By Shannon Collins
It’s been a long time coming. The country-pop crossover artist, Taylor Swift, has finally taken the plunge into full-on pop princess. We all knew it was going to happen sooner or later, and on August 14, it became official. With the infuriatingly catchy tune “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Swift was guaranteed to secure a high place on the righthand side of our iTunes store homepages. The label of “country,” however, shouldn’t accompany her.
This latest big hit has solidified Swift’s transition into the pop genre, competing with the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen and Katy Perry for bubbly relationship songs with lighthearted lyrics that everyone can bob their heads to and memorize with minimal effort. It also has the ability to stay in your head for hours upon hours, but that’s nothing new. What is new is the argument of Swift’s involvement and affiliation with the country music scene.
As of right now, Swift is nominated for three Country Music Awards (CMAs) for this year’s show. She’s nominated for Entertainer of the Year (which she’s won for the past two years), Female Vocalist of the Year, and Musical Event of the Year with the song “Safe and Sound” written by Swift and The Civil Wars. On iTunes, she is classified as country, but does that mean she should qualify for a CMA? Is the defining point of country music wrapped up in the fact that Apple decides an artist should be packaged that way?
Now maybe this is all a little melodramatic, since Swift did release a still country-tinged album for which her tour this past year has supported. Speak Now was a great album from the singer-songwriter because it stuck to her country background, but allowed for a mixed blend of pop and even a little bit of rock. It was an album that showed maturity and growth. It deserves to be recognized as such, and the CMA nominations definitely do just that.
The real issue here is the 2013 CMAs. Swift will most likely be nominated again because that seems to be a normal occurrence for her. She will be lumped together with some great country acts, such as Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, and Alison Kraus for another year, even though her music does not resemble those other artists in the slightest. A steel guitar does not a country song make, and it seems Swift has been relying on the use of this normally-indicative-of-country-music instrument to try and keep her presence in the genre. But that can’t last forever.
Swift’s next big move should be the official recognition that this crossover act has completely crossed over, because it seems that she and country music are never ever getting back together.