Taylor Swift: The backlash to the backlash to the backlash to the ... holy crap! Would everybody just STFU already?!

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Don't know if you've been following this whole Taylor Swift Grammy backlash or not. It's becoming a tad ridiculous at this point.

Even Kelly Clarkson -- who, for whatever reason, always seems to be at the ready with some Taylor Swift-related commentary or another (remember the open letter to Kanye after the VMA dustup?) -- has weighed in.

If you haven't kept up with the action (good for you -- that means you have a life), here's the cliff notes: Grammy night, darling young ingenue aw-shucks her way through antiquated awards ceremony and picks up an armful of statues, one of which she manages to drop (whoops!).

During the course of the evening, Swift gets the chance to perform in an omigod-whoever-the-hell-conceived-this-should-be-fired duet with Stevie Nicks. However ill conceived on Swift's part -- hearing her song side-by-side with "Rhiannon" only amplified the contrast between the two, like Harry Connick Jr. set against Frank Sinatra: Nice enough, but we prefer the original, thanks -- her performance wasn't bad, a little pitchy, but nothing to hang her head about, really.

In the days that followed, the backlash began in earnest, with folks weighing in on the sincerity of her OMG, YOU GUYS! demeanor and how it's starting to wear a little thin at this point. And then more sour notes were sounded with pundits panning the precocious teen's performance. This goes on for a minute until a few Swift apologists rise up from the ranks and are all like, "Hey, wait a minute! She wasn't that bad, okay?!"

The loudest of her defenders was Scott Borchetta, the head of Big Machine Records -- the indie label that Swift has undoubtedly helped embody its name -- who took up for her a few days later in The Tennessean, making concessions for her technical ability and then praising her songwriting. As he made his point, Borchetta admitted that Swift doesn't possess Idol-worthy vocal prowess, but said that's really not the point. She's a "true artist," we believe is how he put it.

Oh hell to the no, as Whitney would say. Hell to the yes, actually. Borchetta's statement, along with his offhanded Idol remarks incensed some folks, including Clarkson, inspiring her to fire off the following missive on her blog:

Wow .....Dear Scott Borchetta,

I understand defending your artist obviously because I have done the same in the past for artists I like, including Taylor, so you might see why its upsetting to read you attacking American Idol for producing simply vocalists that hit 'the high notes'. Thank you for that 'Captain Obvious' sense of humor because you know what, we not only hit the high notes, you forgot to mention we generally hit the 'right' notes as well. Every artist has a bad performance or two and that is understandable, but throwing blame will not make the situation at hand any better. I have been criticized left and right for having shaky performances before (and they were shaky) and what my manager or label executives say to me and the public is "I'll kick butt next time" or "every performance isn't going to be perfect" ......I bring this up because you should take a lesson from these people and instead of lashing out at other artists (that in your 'humble' opinion lack true artistry), you should simply take a breath and realize that sometimes things won't go according to plan or work out and that's okay.


One of those contestants from American Idol who only made it because of her high notes

Mmkay, time out everybody. Voice of reason here. How you doing? First, to our fellow pundits, knock it off. Swift's performance was far from cringe-worthy. C'mon, admit it. We've seen far worse, and so have you. Cut the girl some slack, will ya'? At least she was actually, you know, singing. How many of these supposed superstars lip sync? Exactly. (See what happens went we outlaw autotune, Jay?)

And to Swift's apologists: She's a big girl. Let her speak for herself. Experiences like this will serve to toughen her up, and truthfully, she could use some rough edges to make her music a little more,um, interesting.

Finally, Kelly, relax. We're pretty sure Borchetta didn't have you in mind when he said that stuff about Idol. While we're in Captain Obvious mode, let us also point out that he was generalizing, using it as a device to make a distinction between Taylor and the other franchise drones who don't write their own songs, the ones who are all sizzle and no steak. Nothing against you. Hell, we bet Borchetta probably rocks out to "Since You've Been Gone" in his office every now and then like the rest of us.

You all got that, pundits, apologists, Ms. Independent? We straight? Great. Now would everybody shut the fuck up already? Please? Thanks.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.