Having been a teen in the 60s, I did not, at 73, expect to find anyone new whose music I could love with the passion I brought to the Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan. I certainly didn’t expect that, if I did, it would be Taylor Swift. But the ears want what they want.

I recently learned that I have this in common with our 70-year-old attorney general. Merrick Garland is a proud Swiftie, dropping her lyrics into conversations and even into legal arguments. Shakespearean scholar Sir Jonathan Bate, 64, wrote a piece in The Times of London headlined Why Taylor Swift is a literary giant, comparing her favorably to the Bard of Avon. Septuagenarians across the nation can be found posting lengthy analyses of her songs on the Taylor Swift subreddit.

To be sure, we are unconcerned about the Easter eggs she hides in her booklets or Instagrams for her younger followers, or about her love life—though admittedly many of us were creeped out by Matty Healy—but her music, her lyrics, her videos, are spectacular. The ranks of the Senior Swifties are growing.

Not a dad joke.

Her debut album came out in 2006 when she was 16, and it didn’t take long for me and so many of my generation to dismiss her as some serial-dating pop act for teenage girls. Still, I became aware of her reputation for not taking any crap. I liked that she sued the D.J. who, she said, had “grabbed my ass” at a radio station. I liked that she came out, sadly in vain, against Tennessee’s horrific harridan, Senator Marsha Blackburn, and that she preached the importance of voting to her fans.

And I loved how she delivered the greatest F*** You ever to the monsters of the music business by undertaking the not insignificant task of re-recording duplicate versions of her first six albums after the original masters were sold to the notorious music executive Scooter Braun, a man known to her, and others, as an abusive asshole. (The re-recordings ensure that only these new versions, which she owns, can be licensed.) “People often greatly underestimate,” Swift said last year, “how much I will inconvenience myself to prove a point.”

But as for her many years of actual music, I knew almost nothing—until 19 months ago, when I saw her singing her 10-minute version of “All Too Well” on Saturday Night Live. (Who gets to do a 10-minute song on S.N.L.?) By the time that epic performance was over, she’d instantly become one of my all-time favorite artists.

I Bluetoothed that song over and over into my hearing aids, like an audio drug drip. I bought all her albums—15 years of music at that time—and binged them chronologically. Observing her progression from country to pop to pretty much any genre was exhilarating. Her albums were consistently excellent, like albums almost never are these days. It was reminiscent of runs such as Rubber Soul to Abbey Road or Beggars Banquet to Exile on Main St., except she put out twice as many records.

Irresistible to all: Taylor Swift performs in “The Eras Tour.”

There was one uncomfortable element to becoming so connected to the words and music of this beautiful young woman—yes, the lech factor, which many older male fans have to confront. But as music writer John Milward, 71, a fan from the start, says, “At first, I thought, ‘How can this middle-aged guy be listening to this 16-year-old girl?’ There was a cringy Lolita vibe to it. But then, I didn’t listen to Britney Spears and all that other crap. With Taylor I recognized from the get-go that she was a writer. She was clearly talented.”

More than 200 songs that the world had been living with for years were delightfully new to me, with only maybe a dozen that I would skip when they shuffled on. Sometimes I think about how much fun it would have been to have been taking the ride all along, but then I wouldn’t have been able to have this intense, total-immersion experience.

And yet, for all of her obvious mastery, there is the absurd sense among many—especially my fellow boomers—that it’s somehow uncool to like her. That despite, or maybe because of, her success, she isn’t hip enough to deserve respect. I was raving about her to a friend recently who turned to my wife and asked, “Is he doing a bit?”

I Bluetoothed that song over and over into my hearing aids, like an audio drug drip.

I began proselytizing to carefully selected friends and found several converts. They tended to gush when they realized just how much they’d been missing, almost like it was a religious experience.

“Her songs are full of these specific details that just feel totally real,” says writer Steve Radlauer, 74, “like a layer of songwriting artifice has been stripped away and she’s just getting down to it.” (At this point, his 34-year-old daughter overheard him on the phone with me and said, “Oh, the dads are getting into Taylor Swift now?”)

“Her songwriting perspective—and don’t laugh—reminds me of John Lennon,” says music business veteran and longtime fan Toby Mamis, 70. “She writes from a personal point of view about things going on in her life, her insecurities, the same way that John Lennon did.”

The routes to Senior Swiftiedom are varied. Some, like me, were wowed by an extraordinary performance. Others, like Garland, were exposed to her by their kids. And some had to see what the fuss was about when her current sure-to-be-all-time-highest-grossing tour became inescapable news. (No, there’s no A.A.R.P. back route to getting tickets.)

“What she’s doing is historic on so many different levels,” says Mamis. “Besides the brilliant songs, there’s the fan outreach, the tours she designs and performs, the videos she writes and directs. Who else does this? Who else has ever done this? A young fan just says, ‘I love Taylor Swift.’ We Senior Swifties have the perspective to appreciate how rare she is, how unusual she is.”

Gray hair is no impediment to a Swift obsession.

To those of us who have seen music trends rise and fall, there is something unique here. “With Madonna you weren’t really seeing a person, you were just seeing an icon,” my wife, 60, astutely told me. “With Taylor you have the icon, but then there’s also this real person there that’s constantly on show, and that’s what her fans, from 9 to 90, are connecting with. She’s exposed in a way that Madonna never was, but it’s totally controlled exposure.”

And for all the intensity of the devotion of her younger fans, we Senior Swifties can appreciate her on the additional level—the bonus track, if you will—of feeling an almost parental pride in what she’s achieved.

“She’s just classically how you would want your kid to be,” says poet Marilyn Johnson, 68. “You never have to worry that you’re going to hear that she’s gone and bought some heroin and collapsed in an alley.”

Paul Slansky is the Los Angeles–based author of The Clothes Have No Emperor and My Bad: The Apology Anthology. His newsletter is There Is No Bottom.