Within a whirlwind week of the Taylor Swift peak
She is everywhereand the world is just her backup band.
this is Taylor Swiftin the week. It is difficult to remember a star of SweepHer image spans so many roles, spans so much of the world, covers so many corners of culture and makes so much of it in her appearance between Awards Grammy Sunday and the Super Bowl Sunday – with four performances in Tokyo. between
It represents a pop culture era – a sort of perfect storm of fame, exposure, artistry and excellence for a woman who has become one of the most recognizable names on the planet. And every moment of it will be dissected – with both frustration and criticism.
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Is this the apogee of modern multimedia stardom? It could be a true throwback, to a time of a less segregated and less subcultural society, when a star could become a household name across continents and generations, taking part in the events that people follow together as they happen.
“She’s at the center of those moments that we don’t get to see very often anymore,” said Shilpa Davé, a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia.
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You have to look far into the past, and past music, to find someone with the cultural power of Swift. You may have to look to a time when the media was less fragmented, when the pipes to people’s eyes and ears were smaller and slower.
“She’s Walter Cronkite. She’s the most trusted name, the most trusted voice in America,” said John Baick, a professor of history at Western New England University who studies popular culture between -different from society in general. “I can’t think of anyone in our politics, in our culture, in our society that we know across generations. Maybe Oprah, but I think Oprah was less interested in some of methods.”
For many from the younger generations, scattered by social media, “Taylor Swift offers a vocabulary – a shared language,” Baick said.
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Swift’s whirlwind week kicked off with a record fourth win for record of the year at the Grammys in Los Angeles, where she could have made even bigger waves with her surprise announcement that her next album is ready for fall in April. Nearly 17 million people watched, a huge and outrageous number for today’s awards shows that there was no doubt that she was greatly indebted.
Then it’s off to Asia for four shows at the Tokyo Dome to echo her seismic stadium shows in North and South America last year.
If all goes as planned, she’ll switch back time zones and hustle back to the US to play headlining for her Kansas City tight end boyfriend Travis Kelce at the Super Bowl in Las Vegas , and it will likely be seen in a row with Kelce’s family and friends during the game with an audience far larger than the Grammys.
Don’t worry – it does everywhere
Fans worried about the plausibility of her tight schedule have been addressed by the Japanese embassy in Washington, which said in a statement that “if she leaves Tokyo the evening after her concert- music, she should arrive in Las Vegas comfortably before the Super Bowl begins. .”
Swift seems to be weathering the whole storm, if her Record of the Year acceptance speech is any indication.
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“I would love to tell you that this is the best time of my life. But I feel so happy when I finish a song, or when I break the code to a bridge that I love, or when I’m shortlisting a music video, or when I’m working with my dancers, or with my band, or getting ready to go to Tokyo to play a concert,” she said. from the platform. “For me, the work is the reward. All I want is to be able to do this.”
Although she doesn’t say much publicly about her relationship with Kelce (she didn’t get thanked in her two Grammy speeches and wasn’t at the ceremony), she’s clearly aware of the visual story which she tells.
“Of course, she didn’t have to go to the games. She could have watched from home,” Baick said. “She didn’t have to go to these boxes where she would be well-groomed by family members and friends. But her career is important. And this is someone who is not apologetic about that. In that sense, she is also like Madonna. which is in the public eye. And why not?”
Part of Swift’s appeal is the cultural moment we live in
Kelce emphasized the phenomenon Monday from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas that “she’s rewriting the history books herself” and that she “has definitely brought a lot of new faces to the game.”
The secret to her counter-culture appeal that may be reaching its peak this week comes in part from the special glow she can bring – something that is contagious, political turmoil and social erosion have created hunger.
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“We don’t have many big moments where we celebrate just the joy of music and culture,” Davé said. “She brings that with her… And I think we need it at this time as well.”
Baick agrees. “I don’t think we, as a country, have ever needed someone. Except after he killed John F. Kennedy. and that desire of young people to give themselves up, to be cut loose. And so, he was driven by a woman.”
This moment was also made possible by the incomparable connection she is able to make with her followers, and her commitment to serving them and placing them in the center. Part of that connection may be her willingness to be a big fan herself, an essential part of the beginning and end of her big week.
At the Grammys, as she often does at awards shows, she nonchalantly stood and sang along with everyone from Tracy Chapman to Olivia Rodrigo. And she’ll play the fan at the Super Bowl like she has for much of Kelce and the Chiefs’ season, a place she looks comfortable in, unafraid of her job or her own identity being on the line. delete
But the fear has come with criticism
There could not be unanimity around someone so prominent, and these appearances have brought out detractors. Some soccer fans have taken issue with the attention she receives during games, although she is screen time can be counted in seconds. She was also criticized for the private jets she should be using throughout the week.
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And she has been the subject of unfounded rumors ranging from claims that she is part of a Pentagon psychological operation to the idea that she and Kelce are assets in a plot to impeach President Joe Biden. help him get re-elected.
“There is a real fear of what she and tens of millions of people who followed her could do in an election that is probably going to be close,” said Baick.
In fact, there are many who simply do not care for her or her music. And her appeal runs deeper in some communities than in others.
“It’s mostly a white, middle-class phenomenon,” Baick said. “But it cuts deeper than that. It is more than that. It is not monochrome. And it is geographically broad. The world – maybe it doesn’t like our politics, maybe it doesn’t like our foreign policy – still loves our pop culture. she is a proud ambassador.”
There will be a week that she will have a hard time covering. But she has surpassed what seemed like peaks before.
“In the lap of her victory, I’m curious to see where she takes,” said Davé. “Because these things don’t last so how does she become this huge commercial success, or will she leave a legacy?”