Opinion

The Taylor Swift backlash has begun

On December 30, 1989, U2 played the final show of all the tours that came in the wake of the release of The Joshua Tree tour that began in 1987. During that time, the band was everywhere, with hit single after hit single and a series of EPs. U2 also released the Rattle and Hum movie in soundtrack. In short, U2 had been everywhere for more than two years.

At the end of that last show in Dublin, Bono gave what’s been known as the “Dream It All Up Again” speech. After being globally ubiquitous, it was time to disappear so U2 could figure out what to do next.

It would be about two years before they re-emerged with Achtung Baby in November 1991. Enough time elapsed for people to miss U2 so when the new album appeared, it was A Big Deal. Achtung Baby, probably the band’s best album (I think so) sustained them for the next couple of years. The hiatus was a smart move.

Today, common wisdom says that an artist should dribble out material constantly in order to remain top of mind in an increasingly competitive music market and to combat the ever-shortening attention span of music fans in the era of streaming. Drake figured that out early as did a number of other hip-hop fans.

This brings me to Taylor Swift. The world has been inundated in all things Tay-Tay for years now. Her presence will be felt throughout the rest of 2024 as the Eras tour continues and thanks to her new album–a double record!–called The Tortured Poets Department.

Swifties, of course, love this. The rest of the world? Maybe that’s enough Taylor Swift for now. Perhaps she should go away for a bit, enjoy her billions, hang out with her boyfiend, and, as Bono said, “dream it all up again.”

Paste magazine was one of the first out of the gate, giving the album a 3.6 out of 10 review. Then the New York Times published an article entitled “Taylor Swift Has Given Fans a Lot. Is It Finally Too Much?” Taylor fatigue, say writers Matt Stevens and Shivani Gonzalez, is finally upon us. Newsweek as a summary of the five most brutal reviews. Industry critic Bob Lefsetz had this to say (and got these responses.) Rolling Stone wasn’t exactly kind. And Courtney love broke with the sisterhood to throw a little shade at Taylor.

Look, too much of anything–even a great thing–is too much. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. You need to go away so the fans can rest up from the constant barrage of new material and slowly miss the artist. Green Day learned this the hard way earlier this century when they kept released music both as a band and as individual members.

Swift will still be in the news for months to come. But cracks have appeared in the universal fawning of her, her music, and her career. She’s been in our face for so long that some are starting to say “ENOUGH ALREADY!”

Tay-Tay: Think about when you’re going to go away and dream it all up again. It’ll be the best thing for your career–and your fans.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38291 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “The Taylor Swift backlash has begun

  • Maybe it’s time for the “Swifties” to grow up and stop referring to her as “Tay Tay”. Are ya gonna have some chocolate milk and cookies at her concert, followed by nappie time? It’s time to put on the adult pants now, kids.

    Reply
  • Right on. Exactly what I thought when I heard the album released. “Another album already?!” and “Didn’t the last one release just a year ago?”. Too soon. No gems. Just filler for real fans.

    Reply

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