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Taylor Swift has long been the subject of adoration, scrutiny, and debate—but it wasn’t until this summer, as the Eras Tour filled football stadiums and TikTok feeds alike, that she achieved complete domination over popular culture. On this episode of Critics at Large, the staff writers Vinson Cunningham, Naomi Fry, and Alexandra Schwartz make sense of how Swift has managed to harness our collective attention in the midst of a fractured cultural landscape. They are joined by their fellow-critic Amanda Petrusich, who wrote about the Eras Tour earlier this year. “When she would address the crowd, it almost felt like I was getting hypnotized,” Petrusich says. She talks about what she calls Swift’s “you guys” energy—the chatty, intimate tone Swift uses to address her fans. Together, the critics discuss the ins and outs of Swiftie fandom, the way that Swift herself savvily turns online censure into content, and whether the success of the Eras Tour—alongside recent maximalist collective events like Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour and Barbenheimer—marks a new golden age of the mainstream.
New episodes drop every Thursday. Follow Critics at Large wherever you get your podcasts.