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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Criticism: “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour”

Creative Commons

Following the re-release of Taylor Swift’s “Red,” opinion writer Abbie Beckley comments on both the accusations and the accomplishments surrounding the album. 

Between consistently selling out stadiums for her tour and spending the last few months rerecording her 1989 album, Taylor Swift has managed to outdo herself again. In early August, the 23-time VMA winner announced the release of her new movie “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour.”
Spoilers ahead.
The movie is a recording of the concert, starting with the “Lover” (2019) era. It takes you through each album of her musical journey, mixing nostalgia and excitement all in one. Because of the high volume of songs and transitions, the movie even had to cut out part of the setlist to shorten the film — one of which being “The Archer” off of her “Lover” album.
In her regular Swift fashion, the concert is filled with extravagant costumes and props. During the “Lover” era, Swift styles a bejeweled pink and purple leotard and knee high bejeweled boots. She starts off with her hit song “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” to open the tour. I felt that was a perfect song to start with, the opening line for the concert was “It’s been a long time coming,” which describes her long awaited return to the stage. Moreover, the strategic move of removing “The Archer” was appropriate. The rest of the “Lover” discography was light-hearted and energetic, while “The Archer” is a more serious and slow song that can be saved for later eras.
After venturing through her “Lover” era, Swift takes us to one of her most nostalgic eras, “Fearless” (2008). Changing into a frilled golden dress, it truly takes you back to your early childhood memories. Playing songs like “You Belong With Me” or “Love Story,” the crowd goes wild for the early days of Swift. While watching the movie, I could not help but feel sentimental as I got to hear songs from my childhood blast on the big screen. This was one of her best set list choices. She played three “Fearless” songs and the theater went crazy for every single one.
Moving on from the nostalgia, Swift shocks the audience with the witch version of her top-selling single “Willow” to start off the “evermore” (2020) era. Since this was the first time performing “evermore” live, Swift pulled out all the stops. From a heartbreaking showing of “Tolerate It” to the jaw-dropping performance of “Illicit Affairs,” Swift spares no expense for this era. Due to the time crunch, “Tis The Damn Season” was removed from the movie.
In a complete transition from sobbing to screaming, Swift slithers into the “reputation” (2017) era leg of the tour. A personal favorite of mine, she opens with the iconic “Ready for it” before moving onto other hits like “Delicate” and “Don’t Blame Me.” Arguably the loudest time in the theater, fans belted out the high notes in their seats.
Disappointingly, the “Speak Now” (2010) era only received one song. Allegedly because of the rerecording of the album, which came out on July 7, Swift did not give a lot of love to this album. However, after releasing “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” she did add “Long Live” to the set list. For the movie, “Long Live” was cut. I did not agree with this decision. That song holds an important place in the hearts of Swifties, as it is a song Swift dedicates to her fans. Many Swifties (myself included) did not get to see this live because the Texas tour dates were before the release and were hoping to see it on the big screen.
The next few eras were memorable but did not stand out to me as much in terms of stage presence, props or lighting. After the “Speak Now” era, Swift submerges us into the depths of the “Red” (2012) album. “Red (Taylor’s Version)” (2021) is one of her longest albums, which is why I was not impressed with the exclusively radio-hit songs she selected for the setlist. With the exception of “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” and the hat pass-off during “22,” this era was one of the more boring areas of the movie. The hat was given to the late Kobe Bryant’s daughter, Bianka Bryant, a raw moment that made the crowd very emotional.
My personal favorite album era came next, Swift opened the “Folklore” (2020) era with “The 1.” Although my top album, nothing in this era stood out to me. The single “Cardigan” was cut from the movie, which makes sense since this era had seven songs. Swift did come back in style and wow the audience with her “1989” (2014) era, playing crowd-favorites such as “Bad Blood” and “Blank Space”. Another cut came from this era with “Wildest Dreams” being removed from the movie. In place of this cut, I think producers could have removed “Shake It Off” instead.
A tradition that Swift started during the tour was to sing two surprise songs per night, one on piano and one on guitar. The songs change every night and fans did not know what to expect for the movie. I think Swift made an excellent decision with the surprise songs for the movie, playing “Our Song” off her debut album and “You’re On Your Own Kid” off her most recent album, “Midnights” (2022). It was symbolic, showcasing one of the first songs that went popular to one of her most recent songs that details her journey and the blood, sweat and tears it took for her to get there. There could not have been better surprise songs for this movie.
Finally, Swift ends the movie with her “Midnights” era. With seven songs, Swift has magical clouds and outfit changes that tie the whole movie together. With a knack for theatrics, Swift ends the movie with “Karma” and colorful confetti exploding all over the stadium.
As long as you are prepared to sing through 2 hours and 48 minutes of pure talent, this movie is a must-watch for dedicated fans. If you were not able to get tickets, this is a perfect substitute for attending the actual tour. However, this is not for the weak of heart. Some theaters have reported the audience trashing and dancing with flashlights for the entire duration, others had the audience simply sit and watch. No one really knows what to expect for each showing.
Most theaters have “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” themed popcorn buckets, cups and posters at the concession stand. The movie brought in $96 million dollars opening weekend and is expected to keep climbing. I would recommend it if you are a die-hard fan and want to support Swift, but other than that, the movie is not worth it.
So Swifties, the only question that remains is … Are you ready for it?

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