Photo courtesy of Michael Tran/Getty Images.
Simply enough, Taylor Swift is the greatest songwriter to ever grace this Earth -- and she's yet to reach 25.
While many may justifiably lament about the stronger lyrical stylings by the likes of Lennon, Dylan, McCartney, Mitchell, and Springsteen -- being a diehard fan of the latter -- people have to understand that Taylor Swift wrote all 14 songs on her 2010 album, Speak Now, by herself. And not only that, but she did so between the ripe ages of 16 and 19. And being just 19 myself, I couldn't even imagine anyone I know (including the obnoxiously loud, but gifted, guitarist living down the hall in my dormitory) to come up with such melodic, yet mainstream, stories that she's been able to effortlessly curate out of heartbreak over the years. I honestly don't think anyone can.
This alone grants her the title.
But just to preface this further, I'm not one of those guys who tweets about Taylor Swift on a frequent basis or even listens to her music through public sessions on Spotify in the efforts of proving my allegiance to the Swiftie fandom. It's just not my thing. But in being an American teenage male, I really do like listening to her music (albeit for many consecutive nights after facing rejections or experiencing anxiety-filled study sessions). She's the calm storm that every budding twenty-something's dreamed of.
And to be perfectly honest, most guys enjoy her music as well on a strange, spiritual level. Perhaps it's because she often writes in gender ambiguity -- which associates to any guy's emotional journey as we too fall in and out of love. Or maybe the fact that she's become the Manhattan bombshell known as "TAYLOR SWIFT" and there never seems to be ego, just sensible substance. I mean, any word she speaks of can be easily be mistakenly archived as a quote from a poet laureate straight out of the Renaissance era. It's almost un-human.
But the honest proof lies in weeks prior when -- after reading her recent Rolling Stone cover story -- I instantly emailed the article to all of my male friends (from frat brothers to baseball players) who were amazed by the humility in one of the most intelligent artists we've ever known. Yeah, they've attested to having "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" featured on a Spotify playlist in the past and may have even gravitated to "Teardrops On My Guitar" throughout middle school. But their reported amazement lied in the fact she makes being a good girl look, well, good. And attractively, so unlike anything we've come to know from the songwriters of our generation's short lifespans. I mean, this is supposed to be the age where girls start shedding their image (and clothes) in the efforts of approaching a newfound expression. But once again, Taylor Swift doesn't need to; her musical attraction has crossed over gender, cultural, and generational gaps unlike any artist in the history.
She's the real deal.
Now, I wasn't always a proper fan of Taylor Swift -- being first introduced to her music on that unfortunately fateful September night that many fans can understandably remember. But for me, that night would also introduce me to the poignantly confessional role model that I know today. I began searching for her album, Fearless, on MySpace, and as I began listening to a song by the name of "Tell Me Why," the unthinkable happened: A girl who I had a crush on for almost two years throughout my time in high school broke up with me over text message because she admittedly liked another guy.
What just happened?
At the time, since I just couldn't quite relate to the mature sensibilities of John Mayer's Continuum or the greatness that would become of Ed Sheeran -- who had yet-to-become prevalent stateside -- I needed something else; something to get over this suddenly intense heartbreak. So as my stormy emotions began to settle, I decided to play that song that I had opportunely queued on my laptop. And it was like catchfire to my feelings as "Tell Me Why" featured the opening line, "I took a chance/I took a shot /And you might think I'm bulletproof, but I'm not/You took a swing/I took it hard/And down here from the ground I see who you are." Never before has a song so passionately and empathetically mended my emotions. (Five years later who knew that, "so you call me up again just to break me like a promise/so casually cruel in the name of being honest" would do the same from her cult hit, "All Too Well"?) The girl can write.
And transformatively so, as proven on her fourth entry, Red -- one of the greatest albums I've ever heard.
But as Taylor's writing seems to shift with her latest LP, titled 1989 (out October 27), it appears that mine has as well. I think I've finally come to this point in my life whren I've been able realize that it's really okay to own your vulnerabilities and write about them because they can only make you stronger. I think it's an oh-too-common misconception that guys don't have feelings and that we don't get heartbroken because we do. And sometimes you can be a really good guy and do all the right things, but things just don't workout. This has been easy lesson to observe since Taylor Swift's songwriting been in my life -- which inadvertently contributes to the interactive appeal of her music. We see her publicly get knocked down to only prove otherwise in her poignant and confessional songwriting style.
She just seems to get life.
And after hearing about how Lena Dunham became friends with Ms. Swift, it only confirmed her openness as an individual when their first bonding experience happened through Twitter's direct message feature. Bizarrely enough, no serious prior communication was facilitated except for a mutual appreciate to each other's work and arranged lunch over the net. Her openness to friendships is simply inspirational and somehow "karmatically" connected as fun.'s Jack Antonoff -- Lena's boyfriend -- has reportedly co-written Springsteen-esqe songs for her latest album. She even reveals in a recent interview, "I choose my friends based on people I have things in common with or people who challenge me." Taylor continued by saying, "Honestly, I think that there's something really inspiring about being around people who know what they want, people who are passionate about something. You want to be around smart, exciting people -- I think that that brings you up."
As I do.
This week, I enter my twenties for the first time and with that comes a lot of reflection on what may come of my future. But what I've discovered -- much to the affect of Taylor's swift way of living -- is that your life can be whatever may come of it. Your twenties don't have to be dark and twisted, with dreams becoming timestamped to your teenage imagination. It's yours to create. And adversely as mentioned lyrically in her 2013 single, "22," and supposedly every song on her latest album, 1989 -- "everything's going to be alright."
And with that philosophy, I thank Taylor.
To conclude, I'm currently perusing through my social media feed and I've coincidentally discovered an update from that girl who let me down so eagerly on that September night in high school. She's pictured with her new boyfriend as I begin to smirk in an absolute sort of acceptance. And being five years later, the song that I'm choosing to employ to narrate this moment in time is nothing regarding regret or heartbreak. Not "Back to December," "All Too Well," or even "You're Not Sorry," for that matter. I decidedly hit play for "Shake It Off."
And the full-circle moment begins as I exit my dorm room for class.
Tywan Wade is a junior at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. Read more about him in Impossible Dreams: The Story of Discovering My Superpowers.