It happened every Sunday night there was an awards show on like clockwork. I would log onto the social media service of my choosing, get the popcorn out and revel in the massive party of hate against Taylor Swift by friends and family members alike.
“She can’t sing live!” “We’re so sick of her!” “Can’t she quit acting so surprised when she wins something?” The comments were pretty much always the same, but that didn’t make them any less enjoyable. We’d anxiously await the end of a subpar performance before taking to our 140-character count with the most snarky remarks imaginable.
The love affair was over. There was a period of time in which the whole world fell head over heels for the pop country superstar. Her album “Fearless” was a sales monster and an awards juggernaut. She was honored everywhere she went, and we just couldn’t get enough of this cute Alice lost in an entertainment wonderland.
She was always stunned, but gracious. And the admiration wasn’t unwarranted; her songs were well written and solidly performed (at least, on the albums). I remember been genuinely shocked by what great outings “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story” were. What red-blooded Southern boy or pretty country belle wouldn’t have drowned themselves in her youth, innocence and soulful wording of puppy love?
And when her next release, “Speak Now,” arrived in stores, we were right there with her. Don’t lie: you know you listened to “Mine” and “Back to December.” You repeated those tracks multiple times, in fact. She was still riding the wave of good vibes she had gathered, and there began to be questioning as to when exactly that monstrous tidal would come crashing down.
Oddly enough, the end came not in the death of good songwriting or even commercial success, but in an extensive overexposure of the star. In an instant, it felt as if she was everywhere. There was Taylor Swift on your screen for every awards show. There she was doing another commercial. She was gracing the cover of magazine after magazine. I’m not even going to go into the crazy amount of interviews, YouTube videos and every other form of media under the sun she consumed.
We got sick of seeing her. We got tired of hearing about her lame break-ups. Oh, and above all else, we couldn’t stand her whole annoying persona getting up on the awards stage on what felt like a nightly basis to accept yet another piece of gold. As she sometimes makes fun of in her latest album, “Red,” it became hip to hate Taylor Swift.
I was there, too! I joined in with all of you, grabbing my torch and pitchfork. I awaited our Twitter sessions where we giggled out short jokes to rip her. What a joy we got tearing this young woman down for her dreadful live numbers and ear-bleeding acceptance speeches.
But, I’m here today to make a confession. I can’t live with myself any longer. I’ve been carrying an awful secret deep down inside me, and I can’t live this lie anymore. As much as I want to hate her, I can’t stop from loving Taylor’s songs.
Yes, I’ll hate on Ms. Swift’s persona to anyone who will listen and normally will get unanimous agreement. Later in the evening, though, when I’m driving home and “22” comes on the radio, I can’t contain myself. I’m singing so loud in my car that my lungs are getting ready to bust. I repeat every adolescent lyric by heart. I was so gleeful when I saw the single was featured in the new Diet Coke ads I immediately texted two friends who knew of my secret and squealed like a school girl.
It gets worse: it didn’t start with “22.” I know “I Knew You Were Trouble” line-for-line. Ditto to “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” I finally broke down and listened to the whole album “Red” on Spotify, devouring it in one session like a late night helping of salty McDonald’s French fries.
I want to confirm something to all of you reading this, because I know the name “Alex” can belong to either gender: I am a 25-year-old male saying all of this at my own will and not being held at gunpoint in some small town in western Tennessee. I realize how sad my addiction is, and during my free time this summer, I fully plan on getting help for this condition.
Before I go to rehab, though, I can’t help but have a suspicious feeling as I grab the keys for the crazy-mobile. You, enlightened reader who has invested your eyeballs in this piece, you feel the same way, don’t you? You’ve been secretly blurting out lyrics from “22” in everyday life recently, no? In fact, late last year, when her mouth hadn’t even opened yet, you yelled out “I remember when we broke up…”
Yes, I have a feeling that my confessional applies to more than just myself. I think we’ve entered a new age of self-imposed prohibition, only alcohol isn’t the target this time; it’s Taylor Swift. In public, we belittle her, rip her choices and eagerly wait to see images or even video of her professional downfall.
In our cars and the privacy of our own homes, though, we pull out her playlist like a small bottle of gin and down those tracks in a single setting. Don’t want to confess? That’s fine. Just point and laugh at my revelation. I’ll keep your secret safe.