Taylor Swift’s last album ‘22’ was an interesting piece of work. A solid album with a lot of good music, but it wasn’t fully entrenched in a genre. There were elements of country and full-fledged bubblegum pop throughout the whole album. If you just look at the chart performance of her singles from the album, you can see that half charted big on the pop charts and the other half on the country charts.
Swift’s new single, ‘Shake It Off’, was released Monday with a music video and also the announcement of a new album entitled ‘1989’. If ‘Shake It Off’ is indication about how the album is going to sound as a whole, I doubt that Swift will have much of anything charting on the country side.
‘Shake It Off’ is a fun song and a very good song at that, what it is not is country. That’s okay for Taylor Swift, she can do what she wants and in the pop world she can make a lot more money with a greater exposure to more fans.
If this album does show a full slide over to the pop world, it’ll be a sad day for country music.
Taylor Swift remains one of the few women that can currently get a song to the top of the country charts. Currently there are three women that ‘dominate’ the country charts: Taylor, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. Underwood and Lambert had to team up to get a number one single, neither of the two biggest female stars in country have had a true solo number one single since 2012 with Lambert’s ‘Over You’ and Underwood’s ‘Blown Away’.
If the two biggest female stars in the country world can’t do, it really doesn’t bode well for any other women out there. Between Lambert’s and Underwood’s number ones only Taylor Swift and The Band Perry with lead singer Kimberly Perry has reached the top with female voices. Lady Antebellum have reached the pinnacle as well, but they solidly split lead vocals.
It’s not a friendly site for the females when looking at the current Billboard Country Airplay charts. The only true female sound on the charts is Maddie & Tae’s ‘Girl In A Country Song’. ‘Something Bad’ a combo shot by Lambert and Underwood sits at 17 on radio play. Faith Hill gets a little mention at number five as a featured artist on her husband Tim McGraw’s latest single ‘Meanwhile Back At Momma’s’. Hilary Scott has the lead vocals for Lady A’s current number three hit ‘Bartender’, but there is always going to be a small clause on Lady A singles.
To recap, one purely female duo is in the Top 30 songs on country radio right now. Lambert would be on the charts alone if she hadn’t released the duet with Underwood, but nonetheless. If you count Lady A as a half that’s 2.5 songs out of thirty that are solely woman-sung singles.
Country music is finding its way out of the bro-country phase, that the fans brought on themselves, but that’s another story, just fine right now. There’s some really good music out right now, but the diversity that is needed is simply not there. Taylor Swift doesn’t need country music, but country music might just need Taylor Swift.