Thursday, November 12, 2009


So, Taylor Swift is kind of like Barack Obama. This is how I figured it out. Last night I asked Brian to briefly flip from the basketball game to the CMA (Country Music Association) Awards so I could see if Taylor Swift won Entertainer of the Year. I wasn't particularly interested in watching the whole show -- hello, there is only one awards show to which I must devote my time and energy -- but I remain fascinated by Taylor Swift, as do many people. I also follow country music happenings, sort of. More than most people I know, anyway, from my post-Arizona life, if not as much as many people in my Arizona life. I like country music for the most part, although it's not my favorite genre, and I listen to it when I am driving around on my visits to Phoenix, but what I cannot stand is the "God-told-me-to-go-to-war-in-Iraq" crap. That's when I change the station back to NPR.

The thing about Taylor Swift is that she has an eerily precise talent, kind of like Dakota Fanning in her earlier flicks. Taylor Swift writes these really well-crafted pop songs that are about love, heartbreak, high school, and other things with which teens and adults must grapple in life. Taylor is young, talented, charming, poised, and has not messed up yet, so that draws people in even if they aren't grooving on her easily relatable country-pop songs.

So, last night, she was up for Entertainer of the Year, nominated along with the big boys, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, and George Strait, who must have been nominated for this one like twenty times by now. Brian, who unlike me doesn't care for the country music scene, asked, basically, "What is the big deal?" So I told him.

My version of the big deal basically comes down to: 1)Taylor Swift is interesting to me, for the aforementioned reasons of talent and poise and also because she is basically conquering the world with said talent and poise right now 2)The CMAs are interesting to me (although I still don't need to watch them), unlike other music "niche" award shows, because Nashville is sort of the successful opposite pole in the music industry world, or at least the music industry world as we knew it, besides just country being a genre 3)The Entertainer of the Year award, specifically, is a pretty big deal in these awards, and tends to be won by a biggie. You'd recognize the names of most of the winners even if you aren't a country fan: Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell, Reba McEntire, George Strait, Garth Brooks about a million times, and so on. A nineteen-year-old girl winning it is pretty awesome, is what I'm saying.

And she did win. I think it's deserved. She has definitely entertained me more than, say, Keith Urban has this year. And when "no one" is buying CDs anymore, her album continues to do a hopping business, staying on the charts for 50 weeks or something.

But it did beg the question of whether the award recognizes more than just a year's achievement. Is it a reward for these big country stars' larger-than-life presence and fame? I think Taylor Swift does have that worldwide fame right now, thanks in part to social media and her crossover demographic pleasing. Is the award a kind of vote of confidence in the future, too? Is part of what actually makes Taylor so great the fact that she is bursting with potential and we are eager to see what she will do?

Therefore, she is like Barack Obama. And that, my friends, is how Nashville teaches us to understand the Swedes.

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