Happy Birthday Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift turns thirty-four today, December 13th, 2023, and she has a lot to celebrate. Her Eras Tour is the most commercially successful in history, credited with boosting the economies of every city and country included in it. Time magazine recently named her its Person of the Year calling her the “master storyteller of the modern era” and even declaring that in 2023 she became “the main character of the world.” In her interview with the magazine, Swift noted the irony that the two great catalysts for the success of the tour were painful events. As a young singer she was “canceled within an inch of my life and sanity” and spent a year out of the public eye, before returning to make music again. She also had “my life’s work taken away from me” when her former producer sold the rights to her albums. She made history by re-recording them as “Taylor’s Versions.” As a result of those experiences, she’s gained an emotional depth that resonates with a huge audience. She also made history this month by being the first living artist to have five albums in the top ten of the Billboard 200.

The top-ranked album is Midnights which was nominated for a 2023 Grammy and whose recently released bonus track You’re Losing Me is Taylor’s latest hit. Next are the two most recent “Taylor’s Versions” albums, Speak Now and 1989, which we described in previous KOM articles in August and November. There’s also Lover whose re-released single “Cruel Summer” was played everywhere this summer. Finally, there’s Folklore, the first album in which Taylor invented totally imaginary characters instead of drawing inspiration primarily from her own life. Its storytelling draws the listener in to a private world that feels perfect for the darker seasons of the year.

As we listen to it all, we can feel inspired by the conclusions Taylor has drawn from all her highs and lows. “There’s a lot that I look back at like, ‘Wow, a couple years ago I might have cringed at this,’” she told the Time journalist. But she realizes that “[e]very part of you that you’ve ever been, every phase you’ve ever gone through, was you working it out in that moment with the information you had available to you at the time.” Instead of regretting the past, she advises all of us, “[y]ou should celebrate who you are now, where you’re going, and where you’ve been.”

kimberly and sofia jackson
Kimberly Jackson is a longtime contributor to KOM’s Poetry Corner. Sofia Jackson, her daughter, is a longtime Taylor Swift fan and a rising junior in high school. Together they attended the 13th concert of Swift’s 2023 Eras Tour. They can be reached through Kimberly’s website.

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