Nov
9

CMA 2011 Preview: We Were Wrong About Taylor Swift

November 9, 2011 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  90 Comments

I sit down to peck at my keyboard once again, fully knowing what I am about to say will be unpopular, if not downright blasphemous to many folks. But I’m not running a popularity contest here, and unlike many independent country “entities”, I don’t need to build a consensus or flatter people to propagate my brand. All I’m trying to do is keep myself sane in a mad world by asserting my honest, unfettered opinions, and hopefully I turn some folks on to some good music in the process, but it’s not always about that. Music is just the metaphor. In truth, Saving Country Music is about people.

You will find no harsher critic of Taylor Swift over the years than right here, me, The Triggerman. As a glittering teenage pop star with a mild voice, nobody has been more responsible for the homogenization of America’s most traditional music genre than Taylor Swift.  But tonight, when the biggest night in country music goes down, there will be no other performer, no other award nominee or winner, who deserves more recognition, or is as honest or sincere, as Taylor Swift.

As simply as I can put it, however we got here, however you want to quantify it, Taylor Swift is the best thing going on right now in mainstream country music, and it isn’t even fucking close. The fakery, the debaucherous over-calculated market-driven focus on financial gain is so rabid right now, it is a wonder how it stays so obtuse in the mainstream public consciousness. It is so bad, so sinister, that I can’t help but put all allegiances to genre and even taste aside, to trumpet the very last glimmer of hope that honesty can at least be given a fair shake in the mainstream world.

We were wrong about Taylor Swift. I was wrong about Taylor Swift. We were blinded by our prejudices. When Taylor Swift first came on to the scene, she sang cheesy teenage pop songs, and we chastised her for it, when in truth, she was doing what all the great songwriters from Hank Williams to Guy Clark to Townes Van Zandt did over the years: write what they knew about, what inspired them. She was a skinny, blond-haired little girl from an upper-middle-class Pennsylvania family. What else is she going to write about? And do we blame her personally for Music Row taking her music and elevating it to way beyond its intrinsic value? But when Taylor’s latest album Speak Now came out, she showed a dramatic elevation of maturity. She wrote every song on that album. By herself. Inspired by her own personal experiences of heartbreak, and of having the whole world turn against her for not being able to sing.

I’m a fighter, not a lover. And when Taylor Swift came on the scene, my inclination was to fight against her influence and popularity. But I always fight with respect, especially when respect is deserved. In the beginning, in my opinion, Taylor Swift did not deserve much respect. When she blew her performance with Stevie Nicks on The Grammy’s in 2009 and the world turned against her (Read my take on her Grammy performance), this was the first time I found true respect for Taylor. But not as an artist, as a human, because the next almost inevitable event that was going to happen to Taylor Swift was her absolute demise, as the same public that had propped her up on an unrealistic and undeserved pedestal was poised to tear her down, like they do so often with falling stars. It’s a classic narrative: pop star hits it big, pop star reveals they’re human, pop star is humiliated, and spit out of the asshole of the corporate culture machine to be the punch line of jokes until their swallowed by obscurity as quickly as they rose.

How often does that narrative play out when a big star makes a big mistake? 90% of the time? 95%? But I’ll be damned. Taylor Swift, Taylor fucking Swift, took society’s best shot, fell as hard as anyone, had the world turning against her, and somehow, within moments of being counted out, she picked herself up off the mat, brushed the hair out of her face, straightened her back, and of all things, wrote a song about the experience in the form of “Mean”, that is now up for Song of the Year. That doesn’t just illustrate good songcraft, that shows pluck. That shows guts. And goddamnit, as a fighter, you have to look at someone who takes the best shot the world can deliver to the ego, and then is fearless enough to return fire, and have nothing but respect.

Now I’ll be honest, I hate the song “Mean”. It might be the worst song on the Speak Now album. It’s jealous and bitter. In the song she tries to make fun of her accusers by saying someday she’ll be “living in a big ol’ city,” implying that she is something, and they, or we, are nothing. Taylor Swift does not deserve any more recognition than the rest of us for finding success in a corrupt business, or for winning trophies through a rigged system, or for writing a song that was an antithesis to the maturing trend present in her Speak Now songwriting. What she does deserve recognition for is inspiring scores of people through a song that shows how to take a negative experience and make something positive out of it.

Is “Mean” About Me? Or about Osama bin Laden?

And I don’t want to hear anybody say, “Well all that’s great, but you know what, her music still sucks and the music I like is great, so all the rest can go fuck themselves.”

No! No no no! This affects us all! This is important to all of us. Try saying that when you have a daughter, or a sister, or a niece, and you try to turn on the boob tube or the radio and find positive role models for them in adult culture. It is difficult to impossible. Our society is structured to turn our daughters into whores to keep an over-consumptive economic system in place. Bad culture creates bad people; the asshole on the help desk, or working at the restaurant.

I know there’s better role models for young girls out there than Taylor Swift, but see if you can get young girls to care about them, or how about those young girls who don’t have anyone looking to put positive role models in front of them? Think of all the vermin out there propagated by the Disney World of dysfunction.

And I can’t defend Taylor’s Cover Girl endorsement deals, or her $100+ concert tickets, or even many elements of her music. But goddammit, we’re losing here, on all fronts. Everywhere you look, the American ideal is crumbling around us. So why not be inspired by a little girl’s dream that became a reality in Taylor Swift? Why not celebrate honest, true songwriting? Why not celebrate young women who actually fucking respect themselves for a change?

And Taylor Swift is still not country, but I’m not sure I want to blame her for that any more. She was told she was country when she still thought Romeo and Juliet was a good subject to write a song about, and trusted the adults caretaking her career. Blame the country music anti-Christ Scott Borchetta for that.

And maybe she’s not country because she transcends genre. I’m not kidding. There’s songs on Speak Now that clock in at 6 and 7 minutes. As much as some want to scream at her for being a pop star, there was not one #1 song on Speak Now; it was too good, too in-depth in the songwriting for pop radio.

I might be putting myself on an island here, but I don’t care. There’s no more country music to save. Don’t you remember? Back in 2009 when Taylor won it all and we declared country music dead? Now I’m praying for a Taylor Swift sweep. I’ve got the pleated skirt on and the pom pom’s waving. Go Taylor go! Because Taylor Swift, Taylor fucking Swift, is the last hope that a shred of reality can remain in popular music, and more importantly, Taylor Swift is good people, and deserves it.

90 Comments to “CMA 2011 Preview: We Were Wrong About Taylor Swift”

  • HAHA Trigg! I FUCKING love this article. May be your best work to date. I’ve always said I like Taylor Swift. Is it my style of music? No. Will I buy her CD’s? No. But when that shit comes on the radio for fucks sake, I sing along!

    The girls got talent. She can write, perform, and even carry a tune. She doesn’t have the biggest pipes in the world but her voice is captivating and I think the biggest point of the points you made is she’s a POSITIVE role model!

    Huh, a role model? A female that a young girl can actually look up to among the Kardashians, and Snookies, and Cyruses of the world? Who would of thought.

    I’m with ya Trigg! I hope Taylor Swift gives the CMA’s a SWIFT kick in the Ass!

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  • Totally agree on this. Most of Taylor’s music is too poppy for me and she’s still a mediocre singer on her best days, but damn if she isn’t likeable. In an industry full of people whose images have been carefully crafted by their record labels, she’s one of the few that strike me as genuine. I’ll take one ten of her over one Jason Aldean any time.

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  • Alright I see where you’re getting at. Yes I agree that Swift is a good role model for our kids right now; and yea I said right now because as time goes on people change. All it takes is for her to hang out with that one wrong person, and then you have a drunken whore. We’ll see how she holds up in the future.

    Is she a good singer to me? Hell no. I can’t stand her voice, her songs, or her face. I think this is scum of the earth pop music. Is her music better for our kids? Of course. Compare her stuff to Kesha’s and see what you get.

    Like you said Triggerman; you can’t blame the girl. She was just a little girl that wanted to be a famous singer. It’s a dream that probably most of us had when we were a kid. Is it her fault that she’s labeled as country? Is it her fault that the music industry chose a terrible singer? No. So fuck you music industry! Ya’ll are stupid!

    As far as the pleaded skirt and pom poms go Triggerman; keep that weird shit to yourself. What goes on in your house needs to stay in your house. Hahaha!

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  • I’m not agreeing with you 100% on this one but I get your point. Still can’t stand her music and I’m hoping that Miranda Lambert and Zac Brown Band sweep the awards tonight.

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    • Seeing how neither Miranda or Zac are up for Entertainer of the Year, and Miranda isn’t up for Album of the Year, I would say it would be impossible for them to “sweep” the awards. Only two artists have that possibility, Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean.

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  • I think Mean is a great song. Like everything else she writes, it is from her heart and serves no other purpose than to express how she feels. Yes, she takes shots at critics in it and it is a bitter song, but bitter things happened to her. Critics make a living putting other people’s art down, but get in a tizzy about it when someone else does it to them. The fact is, its a universal theme that almost everyone can relate to as someone has bullied or been mean to them.

    It is interesting how a song like this has been trashed by critics in the pop/country world (not saying you did Triggerman as this is a great article) but a song such as “We Didn’t Come Here to Rock” by the folk-punk band Andrew Jackson Jihad is in the same vein but got rave reviews in that community.

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  • I like to remain oblivious. I could not tell you what song she sings or anybody else on country radio. All I can tell you is she is easy on the eyes.

    I can say however that I have respect for anyone that is willing to say I like or dislike something no matter what my crowd says. That sir is integrity and solid character to me.

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  • You nailed it, 100% pal. I, my wife and my two daughters agree. Go Taylor! Now let’s watch the industry blow it.

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    • That’s my big concern. In many respects, Taylor has the least to gain from winning awards, because she’s already well-known in the widespread consciousness. The industry might want to show off their shiny new toy of Jason Aldean and country rap. Luckily the CMA’s are a little more straight up, where a vote is a vote, unlike the ACM’s where horse trading is commonplace.

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  • “Try saying that when you have a daughter, or a sister, or a niece, and you try to turn on the boob tube or the radio and find positive role models for them in adult culture. It is difficult to impossible. Our society is structured to turn our daughters into whores to keep an over-consumptive economic system in place.”

    “I know there’s better role models for young girls out there than Taylor Swift, but see if you can get young girls to care about them, or how about those young girls who don’t have anyone looking to put positive role models in front of them?”

    Amen.

    My soon-to-arrive daughter has put a whole new perspective on this for me. In one way it is sad as hell, what chance do girls have in this fucked up culture we have created? In another way, it sounds like an opportunity to be an ultimate rebel punk badass. This is why I’m inhaling the scent of anarchy swirling through public consciousness right now. I think in my lifetime the biggest cultural revolution will be in the way we treat women. I certainly hope this is the case.

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  • Nice article, Trig. Kinda goes along with my argument of judging songs based on what they are trying to be, not what you want them to be. As country songs in the tradition of Waylon, Hank, etc., Taylor’s songs suck. As pure bubble gum teenage pop songs they are pretty damn good.

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    • See, I would carry it farther and say that whether it’s a Honk song, a Waylon song, or a Swift song, they all come from honesty. Obviously the themes and styles are different, but the root is the same. Don’t get me wrong, I am not comparing Taylor Swift and Hank Williams; there is no way to do that. But when you compare Taylor’s songs to say Jason Aldean’s songs, or 90% of the other songs coming from Music Row, that are written using a very specific formula by professional songwriters in a cubicle farm, they are in a completely different league. Taste is another thing, but good or bad, her songs are honest and true, and come from real life experiences.

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  • I’m with you for the most part. I’d far rather her win Entertainer of the Year than Jason Bluejeans. At least she’s got some skin in the game if her songs suck (she actually wrote them) and for the most part, they don’t. I still won’t claim to be a fan, but I’ve mostly laid off Taylor at Farce the Music in the past year and a half. She’s a good role model, seems to be a nice girl and her music is pretty harmless. Doesn’t mean I won’t make a snarky comment or two, but I’m not rooting against her any more.

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  • I honestly can’t comment intelligently, because I don’t really know her music, other than to say I was impressed by how she carried herself in one interview I saw. She does seem honest and sincere. It will be interesting to see how she matures as an artist.

    I would also defend Miranda Lambert here, though, as another artist with some authenticity (relationship choices aside.. lots of us make bad decisions there.)

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    • Really, none of this has to do with Taylor Swift’s music, beyond pointing out that she is an honest songwriter, and true to herself in her approach and presentation; something that is novel, to almost unheard of in mainstream country these days.

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      • “Really, none of this has to do with Taylor Swift’s music”

        Yeah, I got that. I was just saying that I am as guilty as any of us of dismissing her without ever bothering to listen… and that from the little I know, I think you are right that she has integrity, if not talent.

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  • I agree w/ BigStem 100%. Brilliant.

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  • Taylor Swift sucks balls, just like all the other performers at the CMA’s Check out my rant on YouTube and I’ll tell you why.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qFKhi_opjM

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    • Look man, I really appreciate your rant, but this is not about that. I’ve been running a website called “Saving Country Music” for going on four years, and I’ve said “pop country sucks” so many times I feel like a broken record, to the point now where the phrase itself drives me crazy. Of course pop country sucks, but we’ve got a bigger problem now. We’ve got a whole group of artists lying to people, parading around as “Outlaws”, we’ve got people calling rap songs country. We’ve got country laying down like a submissive dog to hip hop because the whole genre has lost it’s way and relevancy. If country music is ever going to be saved, the first place we can start is by promoting music that is actually real. If we can do that very basic thing, then maybe we can move on to taste and tradition.

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      • Amen! The fakers are worse that the pop tarts.

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  • I understand the point of the blog. And I do agree she is a great role model for young girls.

    But really???…she is the only one coming out of mainstream Nashville that is holding onto real/pure country way of doing it? She is who you endorse? Really…there is no one else?

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    • Nope. Well, Miranda maybe if she gets a divorce.

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      • Here here

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      • Trig, you are awesome. nuff said

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      • Trig, that would totally work for me as well as it would free up Blake! He would – of course – have to get used to me pressing my index finger (quite violently) against his lips every time he attempted to sing. I would attempt to be gentle with his ego as I shushed/slurred “I do not need to hear your voice right now daaaarling”. Hopefully that will work. So how do we orchestrate this breakup Trig?

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        • Good baby mama scandal.

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          • No baby mama drama please.

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  • I’m not much of a fan of country, or of Taylor Swift…..my wife and daughter (and perhaps to my chagrin, my 4yo son) are the country fans in the family, but I wanted to comment on this after reading it.

    My daughter is 6, last year we moved across the city and she had to start in a new school halfway through kindergarten. Some punk in the other kindergarten class started bullying her right away (imagine being a 42 year old parent and wanting to beat the shit out of a kindergartener, serious mixed emotions there). The song “Mean” literally turned her school year around. I don’t know how or why and I don’t care, but she really drew ALOT of strength from that tune. She loves Taylor Swift. She wants to become Taylor Swift, she had a ball when her mom took her to see Taylor Swift. The Slayer fan in me thinks it’s weird, but fuck it, more power to her. I’m a Taylor Swift fan because of how much that song means to my daughter, and if she comes on before the kids’ bedtime we’re going to have a blast watching her sing tonight.

    Cheers on a great blog from a (mostly) non-country fan.

    Standing down…

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  • I cannot stand “Mean”. I went to military school and have had the living shit beat out of me and I just took it because that’s what you do. She has critics giving honest criticism of music that really isn’t spectacular, and she writes some three minute long bitchy rant. But other than that, I honestly don’t care one way or the other about Taylor Swift. She’s a good role model or whatever. Good for her. Good for her sparkly fans and I honestly mean that. You said it, “There’s no more country music to save,” The CMA’s are a joke. She can have it all, Johnny’s empire of dirt.

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  • There is one point in the article that I think probably holds true for a lot of artists. But, also for a lot of fans of what they believe is coutry music. That is cause they are told over, and over that it is. Take my 55 year old father and 30 year old brother as two prime examples. My father grew up on the original outlaws. He still listens to radio country, and likes it. My brother grew up on Garth and Shania. Neither think what I listen to is country because it isn’t on the radio. To my father’s defense I planted a Marty Stuart cd in his truck a couple of years ago and he listened to it for about six months straight. My brother would take out that same cd and put in a Toby Keith cd.

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  • GREAT one Trigg! Currently 45 minutes in and Aldean is 0 for 2.Hell I’m glad the The friggin Band Perry even beat him! (I think they write their own stuff too if I’m not mistaken.)

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  • Oh and did you catch that shit Brad Paisley introducing Eric Church as “Country Music’s latest Outlaw?”

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    • Yeah, I did. So much for, “Hey, we never called ourselves Outlaws.”

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  • And I’ll never understand people who bag on Taylor then say the rockin,stomping, head banging, Patty Griffin,John Prine song killing,Stever Earl song stealing Miranda Lambert is the savior of Country Music.

    K.I’m done now.

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  • Trig,
    Reading this blog on this site is like watching your dog get run over… I do understand where you are going with this, but respectfully disagree with endorsing her music for a website coined “saving country music.” How can you endorse Taylor Swift and then have mixed reviews of Jamey Johnson???? It makes absolutely no since at all

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    • Where did you read an endorsement of Taylor Swift’s music? I called her an honest songwriter, and I stand behind that, but that is more about method than taste or preference. It is a fact. I think Jamey is an honest songwriter too. In fact the main reference I made to Taylor’s music in this article was to say that “Mean” was a bad song. This article was way more about Taylor as a person, and how we have judged and criticized her over the years, and the redemption she has earned by being true to herself and inspiring people and taking a shot and standing right back up. I can understand how some would infer an endorsement of her music through this, but this is simply not the case.

      There are some Taylor Swift songs I don’t mind. There’s others that I do.

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      • I think what Truth is getting at and I agree, is not that you are endorsing Taylor’s “music”, but you certainly are taking a 180 turn on how you feel about her and you are endorsing her, the person.
        Which is fine, but I agree with Truth, how can you do a 180 on Taylor and say she is all that is left that is true coming out of Nashville and there sits Jamey Johnson, for which you still have mixed/on the fence thoughts about and even putting his music aside as you claim to do with Taylor here…Johnson is doing it the same way, I would argue more the way, of true country artists of the past.

        Confusing.

        Also, another note, WTF was with the CMA shit ass tribute to Glen Campbell? They have those pretty boys sing his songs, then when Glen gets up on stage and appears to start picking the guitar… they cut to commercial? What the fuck?

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        • Ok Ice….I know you are going to get frustrated with this but everytime I think Jamey Johnson may be ok I hear that damn Honky tonk badonk whatever song and he nosedives to the bottom again. Well, maybe not the bottom. Rascal Fags hold that special place. As for Taylor Swift, I would much prefer that my 11-year old stedaughter listen to her than the hip-hop rap crap that her 17 year-old sister exposes her to. She wanted the Kesha CD so I looked into the music and refused to buy it. Not for 11 year olds!

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  • tsk tsk this isn’t personal attacks on people is it? Taylor Swift and her bubble gum chewin’ feel good songs and meanie mean mean fare may be your last hope, but it’s not mine. She may be a good pop writer (and whoever helps her). POP music. exit stage left. Nashville soul suckers follow suit. I won’t support corporate Nashville, won’t do it no matter what, there are millions of songs out there before I have to even think of caving in to corporations and their greed and soul sucking. Taylor may be good people. I don’t like her music or the soul sucking Nashville wheel and that’s all there is to it for me. I don’t think she’s a good role model. She’s a manufactured superstar that little girls look up to and will never be.

    I want to say a prayer about it for they don’t know what they do . . . Almighty Lord, please guide these artists out of the evilness of greed, the vileness of vanity, the clutches of the Devil, the pit of darkness. In Jesus name I pray it. Amen.

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    • You seem awfully judgemental somtimes…

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      • Only sometimes?

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        • Wow! Taylor is that really you? Glad you stopped by. Only sometimes is rather cynical, as I’m not being any more judgemental than anyone else who states their beliefs and opinions and thoughts. Isn’t Mean a judgemental song? I don’t like you being crowned entertainer of the year unless it’s specified as POP Country Entertainer of the Year, for obvious reasons, which are stated above; and I’ll quote: “Taylor Swift is still not country”. Really in all honesty I don’t even buy into that because I don’t buy into the award shows when they are not a true account of what they are awarding. Store not your treasures on earth. I don’t think your dust catchers will matter a bit in the end.

          I will not apologize for anything I said regardless of who feels I’m judgemental. Any artist in the world knows that not everyone will like their music. Seasonsed artists will not care. I stand by my comments, as POP country has diseased the industry with their songs, standards and greed. POP country singers all want to collaborate with others but no one wants to admit that their songs leave a discerning ear with something to be desired. Just take a listen to HOLLA BACK iffn’ you don’t understand. If this is really Taylor Swift and you want to know some real thoughts, and not just pats on your back and accolades for your POP music, then I’ll be more than happy to tell you.

          Sometime back, decades before you were even born, there were artists who worked hard. They put blood sweat and tears into their craft. They shook down doors and had to fight to even eat. The singers today don’t know what that is like. God says to hate whatever is of this world. The whole hoopla of POP country is like a bad joke from the Devil. I hate greed and vanity as much as I hate POP country. Just because you were priveleged and have been successful doesn’t mean you earned it. Something handed to you is never as special as something earned. I don’t respect your success and I don’t have to. You have to work it out amongst yourself. They crowned you Entertainer of the Year but you never once entertained me, and whether you like it or not, I do count.

          So understand where I am coming from and realize that you are POP country and they’ve been lying to you and using you to make $$$$$$. Lots and lots of $$$$$. So you’re really just a sold soul. That’s why I wanted to pray for you. Take care Taylor.

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          • Denise, before you judge Taylor Swift so harshly, why not Google Taylor Swifts interview with 60 minutes. Maybe this will open your eyes to someone who has worked hard, undestands she has to be a good role model and is, gives to multiple charities and is her own manager among many other honorable points. I never was a fan of Taylor before I saw this interview; I never bothered to get to know her beause I like rock and roll mostly. She is someone to be admired and emulated. A musician with empathy, gee, what a concept. Kudos to Taylor Swift! From a fan who never bought one of her cd’s.

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  • Stellar article Triggerman. I applaud your humility, honesty and integrity. I also understand your pain. I’m a long time reader and I get it. I hope you know you really are awesome beyond words.

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  • I agree with you trigger man, hey, country pop is never going away, and I respect taylor swift as well, great article.

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  • well, i’m glad reba is in the hall of fame.
    chris young should have won new artist!
    was strait even there cause those shit artist dont deserve to be in the same arena as george!

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  • anybody have any thoughts on easton corbin?

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  • Sitting here shaking my head…I actually found your website cause I was trying to find a screenshot of Taylor’s face when Miranda beat her out for Female Entertainer of the Year. I missed it but my husband said she had a disgusted look on her face. I wasn’t too sure about it until they panned to Taylor watching Miranda make her speech and yes, her face was definitely giving away some disgust.
    Anyway, the whole idea of “saving country music” is a hot topic right now. I live in an itty bitty blue collar town in WI and my husband and all his friends get sick of hearing people like Taylor Swift, or watching guys like Luke Bryan dance as though they’re at Chippendales, or the “pretty boy-ness” of Rascal Flatts. We’re always trying to find obscure artists that are actually country. However, I am completely and utterly BAFFLED at how you are all bashing Jason “Bluejean” (uh…what’s wrong with wearing jeans? what should he be wearing?) because he does a rap in one song. It’s totally contradictory, you want music to be genuine and have a country sound and yet not be totally conforming to the pop sound, and here’s a totally different sound than we’ve heard in country music before and you trash it. I can understand not liking the rap because it’s “hip hop”, however, country music’s sound has been changing ever since Shania and Faith and the like starting doing the big “cross over” to pop radio.
    Here’s my bottom line – there is nothing, NOTHING, in Taylor Swift’s music that even remotely sounds country. Nothing! Her only song that ever did sound a little country was “Tim McGraw”. I will support her all day long at the Grammy’s, the AMA’s, etc, to be Entertainer of the Year cause she truly is that. But in country music? That’s the biggest joke of the century, and to say that she should be the CMA Entertainer of the Year because of her “real” songwriting is ridiculous.

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    • “there is nothing, NOTHING, in Taylor Swift’s music that even remotely sounds country.”

      With the exception of the song “Mean”, you’re totally right, and I have been making that point on here for years. And yes, if you want to compare who is more country, then yes, Jason Aldean wins hands down. But if you want to compare who is real or not, Taylor wins out by a landslide.

      Listen, you can’t argue taste. If you like Jason Aldean, rock on, and don’t let my stilted opinions sway you from that. But this article in particular has little to do with taste or preference, it has to do with people, and how we treat each other, and what is real, and what is fake. The American Dream is dying. Read the quote at the top of this page. Concerns for what is country or not are staring to be supplanted for concerns for what is REAL and what isn’t, in music, and all walks of life. And there’s so many countless examples of people in high places letting us down every day in the news. Excuse me if for one brief moment, I want to catch my breath from screaming about what is country or not to highlight one person who has actually risen to a high level in our society, and has done something positive with it.

      Read “Kevin’s” comment above, and hopefully you will understand.

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    • Jason Aldean does what he is told by record execs., producers, and sponsors… yes, Wrangler is “cowboy” but what real cowboy wears the f-ing jeans Aldean wears?

      George Strait was wranglers guy for years, and Strait wore what cowboys wear…cause he was real, not “dressed up”.

      I have never, never understood the draw to Aldean and him being up for the awards he was last night just show how far it has fallen, and that slick promotion will get you to the top. Everyone else up for the awards of entertainer of the year you could make an argument they do their thing well. Aldean does what he is told to do that is flavor of the month at the time. And it is getting award nominations so now we see ultra douche bags like Luke Bryant following Aldean’s lead.

      Here is Aldean’s resume.
      1. Came on the scene when Tim McGraw was flying high. So wear a hat cocked down over your eyes and tight jeans. Check
      2. Came on the scene as Rascal Flatts was peaking, so fire up the earings. Check
      3. Can’t play guitar or sing like the others, so hide behind a bad bad song (Dirt Road Anthem) that is hip/hop country mix to get attention.
      Dirt Road Anthem is bad. country or hip hop or whatever, the song, or at least him singing it is unlistenable.

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  • I’ve always appreciated Swift’s undeniable talent, but that doesn’t mean her music is good. That’s a matter of opinion of course, but it is what it is. A song-writer who writes their own material still has to be judged on the quality of that material, and hers is sub-par cotton candy, at best.

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    • Can’t disagree with that. That is why I’m not on here singing the praises of her music from the perspective of taste, or giving her songs or albums positive reviews. I’m simply saying she is real, and that is something she does not share with 80%-90% of the other stuff in mainstream country music. And in my eyes, that is commendable.

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      • Agreed. Now wait for next when their honoring “Red Solo Cup!”

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  • Thanks for avoiding agendas and being real, Triggerman. I’ve been on this planet many decades, grew up in Nashville, and I’ve watched “country music” go through de-evolutions and sewer spirals. I can’t stomach the CMA’s or the ACM’s or the other awards that claim to pay tribute to country. They make my bones ache with shame for a city I respect and love.

    When Swift came on the scene I thought she was the apex, the icon of all that’s wrong with country today. I said she was a manufactured, off-key singing glitter girl who would (hopefully) be a flash in the pan.

    But I’m kinda embarrassed to admit that I, too, now have some respect for her. And like you, Triggerman, it’s not about her music or hype, but rather because of her honesty and control over her sound and image. I saw a little promo touted as a documentary in which Taylor was practicing with her back up musicians for a tour and she was actually making strong, lucid demands upon these Berklee-trained A-listers. For instance, they played through a song, then she told the lead guitar to rework his lead line. She told him “don’t noodle around so much, keep it simple.” And she was right! It was a small thing, but it showed that she listened and had some intelligence with the details. That’s a critical thing for musicians.

    It’ll be a frost-covered day in hell before I ever buy any of her music, but compared to the metro-sexual, face-powdered (wish they were) pretty boys like Aldean or the syrupy nausea inducing groups like Rascall Flatts, at least Swift comes from a real place (she doesn’t hide her suburban upper-middle class roots, cough-Eric Church-cough cough!).

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    • Dag nabbit good stuff you whpipersnppaers!

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  • Wow, Trig, welcome to the darkside! I’m new to this website, trying to get my teeth into some new(for me) country, and for the most part, I have enjoyed the music that I’ve read about here. That being said, I can still listen to Taylor, and Sugarland, and enjoy, for example, Jason Boland, whom I had never heard of until yesterday. Now I have a few of his CD’s on the way. There’s room in my listening for the stuff I find here, and an occasional slice of mainstream. I enjoyed this article in particular, nice work.

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  • Trigger, please I beg you, put up a blog, you don’t even have to write anything, just put up the video of Luke Bryan from last nights CMA’s and let us have at it with comments.

    I thought “Footloose” opening was the bottom. Luke had one more shovel full. Pop Country has bottomed out.
    Band Perry winning is a little hint that things are turning.

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    • They interviewed The Band Perry on the news and they said they’d like to collaborate with Eminem. They claim to be a gospel type band, but they want to sing with a guy who glorifys gang activity and killing people for the fun of it. That smells fishy.

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      • I didn’t hear that, and I am not a Band Perry fan, but they do have some integrity vs. an Aldean or Luke Bryant.

        Would them collaborating with Eminem be bad?.. probably. Were they dead serious about it? Hard to say. I guess I don’t see it happening.

        I don’t know that I would say Eminem “glorifies” gangs and killing, he simply is singing about what he knows. Do we say that some underground artists glorify drugs, drinking, adultry, etc… simply cause they sing about it?

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        • If they want to cut something with Eminem,Kimberly is probably going to have to,..uh,well..nevermind..

          Seriously,I just don’t see Eminem jumping on the country bandwagon.I think they’re going to have to lower their standards and shoot for BoB or Wyclef Jean,lol

          I was actualy glad they won and beat out the ones they did last night.Kind of suprised me

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      • Working on some post- CMA stuff now.

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  • i agree with ya 100% i don’t own any of her albums but she has talent… i think in this pop country sucks world some artists get thrown in that don’t really belong there… the guy from hottie , this luke bryan ,rascal flatts , now they suck.. but this girl has never strayed from who she is as an artist… i give her much respect…

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  • What is with Eric Church and the aviators on ALL THE TIME? We get it dude, you’re an outlaw, to cool for the rules, but jeez… you’re not Hank Jr. who wears them cause his face got fucked up.

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    • http://www.twitvid.com/SHEFI

      This should help explain it a little bit.

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      • What a crock of shit.

        Ok, I get wearing them during a show where lights are burning you down, but some fans wondered why he didn’t wear them after that? Come one dude…anyone that wears sunglasses sitting in the crowd of an awards show looks like a tool. Your fans weren’t thinking… oh my god, where are the glasses?!?!

        Only Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Hank Jr. have had all access sunglasses passes. It is their image. They don’t wear them, fans wondered.

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  • Triggerman, after reading this blog, and most of the reactions to it, I think that you of all have listened to Taylor Swift’s songs more and harder than anyone else. And not just her last cd, but since she took the scene. You have been very critical, but always well argumented, and put in the perspective of the country-music-industry.
    Maybe Mean was about you. That should be a reason to try to get an interview with her. Not to ask her about that, but about songwriting, about how it is for a young girl in this business. If she is maturing as a songwriter, it’s about time for her to face the critics.
    Both my sister’s and a good friend’s teenage daughters listen to Taylor Swift, and like her, which is pretty remarkable because she’s almost never on the radio. It’s not made for me. I don’t care about it, but I rather see those girls like Taylor Swift than a lot of the bullshit that’s sold for music today.
    And now for some good music!

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  • I agree 100%, Taylor is authentic, she sings songs about her life, with incredible honesty. Doesn’t mean i like her music but i have always thought she was doing it from a real place, like all the greats did.

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  • Triggerman, This article is your finest work. I think you understand Taylor Swift better than her fans. Taylor’s performance of “Ours” was the best example of traditional country music on the CMAs….a girl with her guitar telling a sincere story through song. Her incredible performance didn’t deserve to be on the same show as the disgusting “Footloose” thing that opened the show. Taylor Swift might be able to save country music.

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  • LOL I see the next collabo already.

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  • Well all that’s great, but you know what, her music still sucks and the music I like is great, so all the rest can go fuck themselves.

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  • Alright I lost all respect for this site. All of a sudden you defend Taylor Swift as a person or role model, it doesn’t matter. She’s pop country shit. You want to give Eric Church shit for OTHER people calling him an outlaw when he never himself called himself an outlaw. WOW go and defend Rascal Flatts and the Band Perry while you’re at it.

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    • We here at Saving Country Music apologize that you are disappointed by your experience, but I’m a little confused. OK, Taylor Swift is pop, yeah, we all know that, I’ve been saying that for years. But I’m not sure what your Eric Church problem is. Was I somehow giving him “shit” by pointing out that Brad Paisley introduced him as an Outlaw on the CMA Awards? And don’t think for a second that he or his label had nothing to do with his introduction. On those shows, everything is very carefully crafted, ever single word. And if you’re somehow implying that I’m unfair to Eric Church in general, but both the last song and album I reviewed of his I gave positive reviews, so maybe you need to update your thinking on my Eric Church stance.

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      • I’m glad you pointed out that every facet of these shows are carefully crafted . . . that includes Taylor Swift’s performance.

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  • Hello Triggerman ! How are you doing :) ?!
    Since you’re a big Country Music Fan , And Modern Country Critic
    I want to take your opinion
    I’m a 16 year old Guy from Libya , I used to dislike Country Music
    But ever since I started listening to Taylor Swift , I actually liked Country Music
    Before all of those reading think that i’m a Teenager who think that is Country music , No .
    I absolutely know that Taylor’s Genre Is Pop with hints of Country
    I know real country music , but I like that Modern Country more
    So , I really want to be a professional singer when I grow up , And I think that I love Country / Pop the most , as genres Because they’re meaningful and they’re built with actual instruments .. I write my own songs , I write songs about Love , Life , most modern stars write about , but lately I’ve been thinking about it and thought that if i ever got the chance to do this Industry i’ll only be releasing the songs that talk about something .. Real
    something that gives you inspiration and hope and something that I wrote .. pouring my heart down .
    You might be wondering ” And you want my opinion inn?? ”
    I’m getting to that , Since you love Country music , Would you accept it if an Arabian sang Modern Country Music?
    Your opinion would mean a lot to me
    Even tho i’m a HUGE Taylor Swift fan , I used to read your posts about Taylor
    and when I saw this post .. I swear I couldn’t believe it .. I got more excited than when Taylor Won the entertainer of the year , and I went crazy went Taylor won the Entertainer of the year . (:
    Thank you so much for this post and for your honesty
    You really do make a difference
    Thanks again !
    - Bahjat

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    • I can’t see any reason you can’t play country music and not be from the US. I think it helps to grow up and be around the music and the environment that inspires country music, but there are some very good country artists from parts of Europe, south America, Australia, and many other countries. Why not Libya? I would say country doesn’t matter, the music does.

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      • Thank you so much !!! :DD
        You got my self esteem much higher !!! I’ll be doing it correct hopefully
        Thanks again !
        - Bahjat

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  • I gotta hand it to you, Triggerman. I’ve had my doubts about you and, although I do follow you regularly, I believe this is the first genuine foot-in-your-mouth blog you’ve ever written, and I respect you very much for it (and I respect you for putting me in my place if it isn’t lol). I agree that Taylor is not country, and shitty pop-country if it must be classified as such, but the time, effort, drive and passion of an artist like her is painfully clear. Society has built this bullshit Kardashian image of wanna-be perfection and Miss Swift is just a sweet little giraffe fumbling her way through the adult shark-filled world. Point being, thanks, and I will continue to promote savingcountrymusic.com, as long as you keep posting kick ass reviews of Damaged Goods, cause man, you’re right about that too. I <3 HBG.

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    • I’m not sure if you’re insulting or complimenting me, but either way, thanks for reading.

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  • Reads article, puts shotgun in mouth.

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  • Hey Trigger Man !! How are you doing now ?! :D
    It’s me again .. So I uploaded a video of me covering ” Ours ” by Taylor .
    I would love it if you gave me your opinion , a piece of advice , a critic?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJYuiElJ0AQ Thanks !

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  • Wow I liked this article, great job. I agree with you and I do respect Taylor for being honest.

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  • Great article. I began my first year at the University of Minnesota this fall and I am sick to my stomach with what I have seen. I do have to say that your recognition for something or someone that is real and authentic really hits the nail on the head for me. This is exactly what I struggle with, its more than just our music losing these values, it’s the whole country. It is too damn hard to find people who appreciate these values. That being said, I have always dreamed about getting up on a stage and singing Jackson with Taylor.

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  • Honestly, I’m glad you are swallowing your pride. I don’t get why people hate on Taylor when there are countless musicians out there that are not songwriters, have no conviction when they sing, and simply do as their record labels tell them. It is undeniable that Taylor has brought country music to the younger generation, regardless of how we want to whine about how her music is not “country”. Seriously, that argument is getting so lame. To most artists, sex and vulgar lyrics sell. But for Taylor, true craft and creativity in songwriting sells – over a million albums in a week in fact. And it’s musicians like Taylor that will save the music industry.

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  • Just discovered your Website. Great stuff. This piece is pure satire, right? And what became of taylorswiftcantsing.com? Did your boy Dan sell out to the Swift empire?

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    • No satire. Don’t know what happened to taylorswiftcantsing.com. Some people just don;t have the stomach for the fight in the long haul.

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  • I read you “versus” article long ago, and I am pleased to read this one. You are absolutely right.

    My argument might be considered pointless if I state that I’m Taylor’s age and feel identified with lots of her lyrics and struggles. But beyond that I cannot express how comforting it is to see a star who is real, one that reflects the reality of many young women who are out there trying to do the right thing and take the correct path. It is exhausting and harder to live this way, but you carry it with dignity. In a world that seems to just be ruled by wasted, wanna be mistreated, money is all, femme’s fatal famous women Taylor becomes a breath of fresh air and a hope that the way I am living is also thrilling and successful.

    And I won’t comment on the musical aspect because what you said was plenty enough, great. I tried to share with you the insight of what it feels like for a girl.

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  • wow this article i think is the best one you wrote yet….in this entire article i agree with you or your right.

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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFFo1pu4q7Q

    This is for anyone who needs to be reminded what a real (pop) singing voice sounds like. The late great Eva Cassidy.

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  • As some one who can not stand country music save for a few songs here and there and I must ask, since when did writing your own song become such a big deal? Big fucking deal. The artist I listen too do that as well and don’t feel the need to broadcast it because it is something to be expected.

    Music videos killed music. It became all about the image. You will never see another Motorhead until the current system is gone. This is why the music industry needs to die and be rebuilt. But maybe this is just a reflection of the shallow world we live in.

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