It’s Taylor Swift’s Birthday and She’s Feeling 24

A completely even-keeled assessment of the most recent year in the pop star's life

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Karwai Tang / WireImage

Haven’t you heard, music lovers? It’s a very special day for the biggest pop star in the world. (♬You’re soooo vain, Beyoncé, you probably think this lede is about you.♬)  Taylor Swift is turning twenty four, -our, -our, -our.

She’s already celebrated her birthday in Australia, where she’s presently touring, but due to the culturally deleterious atrophy of the print-media business model, we’re stuck commemorating the occasion from afar at the Time-Life Building (“so I’ll watch your life in pictures…”). Taylor had a terrific 24th year, one impossible to ruin even were she to have the worst birthday party ever. Here are the highlights of that year, stained as ink on our consciousness, coupled with best wishes for many more.

January: Taylor and Harry Styles, 1D’s oiliest lad, split. The severance led to a classic photo of her alone on a boat in the British Isles, and a classic tweet about the relationship’s end. It’s a lyric from “I Knew You Were Trouble” — life imitating art imitating life! And Amy Poehler and Tina Fey made fun of her at the Golden Globes.

• February: She won a Grammy for “Safe and Sound,” the airy, moody track she and the since-split Civil Wars did for The Hunger Games soundtrack. And what a video, too! Few pop stars have the conviction to film without makeup, and in a bog, to boot. Page me the next time Mrs. Carter gets within 500 feet of some wetlands.

March: “22” is released as the fourth single off Red. Bubblegum has never tasted so tangy.

• April: Taylor turned up on the cover of Vanity Fair, and explained in a long interview with Nancy Jo Sales that she is “work-crazy. That’s the thing that I’m crazy about, that I don’t stop thinking about, you know? I think they need to make up these angles because my actual personal life doesn’t have a shocking angle to it.” She forgets to add that “they”—which here means, I think, everyone employed to gossip about Taylor Swift’s love life—are also too lunkheaded to understand that she’s making the most moving pop music in decades. (Poignant: the most popular anecdote from the VF story was one about Poehler and Fey that supposedly showed her humorlessness. Never mind that two grown-ass women had essentially called her a succubus on national television; WHY CAN’T TAYLOR TAKE A JOKE?)

• May: She cameoed on the season finale of New GirlPeople seem to like that show. Good for you, Taylor! Zooey Deschanel said Taylor was “super-funny and really smart.”

• June: She danced and sang along quite vigorously to Florida Georgia Line’s unstoppable “Cruise.” Baby, you a song! That song: “[S]he’s the Greatest Dancer,” by Sister Sledge. Written about Taylor Swift. True.

• July: She had a party on the fourth — Tommy Hilfiger meets dELiA*s.

• August: Taylor made funny jam for her pal Ed Sheeran. And she introduced the Internet—by way of a memorable concert special-guest spot—to Tegan and Sara’s cute-as-hell “Closer.”

• September: Two writers (one of whom, uh, works for TIME) launched Taylor Swift Fragrance Reviews, a collection of the most whimsical sentences published in customer reviews of Taylor Swift’s three fragrance lines. The site does not break traffic records on Tumblr, although it really should have. (There’s still hope.) She also wrapped up the North American leg of the Red Tour, which grossed over $100 million and played to over 1.3 million fans, but that seems less important.

• October: She was on the cover of InStyle (a magazine published by Time Inc., which apparently has very thoughtful employees) in green! Green! Is green the new thing? Fret not: she wore a lot of red on the inside pages.

• November: A touching acoustic “Red” with a band of country legends, followed by the best speech of her career. And Livin’ On a Prayer,” with JBJ and HRH The Duke of Cambridge. High and low!

• December: Another Golden Globes nomination Thursday — this one for “Sweeter than Fiction,” a lightweight single (written, of course, alongside one of the guys from fun.) with precisely none of the sonic complexity that made “Safe and Sound” such a great start to 2013. So what? Even Honus Wagner swung and missed on occasion. And besides, she’s reloading.

Mazel, Taylor.

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