February 20, 2009
The most recent edition of Rolling Stone features precocious teenage country superstar Taylor Swift on its cover, and also contains a eight-page spread covering her “very pink, very perfect life.” As we have come to expect from Swift, the interview is wonderfully candid and refreshingly young and honest. However, (perhaps given Kenny Chesney’s recent Playboy interview) one thing stood out: Swift’s desire to maintain, and in fact, reinforce, her goody-goody image.
According to the interview, Swift is constantly worried about saying something that could be construed as offense to her fans. In defending her stance on not getting caught up in the shenanigans of young Hollywood, she goes so far as to say: “When you lose someone’s trust, it’s lost, and there are a lot of people out there who are counting on me right now.” That’s a lot to carry on her slender shoulders: the expectations of all of her young fans. But I have to wonder, is it necessary?
Unlike nearly any other public forum, music has always been a bastion of rebellion. What would my teenage years have been without Ani DiFranco, Nirvana, Green Day and Eminem? Where’s a suburban white girl going to rebel, if not in her music? I never looked to musicians to be role models. Music, for me, has always been a refuge of honest emotion. If sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll come along with it, so be it. Can you imagine what music would be like if musicians were expected to be role models? No Madonna. No Rolling Stones. No Steve Earle. Etc. Etc.
Do you want/expect your country artists to be role models?