Some were surprised that Time magazine made Taylor Swift their person of the year for 2023. A pop star? Are you serious?
Last year’s choice for this prestigious accolade was Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, honoured as a wartime leader because ‘courage is contagious’.
The year before it was Elon Musk for ‘reshaping life on Earth’ while other past recipients include John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jnr, Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth II and Nelson Mandela.
An entertainer has never been so honoured – but there has never been an entertainer quite like Taylor Swift.
Not even Madonna in her pomp nor Michael Jackson at his peak come close to the heights Swift has scaled in 2023; her crystal-studded Louboutin boots climbing ever steadily up the ladder, rung after golden rung, to a stratosphere previously unknown in the pop galaxy.
The most concert tickets sold, the highest-grossing concert tour of all time, the top artist on Spotify, huge sales of multiple albums and even the hit film of her Eras concert tour, which she produced herself, already nominated for a Golden Globe.
Radio stations play her music, universities teach courses about her lyrics, stadiums could sell her tour tickets three times over, cinemas are screening her films and her fans, known as Swifties, love her with a passion undimmed.
This year has been the year of living Taylorly, a time when it seemed that someone somewhere was always listening to her songs or talking about her music or beading a bracelet in her honour.
‘Taylor Swift I love you, thank you for being everything we ever needed! Ever,’ tweeted actress Julia Roberts in the spring.
‘She’s huge,’ said singer Billy Joel. ‘You have to give her high marks. She knows music and she knows how to write.’
Even Rishi Sunak is a closet Swiftie, attending both a fitness class themed around her music and one of her concerts while on a Californian holiday in August.
Once you know all this, you appreciate her reach and power, and think: how could Taylor Swift not be Time’s Person of the Year?