Why 2016 Was the Year the World Turned on Taylor Swift
When 2016 started, Taylor Swift was arguably at an all-time career high. She had just wrapped the EPIC 1989 world tour, and, after treating the entire tour crew to an Australian vacation as a thank you, she was enjoying some much-deserved downtime.
When she wasn’t completely vegging out at home with her beloved cats, she was enjoying dinners out with her then-boo Calvin Harris (or at least attempting to…), and rumors about a potential engagement were heating up.
In February, when Kanye West released The Life of Pablo, the lyrics to the song “Famous” caused a ton of controversy. “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that b***h famous,” he rapped, while Taylor remained quiet on the matter as her ever-strong squad rushed to have her back. Kanye (and Kim Kardashian) always maintained that Taylor had given ‘Ye her blessing to use the lyrics.
Then, a few days later at the Grammys, Taylor used her Album of the Year acceptance speech to not only point out that she was the first woman to ever win two Album of the Year Grammys, but to not-so-subtly fire back at Kanye.
“I want to say to the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way who try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” she said, immediately inspiring even the likes of Reese Witherspoon to jump to their feet (er, tweets) in praise. “But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you will look around and you will know it was you and the people who love you who put you there, and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.”
Tay was on fire, despite her not performing or releasing any new music. Everyone was obsessed with her and Calvin’s adorable relationship, watching them happily celebrate their one-year anniversary and party at Coachella. Her edgy new bleached locks turned heads on her Vogue cover and at the Met Gala. And she was obviously the best bridesmaid ever at her childhood BFF’s wedding.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Taylor and Calvin broke up, and yikes, did it get messy at times. Then seemingly out of nowhere AGAIN, just a few weeks after the breakup, Taylor was dating Tom Hiddleston. This only reignited the narrative that Taylor cycled through relationships for publicity as they suited different arcs in her career. Hiddleswift were suddenly EVERYWHERE in the media (guilty!); conspiracy theories for this strange new relationship started to fly. It seemed contrived, and TBH, people were getting a little bit tired of all Taylor, all the time. The tides were turning, and fast.
And this is when it all unravelled. One of the conspiracies about #Hiddleswift was that the relationship was a distraction for something Taylor knew was coming and wanted to sweep under the carpet: #ReceiptGate.
In mid-July, Kim Kardashian used her Snapchat to release part of the phone call between Taylor and Kanye where they discussed the “Famous” lyrics. Taylor said that while she and Kanye had discussed the song, she actually hadn’t agreed to letting Kanye call her a b***h. She released a statement asking to be “excluded from this narrative,” and then she sort of just… disappeared.
While most of Taylor’s loyal squad stood by her, even one of her BFFs, Selena Gomez, remained strangely quiet and seemingly confused about the whole thing. Tom and Taylor slinked out of the public eye and were soon officially over. And so, it seemed, was the world’s love affair with T Swift.
Slowly, through months out of the spotlight, it seems like Tay has been inching back to being on the world’s good side. She’s been dropping hints that a return to her country roots could be on the way, and although the jury is out over how adopting a hip-hop sound would fare, a collaboration with Drake definitely has people intrigued.
Earlier this month, Taylor released her first new music in over two years. Teaming up with Zayn, the two did a duet for the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack, and while the initial reaction was among the “no one asked for this!” variety, the song immediately went to #1 on iTunes, meaning that as long as Taylor sticks to the music, the people will listen.
Do you think Taylor will make a comeback in 2017? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Featured photo via Neilson Barnard/Getty)
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Taylor Swift changed her story about discussing the “Famous” lyrics with Kanye West. Swift’s publicist released a statement to Billboard magazine on the day of West’s song release that read: “Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single ‘Famous’ on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, “I made that bitch famous.’”