Taylor Swift is undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in music, and with her level of exposure, comparisons are bound to come. And this new comparison to Bruce Springsteen will likely cause a lot of discussion.
In a new feature on Vox titled “Taylor Swift is the millennial Bruce Springsteen,” writer Emily VanDerWerff examines in detail the careers of both Swift and Springsteen. While she wrote on Twitter that the piece was “my worst take…I ABSOLUTELY believe in this bad take. With my whole heart,” VanDerWerff makes some very valid arguments to support her seemingly bold statement.
For starters, VanDerWerff points out, “Springsteen and Swift each entered the music industry as young wunderkinds with lots to prove.” She also points at how both artists shifted their musical directions at critical points in their careers and achieved their massive mainstream breakthroughs. VanDerWerff writes, “For instance, ‘Born to Run’ and Swift’s 2014 album ‘1989’ were released when their respective artists were 25. Both broke the artists through to even wider acclaim than they had before.”
VanDerWerff also compares the stories and topics upon which Swift and Springsteen center their songs.
“Both musicians love songs about a kind of white Americana that’s never really existed but that the central characters of which feel compelled to chase anyway,” writes VanDerWerff. “They use those songs to tell stories about those people and the places they live. They’re terrifically good at wordplay. Both are fascinated by the ways that adolescence and memories of adolescence continue to have incredible power for adults. Both are amazing at crafting bridges that take already good songs to another level. And both write songs featuring fictional people whose lives are sketched in via tiny, intimate details that stand in for their whole selves.”
Perhaps the strongest, most intriguing point VanDerWerff makes and what will likely lead to a greater discussion is this: “What’s most interesting about drawing this connection are the ways in which the overlap between Springsteen and Swift’s styles can tell us about how our culture treats art made by men versus art made by women — and art made by baby boomers versus art made by millennials.”
With that in mind, reactions to this piece on Twitter have been intense. Here’s is just a selection of some of the notable ones.