Welcome to American Mosaic from VOA Learning English.
I’m Marsha James.
Taylor Swift is one of the most successful musical artists ever. She writes her own songs, plays guitar and sings. She has won seven Grammy Awards. She has sold tens of millions of albums. The music star also has already earned more than $60 million in 2014 alone.
Swift is skilled in adopting new images and musical styles. She began in country music. Over time, she moved to country-pop. There was a rock and roll sound to some songs on her last album, “Red.”
This week, the 24-year-old star released a new single and video. She also announced a new album. She said “1989” would be her first all-pop music record.
The single is called “Shake It Off.”
The beat is clean and very danceable. The message is simple: be yourself. The song suggests ignoring people who insult you or cheat you and live your life the way you want to. Swift sings about the “haters” and “players.”
“Hater” is a popular term among American young people. It basically means someone who is always disapproving and judgmental. It is often directed at people who are angry or dismissive about someone else’s success or happiness.
American young people also use the term “player” a lot. A player can be a person who performs in a sport. You could say, “Michael Jordan was a great basketball player.” But “player” is also used without a connection to sports. It is used to mean a person, usually a man, who easily gains the love interests of many women at a time. A “player” usually dates more than one person at a time just for sex or just for fun.
That is Taylor Swift performing “State of Grace,” from her last album, “Red.” It has rock and roll elements including heavy drums and electric guitar. But what does the name of the song mean? A state of grace means the condition of being free from sin, or spiritual wrongdoing. In “State of Grace” Swift sings about a love that is pure and true although the lovers themselves may not be perfect. She sings, so you were never a saint / and I’ve loved in shades of wrong. But the song says the love can be “good and right” and worth fighting for.
“1989” is to be released toward the end of October. We’ll make sure to play some of the songs, and talk about what they mean, at that time. We leave you now with Taylor Swift performing one of her major hits. This is “Mine” from the 2010 album “Speak Now.”
I’m Marsha James.