Artist of the Decade: Taylor not so Swift


Photo by @taylorswift

Taylor Swift with her 2019 American Music Awards trophies

Colin Sumner, Business Manager

Taylor Swift sashays down the runway with her signature red lipstick.Behind her, a owing cape of pink and gold. The energy of the room is electric and Carole King, the presenter of the award for Artist of the Decade, is positive that Swift earned her title. As Swift thanks her fellow performers of the night, her mother is brought to tears, crying in Swift’s father’s arms. Swift said “this award celebrates a decade of hard work, fun, and memories.”

Over the past decade, Swift has been nominated for over 700 different awards. In 2011 and 2012, she took home Entertainer of the Year from The Academy of Country Music Awards; in the two subsequent years, she was nominated for the same award. Between 2010 and 2013 Swift won over 11 awards from the American Music Academy. In 2014, she won the Dick Clark Award for Excellence and over the past decade has accrued five number-one hits on Billboard’s Top 100 Chart.

Yet, after all of that, Swift winning Artist of the Decade is still up for debate. I am a Swiftie; however, there are many other artists I believe who could have won this award. Artists like Ed Sheeran who have released content throughout the decade that has been continuously chart-topping and unforgettable. Furthermore, Drake was named the top streamed artist of the decade on Spotify with Sheeran right behind him.

Until Kanye West jumped up onto the stage in 2009 during Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards and said that the “Single Ladies” videos was “one of the best videos of all time,” Swift was just a normal singer. What he did was not nice, but West had a point. Beyoncé consistently delivers mind-blowing music videos such as: “Countdown,” “Formation” and “Sorry.” (For full disclosure, I’m a member of the Beyhive, but that doesn’t change anything; Kayne wasn’t too far off with his critique of Swift.)

Swift did not forget her roots in her newest album, Lover, as it contains many country vocalizations and lyrics mixed with modern tracks. However, she’s still singing about her wacky love life, a storyline in half her songs.

Many other female artists have dominated the past decade. Besides Beyoncé, singers such as Ariana Grande, Rihanna and Sia have all produced impressive tracks over the past 10 years.

Artists these days are pulled into pop culture and politics, not just mu-sic anymore, and they often fight for certain causes. Rihanna and Beyoncé have come out in the past year strongly in support of freeing Rodney Reed, a Texas prisoner who has been on death row for more than 25 years as he maintains his innocence. Swift has come out over the past couple of years against Donald Trump and denounced white supremacy. Ironically though, Swift is the product of country music which at times has been unfair to blacks as they are historically excluded from this genre.

With 2019 coming to a close, we all can look into 2020 and wonder what music has for us next. But as far as I’m concerned Swift is not my, my, my, my… Artist of the Decade.