As part of a new series on Close-Up Culture, we’re delving into the minds of super-fans to find out why – and how – they support their idols. We begin by talking to one of the editors of TaylorSwiftWeb.net about the hugely successful singer-songwriter.
When did you first take an interest in Taylor Swift and what drew you to her?
During the Fearless era, when I first heard Taylor on country radio. Songs and the lyrics were memorable – the first song I heard was Teardrops on My Guitar.
How do you express your support and love for Taylor?
Long ago, I joined the fan community forum at TaylorSwiftWeb.net. At that time, I wasn’t on the staff, but was just a fan happy to join a community of other like-minded people, fans of Taylor Swift. In 2015, I joined the fansite staff as an editor. So the way I express my support for Taylor is in my efforts for the fansite.
Taylor has evolved so much through her career. Is there a particular incarnation of Taylor that hold a special place in your heart?
Speak Now era will always be close to my heart. We saw Taylor evolve during the Fearless tour and up through the Speak Now tour.
It’s certainly not nearly as dramatic as, say, the 1989/Reputation change, but Speak Now takes precedence specifically because of her maturity and Change (hint hint) that occurred between the Fearless and Speak Now albums.
There has been lots of drama in Taylor’s career, from romances and interrupted speeches to pricey tickets and dodgy record deals. Which controversy impacted you the most as a fan?
As great as the 1989 album and 1989 World Tour were, it certainly felt a bit off-brand and not inclusive when Taylor brought out super models during the tour. The ‘squad’ set an impossibly high ceiling when it comes to self-image/beauty and I wondered if it was a rare misstep.
I wouldn’t say any particular controversy impacted me heavily, but it was certainly one of the tougher things to defend from criticism.
How would you describe the Taylor Swift fandom? Are there ever splits or infighting?
Massive – in a word. Like any fanbase that’s gotten large, there will be friction.
Traditionally, it’s been the ‘haves’ vs ‘have-nots’. Taylor loves playing favourites and inviting the same fans to both secret sessions and tour meet and greets. You can understand that when other fans see the same faces, over and over again, it can create resentment and jealousy.
At the moment, however, there’s friction from fans who have been unable to buy a single ticket that are seeing other fans bragging about attending multiple shows in multiple cities. It’s not usual to see this kind of drama, but considering how visible and public the Ticketmaster presale debacle was for The Eras Tour, I think it deserves some mention here.
Has there ever been a moment you’ve questioned your fandom?
Taylor has made questionable decisions in her past, but it’s also not my place to really air that out. If you’ve been a long-time fan, there’s certainly things you can remember along the way. But nobody’s perfect.
What is your favourite Taylor Swift song, and why?
For the longest time, it was Enchanted – and in many ways, it still is my favourite. It’s what the song represents. Taylor hasn’t written 6 minute songs in a LONG time since her pop transition, which makes all of her older material stand out. But, I’d argue Cornelia Street (Paris Live performance) is a very close second. It represents the only concert she performed for the Lover era, which only makes it more special.
What is your fondest memory involving Taylor?
Seeing her on tour. Maybe it’s recency bias, but I last saw her in Toronto, when she came out with special guest, Bryan Adams, to perform Summer of ‘69. Every new tour, Taylor has topped the last one. The second favourite memory is probably seeing her at Nationals Park during the 1989 World Tour. There’s hundreds of videos for the sing-a-long during YAIL, but it was something else to be there and have the whole stadium singing along.
What direction would you love to see Taylor’s career move in the coming years?
I thought we would be getting a rock album after Taylor performed the rock version of WANEGBT during the 1989 World Tour. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m still holding out hope.
Check out the fansite – TaylorSwiftWeb.net
Check out their gallery – TaylorPictures.net
Check out their Twiter – tayswiftdotcom