Posted on January 1st, 2019 | by Leslie

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Reputation

This morning I watched Taylor Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour on Netflix.

When I’m driving across the country, one of my favourite albums to listen to (and I’ve listened to it dozens of times on the road) is 1989.  It is a perfect pop album.  Perfect.  From start to finish.  I listen to it in awe of the craft it demonstrates and I take notes.  Many musicians stretch themselves as artists into new styles and instruments, embracing challenge and growth, but few manage to master them as they go.

I take notes not because I want to write a pop album.  I don’t.  I take notes because this woman has managed to master two genres – country and pop – not to mention her forays into rock and everything else she’s tried.

I was never a fan of Taylor Swift.  It took me some effort to look past her popularity.  I had to get past my own bias to really listen to the way she writes a song and the way she connects with her fans.

So impressed.  I’m just so impressed.

Watching her Dallas performance on her Reputation Tour is the first time I’ve seen her perform outside a music video.  I was spellbound.  Not because I particularly enjoy the style of music she sang for the first few songs, but the choreography she learned was intense.  Her commitment to her own performance, her owning of that stage, how she shares it with all the dancers and musicians she performs with, how she reaches out through the camera and to the most distant audience member, how she thought out how best to do that stadium after stadium.  The moments she took to share gratitude, the moments she took to be alone with her fans, the intimacy and vulnerability she managed to balance with glitz and costume changes and genre shifting.

But she never broke, she never felt weak or waffling.  She is the personification of determination.  Of focus and poise and meaning.  Wikipedia identifies her as a singer-songwriter.  God, am I sick of that pale descriptor that is somehow supposed to encompass every woman who writes AND performs her music.

I don’t love every dance move.  I don’t love the overproduction of her vocals.  But I admire and respect the hell out of this woman for having accomplished what she has accomplished.  She is an absolute inspiration.

The theme of her tour really hit home.  In one of her solo moments with the audience she spoke about reputation and the power it has over us.  The threat of losing ours, what people will say about us, keeps us small and afraid.  Keeps us from taking risks because of how we’ll be judged for our future mistakes.  This is the kind of lesson she has learned more than most of us ever will, with millions of witnesses and zillions of opinions.  The wisdom she’s gained she is passing on.

An entire stadium of joy.  Jumping, dancing, screaming, singing, elated, united joy.  I can’t participate in moments like those in real life because my senses would be completely overwhelmed.  This filmed concert gave me the opportunity to participate in a different way.

In January (in preparation for FAWM) I’m dedicating time every day to musical learning, whether it is sitting down to practice scales, or picking up an instrument I haven’t played in a while, or researching an artist, or listening to someone I’ve never heard before.  Today I watched Taylor Swift own her LIFE and I’m grateful.

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