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I have the astounding ability to appreciate music that I don’t particularly care to listen to. Case in point: bluegrass. Bluegrass has many fans, and many of them have most of their original teeth. I’m not a fan. The music sounds like orchestral music sped up to Benny Hill-like speeds, with a dash of “Deliverance” on the side. However, I can observe the musicians, listen to their obvious skill, and appreciate it for its own value. I might not like it, but damn if they aren’t good at it. That being said, I’m waiting to gain such an epiphany for one Ms. Taylor Swift.
I have nothing against Ms. Swift personally…she seems like a nice enough young lady, and plays a mean guitar (even if it’s been Bedazzled to the gills). She’s lovely, very personable, humble, seemingly intelligent, and keeps a relatively low profile for someone in the brightest of spotlights. Her music is light, straddling the line between pop and country a la Shania Twain (although with about 2.4 fewer metric tons of hotness), and easily digested by her core demographic, teenage girls. All that alone makes her better than most of her peers (are you reading this, Ke$ha?) The thing is, despite their various shortcomings and drama, most of her peers have something that she distinctly lacks: a good singing voice.
Taylor Swift is not a good singer. Yeah, I said it. She’s neither strong nor accurate, and you don’t get a thrill while listening to her warble out her tunes. She sounds uncertain and unsure, like someone trying to sing karaoke in front of American Idol judges with a bad mic and a broken television monitor. In Portuguese. It’s sad, and perplexing: how is this woman of decent guitar skills, above average beauty and substandard singing prowess so damn POPULAR? Given her popularity, the list of people who sound better than Taylor Swift is long and astonishing.
- Miley Cyrus, who typically sounds like a goat singing into a milk bucket, sounds better live than Taylor Swift.
- Lady GaGa, crazy as she is, sounds better than Taylor Swift.
- Ke$ha, author of the fine work “Tic Tok”, sounds better than Taylor Swift.
- Britney Spears sounds better than – OK, maybe that’s taking it a bit too far. But they’re CLOSE.
- Rihanna sounds better than Taylor Swift.
- Beyonce sounds so much better than Taylor Swift, it’s like Swift is a little kid singing into a hairbrush trying to convince her friends she’s someone famous.
All that means nothing in the grand scheme of things, because good singer or not, she’s free to make CDs and be successful as long as there are people willing to buy her stuff. Where I have issue is with her winning awards for her so-called talents. Oh sure, line up all the MTV Music Awards you want, and I get why the Country Music Awards would want their big crossover star to take home some hardware, but the GRAMMYS? Seriously? And not just any Grammys, either. Homegirl won Best Album over such luminaries as Beyonce, Dave Matthews Band, Lady GaGa, and the Black Eyed Peas. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t stellar competition, but no way is Taylor Swift better than ALL of these artists. But fine – maybe her produced CD is phenomenal (I’ve only heard a couple of songs from it), and that was a major deciding factor. Then came the duet with Stevie Nicks.
Stevie Nicks is an icon. She’s been around since dinosaurs roamed the earth, but the woman can sing. As she and Swift began singing “Rihannon”, it was clear that (a) Swift was way off pitch, and (b) Nicks looked like she wanted to just unplug Swift’s microphone and smack her agent dead in his mouth for booking her on that gig. It was embarrassing, because unlike a singer like Anthony Keidis from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Swift is supposedly able to SING WELL. And friends, she did not. It’s nearly enough to make me think that Kayne West actually had a point.
A poorly-executed and illogically-timed point, but a point nonetheless.
This wasn’t an isolated incident, either. I’ve seen her perform at live events more than once, and she comes off like someone uncomfortable in that situation. Why, then, is this studio performer thrust upon us like the next coming of Celine Dion (who I cannot STAND, but who can sing her narrow ass off)? It’s a mystery, folks.