Taylor Swift becomes first artist to occupy Billboard’s top 10


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Priya Persaud, Opinion & Editorial Editor

Taylor Swift’s release of her tenth studio album “Midnights” on Oct. 21 was quickly praised by loyal fans and casual listeners alike. Within merely 18 hours of the album’s debut, Swift broke the record for the most streamed album in a single day on Spotify and also set the record for the largest number of streams for a pop album’s initial release on Apple Music. The album went on to break even more records, the most accredited of which was Swift becoming the first artist in history to completely occupy Billboard’s top 10 on the ‘Hot 100’ chart. 

Billboard is the highest acclaimed format for chart rankings in the United States, and the top 10 of the ‘Hot 100’ is a highly coveted position, especially in regard to album tracks and singles once they debut. Though Swift was initially projected to be the first artist to occupy Billboard’s top 10, her fans remained persistent and continued streaming the “Midnights” tracks and purchasing the singles as well as the album itself. Billboard later confirmed, “the streams for Swift’s songs in the Hot 100’s top 10 were strong enough that all 10 tracks would’ve ranked in the region even without any chart points from sales or radio airplay”. 

In the aftermath of “Midnights,” Swift later released a music video for lead single “Anti-Hero” which ultimately hit number one on the charts. In the music video, Swift seemingly portrays her confronting her internalized struggles, such as her public figure role intimidating those she wants genuine connections with and her hypervigilance as a result of betrayals she has experienced throughout her career. One scene, in particular, seemed to stir controversy, where Swift steps on a scale that reads “fat” and her other self shakes her head disapprovingly.

This scene caused commotion online as many criticized the singer of fatphobia, verbiage that describes the stigma attached to bias against overweight people. Discourse over the topic was prevalent, with many defending Swift stating that she has been vocal about her eating disorder and body dysmorphia in the past, and was merely trying to share this insecurity in the music video. However, others expressed their concern that this scene is actively contributing to an ongoing stigma around overweight people.

Sophomore FTVC major Izzy Hodzic weighed in on the matter and said, “She was expressing her own insecurities and her own issues with disordered eating and body dysmorphia. I think that [scene] is relatable to people who do suffer from those issues and face the same personal issues when stepping onto a scale.”

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Following the release of “Midnights,” Swift has also announced “The Eras Tour,” her first tour since the cancellation of the Lover Fest, due to COVID-19. Beginning in March 2023, the tour starts in Arizona and ends in California, with three nights back-to-back at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. She recently added 17 shows at various stadiums as a result of high demand. This endeavor is projected to break the record for highest grossing United States tour in history, which is currently held by Swift herself for her “Reputation Stadium Tour.” 

“Midnights” is one of only nine female albums in history to have debuted with more than 1 million copies on Billboard 200–and four others are also from Swift’s discography: “reputation,” “1989,” “Red” and “Speak Now.” Taylor Swift is no stranger to breaking records, and her career enabled her to reach achievements that her industry peers could only strive towards.