‘That’s my whole world’: How loving Taylor Swift & her music made my friendships stronger

How loving Taylor Swift & her music deepened my friendships

This piece is part of MS Speaks, a segment in which MS News reporters share their honest views on current affairs and trending topics.

Growing up, Taylor Swift’s songs have always been the soundtrack to my life. The first time I stumbled upon her songs was in Primary One.

I distinctly recall replaying the music videos of the iconic classics ‘Our Song’, ‘Love Story’, and ‘You Belong With Me’, trying to memorise the lines by heart.

Source: Taylor Swift on YouTube

Seven-year-old me, still wet behind the ears, was enchanted by her vivid storytelling.

Now, turning 22, I see how her songs truly span all facets of the human experience.

For my girlfriends and I, Taylor’s Eras Tour is momentous — it sparked a resurgence in conversations about her influence and music, drawing in both my long-time friends, as well as newfound companions.

We counted days, we counted miles, to see her

In 2022, a few years after the pandemic put a pause on live shows, Taylor announced that she would be going on her sixth concert tour: ‘The Eras Tour’.

When Taylor first kickstarted her tour in March last year, the only known dates were those in the United States (US).

However, as she teased the impending announcement of international dates, my friends and I continued to hope and manifest for days on end.

I still recall the day when Taylor was confirmed to be performing at the National Stadium in Singapore.

That was my wildest dreams just one ticket checkout away, but even then, I knew that getting my hands on tickets would be literally ‘The Great War’ — and it really was.

Taylor Swift UOB Presale Sees Over 1.3 Million In Queue, Ticketmaster Investigating ‘Data Overload’ Issue

Most of my friends and I did not win the Ticketmaster battle. While we already knew that our chances were one in millions, we still grasped onto some glimmer of hope. 

But thanks to a friend who helped me get a ticket and eventually scoring another from resale, we were one step closer to a dream come true.

Watching livestreams every weekend became the norm

So began the countdown to Taylor’s Singapore concert.

Watching concert livestreams together every weekend soon became the norm, as we spent hours living vicariously through the screen.

For every show in each country, Taylor has a surprise segment where she performs two acoustic songs that are not already on the setlist.

Source: E!News

When she sang ‘exile’ during her third show in Sydney, my friend and I were devastated.

The duet, originally featuring the band Bon Iver, showcases the clashing perspectives of two former lovers, and was something we had yearned to experience with the Singapore crowd.

We mourned the loss in a flurry of messages to each other.

Making new friendships with others who adore Taylor Swift

Like almost every other Swiftie out there, I’ve made and traded, friendship bracelets.

‘So make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it’ is a line from Taylor’s song ‘You’re On Your Own, Kid’, which inspired the tradition of crafting and exchanging bracelets among fans.

The bracelets would usually feature Taylor’s song and album titles, as well as lyrics and inside jokes within the fandom. 

My first time trading bracelets was during The Eras Tour movie screening in Singapore last November.

The warmth I felt from fellow Swifties in the movie theatre was unforgettable.

I remember the first Swiftie who came up to us wanting to give away his bracelets, which he had organised by every ‘era’.

He spoke to us about our favourite songs and albums, and it soon felt as though we weren’t strangers just moments ago.

Whether it was friends or strangers-turned-friends that I traded with, every bracelet is unique in its colours, charms and words — making them precious mementos for life. 

It was the ultimate concert pregame, with the usually silent cinema transformed into a massive karaoke session.

Healing our inner child with Taylor’s re-recorded albums

In 2019, Taylor began re-recording her first six studio albums after entertainment tycoon Scooter Braun acquired the rights to her master recordings and sold them to an investment consortium. The six albums are:

  • Taylor Swift (2006)
  • Fearless (2008)
  • Speak Now (2010)
  • Red (2012)
  • 1989 (2014)
  • Reputation (2017)

This setback, however, ignited her proactive efforts to reclaim her music. In Taylor’s words, when “something says in parentheses “(Taylor’s Version)” next to it, that means [she owns] it”.

With her re-recordings, my friends and I can revel in the magic of her nostalgic hits. Just as Taylor revisits her past experiences, it feels as though our inner child has been collectively healed, too.

Moreover, her re-recorded versions helped me embrace my personal growth over the years.

For example, ‘The Story Of Us’ from the ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’ album was the song that got me through friendship breakups back when I was a teenager.

Particularly, I resonated with how it detailed the tension between two individuals who used to be close but have now fallen out due to miscommunication.

Being young and not very adept at handling conflicts, I found that it led to certain friendships being strained, just like how it was in her song.

Taylor’s lyrics made me feel a lot less alone in these situations, and eventually helped me get over the confusion and loneliness I felt at that period of time.

Now, listening to it again, it’s healing to think about how those experiences were of a bygone era.

Loving Taylor Swift is the peak girlhood experience that brought my friendships closer

Recently, I stumbled upon a TikTok video that likened The Eras Tour to ‘Barbieland’, and I couldn’t have put it any better myself.

@anna.gravey And I love it! #taylorswift #erastourtaylorswift #erastour #enchanted ♬ original sound – anna graves

The experience of being a Swiftie encapsulates the essence of girlhood as portrayed in the Barbie movie released last year.

Source: STV News

In Taylor’s song ‘New Year’s Day’, she repeatedly sings the line ‘hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you’.

This applies very much to my friendships, especially the friends who love Taylor Swift and her music just as much as I do.

I’ve made countless memories during social events such as Taylor-themed karaoke sessions and Taylor’s birthday event last year.

Experiencing these core memories made me realise that sharing this love for Taylor was a true celebration of girlhood and friendship.

Although my connection with her songs was something incredibly personal, my friends had similar experiences too.

Taylor wears her heart on her sleeve, and her songs have gotten me through the highs and lows.

To me, The Eras Tour is not just about witnessing one of the biggest superstars in the world perform.

It’s celebrating how her music has brought me and my friends together in such beautiful ways — and on top of that, making memories that will linger long after the last note fades.

Also read: Taylor Swift Announces New Album ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ Out 19 Apr

Taylor Swift Announces New Album ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ Out 19 Apr

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Featured image adapted from E!News.

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