Miss Americana

Netflix recently released the documentary Miss Americana which offers insight into the world of Taylor Swift.

Netflix recently released the documentary Miss Americana which offers insight into the world of Taylor Swift.

Rachel Weathers, Staff Writer

Friday, Jan. 31, Netflix released the new Taylor Swift documentary “Miss Americana,” directed by Lana Wilson. The title comes from Swift’s song “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” from her 2019 album “Lover.” 

“Miss Americana” first premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January and has been well received among audiences and critics alike with a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The documentary is telling as it follows Swift over the past several years, while she redefines herself and finds the power of her voice. 

One of the main themes of “Miss Americana” is Swift’s journey of rediscovering herself in and out of the public eye. Several clips are used throughout the documentary from the early years of Swift’s nearly 15-year-long career, they show her journey from a young country singer to more recent years since she’s become one of the world’s most powerful artists in pop. 

The transition of genres is a reinvention in itself, but over the course of the first half of the documentary, Swift reflects on what caused such a change to occur. Some changes stemmed from the desire to create a new sound and evolve as an artist and performer; others were directly due to the infamous moment when rapper Kanye West interrupted her acceptance speech for video of the year at the 2009 VMA Awards. This interruption was due to West’s belief that Beyonce should have won the award. To Swift, this event fueled her desire to prove herself and her place in the industry. 

In 2016, Swift stepped out of the spotlight for a year after the #taylorswiftisoverparty took Twitter and the rest of the internet by storm. In an emotional scene, Swift is seen breaking down to her mother as a result of the backlash, she “just wanted to disappear.”

 During her time out of the spotlight, she created her sixth studio album “Reputation.” The first half of the album has a much darker feel than her previous work and channels the image the media created of her. This time also represents a change in the ways Swift handles the media Now she does fewer interviews than before, making this documentary the most insightful account the world has had in several years.  

Swift also acknowledges that change is a necessity for artists in the music industry. Many times, these evolutions of sound or stage presence are what is deemed essential to stay relevant in an ever-changing industry. The theme of Swift reinventing herself is powerful, as audiences can hear what caused many of her changes firsthand.

Halfway through the documentary, viewers see Swift finding the power of her voice. This time, it’s not through her confessional songwriting, but it’s through an Instagram post endorsing Democratic candidates during the 2018 midterm elections. This election was the first time Swift had voiced her opinion on politics. For much of her career, especially during her time in country music, it was a topic not up for discussion. For years, artists including Swift were reminded to “not be like the Dixie Chicks” who were critical of President George W. Bush, which ultimately resulted in their music being pulled from country radio. 

In one scene, Swift is seen discussing her endorsement with members of her team and her parents.  Although she is warned against making an endorsement, she later does. As a result, 169,000 new voters were registered in Tennessee. This statement goes beyond political parties, it shows the importance of one to stand up for what they believe in and the power of being educated on the country’s elections and candidates. 

At the end of “Miss Americana,” audiences are shown what Swift does best: song writing. The documentary features the new song titled “Only the Young.” The song is her most political song to date, as it highlights how many don’t feel represented through their elected officials. This song is an anthem that there’s hope for the future, as the young can rally for progress. “Only the Young” is a perfect way to end the documentary, as it reinforces the message that change can be made through finding your voice and being firm in your beliefs while looking ahead to the future.

“Miss Americana” offers an interesting insight into one of the world’s biggest artists finding her voice, making the documentary perfect for people who only know a few of the singer’s songs or for the biggest Swifties alike. 

 

 Contact Rachel Weathers at [email protected]