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Lorrie Lynn: Is Taylor Swift a vitamin or toxin?

In middle school I loved Taylor Swift. I knew all of the words to her songs by heart and can still recite a lot of them. I’ve even bought (er, downloaded) quite a few of her songs in high school because I have to admit that I do like a lot of them.

I don’t mean to run a personal crusade against Taylor Swift; I do believe she has talent in her trade and can most definitely appreciate her music. I simply wish we could take a step back to consider reality before diving headfirst into her musical embrace, before we waste countless more tears on things that probably aren’t worth wasting a breath on, if only to make sure we’re being sensible.

Personally, I see Taylor Swift as a kind of benign health supplement — like those gummy ones doctors always fight about in terms of determining actual health benefits — helpful (and somewhat tasty) to an extent, but potentially poisonous when consumed in unhealthy amounts. I almost wish there could be a label on each of her CDs advising careful dosage, preferably one targeted at middle school girls.

As a 17-year-old female that also happens to have a 13-year-old younger sister, I’ve seen that all too often girls (especially those in middle school) listen to these songs when they first see a cute guy who seems nice enough, and that just speeds up the process of a crush.

Their adoration starts simply as a crush, but suddenly these songs start playing and they think they’re in love, when it’s really no more than infatuation.

For example, you meet a cute guy at a party or a dance one night, and on the way home you play “Enchanted:”

“This night is sparkling, don’t you let it go. I’m wonderstruck, blushing all the way home. I’ll spend forever wondering if you knew I was enchanted to meet you. The lingering question kept me up: 2 a.m., who do you love? I wonder ’til I’m wide awake.”

This, in turn, transforms your mild fascination into something much, much more.

Or, you’re crushing majorly on a senior who’s about to graduate, and he’s got kind of a bad reputation for hooking up with girls and leaving them in the dust, but you think he’s just misunderstood and really sweet. You get lost in his eyes and he can’t really be that way, you think, so you listen to “Superman:”

“Tall, dark and beautiful, he’s complicated, he’s irrational. But I hope someday you’ll take me away and save the day, something in his deep brown eyes has me sayin’ he’s not all bad like his reputation, and I can’t hear one single word they say. And you’ll leave, got places to be and I’ll be okay. I always forget to tell you I love you, I loved you from the very first day.”

You find out this guy you’re friends with and also have liked forever likes someone else, so you put on “You Belong With Me:”

“[I’m] dreaming about the day when you wake up and find that what you’re looking for has been here the whole time. If you could see that I’m the one who understands you, been here all along. So, why can’t you see you belong with me?”

The problem with these songs is that when listening to them, they fan the fire of what first was a simple crush, making it all the more devastating when things inevitably (okay not always inevitable, but come on – it’s a lot of the time) don’t work out (or you know, he never knew you existed and it was all in your head to begin with).

When the “heartbreak” comes it’s not only justified, but it’s encouraged through other songs (“Haunted,” “White Horse”) that were otherwise meant for expressing sorrow over the loss of an actual relationship.

Finding that our feelings are common in lots of other girls our age is soothing; it is. To know we’re not alone and maybe that this romance stuff is worth it, oh, swoon. And it can be good, just like with all music, to have that artistic expression as an outlet when we don’t feel we can talk to anyone else. Unfortunately, the situation gets sticky quickly because the messages we get when we listen to this music is so subtle we take it in without really analyzing the implications.

All I’m saying is that we need to be careful about what we’re letting influence us. Just because a song doesn’t blatantly talk about sex or drugs doesn’t mean it’s healthy or okay to make your life’s ballad at age 14. Just because the gummy vitamins taste good and make up for your daily serving of broccoli doesn’t mean you can eat as many as you want.

Just as with all things in life, music needs moderation and consideration, especially if you’re going to let it dictate how you feel about your “relationships” and more importantly, yourself.

What do you think?
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Comments on articles are screened and those determined by editors to be crude, overly mean-spirited or that serve primarily as personal attacks will not be approved. The Editorial Review Board, made up of 11 student editors and a faculty adviser, make decisions on content.
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Lorrie Lynn: Is Taylor Swift a vitamin or toxin?