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10 Days of Taylor: How Taylor Swift can keep headlining stadiums 20 years from now



(Welcome to 10 Days of Taylor, our epic countdown to the epic finale of the most epic pop tour of all time: Taylor Swift’s 1989 Tour, stopping Halloween Night at Raymond James Stadium. For all of our Taylor Swift coverage, click here.)

Children of the ’80s well remember predictions back in the day that Cyndi Lauper, not Madonna, would be the pop star still be on the radio decades later.

Cyndi’s certainly no slouch, having won a Tony for scoring the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, but it’s Madonna who’s still packing stadiums well into her 50s for adoring fans of all ages.

So is Taylor Swift this generation’s Madonna, able and willing to evolve her image for new generations down the line?

Probably not. Most likely, that pointy bra will be rightfully inherited by Beyonce.

The handful of ’80s artists who still had them packing in stadiums for concert tours 20 years later included Michael Jackson, U2, Prince, Janet Jackson and Madge. Even if they produced new albums that were considered below average, a mix of nostalgia and their still-undeniable appeal turned tour announcements into media meltdowns.

What can Taylor do become this generation’s Madonna instead of its Cyndi, still churning out hits when her young fans are approaching middle age?

Keep writing: You’ve got to hand it to Taylor, she can craft a catchy pop lyric. Artists who are singers rather than singer-songwriters don’t seem to last as long. If you’re not handed great tunes to belt out, you’re better off writing them yourself, amiright Alanis Morissette?

Inspire a Halloween costume: She needs an iconic image, a video with a can’t-turn-away look that years from now screams, “That’s so Taylor!” She was on the right track in her 22 video, with its wide-brim hat, red lipstick, red heart sunglasses and black short shorts. But it’s still kinda boring. Her Bad Blood video is definitely hitting the sweet spot of sexy looks and recognizable bad-girl looks, but it’s no Single Ladies and certainly no Like A Virgin. This is the kind of iconography that adds the special sauce to a career stew.

Be good to the LGBT community: As publicist Samantha Jones advised her stud actor boyfriend Smith Jerrod in Sex in the City: “First you win over the gays, then the teenage girls, then Hollywood will follow.” Just ask Cher, Patti LaBelle, Janet Jackson or Diana Ross about the power of a gay following. Madonna has flat-out said she wouldn’t have a career without her gay fans. Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga seem to have learned this lesson well. As a country artist turned pop, Taylor was often ignored by pop-loving gay writers. Then came 1989, and they couldn’t shake it off. As Bradley Stern wrote on his popular blog MuuMuse, gushing over the album’s big songs and huge melodies: “Welcome to Pop World, Tay. We’ve been waiting for you.”

— Sharon Kennedy Wynne

[Last modified: Monday, October 26, 2015 10:41am]


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