Taylor Swift’s Grammy performance showcases her musical style shift
When someone thinks of Taylor Swift’s music, country, pop, or maybe even a mix of both, may come to mind. However, Taylor Swift’s whimsical performance at the 63rd Grammy Awards Show proved that she could even nail indie or alternative music. With her ethereal aesthetics and powerful storytelling, there are no words to describe her music other than magical.
Taylor’s performance was a medley of her recent hit songs, “cardigan”, “willow”, and “august”, from her newest albums, “folklore” and “evermore”. It started with Taylor laying on top of a gorgeous green cabin in midst of evergreen scenery, singing “cardigan”, which was nominated for 2 Grammys. After she completed her soulful rendition of “cardigan”, she started to sing “august” inside a wooden cabin, and she finished the medley with “willow”.
Though the breathtaking scenery of Taylor’s stage might have caught the eyes of many, the music was what really made it memorable. Many of Taylor’s old albums were known for her recount of her experiences with love and heartbreak, but “folklore” is a compilation of musical stories Taylor sings about made-up characters.
For example, “cardigan” is one of the 3 songs from “folklore” that follows a teenage love story. Told from the perspective of Betty, a girl who gets cheated on by her boyfriend, James, “cardigan” tells the story of how James made her feel special, but he cheated on Betty, causing a tragic end to their relationship. Pairing the honest, raw lyrics of first heartbreaks with her soft and airy voice, Taylor draws listeners into James and Betty’s love story. On top of that, the woodsy scenery complements the musical feel of the song, as Taylor’s light vocals and lyrics transport you to a mystical forest.
Taylor’s performance was not only memorable, but it also highlights her drastic genre change. Her previous few albums like “Reputation” and “Lover” strayed far from her country roots and started to sound a little too generically pop.
“Reputation” was filled with darker music, from the lyrics to the notes. A majority of the songs in this album were directed as a clapback to Taylor’s haters and anyone who tried to bring her down, which is accurately reflected in the bold, powerful music.
Though her next album, “Lover”, lacked the vengeance that ran rampant in “Reputation”, it also lacked the magnetic quality prevalent in Taylor’s old music. The lyrics were, as always, meaningful and followed the theme of moving on from heartbreak, but the music was too bubbly, bright, and altogether unremarkable.
On the other hand, “folklore” was dropped as a surprise album, and although it doesn’t necessarily share many resemblances with her old music, it showcases Taylor’s musical evolution. While her old music was usually based on her own experiences, “folklore” is purely her imagination and creativity, highlighting Taylor’s remarkable ability as a songwriter.
Moreover, it was her first indie/alternative album, and though she might have just been experimenting with the new style, her execution was flawless. The music just makes you want to stare outside a window into a magical forest. “evermore” was also released soon after, and it served as a sister album to “folklore”. With a similar indie vibe and an expansion on Taylor’s imaginative storytelling, “evermore” was more like a continuation of “folklore” rather than a distinct album.
“folklore” and “evermore” may be only two of Taylor Swift’s many successful albums; however, the dreamy vibes that radiate from them really make them stand out. Taylor’s Grammy performance accentuated how far she has come as an artist, but her musical journey is far from over. Taylor Swift’s adventure into new musical territory shows the world that she is back to making music, and she is coming back better than ever.