time 100, Entertainment Weekly Entertainer of the Year and a whole lot more. You totally expected it.
Her catchy lyrics and four-chord singalong songs got her started in 2006. The Kanye incident in 2009 fueled her popularity. A late release for Speak Now , only one award at the Academy of Country Music Awards and an empty slate at the Country Music Awards seem to point to a slump, for at least a year. What will the 2012 Grammys bring us? How long will it be until Taylor just goes to pop? And which star will she get her manicured paws on after Jake Gyllenhaal?
Only time will tell.