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Schuppel’s Scoop: the summer I turned Swiftie

Claire Schuppel/Wikimedia Commons
Claire Schuppel writes about her experience listening to Taylor Swift for the first time since youth.

My summer was full of memories shared with life long best friends, trips to the movie theater (mainly for “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” rewatches) and new experiences at my internship, but one thing stands out about the last three months of my life: I had my Taylor Swift renaissance. For the first time since around 2012, I’ve been enamored with Swift’s discography and was impressed with the dynamic shift she’s made in her sound. So, I wanted to share a few of my favorite songs that I’ve discovered this year.

“cowboy like me,” “evermore”

This is by far my favorite song of Swift’s as it describes a passionate romance between two con artists. Some might interpret the lyrics as a love that was doomed from the start because the backgrounds of the two aren’t seen as compatible with love – that’s where myself and many others on TikTok disagree. Swift’s use of lyrics like “Now I know I’m never gonna love again” isn’t meant to represent a heartbreak so deep that one can’t recover; it’s about a relationship that is so pure and intense that nothing can compare.

Another lyric from the track that has stuck with me is “Now you hang from my lips like the gardens of Babylon,” which is one of the most beautiful lyrics I’ve read after considering its significance. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon is one of the Seven Wonders of the World which is thought to have never existed, so using its beauty as a symbol of a love too good to be real is magnificent. Overall, “cowboy like me” is one of Swift’s most underrated, gorgeous songs in her catalog that more people should recognize.

“Nothing New (feat. Phoebe Bridgers),” “Red (Taylor’s Version)”

This vault track has been on my radar for some time because of my adoration for Phoebe Bridgers so it was a bit of a catalyst for my love of Swift in adulthood. The song is a heartbreaking portrait of what life is like as a young woman in the public eye. Swift wrote the song at 22, alluded to with the lyric “How can a person know everything at 18, but nothing at 22?” Many young women fear that after they begin to age, society deems them as less valuable because of the widely accepted ageism that surrounds us and Swift wrote this song for all of us that share that fear.

Swift was born to perform, and looking at the entertainment industry’s track record on how they have treated their female performers validates all of these feelings of insecurity. She came up in the time of Britney Spears’ widely reported breakdown and Miley Cyrus abandoning her “girl next door” persona, among hundreds of other examples. 

Why are these the things that I, a child of the 2000s and early 2010s, remember most? Why were the women in entertainment only ever scrutinized or cast aside as they aged? Even Swift knew this in youth when she wrote “Nothing New,” and it’s an idea I think about often.

“mirrorball,” “folklore”

If it isn’t obvious, I love Swift’s stripped down and indie-leaning music. Through exploring her discography, “folklore” and “mirrorball” have resonated with me most. It’s not the most revolutionary or subtle of her songs in terms of its meaning, but I think “mirrorball” has one of the most relatable concepts for the people pleasers of the world. 

The song starts in its first verse saying “I’ll show you every version of yourself tonight” and “when I break, it’s in a million pieces.” A person most similar to the “mirrorball” in the song is one that adapts to reflect the strengths/weaknesses of others and uses this as a means to garner their own admiration – think supporting actors or members of musical ensembles. It’s always about reinvention depending on the circumstances they are forced into, not shining on their own accord and not feeling confident enough to march to the beat of their own drum.

Swift also subtly ties romance into the song with the lyric “You are not like the regulars, the masquerade revelers, drunk as they watch my shattered edges glisten.” The verse is poetic with its reference to a grandiose masquerade ball which can heightened the intensity of needing to appeal to the masses. But once you can find someone to put together the broken pieces after relentlessly trying to please others, you can finally take a moment to be the center of their world. 

It would be remiss of me to not mention a few honorable mentions for other amazing Swift songs, so here are a few more to leave you all with:

“Long Live,” “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)”

“Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve,” “Midnights (3am Edition)”

“The Man,” “Lover”

“Delicate,” “reputation”

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About the Contributor
Claire Schuppel, Arts and Life Editor
Claire Schuppel is a senior from Lakewood, Ohio. She is a Psychology major with a concentration in Child and Family Studies and a Statistics and Analytics minor. She serves as the vice president of Psi Chi, the international psychology honors society and is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu. She is a movie fanatic, a lover of literature and an advocate for mental health awareness. In her free time, you can find her with a book in her hands or blasting classic rock from the 1970s. She one day hopes to obtain her PhD in Clinical Psychology and work with children and adolescents from all walks of life.

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