We asked people who became Swifties in lockdown what it was that converted them

‘Cats taught me to hate, but Evermore taught me to love’


Maybe it was the loneliness. Maybe it was the boredom. Maybe it was to drown out the noise of our parents. But something happened during lockdown that made a load of people become die hard Taylor Swift stans for the first time.

Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle. Certainly always was a huge fan of the singles, obsessed over the 80s synthpop joy of 1989, fell out with her for years for removing her back catalogue from Spotify, believed the tabloids blindly about her and the Kardashian dramas and then, eventually, accepted I did rather enjoy her.

Taylor Swift, Cardigan

This last year though, it all changed. Moderately enjoying Taylor evolved to obsession. I needed to lap up everything she’d ever written, ever sang, ever said. I was hooked. These days, as far as I’m concerned, she’s the best writer to put pen to paper since Shakespeare. End of. I will be streaming I Knew You Were Trouble on my death bed.

And I’m not the only one who’s now, apparently, a Swifty to the bitter end. It seems the pandemic flipped a switch for many who barely even gave the biggest pop star on the planet the time of day before they found themselves on lockdown.

We spoke to some of this surge of recent Swifties to get to the bottom of WHY they suddenly live and breathe Tay, and show no signs of stopping.

Amy

Taylor Swift

So, I kinda liked Taylor back when I was a teenager but got totally put off her when I started believing the tabloids. That, and some crap single choices (ME! we are looking at you). It just all made me not really appreciate how incredible and genius her songwriting actually is.

When lockdown started and we all were watching everything and anything on Netflix to fill the time, I put her documentary on randomly to just listen to in the background. But it was literally like a switch flipped in my head.

I loved how she seemed so down to earth, loved her working process, her honesty and just how lovely a person she came across as. I felt awful for believing the crap in the tabloids and even though I wasn’t yet listening to her music I thought “wow, nice lady”.

I was doing some painting one day, was looking for something new and Lover was suggested to me on the Spotify homepage. I put it on. Then I put it on again. And again. I was absolutely hooked.

Then, of course, Folklore happened. That shit changed my life. I think it has very sapphic vibes? It came out right at the time I was coming to terms with my sexuality and figuring everything out. It really helped me do that. I followed her on everything, bought merch – I got WALL ART!? Now I’m in fan groups, I have my notifications on for her in case she posts anything crucial and I’m fully convinced she’s the most talented creator and artist of our generation.

I didn’t even like the woman a year ago?

Daniel

It was the @bennydrama7 video dancing to Gold Rush that did it.

I ended up listening to the full song out of curiosity. And yep, I’m now a convert. Pretty much never listened to Taylor Swift before in my life and now I sit weeping to Love Story in the shower.

Cats taught me to hate, but Evermore taught me to love.

Kennedy

Taylor Swift

I was working during lockdown here in Australia, and I’d just split up with my boyfriend after two years.

Was on the way to work (shoutout to essential workers, woo!) and a song from 1989 came on when I shuffled a playlist. It was All You Had To Do Was Stay. It just hit me so hard and I listened to the whole album straight away, followed by all her others.

My love for Taylor Swift was born.

Bex

I am now OBSESSED with Taylor Swift. When I don’t know what to listen to, I listen to her.

From when I was 12 to when I was like 22, I was CONVINCED I didn’t like her as a person. But I didn’t really know why? Looking back, it was just a pointless dislike.

When she dropped Folklore I was in awe. She’d never really written music like that before. I started listening to her albums all the way through and she just truly is one of the best living songwriters. I’m convinced Blank Space is one of the top five best pop songs of all time.

Lockdown literally put me in a permanent Taylor Swift era.

Nathan

Taylor Swift

Of course, I’d cherry picked favourites from each of her albums before (Getaway Car, the greatest song of all time? I do think!). None of them really worked for me that cohesively though. I was too caught up in all the Katy Perry VS. Taylor Swift drama to really admit how good she was, especially as a “Teenage Dream is the best pop album of all time” person.

Over lockdown, I tried to give a different artist a specific day where I dedicated all the free time I found myself with to their discography. When I got to Taylor, I had a playlist of about 25 songs and just realised how much of a talent she was – I just needed a full body of work I was obsessed with to solidify that.

And then she dropped Folklore.

Olly

Until last year, I had serious reservations about subjecting myself to an entire Taylor Swift album.

Songs like Shake It Off and ME! honestly are hellish to me. I’ve always said they sound like they should exist solely on kids’ party playlists. It’s safe to say that I’d just never really gotten the hype.

When she dropped Folklore with less than a day’s notice and no radio friendly single to precede it, my interest was grabbed more than usual. And I’m SO glad it was, because Folklore has some of the most breathtakingly gorgeous songwriting I have ever come across. It’s has such autumn nights in solitude vibes, and quickly became my go to quarantine listen.

Since Folklore and Evermore dropped last year, I have taken more time to explore her back catalogue and found all the golden stuff that’s there. Turns out I’m a Swifty after all!

So… Why do we all love her so much now then?

Seems that Folklore’s unexpected arrival in the heights of lockdown is a dominating factor.

There was just something about Folklore arriving in lockdown that made it connect with so many. It contains the best songwriting of Taylor Swift’s career, was such a huge departure for her stylistically and really elevated the storytelling in her music to new heights. It was so satisfying to see it win the Grammy for Album of the Year at the Academy Awards this year and get recognised for how much it defined the music scene of 2020 for so many of us.

But it isn’t just Folklore and its speedily released sister album of Evermore that caused the Taylor hype to grow exponentially – it was the rediscovery of her back catalogue that solidified everyone’s newfound love for her. Why? Her music is stuffed with escapism. Think Wildest Dreams. Think the high school romance of her early work. We were on national lockdown, and we needed Taylor to help us escape from that in any way she could.

With Taylor Swift now rerecording and rereleasing all of her albums from her self titled debut to 2017’s Reputation, her albums are reaching a new level of artistry that’s claiming her new fans – showing that this Taylor Swift domination will perhaps continue to convert new Swifties when the confines of lockdown are long gone.

Recommended stories by this writer:

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