Unpopular Opinions: The first (and maybe last) issue.

Hello my esteemed & crazy fellow fandom folk,

Yes, it’s a bit risky to post these kind of opinions. No matter how loudly I proclaim to be a Taylor Swift fan, some of these could be misconstrued. Nevertheless, here’s the disclaimer. Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who remains a fan of the Blonde With The Sparkly Guitar, we believe we can criticize what we love without stop loving it. That being said, you are free to unsubscribe, unfollow and block me into oblivion after this one. I believe we humans are all flawed and nobody is perfect.

Now, first things first. I consider myself a fan, one with both a heart and a brain. Sometimes things add up, sometimes they don’t. It’s mostly conjecture on my part, so as unpopular as these are, they are just opinions. That being said, I’m going to try to ease you in with the easy ones. As you soon will see, a lot of these are going to be more about the business than about T-Swizzle.

#1: We see Taylor Swift, the brand, more than the person.

Okey, let’s be real. This is also a criticism on the fandom. I know that a lot of people think of T-Swizzle as mom, angel, saviour, queen and/or goddess. I’m with you if you’re just bantering, but when it comes down to it she’s not really any of those things. I think when people put their celebrity idol in a pedestal, they implicitly put themselves down. You’re an individual, your worth is not measured by how good of a follower you are.

We’ve caught glimpses of the “real” Taylor Swift once or twice. I am not saying she’s fake, I’m saying she must always be on her best behaviour. Every public appearance is a performance of herself in her most positive light, rehearsed and precise. Once or twice she might slip in something unexpected that comes from a real place. But when that becomes a pattern, that’s when it has become part of the script.

The Taylor Swift persona is, however, always based on the real Taylor. She does come up with all the things she says but there’s a lot of poise and practice there. Yes, there is a real Taylor Swift. But when she is out meeting people, she has to project her best image. Think of it the way you go for a job interview, or behave when meeting your better half’s parents or how you behave when you want to ask your parents to get you tickets for a Taylor Swift concert. You are the best version of yourself you can be. That’s Taylor Swift all the time.

The best way to describe it is that she’s at work. Taylor works really hard. She’s an artist, a performer, and a songwriter. Her fame, her celebrity status, is the bread and butter for all the people that run her brand and as such the pressure is on to keep the train going. Taylor Swift remains at the wheel, but she has to think several moves ahead to what she’s going to do. You’re most likely caught her performing even when she’s not on stage.

#2: The main objective of the Taylor Swift brand is to market and sell.

Marketing a persona is not new. All celebrities do it. The more it feels like an insider’s look into the “real” person’s psyche the better it works. To be clear, that means the better it sells. Celebrities are always selling. We’re always ready to buy. When celebrities are not selling anything, they’re still trying to stay present in our minds. In the music business, the goal is to do business.

To Taylor’s credit, she does consider that the moment you’ve bought a ticket to a show, you should be entertained to fullest. She’s always trying to give you the best possible product, may it be a CD, her tour, her promo. Taylor is the face for all the merchandise based on herself. We’ve literally got one song out, the first single of an upcoming album, and it’s been repackaged into so many versions (single, video, vinyl versions, autographed, live recording vinyl, etc.). Also, I don’t think I am imagining the aggressive push that the merch is getting to become instantly collectable. Limited editions, anybody?

I’m not saying I’m immune. I do have some extra 1989 CD’s that I got hoping to grab extra polaroids when that was a thing. And that’s another aspect of this branding thing. Her quirks, her mannerisms, all come from a place of her real persona but end where they help the brand the most. Her love for the old polaroid was turned into a quirky gimmick to make people grab extra copies of her album. I know Taylor doesn’t like to hear the word “calculating” to describe her, but her business savvy is on point. She might not always be the driving force for selling stuff, but she is definitely a motive and the authority that allow it to happen.

#3: Celebrities are not your friends.

I’m trying to put it as kindly as I can…

I used to be a fan of professional wrestling. Hold on, I am getting somewhere here… In professional wrestling, you have your either a “face” (hero) or a “heel” (villain) and you have to remain in character for all official appearances (it’s what they call “kayfabe”). A lot of fans know what’s going on, and appreciate the performances both in the ring and out, of the people who basically coordinate a physical performance to put on a show. There are fans, however, who buy the whole act, hook, line and sinker. They’re called “marks”. These are often very young fans.

In the world of celebrity worship, there’s a lot of young fans that I feel end up as marks. Taylor Swift is thrilled to have fans. I believe that of her, she’s not pretending. She’s friend-ly to them. But in the most optimistic point of view, she’s a long-distance friend. You will not be able to call her when you need to talk to someone and you cannot make plans for the weekend with her. Granted, she goes above and beyond to breach that gap, but she’s gotta maintain her status. You’re not going to have her reveal to you anything that she doesn’t want out there. Yes, she’s done secret sessions of her material. She’s not going to give you her phone number. She’s been known to breach the wall and show up at a bridal shower or a reception, but those are very rare scenarios.

That also means you have keep a certain distance both figuratively and literally. Obviously, don’t stalk her – that goes without saying. But also, remember you have your own life. When she drops new music, you have to temper your anticipation. You have to think school, finances, work, budget, relationships and commitments. You can’t throw your life out the window. I know I have been known to banter and joke about this as much or even more than other fans, but your life mustn’t revolve around Taylor Swift. Funny enough, she depends on her fans more than her fans depend on her. The Sparkly Dressed depends on her fans buying her stuff to keep her lifestyle and get to the next milestone single, album, concert or appearance. You depend on your job tomorrow morning to pay the bills or school so you have a decent job. Yes, I sound like an old man because I am an old man.

There’s obviously more, but let’s save some for a future instalment if it ever happens. Or if I have any readers left after I post this one…

The Blonde With The Sparkly Guitar She’ll More Likely Hit Me Over The Head With has a lot of appearances coming up! The Voice. Graham Norton. The Voice again, but in France. NRJ in France. She’s back in the U. S. of A. for Wango Tango. Consider Taylor in full promo mode for a bit.

Coming up in the Calendar:

  • May 21: Taylor Swift will perform ME! featuring Brendon Urie on The Voice finale.
  • May 24: Taylor Swift will perform on The Graham Norton Show. This might also have a short interview segment.
  • May 25: Taylor Swift will perform on The Voice France. She also has a Meet and Greet in Paris.
  • May 27: Taylor Swift’s interview with NRJ France.
  • June 1: Taylor Swift is in the lineup for the 2019 iHeartRadio Wango Tango at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

(Sources: Twitter, Instagram. Featured Image: Photo by Peggy Sirota for Entertainment Weekly)

6 thoughts on “Unpopular Opinions: The first (and maybe last) issue.

  1. I appreciate you, a fan account, doing this because sometimes we, as fans, have to keep certain things in mind. You raise some valid points. Another thing I would add is how obsessed she gets about everything. I love that she is organizational (I’m too) but sometimes it just gets too much (the crop tops during 1989, the “SONICALLY COHESIVE” thing, now with the easter eggs). Kudos to her for building a brand on ~cohesive~ series of images and narrative, though, but I’m growing up and frankly a little tired of strict patterns.

  2. I found this post to be very interesting and insightful. Something that particularly struck me was your point about self-worth and how “good” of a “follower” you are. This is a big thing (daresay, problem?) I notice with Taylor’s fans on social media. Some fans who have met her at Secret Sessions or gone to 30+ concerts think that automatically makes them “better” fans, and they sometimes refuse to associate with fans who haven’t met her or haven’t been to as many shows and they break off into Internet cliques (I see this on Tumblr a lot). I think what’s important to remember is she needs her fans more than her fans need her (to keep making music, pay her bills, etc.). To be clear, I’m not attacking her or her fans in anyway–I’ve been a fan for 10+ years now–but I’ve noticed how disagreeing with the common mindset in an entertainer’s “fandom” often results in other members of the fandom criticizing a person and their opinion. I respect Taylor as a creator and I think she’s extremely talented, but I don’t agree with everything she says and does (which is normal; I would hope no one would blindly worship anyone, celebrity or otherwise). That doesn’t mean I love her music any less. Great post!

    1. Thank you! And yes, that notion of being a better fan based on how much stuff you own or how many concerts you go to is troubling and false. And yet, even the media perpetuates it (and a us too, I have to admit). I’m 100% with you on how no one should blindly worship anybody. Thanks for your comment!

  3. I love this ! Very nicely put.
    And I am really glad that she finally remebered France exists even though I suspect it is part of her album promo (french song, or french word in a title ?), anyway she might finally do a show here (can I still hope ?)

  4. I appreciate your views. It appears you have finally grown up or you’ve been hiding your brilliance all along.

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