If you listen to a lot of bluegrass and country, you’d think cities were the worst thing that ever happened to humanity. J.D. Crowe and the New South ask why they ever left their plow behind to look for a job in the town:
Hank Williams, Jr. thinks that you’ll only get mugged if you go downtown. If you keep watching, you find that this is exactly what happened to the narrator’s friend!
Dave Grisman didn’t get mugged, but still found himself impoverished:
Taylor Swift, on the other hand, can portray a positive side of cities: cosmopolitan places to escape bad relationships, meet new people with different life experiences, and grow your dreams.
In White Horse, she reminds herself that small towns are difficult places for dreams to come true:
In Fifteen, she describes a process where girls growing up in small towns can be encouraged not to dream big dreams (although she has moved on to bigger, better things, as she reminds herself):
In Mean, she holds out the hope for city living as a way of escaping abusive relationships holding her back:
When she finally reaches the big city (New York), she is overwhelmed with the possibilities. People come from all over the world, feel free to explore their sexual identities, remake themselves, and try to achieve their dreams:
Real-life Taylor Swift is a fantastic example of somebody who achieved her dreams by moving to a specialized city, Nashville. The Music City has grown and evolved as a cultural and economic engine in country music that allows young people like herself to meet like-minded, skilled people to collaborate with. Good for Taylor Swift for recognizing that the same process means cities can allow for personal growth in other dimensions, by exposing people to others from all over the world and all walks of life.
[Originally published on the blog Austin On Your Feet]