Taylor Swift performed with Stevie Nicks at the 2010 Grammy Awards, and she wrote the song “Mean” about the experience. Here’s why the awards show inspired the hit song about bullying, and what the Fleetwood Mac singer said about working with Swift.
Taylor Swift was slammed by critics for her performance with Stevie Nicks at the 2010 Grammy Awards
In 2010, Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks took the stage at the Grammy Awards to perform two of their greatest hits. The sang duo Swift’s 2008 song “You Belong With Me” and Fleetwood Mac’s 1975 classic “Rhiannon.”
Critics panned Swift’s performance at the awards show. Music industry analyst and critic Bob Lefsetz wrote a particularly scathing review in his Lefsetz Letter. He announced, “Taylor Swift can’t sing,” and wrote, “Did Taylor Swift kill her career de ella overnight? I’ll argue she did.
“In one fell swoop, Taylor Swift consigned herself to the dustbin of teen phenoms,” the critic continued. “Taylor’s too young and dumb to understand the mistake she made. And those around her are addicted to cash and are afraid to tell her no. But last night Taylor Swift SHOULD have auto-tuned. To save her career from her.”
He concluded with, “Taylor Swift shortened her career last night. And since she says she calls all her own shots of her, she has to shoulder the blame. Yes, her dream of her came true, she made it, she is a star, but the real test is longevity. Elton John can play with GaGa decades later. Will Taylor Swift be duetting with the stars of the 2030s? Doubtful.”
Taylor Swift wrote the hit song ‘Mean’ about her performance with Stevie Nicks
Reviews of her performance with Stevie Nicks did not go unnoticed by Taylor Swift, including Bob Lefsetz’s attack on her singing. She wrote the song “Mean” about the criticism she received after the 2010 Grammy Awards.
The track includes the pointed lyrics, “And I can see you years from now in a bar / Talking over a football game / With that same big loud opinion / But nobody’s listening / Washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things / Drunk and grumbling on about how I can’t sing / But all you are is mean / All you are is mean.”
At the time, Swift also opened up about the criticism on her website. “No matter how old you are, no matter what your job is, no matter what your place is in life. There’s always going to be someone who’s just mean to you,” she wrote (via songfacts). “Dealing with that is all you can control about that situation, how you handle it. ‘Mean’ is about how I handle it, and sort of my mind set about this whole situation.”
The Fleetwood Mac singer said she didn’t want to perform with the pop star
Taylor Swift was thrilled to perform with Stevie Nicks at the 2010 Grammy Awards, but the Fleetwood Mac singer was less enthused. Nicks explained why she didn’t want to stand next to Swift on stage.
“When I first got the call from Taylor Swift about performing with her at this year’s Grammy Awards, I really didn’t want to do it,” Nick wrote for Time in April 2010. “She’s 20 years old, 5 ft. 11 in. and slender; I’m 40 years old and, to be frank, neither of the other two things! I was not about to stand next to this girl on national television. But her little face of her just lights up like a star, and I couldn’t say no. ”
She praised Swift by saying, “Taylor reminds me of myself in her determination and her childlike nature,” adding that the pop star “writes the songs that make the whole world sing.” Nicks said Swift could sing, write, perform, and play “great guitar.”
In an almost prophetic statement, considering Swift’s re-recording of her first six albums after a battle over her masters, Nicks wrote, “And it’s women like her who are going to save the music business.”
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