The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

Midway will be taking a break over the summer
After reminiscing with fond memories, Class of 2024 graduates in Rockefeller Chapel

Taylor Swift’s relatable lyrics provide comfort, reassurance to audiences

Alex Diamond
A student plays a song from Taylor Swift’s rerelease of her album, “1989,” her most recent album. Ms. Swift’s popularity is largely due to the relatability of her lyrics.

The energy is thrumming on the last Friday in October, with 26 superfans packed into a classroom and “1989 Taylor’s Version” playing full volume on shuffle. Tables are loaded with snacks and Taylor Swift paraphernalia. Stations have been set up to honor the now iconic tradition of friendship bracelets, derived from the song “You’re on Your Own Kid.” 

It is a song about teenage loneliness and longing, yet with one lyric created a tradition that brought fans together across the country and around the world. As U-High fans gather at this listening party, they show off their bracelets, sing along with memorized song lyrics and share facts about Taylor Swift.

Ms. Swift has reached the height of her popularity in 2023, comparable to Beatlemania in the1960s or Michael Jackson’s era as the King of Pop in the 1980s. In the fall Ms. Swift took the Eras Tour global, performing in South America, where fans quit their jobs and camped outside venues for over five months to get seats. In December she was named Time Person of the Year. But what does Taylor Swift possess to have become perhaps the biggest pop sensation ever?

According to her U-High fans, it is Ms. Swift’s ability to provide millions of different people with the affirmation that they are fundamentally not alone, which has turned her into an icon. 

“There’s a song for everything that I’m feeling,” ninth grader Sadie Ellis said. 

For Sadie, part of the appeal is Ms. Swift’s dedication to depicting the female experience in songs such as “The Man.” She writes about a lot of things young women are going through, Sadie said.

However, despite Ms. Swift’s  primarily female fanbase, all over the internet there are videos of people of various genders, ages and sexualities all declaring their love for her.

“I think that the emotions she’s writing about are emotions that everyone feels about different things,” Samara Grossman, the organizer of the “1989 Taylor’s Version” listening party, said, “and they’re so universal, which is what makes her songs so relatable to so many people.” 

Ms. Swift’s popularity with teenagers can also be partially attributed to her music’s focus on how she’s feeling at various times in her life. Her songs can act as a road map. 

“The thing that all teenagers go through is, like, you’re experiencing new emotions and you don’t know what to do with them and you don’t know that everyone else is feeling that way too,” Samara said, “and I think that she has made so many people feel less alone in those feelings.”

Ms. Swift’s community also helps people feel less alone. Sadie said part of what you gain through Taylor Swift is the connection to a community. Online, fans share song interpretations and personal stories about Ms. Swift’s music. 

“I’ll be listening to a song, and I’ll see someone else across the country or across the world, and they’ll be listening to the same song and feeling the same thing,” Sadie said.

Late at night, too late for anyone else to be up, Samara sits at her computer, working in organized columns on a math assignment due the next day. She opens her AirPods and gives herself the small comfort of Ms. Swift’s music late at night. Next to her computer, on her desk are bracelets carefully placed inside the speciality cup from The Eras Tour movie, some homemade, some from friends and some from a strangers giving out bracelets to other strangers at Ms. Swift’s concert six months ago, at midnight, in the warm June air, among a crowd of thousands.

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About the Contributors
Lila Coyne
Lila Coyne, Reporter
Lila Coyne is a member of the Cass of 2027 and serves as a reporter. She began in the 2023-24 school year when she was in ninth grade. She is also a member of the Debate Team and the Renaissance Literary Board.
Alex Diamond
Alex Diamond, Photographer
Alex Diamond is a photojournalist and a member of the Class of 2026. His favorite part of photojournalism is taking photos. Outside of photojournalism, Alex enjoys hanging out with friends and learning new things. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Honorable mention, feature photo

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