Stanford University to Offer Course on Taylor Swift's Lyrics. No, Really.

Once upon a time, the purpose of college was to facilitate the pursuit of obtaining top-level expertise for application in adulthood, specifically in a career path. Be it in the classroom, or for SEC schools on the football field, the idea was taking the topic at hand to a higher level, thus assisting the student’s plans to go higher in life. Given the cost of college these days — for example, one year’s worth of tuition and fees at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, for an undergraduate currently runs $58,416 — it behooves even the most deep pockets-blessed student to utilize their time and money wisely. Go for that which demonstrates the best chance of providing gainful employment after graduation, especially now that the Supreme Court has declared itself the king of killjoy by letting the kiddos know that, yes, you do have to pay back your student loans.


Naturally, nothing screams hire me-oriented higher education more than spending time in class listening to Taylor Swift albums.

And no, I’m not joking.

Stanford University student Ava Jeffs is in her professor era.

The rising sophomore and lifelong Swiftie — a term used to describe fans of pop music icon Taylor Swift — is creating the curriculum for a new English class that examines the singer’s songwriting over the course of her career.

There’s more, of course. Jeffs said:

The whole goal of the class is to dive into the art of songwriting, exploring the interplay between literary references and lyricism and storytelling in Taylor Swift’s entire discography, taking it one album at a time and trying to look at the evolution of using songwriting as a narrative form.

It will draw parallels to classic works of literature and poetry in each album and gain a deeper understanding of the narrative power of music.

Um … okay then.

Far be it from me to debate the lyrical substance of any given Taylor Swift composition. Or, for that matter, her music’s artistic merits. Suffice it to say neither is my cup of tea; your mileage may vary. That duly noted, a brief examination — all at a significantly lower cost than attending Stanford — suggests itself.


We start with a glance at what I believe is Swift’s best-known song, namely “Shake It Off.”

I stay out too late
Got nothing in my brain
That′s what people say, mm-mm
That’s what people say, mm-mm

I go on too many dates
But I can′t make ‘em stay
At least that’s what people say, mm-mm
That′s what people say, mm-mm

From this, we can safely deduce that Ms. Swift is aware some possess something less than a stellar impression regarding her intellect and success level in relationships. A life situation to which many can relate. So, how to handle these negative vibes?

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off (hoo-hoo-hoo)

Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I′m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off (hoo-hoo-hoo)

Take that, you naysayers, negative Nellys, and Debbie Downers! Taylor Swift mocks you! She shakes the metaphorical dust of your judgmental juju from her feet not once nor twice. Nay, not even thrice. Five times! Each and every time! Another Taylor Swift TRIUMPH!


There are many more lyrics to examine, of course. The mind reels at the potential doctoral thesis material implicit in “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” For example, an economics major can use the title as an accurate depiction of the money spent on attending Stanford or any other institution of higher learning should it be allocated to studying Taylor Swift lyrics instead of something of value in a job search.

If people want to get together on a Friday night and, assuming they are old enough to visit a location where adult beverages are the main attraction, in lieu of taking their chances on the killing floor, listen to any artist they choose and talk about their lyrics, that’s great. Back in my teen years, lo those many decades (sigh) ago, I spent many an hour with friends discussing the words of Kansas, Bob Dylan, and the like. However, hanging out at each other’s houses after school and annoying parents with rock’n’roll noise cost way less than college. Still, to each their own. Should someone desire to spend $58K to discuss Taylor Swift’s lyrics, that is their prerogative, although it might be at least a few dollars cheaper to buy a couple of decent tickets for her current tour even after all the Ticketmaster and reseller fees. And, while again stating I cast no aspersions on Taylor Swift’s lyrics, perhaps the aforementioned artists had the quality known as “something to say” in greater quantity than Ms. Swift has shown in her work?



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