Sophie's Choice

Category: Listen

Taylor Swift: The most influential artist of her time?

I’ve always sat on the fence with regards to Taylor Swift as an artist, deciding not to change the station when one of tracks has come on is as far as its ever gone. However since the release of her fifth studio album, (her final transition from country bumpkin to full frontal pop) I can now admit that I actually ‘really like’ Taylor Swift. No more false pretenses, no more ‘Oh yeah I don’t care for her music’, no more ‘she’s my guilty pleasure’. It’s official, I’m a fan.

Regardless of your opinion on her music, Swift is quickly (if not already there) becoming the most influential artist of her time, especially in terms of her impact of the industry. She has embraced corporate sponsorship, which was once considered taboo among musicians. She has mastered the business of live performing, in an era where millennials are spending their money on experiences as opposed to things. And to add all to this, her ability to adopt multiple musical genres has stolen the hearts of her fans in both country and pop.

More recently she is attempting to turn conventional wisdom about the future of music (where record sales are declining and the all you can eat subscriptions are an all time high) on its head. Swift recently made a decision to pull her entire back catalog from Spotify, the biggest music streaming service on the planet.

There’s absolutely no doubt that Swift wears her ‘heart on her sleeve’ when it comes to her music, but there’s another element to her music; it’s relatable, honest and not even slightly fake . Recently she lashed out at critics who didn’t care for her candid, confessional songwriting and its narrow focused on her past relationships. She called this sexist because as she rightly pointed out, no one derides Ed Sheeran or Bruno Mars for the same tactic, touche Tay.

Swift fifth studio album plays to her strengths – strengths which pretty much define modern pop, with its obsession of the private lives of our favourite celebrities and its premium on relatable emotion. I must admit, I’ve now found myself nodding along with her lyrics and even thinking to myself “Yeah, this is totally me” or “This has happened to me!”. Her very intimate Instagram and her ‘in your face, this is me’ music videos really adds to her personality and likability. She isn’t hiding from anybody and she certainly isn’t pretending to be anyone else.

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music to my ears

Born 25 years ago in LA, Jillian Banks (known as BANKS) started her music journey at  14, when she was given a keyboard to help cope with her ensuing depressing following her parents divorce. I hate to say I am thankful for this, but her personal circumstance help create a hypnotic and ghostly debut album titled ‘Goddess’. And I can safely say this album is heavenly sounding.

A smooth blend of buoyant bass, mysterious backing vocals and heavy beats that only creeps slightly above heartbeat pace, listening to BANKS is like being in a semi sleep state.

Living in world where we can instantly find out what our favourite celebrity had for breakfast, BANKS has permitted us a carefully regulated drip feed (for ages she didn’t even reveal her first name), leaving us hanging on for more.

Favourite album tracks: Brain, Waiting Game, Begging for Thread