OK, so if it’s not already obvious from my username here, I am a lover of pop music. When I was a kid, I had every square inch of my bedroom covered in posters and tapestries and photos of New Kids on the Block. I’m talking serious business here. I cut around outlets to ensure no space was wasted. I had the beach towel. The sheets. I wrote essays to win tickets to see them; I obtained backstage passes to the infamous Magic Summer Tour at Lake Compounce in 1991. I was a young teen girl obsessed and it was glorious.
Back then, we never knew more about our idols than what was reported in the teen magazines. I knew Joey McIntyre’s birth date, the names of all of his siblings and his favorite color, but I never knew if he was doing drugs or sleeping with 10 girls in every city. Blissfully ignorant in those days before the internet. Before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… TMZ and Perez Hilton. And the music? Was pure bubble gum. If I may…
“Girl, you’re my best friend
Girl, you’re my love within
I just want you to know
That I will always love you
“Baby, I believe in you and every little thing you do.
Every time we kiss it always feels like this, I believe in you.
Baby, I believe in us and every little inch of our trust.
Whether I’m around, you never let me down, I believe in you.”
For today’s young pop stars, it’s a whole new ballgame. We know their every move. Many of them (Biebs, I’m looking at you.) blow up fast and plummet just as quickly (Dude, two hours late to multiple shows? Instagram pics of you – allegedly – drunk and high? Fighting with your fancy neighbors? GET IT TOGETHER, MAN.)
And the lyrics?
“To my home girls here with the big butt
Shaking it like we at a strip club
Remember only God can judge ya
Forget the haters cause somebody loves ya
And everyone in line in the bathroom
Trying to get a line in the bathroom
We all so turned up here
Getting turned up, yeah, yeah”
But, Taylor, my Taylor. Say what you will about her personal life. Maybe she’s a skank, I don’t know and I don’t care. Maybe she’s invading Rhode Island and being a huge bitch about it. Here’s the thing. She shows up for her shows and (fake or not – I DO NOT CARE) appreciates her fans. She has bangs and doesn’t act a fool.
I am happy to let my four year old listen to her music. Happy to let her dance around watching an appropriately dressed young woman sing about how it’s shitty to be mean to people. And how there’s more to life than being popular.
“‘Cause when you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You’re gonna believe them
When you’re fifteen and your first kiss makes your head spin around
But in your life you’ll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team
But I didn’t know it at fifteen.”
YES, Taylor. PREACH.
And do not even get me started on the song she wrote for Ronan.
Regardless of the sincerity (and I’m not saying she’s not), I appreciate the way she carries herself publicly. I appreciate that she understands and respects that she’s got very young fans who want to be her. I appreciate the way she tells her fans that it’s ok to stand up for yourself, it’s ok to say no, it’s ok if you make a mistake as long as you learn from it, it’s ok to be you.
And… it doesn’t hurt that I like the music. OF COURSE I DO.