Spotify, Taylor Swift, and Why Spotify Doesn’t Need Taylor Swift to Sing Taylor Swift on SpotifyKevin Mazur/Getty
On Monday, news leaked that Taylor Swift has declined to release her latest album, 1989, and simultaneously removed all of her other albums, from the streaming music service Spotify. The prevailing thought: Spotify makes money off of Taylor, Taylor doesn’t make money off Spotify.
People were upset, people had things to say, and people had opinions.
My immediate thought: Who cares? Because if you want to listen to Taylor Swift songs on Spotify, the last thing you need is Taylor Swift.
“Tim McGraw” — Déjà Vu, A Tribute to Country Pop Star Taylor Swift, Vol. 1
This tune — a song about having odd dreams about Tim McGraw trying on jeans — is wonderfully delivered by Déjà Vu. A delight.
“Teardrops on my Guitar” — Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star, Lullaby Versions of Taylor Swift
A banger. What Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star did here, substituting aural tryptophan for the lyrics, is nothing short of amazing. Make sure you don’t fall asleep before the Christmas bells come in. But, truth be told, that’s easier said than done.
“Our Song” — Sunfly Abraxa, Karaoke Hits of Taylor Swift, Vol. 1
When you hear Sunfly Abraxa’s “Our Song,” it immediately makes you want to hear more songs by Sunfly Abraxa. It’s like, what can’t Sunfly Abraxa do?
“I’m Only Me When I’m With You” — Simon Skinner, Song a Day – August 2011
“I’m Only Me When I’m With You” is a song about taco night. And Simon blacked out on this track. Straight bodied it.
“Picture to Burn” — Boogie Boots, Angry Backwoods Woman
The craziest thing about Boogie Boots’s “Picture to Burn” is that it’s not even the best song on Angry Backwoods Woman. Not even close.
“Change” — Cardio Workout Crew, Top 50 Workout Hits Vol. 3
Top 50 Workout Hits Vol. 2 was a flop. So Cardio Workout Crew needed Volume 3 to be a hit, more than ever. Good thing Taylor Swift made “Change” a hot line, so Cardio Workout Crew could make it a hot song.
“Love Story” — St. Martin’s Symphony of Los Angeles, 100 World Classical Masterpieces
I barely remember how Swift’s “Love Story” sounds, but there’s no way it’s as beautiful as the St. Martin’s Symphony of Los Angeles’s version. There’s a 90 percent chance you’ll tear up. And yes, this is on the same album of 100 classical masterpieces as “Greensleeves.” Because it deserves to be.
“White Horse” — R&B Urban Allstars, R&B Hits – Massive R&B Chart Versions (R and B Collection) – Deluxe Version
There’s reason to believe a Taylor Swift song can’t get more urban. But then you stumble upon “White Horse” by the R&B Urban Allstars. And, again, you learn that anything is possible.
“You’re Not Sorry” — Sweet Sixteen Girls, Sweet Sixteen Party
Sweet Sixteen Party is an 2.5-hour-long album, coming in at 40 tracks. And if you’re at all curious as to what a sweet-sixteen party would sound like in 2008, a good starting point is Sweet Sixteen Party. By the Sweet Sixteen Girls. My only negative critique of the album: not enough songs. Because if anyone should remember that a sweet-sixteen party is 3.5 hours long (8-11:30 p.m.), you’d think it would be the Sweet Sixteen Girls.
“I Heart ? (Demo Vocal Version)” — ProSource Karaoke, I Heart ? (In the Style of Taylor Swift) [Karaoke Version]
I’ve never heard the Taylor Swift version, so I have to assume this rendition, by ProSource Karaoke, is better. I just can’t see Taylor improving on what ProSource Karaoke has done here. No chance.
“Hey Stephen” — Cradle Rock, Lullaby Versions of Songs Recorded by Taylor Swift
If there’s one takeaway this post should leave you with, it’s that the lullaby Taylor Swift industry is alive and well — and, like everything else, better once Taylor Swift is out of the picture. “Hey Stephen,” originally a song about Stephen from Laguna Beach, skyrockets once a xylophone is substituted for Swift’s voice. What a delight this is.
“Breathe” — The O’Neill Brothers Group, Instrumental Piano Tribute to Taylor Swift: State of Grace
The O’Neill Brothers Group — a law firm in Traverse City, Michigan, I assume — has done a great thing here. As many others have figured out, the key to a classic Taylor Swift song is to take all the vocals out and make it feel like a score to a rom-com montage scene that takes place on two planes, heading in opposite directions.
“Forever & Always” — Silverlake String Quartet, Silverlake String Quartet Performs Taylor Swift
By now, I’m forgotten what Taylor Swift’s voice even sounds like. And I couldn’t be happier. “Forever & Always” by the Silverlake String Quartet is very, very good. It’s what happens when Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” crashes into Kanye West’s “Runaway” and the end result is Taylor Swift voice isn’t anywhere to be found. Classic.
“You Belong with Me (Extended Mix)” — Liz Rose, Taylor Swift, and Nick Skitz feat. Venus Jones, Skitzmix 33
Taylor Swift’s voice is actually on this song. So there’s that …
“Should’ve Said No” — Jonas Brothers with Taylor Swift, Music From the 3D Concert Experience
Taylor Swift’s voice is also on this song. So I guess that’s cool if you’re here for Taylor.
“Fifteen” — Boss Nova All-Star Ensemble, Buddha Voyage – 100 World Yoga Meditation Chillout Collection
The non–Taylor Swift girl in Boss Nova All-Star Ensemble actually sounds 15. So this song is pretty real.
“Two Is Better Than One” — Boys Like Girls with Taylor Swift, Love Drunk
“Two Is Better Than One,” a song about lofts in TriBeCa, actually features the real Taylor Swift. So it’s skippable.
“Crazier” — Taylor Swift, Hannah Montana The Movie
The soundtrack to Hannah Montana The Movie features an assortment of artists. Most of the songs are by Hannah Montana. Most of the others are by Miley Cyrus. There’s one by Taylor Swift. It’s called “Crazier.” Never listen to this song voluntarily.
“Jump Then Fall” — Taylor Swift, Valentine’s Day: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
“Fearless” — Country Dance Kings, A Tribute to Taylor Swift
The hardest thing about covering Taylor Swift is that you have to listen to Taylor’s version of a Taylor Swift song before making it great. Which is why “Fearless” is an appropriate title for a Country Dance Kings song, because it sums up this band’s entire approach to their craft, especially considering that their album is A Tribute to Taylor Swift — “tribute” meaning “Country Dance Kings are offering themselves up as tribute in order to replace Taylor Swift’s version of ‘Fearless’ with their own version of ‘Fearless’ because the Country Dance Kings lack fear.”
“Today Was a Fairytale” — Taylor Swift, Valentine’s Day: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Spotify should remove this song. Because it’s terrible.
“Mine” — Karmin
This is another song that, now I’ve heard the non–Taylor Swift version first, I can’t imagine a world in which Taylor’s is better. Karmin covering Taylor is like when Lil Wayne ruined Jay Z’s “Show Me What You Got.” But ruder.
“Back to December” — Rina Johnson, Tribute to Taylor Swift
Truth be told, not even Rina Johnson could save this song. And she tried so hard. But there’s nothing to be salvaged with “Back to December,” an odd song about wishing it were Kwanzaa. Nothing.
“Half of My Heart” — John Mayer with Taylor Swift, Battle Studies
Oh, the John Mayer song with faint vocal flashes of Taylor Swift. Yes, it’s OK to call this the least fun song of all time. No one will blame you.
“Enchanted” – Megan & Liz
Megan AND Liz. Unreal to have them both on one track.
“Mean” — Alex G & Adam Stanton
Never listen to Taylor Swift sing “Mean” ever again. There’s no point. Seriously.
“The Story of Us” — Fisher-Price, Naptracks Volume 1 – Instrumental Lullaby Versions of Taylor Swift
You see the album title, Naptracks Volume 1 – Instrumental Lullaby Versions of Taylor Swift, and you know what you’re getting yourself into. Fisher-Price really is in a class by itself when it comes to lullaby instrumental versions of Taylor Swift songs.
“Sparks Fly” — Julia Sheer & Tyler Ward, Tyler Swift EP Vol. 2
The thing that differentiates Julia and Tyler’s version from Taylor’s is that sparks are actually flying. They’re not faking it. The sparks are real. And they’re flying.
“Ours” — Paris Music, Karaoke Hits 2011, Vol. 19
Paris Music doesn’t get to a Volume 19 by making subpar music. And “Ours” is a perfect example of what Paris Music can bring to the table. If “Ours” is your first intro to Paris Music, I assume you get it now.
“Safe & Sound” — Taylor Swift and the Civil Wars, The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 And Beyond
Did the Civil Wars break up because they were on a song with Taylor Swift? Who knows, and highly doubtful, but probably yes.
“Speak Now” — Sax Hit Players, The Ultimate Hit Saxophone Collection
Hearing a song once butchered by Taylor Swift suddenly become a sax solo is like watching a released inmate transform into a public servant. Listening to Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” on loop is recidivism. Luckily, the Sax Hit Players are here to save souls. Thank God for the Sax Hit Players.
“Eyes Open” — Taylor Swift, The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 And Beyond
This song killed Rue.
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” — Taylor Swift, Max Martin, Shellback, Ocean, BBop, and Roksteadi, Give Your Heart a Break – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
Even though Taylor’s voice is on here, it’s distorted enough that you can get lost in the Molly water infused into this EDM masterpiece.
“Ronan” — The Beautiful People
I will never know the lyrics to this song, because I will only ever listen to what the Beautiful People have done in this instrumental version of “Ronan.” And I’m very OK with that.
“Begin Again” — Party Hit Kings, Begin Again (Tribute to Taylor Swift)
This is an usually slow song for the Party Hit Kings to tackle, but they still nail it. Unlike Taylor, the Party Hit Kings have range. There’s really not a genre or a tempo or a subject matter the Party Hit Kings can’t tackle. And then own.
“I Knew You Were Trouble” — Alex Goot
“I Knew You Were Trouble,” a song about volunteering, is admittedly performed well by Taylor. But Alex Goot takes it to a new place. An emotional place. You can tell Goot’s been in trouble before, and that he has a story to tell. I love Alex Goot.
“Both of Us” — B.o.B. feat. Taylor Swift, Strange Clouds
This song sounds like warm mayonnaise.
“State of Grace” — Miss Lush
Miss Lush has been at it so long, it’s almost like, what more does she have to prove? She definitely made no strides forward with “State of Grace,” but it’s at least nice for her to remind us she’s still out here. You can’t help but respect Miss Lush.
“Long Live” — Tune Robbers, Playing the Hits of Taylor Swift, Vol. 1
Is there a better band name than the “Tune Robbers”? Absolutely, but it’s still a great name for a band that robs Taylor Swift, for the betterment of the public. No one’s ever complaining when the Tune Robbers go to work.
“22” — Lullaby Baby Trio, Lullaby Renditions of Taylor Swift
“22” is the best Taylor Swift song of all time. Lullaby Baby Trio’s version of “22” is the best song of all time.
“Highway Don’t Care” — Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban, Two Lanes of Freedom
McGraw-Swift-Urban: It’s like if City High had been kidnapped, sent to Nashville, and then forced to keep making music.
“Red” — Tyler Ward
You’re hearing it here first: Tyler Ward should be a star. Taylor Swift should give all her money to Tyler Ward. This is something I believe.
“Everything Has Changed” — Alex G & Jon D
Alex G is back, this time with Jon D. And yes, they crushed “Everything Has Changed,” a song about gentrification. Not a bad moment in this song.
“Sweeter Than Fiction” — Tiffany Alvord
Correction: Taylor Swift should give half of her money to Tyler Ward and the other half to Tiffany Alvord. Tiff, Tyler, Miss Lush, the Sax Hit Players — these are the real heroes.
“The Last Time” — A Tributer, The Last Time – A Tribute to Taylor Swift and Gary Lightbody
There’s very little known about A Tributer. But whenever we get a jam from A Tributer, it’s always a good day. And then, just like that, A Tributer disappears. We just have to wait — patiently — until A Tributer’s ready to step back into the spotlight. It’s all very frustrating, exhausting, rewarding, beautiful.
“Shake It Off” — Megan Nicole
Yes, Megan Nicole. Get it, girl. Spotify’s all yours now, boo.
“Blank Space” — Jonathan Young
1989 is bigger than Taylor Swift. And Jonathan Young is here to make this point explicitly clear.
“Wildest Dreams” — Molotov Cocktail Piano, Tribute to Taylor Swift: 1989
MOLOTOV COCKTAIL PIANO DID AN ENTIRE 1989 PIANO ALBUM AND IT’S BETTER THAN 1989.
“Out of the Woods” — Ali Brustofski
Yes, Ali Brustofski. Get it, girl. As with Megan Nicole before you, Spotify’s all yours now. EAT.
“Welcome to New York” – Tom Dobson
I don’t know, Tom. I’m probably going to still listen to a Taylor version of “Welcome to New York” on YouTube, but your effort is inspiring.
The point is, people, we don’t need Taylor Swift anymore. I hope all of this has made that point explicitly clear.