Having recently made history by holding the top 10 positions of the US singles charts, Taylor Swift has gained over 76 million monthly listeners on Spotify. But why are her songs so addictive to teenagers?


Taylor Swift Superfan, Jack Cleary, stated, “She is the most influential artist of the decade [...] She is ethereal”, he says. “Have you heard her music?”. 


At age 14, Swift was signed to Sony/ATV as a songwriter; her debut, self-titled album then followed at age 16 with Big Machine Records. Now 32, Swift has produced 10 studio albums, including the newly released ‘Midnights’ album which amassed 1.4 million sales in the US and 62,000 vinyl-only sales in the UK - a new 21st century record according to the BBC.


As a listener, Swift’s catchy hooks draw you in, but there’s depth to her lyrics as she touches on her own personal struggles. “In Anti-hero, she talks about her eating disorder,” Cleary observed. “ The line is ‘It’s me. Hi! I’m the problem, It’s me’. But how does that support people, especially teenagers, worldwide?


“It’s to help people come to terms with mental health issues and the fact that they are not alone,” claimed Cleary, an avid Swift listener and teenager himself. In March 2022, a report from the NHS on eating disorders stated that ‘almost 10,000 children and young people started treatment between April and December.’ These figures illustrate that teenagers need more mental health support than ever before. With Swift’s popularity and worldwide reach, the openess of her own issues diminishes the stigma around eating disorders and helps teengers feel their voices are being heard, even understood - unheard of only 10 or 20 years ago in the creative industries.


With her debut album released in 2006, Swift’s career spans a range of genres and touches on several issues close to many listeners’ hearts. The new album is accompanied by a major tour and Swift is pleasing innumerable fans worldwide. And with the seemingly unstoppable success of Swift’s career to date, what should we expect next?