Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM


MSU Swift Squad: What’s behind the love for Taylor Swift?

MSU Swift Squad meets on Thursdays in varying locations around campus. Photo credit: Elizabeth Brey

When Taylor Swift announced her newest album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” at the Grammys in early February, it was to the delight of the millions of fans—nicknamed “Swifties,”—around the world. Yet, from an abnormally large group, this announcement was met with a familiar sense of annoyance and irritation.


In numerous widely circulated, casual social media street interviews, Swift is repeatedly singled out as the most overrated music artist, most of the time with no reasoning given.


Often on social media, there are interviewers asking people on the street, “Who is the most overrated artist?” By far the most popular answer is Swift, often with no reasoning given.


Despite this, Swift is one of the most popular female artists of this generation. She announced her next album while accepting her fourth album of the year award, an award no one else has won four times.


According to The Guardian, she was the most streamed artist on Spotify with 26.1 billion streams in 2023. She was named Apple Music’s artist of the year as well as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.


The level of adoration Taylor Swift receives is comparable to Michael Jackson. But why? Why does she have an incredibly devoted and passionate fanbase? 


While some fans only enjoy her music on a shallow level and don’t care much for Swift as a person, the enjoyment for many Swifties goes further. The reason may be simply because she is a woman.


“You don’t see a lot of powerful women in the media, and the fact that she is a woman and able to reach the top of the charts is really important to me and to have someone to look up to,” freshman psychology major Catie Wildfong said. “Her impact on the world has had a lot of impact on women in general, seeing her influence and seeing that that’s something that a woman can do. I think that’s really important to a lot of women.”


The adoration for Swift starts at a young age for many Swifties. Her self-titled debut album was released in 2006, around the time many current teenaged fans were born.


“I looked up to her and I thought she was really cool, as a lot of people my age did,” freshman journalism major Murphy McIntyre said. “As I grew older, I continued to look up to her.”


“Her music really captures what it’s like to grow up as a girl from a very young to very old age,” MSU Swift Squad president Liz Brey said. “You kind of grow with the music and understand it. I like her music; I find it relatable.”


The devotion for Swift is devotion to both the music and the musician. Fans follow her personal life just as much as her professional career.


The music, as Brey explained, is very relatable. Not only relatable on the surface but deeply emotionally relatable.


“Her songs are very real. A lot of her songs a lot of people can relate to,” Wildfong said. “Even though they’re written as love songs, they often have underlying stories to them. She’s really telling us about her life and being very real about it while making a very good love song.”


The connection to Taylor Swift as a person is just as deep.


“She’s very stable in her sense of self and she’s not afraid to say what she wants,” McIntyre said.


Swift is known for how she treats her fans: from countless stories of spontaneous meetups with fans to when she performed a full show in the pouring rain at a Foxborough date of The Eras Tour instead of postponing. For her and her fans, the admiration is a two-way street.


“She has always put a lot of effort into her fans, I think she’s very grateful for her fans,” Brey said. “With the amount of music she puts out, it’s really easy for people to get involved and make theories for a specific album. Her fanbase is really interactive, that’s why people want to be a part of it.”


Despite the fact that the tour is still going on until December, Swift’s Eras Tour is the highest-grossing tour in history. According to Rolling Stone, it’s the first ever to hit $1 billion in gross income. The average ticket to the tour costs $1,088, as reported by NBC. With a setlist of over 40 songs, concerts usually last upwards of three and a half hours.


Swift knew how much people paid for their tickets and she made it worth the cost.


McIntyre went to an Eras Tour show with a $500 ticket. She explained that the production was outstanding and that Swift knew how much people paid for their tickets and she made it worth the cost. 


Brey also went to a different Eras Tour show, but was able to purchase a cheaper ticket earlier. Nonetheless, she said her experience was equally unforgettable.


“She played for three and a half hours; it was a really cool experience,” Brey said. “Everybody was trading bracelets; it was a big thing I was looking forward to for a long time and she definitely delivered the experience. 


Swift is subject to high levels of anathema. From her feud with Kanye West to NFL fans grumbling whenever she’s shown during a game. It may be for the same reason that her fans adore her.


“There are a lot of men who write songs about breakups, and they don’t get any hate for it, but Taylor Swift does because she’s a woman,” Brey said. “I think that men don’t like to see successful women.”


When speaking on Swift’s self-confidence, McIntyre said people don’t like how confident she is and her level of confidence is not what people want from female celebrities.


As all music is, Swift’s music is subjective. This is also a reason many dislike her.


“Some people like country music and some people really don’t like country music,” Wildfong said. “Some people really like Taylor Swift, and some people really don’t.”


Yet music alone does not warrant the level of loathing Swift receives. The attacks often go beyond her music and towards her personal life.


“If people say, ‘Oh I don’t really like her music,’ then I understand. But when people say, ‘I just hate her,’ then I’m like, why?” McIntyre said.


The Swift Squad club’s existence is evidence of the extremely high fidelity Swifties have for Taylor Swift. The club does a variety of Taylor Swift-related activities, including listening parties, hayrides, games and trivia, friendship bracelet making, playlist making and Eras Tour outfit challenges. A club entirely built around fan’s love for one singer is extraordinary. MSU Swift Squad meets on Thursdays in varying locations around campus.

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