Even though the Grammys tried to switch it up last night, announcing the Record of the Year category at the end of the show instead of Album of the Year, people still consider AOTY to be the most prestigious award in music – and it really shouldn’t have been a surprise that Taylor Swift won her third for folklore. Most experts were predicting a Taylor win, for many reasons.
First, it’s a good album. Many think it might be her best album, and a fitting showcase of her prolific songwriting ability. As evidenced by a follow-up album, evermore, just a few months after. Next, it’s the way she released it, on very little warning, the first time in her career she hasn’t had a major marketing push in advance of an album. That has a lot to do with the pandemic but the energy of the music and its delivery format also met the moment. It helped too that Taylor was so quiet, and has remained, for the most part, pretty quiet at least in the usual spaces. She hasn’t been a high profile celebrity at all in 2020/21, so the music was the music, no distractions. Creatively and strategically, everything came together for her.
And then with folklore, it’s also the kind of music that the Recording Academy traditionally favours. We’ve discussed at length today that, well, certain music by certain artists, no matter how popular, is often boxed in categories that don’t often play when it comes to the major awards at the Grammys. That’s not a conversation that’s necessarily on Taylor though. There are a lot of other people who have to answer to calls for change in the institution.
So Taylor is now the female artist with the most AOTY wins, with three. We know she loves to win, we know she loves to break records, how much these accolades matter to her – and that was true before the whole situation with her masters became a public fight. It’s probably even more satisfying now, then, as this AOTY win is for an album under her new deal, for music that is hers that she owns outright. And all of this just as we’re getting closer and closer to the release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version), which of course is Taylor re-recording her music from Fearless so as to diminish the value of the originals. This is happening in three weeks. The numbers for that will likely be big, adding to her power in the industry. Because if you can chart a #1 album that’s full of songs that sound exactly the same as when you did them years ago, it’s probably an unprecedented achievement.
There was a lot to celebrate for Taylor last night and in the days to come. She thanked Joe Alwyn on stage during her acceptance and also Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, letting us know how close they all are if those two are the people who get to hear her music right after Joe. She also sounded and looked great – I was quite into her performance, as on-the-nose as it was with the woodland fairy theme, but then again, Taylor’s never been known for her subtlety and the set was gorgeous and her dress was gorgeous and I do LOVE the floral overload look vibe she took to the red carpet.
As for that moment that people are talking about with Harry Styles?
I mean, I feel like the Taylor and Harry drama was no longer a drama a long time ago but, yes, this is probably the strongest evidence of that we’ve seen publicly which should take of that situation forever, right?