Taylor Swift: A Book Review

The American singer-songwriter has become a pop culture touchstone, the face of her own generation. The author of chart-topping albums and iconic songs, her music has evolved with the millennial baby boom—from the country romances of her teens to the imperial pop of her twenties to the ambivalent ruminations of her thirties—yet her signature voice has remained a consistent element. This book explores Taylor’s dazzling career, from the songs that helped her break through as a young talent to the ones that shaped her as a defining artist of our time.

At a Nashville industry showcase, Taylor Swift caught the attention of Scott Borchetta, an executive from Dreamworks Records who signed her to his independent label, Big Machine. Her first album, Fearless (2008), topped both the country and pop charts and spawned the biggest single of her career, “Blank Space,” which has spent more weeks at No. 1 than any other song in history. It won a Grammy Award for Best Country Album and earned Taylor the accolade of Female Vocalist of the Year.

Taylor has been named Billboard’s Woman of the Decade, and she’s made a habit of speaking out for women’s rights. She’s also committed to supporting artists through her philanthropic work, including the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and literacy programs. She donated $75,000 to refurbish the school auditorium at her hometown’s Hendersonville High School, as well as $4 million to help build a new education center at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Amid the blitz of media coverage around her fifth studio album, 1989 (2014), Swift retreated to her home state for this deep cut that’s as introspective as it is celebratory. It’s a frank, confessional ballad about a failed relationship that shows off the star’s facility for characterization. Her narrator is thin-skinned and bighearted, obsessed with her own flaws and prone to romantic moments both large and small.

With an album that infused electronic sounds, R&B, and hip hop, Taylor’s eighth studio effort, folklore (2022), was a bold and successful shift in sound. The album reclaimed her master recordings after a copyright lawsuit and debuted at No. 1, making it her longest-running chart-topper of the year. Featuring contributions from the National’s Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, this album encapsulated a moment in time for Taylor Swift. It was her most personal project to date.