THE BEST WAY to defend Taylor Swift? Don't defend her at all. While one may subjectively dislike Taylor Swift for a number of reasons—her youthful success, her botched celebrity romances, her squeaky clean, holier-than-everybody image—one cannot objectively discount her talent as a lyricist. Because to do so would instantly brand one an idiot.
Now I'm not saying Taylor Swift is the finest lyricist in modern music. She's no match for Bruce Springsteen, the Notorious B.I.G., or Morrissey. However, she is objectively better than one of the so-called best lyricists of all time, Paul McCartney.
Example: At age 14, Swift was the youngest person ever hired as a songwriter for the Sony/ATV publishing house. AGE 14. What was McCartney doing at that same age, other than masturbating in some Liverpool back alley? He was struggling to learn how to play the guitar—ummm, backward.
However, let's not dwell on the past. Let's put Swift and McCartney lyrics side-by-side to see which is objectively better. Here's a line from McCartney's famous "Helter Skelter": "When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide/And I stop and I turn and I go for a ride/'Til I get to the bottom and I see you again." Okay, not terrible. A vague and simplistic interpretation of doomed love... but not terrible. Here's a line from Swift's "Teardrops on My Guitar": "Drew walks by me/Can he tell that I can't breathe?/And there he goes so perfectly/The kind of flawless I wish I could be." Same emotions, same romantic situation—but unlike the overrated McCartney, Taylor nails it. Objectively.
But wait! Taylor Swift writes terrible lyrics as well, right? Of course—just not as terrible as Paul McCartney. Example! Here's an absolutely grotesque Swift lyric from "Forever and Always": "Oh, it rains in your bedroom, everything is wrong/It rains when you're here and it rains when you're gone." BLECHH! Objectively terrible. Now here's a lyric from McCartney's "The Other Me": "I know I was a crazy fool for treating you the way I did/But something took hold of me and I acted like a dustbin lid."
WOW. I rest my case. Objectively.