Taylor Swift performed at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show in London tonight. It will air on television next week. She appears to be wearing Victoria’s Secret too. A pop angel among angels.
My friend Lara sent me an article about Taylor last night that was posted at Slate about why 1989 is such a smash hit and what she’s accomplished this year. You cannot exaggerate her success. It’s a great album (and the soundtrack of my life right now), exactly right for who she is and where she is. But then the writer seems to turn the compliment into a… prediction?
The Imperial Phase is invoked. That’s how music critics describe an artist’s peak – that moment when they’re perfect, untouchable, the moment that precedes a fall…
The example given here is Lady Gaga in 2010. Lady Gaga was the biggest f-cking deal, right? Now? We’ve barely talked about Lady Gaga all year.
So. Is 1989 Taylor Swift’s Imperial Moment? The writer goes back to the year 1989 and compares her to the top act from that time: New Kids On The Block.
Like that’s the same. Like what Taylor’s riding now is what they were riding then.
It’s insulting. And it’s totally off-base. New Kids were hardly in control of their careers – we know it now and we knew it then. Taylor Swift had her own music publishing deal when she was 14. From the very beginning she’s been more in control of her work than NKOTB ever was. Because she writes. Which is a major, major advantage. And it’s clear that, whether you like her or not, she’s driving her own sh-t. People don’t give her enough credit for how calculating she is, how deliberate she’s been, how manipulative she can be – and these qualities are not necessarily negative, certainly not in this business. They just sound different when they’re applied to men:
Calculating = Inventive
Deliberate = Strategic
Manipulative = Instinctive
Whatever you want to call it, however you want to say it, at 24, Taylor Swift is nowhere near her Imperial Moment. And by the same criteria, I wonder if the writer would have said the same about Justin Timberlake when he was her age and giving Sexy Back. Would the writer have declared it JT’s Imperial Moment?
There’s a word for that, you know.
Click here to read the Slate piece.