A Swift return, but has country music lost its foot in the door?

Excited as I was to see the leak-prompted release of Taylor Swift’s new song, “Mine”, the affair has raised a few questions (not all of which, I must admit, are music related.)

Mildly related to music, you may notice on my twitter feed my rather sarcastic criticisms of Rolling Stone, or at least it’s online department. The first bum note the reporter hit makes you wonder how he came to be hired in the first place. A screen-grab is posted below; I refer you to that mammoth first sentence. Try saying it aloud…it hurts!

Extract From Rolling Stone Website

In the second screengrab, shown below, you will notice how this keen reporter has managed to give one of Ms Swift’s songs, a no.2 Billboard single from her PLATINUM album, the wrong title. Tut Tut.

I thought it was "You Belong With Me" ?!

Anyway, I digress, back to the music. Back to what is only a minor issue, with good old post-production. Granted, the country roots are still evident. Granted, it was this style of post-production that got Fearless to where it is. Even so, in places it has threatened to go that little bit too far.

It must be said, one of my favourite TS songs is “The Outside”, from her under-appreciated first album. And why is this? Because it’s true to her country roots, yet still embraces the hooks synonymous with pop music.

I do not begrudge people success, especially when it has the power to influence musical trends, to re-write the rulebook. It would be nice to see more acknowledgment going in the direction of the people TS describes as influences. It is more than deserved, in my humble opinion.

Yes, I like country music; I’m not just talking about Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and the like. I mean old-school country, and even the bands influenced by it. It is perhaps this reason why I feel a small twinge of sadness when I hear TS songs that have lost that country twang to the demands of the mainstream.

So there you have it, sort of. I’m torn between optimism and cynicism (and yes, I’m aware they aren’t opposites). I’m glad that TS and co. have brought country music to the masses, but still maintain a degree of doubt as to whether this has created diversity in young people’s music, or simply sold the soul of country to get an audience. I’m no more clear for writing this, the strands of though are terribly twisted. Can you tell?

So how about we get some feedback. What do you, my dear readers, think about TS? Is she the foot-in-the-door for country, a people’s champion for minority music? Or is she in fact the opposite, just a pawn in the mainstream pop-monopoly of music?

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