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Will Taylor Swift Follow in Bruce Springsteen's Footsteps?

I think the goal for the next album is to continue to change, and never change in the same way twice. How do I write these figurative diary entries in ways that I've never written them before and to a sonic backdrop that I've never explored before?

-- Taylor Swift to AP, via Rolling Stone

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When I work, I set up outside the front door of my apartment, firing up either Pandora (P) Internet Radio or the excellent on-demand service Rdio from the adjacent living room.

My neighbors love it.

More often than not these days, my go-to playlist is a shuffle of Taylor Swift's last three studio albums (Fearless, Speak Now and the out of this world Red).

As Swift's songs come up in seemingly random order, I sometimes think back on a piece I wrote a couple months ago, I Have Seen the Next Bruce Springsteen and Her Name is Taylor Swift:

If you suspend personal circumstances, I'm not sure how you can watch Swift perform and not walk away claiming you have seen the modern-day iteration of Springsteen, the performer, the show(wo)man, the songwriter ...

If she stripped everything down to bare bones -- using the nondescript black and drab set The E Street Band uses -- Swift would instantly trigger comparisons to Bruce's hard-driving, no-nonsense, four-hour rock shows.

She could and, I believe, eventually will dedicate herself to the sweaty marathon sessions The Boss has become known for. She'll drop much of the pizazz and bring the power.

That piece turned some heads. And not just from the peanut gallery that likes to chide Swift and her fans. It garnered attention in Swift's camp and elsewhere in the music industry.

That's because Taylor Swift finds herself at a pivotal -- and, in some ways, critical -- juncture. At the height of her success (the almost-ready-to-resume Red Tour will likely end the year as 2013's top grossing tour), Swift will have to decide the proper next direction for her career.

The Red Tour pulled out all the stops.

Smoke. Fireworks. Elaborately choreographed preludes to songs that pulled together video bits, lighting, dance and music. There were elevators, several clothing changes and the pomp and circumstance of special guests, particularly during an epic sold-out four-show stand at Los Angeles's Staples Center. Nightly, Swift was carried out to a second stage about one-third of the way through the set by a crew of dancers. After a few songs she made it back to the main stage, airborne, on a floating terrace pulleyed above dozens of rows of floor seating.

I'm not sure it's possible to top what was a worthwhile spectacle without looking foolish in the process. If anybody can it's Swift and her team, but, at this point, I wonder if she (and they) even sees the need to bother.

How do you top performances of that size and scale?

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