Chestnut curls tousled under her signature headband, an aspiring corporate attorney with a chiseled jawline, and the face of a Disney alum has another famous pop star twin—Blair Waldorf, Reginald Specter, and Grace Bennett! These fictional characters are only some of the few who have wandered New York University’s halls in an attempt to pass their designated units. While knowing they too understand the adrenaline of a midnight deadline, there’s seemingly only one face that will be flashing across our screens come May 18. She’s, of course, of the real-life variety, having a Spotify account with 53, 960, 436 monthly listeners and a sharp pen helping to self-write a number of tunes that climbed her way to that very spot. Her name’s Taylor, by the way.
Yes, we mean Taylor, but if you want to get into specifics, on the rare occasion, a ‘Swift’ does accompany it. NYU has graciously decided to award Taylor Swift with an honorary doctorate of fine arts along with the rest of the 2022 graduating class at Yankee Stadium, where she will also give a commencement speech. Now, if you’re not a die-hard Swiftie, then you may wonder why you and fictional folks spent so much time working for a degree if someone was to just pass her one. We do understand your reasoning, but we also must contest that Taylor is the music industry and therefore have come up with five reasons to explain why!
Envision Hollywood as a school. Not only do you have ‘cool’ (read: Billboard-charting) kids, but also those who are crossing their fingers to sit (read: collaborate) with one. Then consider Taylor Swift. There’s the brown-haired Canadian fella Shawn Mendes guitar-plucking a duet of ‘Lover’ to trampoline buddy Ed Sheeran, noticeably stating during an interview that no one will purposely release a song when she does.
Taylor has a long list of musical names who have looked up to her since they were very young. Kelsea Ballerini, for example, attended Taylor’s 13-hour meet and greet as well as musicians who have already achieved insane success with Billy Joel comparing her to this generation’s Beatles! Neither is she short of having someone to share her lunch with, even if the infamous squad, tagging the likes of Gigi Hadid, Lily Aldridge, Cara Delevingne, and Hailee Steinfeld, was bid a farewell in the ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ music video.
She Can Handle an Assignment
Whether it’s the entirety of purple (a color she made popular way before Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour) themed Speak Now or the outline of a once written poem that inevitably shaped itself into ‘This Love,’ Taylor’s singularly written a couple of classics along the way! Even those penned in a writer’s camp have masterfully intricate lyrics, which are most likely passed around as a teaching resource, containing a plethora of literacy references and devices. If you wish to not dig a little deeper, then 1989’s ‘Wonderland’ perfectly uses its song title to encapsulate the underground mischief of Cheshire cats and lovelorn Queens as Taylor replaces Alice, unknowingly slipping down a relationship’s rabbit hole.
Whereas ‘Invisible String’ needs quite the shovel if you’re not a poetry fanatic. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” Not sung, but written by Ernest Hemingway in the 1962 The Sun Also Rises, only to let its inspiration bleed into the couplet, “And isn’t it just so pretty to think/ All along there was some/ Invisible string/ Tying you to me?” What about those devices? No worries, we’ve got so many that they could be quite literally alphabetized. It’s what Twitter user @chrtucci has done, starting with adnomination, which is the “repetition of words with the same root in a sentence,” pointing to ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ and ending with similes! May not need the definition for this one, but regardless, it’s when two things that are unlike compare to each other, calling to ‘All Too Well’s “You call me up again just to break me like a promise.”
Here’s a thread of examples of rhetorical devices in Taylor Swift lyrics:
— Christian Tucci (@chrtucci) November 16, 2020
Blitzing Through Extracurriculars
Sure, Taylor’s the master of storytellers when it comes to lyrics, but she’s also done an impressive job of warping her narrative skills into the arenas of both touring and music videos! No matter what city you see her in, the stage doesn’t just simply hold a glitter-enthusiastic piano but also fake blizzards casting us ‘Back to December,’ decorative snakes, including one that’s a 63-foot inflatable cobra and another that works as a skeletal lift to fly her across banner-holding fans, and a ringmaster’s cane to show just how comical it would be to try and get back together with an ex-something. It’s through those tiny details of a stage’s design that Taylor’s able to cast you into the world she’s drawn up, turning it from an era’s concert to a presumed Broadway show.
That same eye for detail is evident in her music videos, and while each could have its own analysis, none is so well thought out as her ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ comeback. From the 2014 Met Gala dress (the pink one with the really long bow trail for all you visual Swifties) to mark the date of her buried reputation to the era mountain, having various versions of herself battle it out! She’s so smart that one of her music videos became a short film starring Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink.
Top of Her Class
If she were to have a tribute glass case for her various achievements in the hallway of this metaphorical Hollywood school, then there’d probably be a side closet to fit the awards that there’s just not enough space for. In other words, she’s got a lot. Grammys? She has 11. Brit Awards? Two. There are also about 25 Billboard Music Awards, 12 Country Music Association Awards, 56 Guinness World Records, and one Emmy Award, which is nonetheless cool, but also pretty individualistic considering it’s not only shaped like an angel holding a sphere but is also for outstanding contribution in television.
On top of that, Taylor’s been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, is both the youngest person to ever win a Grammy for Album of the Year with Fearless and is the only woman to win three AOTYs and is Billboard’s first-ever recipient of their Woman of the Decade Award.
A Long-Lasting Legacy
Suppose it’s not the five-star recommendations from her verified supporters or the approval from the music industry chairpersons who push you over to team ‘22 grad, but how about her fans? These 26-year-olds went from writing ‘13’ down their arms in markers to posting elaborate theories about when her next album will drop behind a Taylor profile pic. She’s even gotten her fans to crack open books to start reading; see a 1989-era stopover with Scholastic where she urged young teenagers to explore fictional worlds.
The Holy Swift podcast launched a fan-created version of Swiftie Wordle, appropriately called Taylordle, where one tries to guess five-letter words to enrich their vocabulary. This, of course, began with Taylor’s love of reading CD booklets, which she passed on to fans by having far between capital letters help spell out secret passages, and ends with you whipping out the dictionary to learn the meaning behind specific words in her lyrics. Either way, she wants you to learn!
Are you just as excited as us to see Taylor Swift wear her graduation tassel? Do you have your own set of reasons as to why she should? If so, we’d love to hear them through the comments below or tweet us at @TheHoneyPOP!