Since I’m a conservation scientist, not a music critic, I needed to apply some rigor to this declare concerning the nature of Ms. Swift’s writing. So I analyzed the lyrics of the 32 songs on “Folklore” and “Evermore” and the lyrics of the primary 32 songs from the In the present day’s High Hits playlist on Spotify. The outcome? Ms. Swift makes use of nature-themed phrases seven instances as regularly as the opposite pop songs do.
Except for the poetic and aesthetic pleasure all this brings, does it actually matter? I feel so.
Our tradition has skilled a gentle and dramatic decline in its connections to nature. American kids now spend a mean of solely 4 to seven minutes per day enjoying open air, in contrast with over seven hours per day in entrance of a display. By now, they’re much better at figuring out company logos than native vegetation or animals; they will inform the distinction between an Apple and a Coke, however not a maple from an oak.
A 2017 scientific paper printed by the Affiliation for Psychological Science reported that nature-themed phrases have been dropping floor in our popular culture. Researchers surveyed track lyrics, books and film scripts and located that phrases related to nature have declined steadily since 1950. Throughout that point, the lack of nature phrases was most pronounced in songs. The scientists scanned the lyrics of 6,000 songs and located that the frequency of nature-themed phrases had declined by 63 p.c. The researchers posit that as we lose our each day connection to nature, we expect and write about it much less usually. Conservationists see these cultural declines as each signs of and contributors to many developments reflecting the decline of precise nature.
Towards the backdrop of those declines, think about the track “Seven.” In its accompanying video, we see a grainy house film of a younger woman enjoying in timber as Ms. Swift sings:
Please, image me within the timber
I hit my peak at 7
Toes within the swing over the creek
I used to be too scared to leap in
However I, I used to be excessive within the sky
With Pennsylvania underneath me
Are there nonetheless stunning issues?
Right here, she packs in nature references at a dizzying clip whereas evoking the panorama of the state the place she grew up. The woman on this track doesn’t spend simply 4 to seven minutes exterior every day. Somewhat, nature, childhood and friendship are all intertwined and seared deep in reminiscence.
In Ms. Swift’s lyrics, nature shouldn’t be distant. It may also be suburban, even city, and thus acquainted and accessible. The backyards the place little youngsters discover creeks change into locations to occasion for prime schoolers. She name-checks two city parks: the Excessive Line in Manhattan and Centennial Park in Nashville, her adopted hometown.
Songs like this — through which nature is a spot to bond, search solace or simply hang around — could also be much more wanted than songs that preach about saving it. As a result of this isn’t nature as a dwelling (what I do) however merely nature as a part of each day life. And that’s what we’re lacking.
Ms. Swift’s songs aren’t going to reverse local weather change or the decline of wildlife. However they’re a step towards reversing the decline of nature in popular culture, and that issues. If we need to change the world to safeguard nature, and ourselves, we first should see it. Artwork can try this.