Kelsea Ballerini Just (softly) Came Out, and is possibly with Taylor Swift

25 Sep

OK this is going to be all about Taylor because I’m trying to convey the connections I noticed. And maybe some of it is a “reach” (can we retire that word?!) as the more mean-girl Gaylors and the homophobes accuse of anything that’s outside the well-established narrative.  I heard many things, that alone, didn’t mean much, but compiled all together made me think, hmmmmm.  So this is me looking at Kelsea’s work through a frame of trying to find proof she is into women and also that her and Taylor had a fling/are together/are WLW besties–something is there!  But please know that I like Kelsea Ballerini as an artist, on her own terms.  For more Kelsea-centric content, see my album review from 12/8/20:

And my Top 12 songs from 1/6/17:

Which, by the way has some lines that pop out to me

[ellipses indicate lines I omitted.  Highlighted text is her lyrics, plain text is my commentary]:

And I’m unapologetically in love… /No matter where it takes me/Even if it breaks me…

A love that breaks you because it breaks social norms?

And it don’t even phase me/When they call me crazy

Why would people call this cute blonde country singer crazy for being in love with a man?  Maybe it’s a woman and homophobes not understanding same sex love?

I’m unapologetically in love…/So I could care less if I’m being careless/Might wreck me to be reckless

Why would a straight relationship be unpalatable to people?  Why does Kelsea feel like she has to justify this relationship in the song?  What is careless or reckless about a cis, white, upper-class, woman dating a man?  Maybe it’s reckless because it’s a same sex pairing?

But I’d rather fall apart than/Love half-hearted

Love half-hearted sounds like comp-het to me.  Loving a man doesn’t fulfill her even if it’s more socially acceptable, so she is taking the chance to fall apart (risk her career/fame/money/social status) to be with a woman.  Because being with a woman is loving with her whole heart.

Yeah, maybe it’s true that you know when you know…

We are all raised in a heteronormative society.  From the time we are little, people are pairing up boys with girls.  There’s nothing to know when straight is considered the default.  But this you know when you know could be talking about finding the one, sure.  But also it could mean she realized she likes women.

…keeps my eyes starry so

I heard starry eyed references a lot in the new album.  And I have this theory that I want to publish and time-stamp:  Taylor Swift has an album coming out Oct 21 (a month after Kelsea’s album just came out referencing starry eyes a lot) and it’s called Midnight.  I predict Taylor is going to indicate love went from burning red to golden and Sun to more fake gold veneer to blue sadness to maybe starry?  

Slow motion double vision in ROSE BLUSH

From TS Daylight:

Stars in eyes.  Not one sun, but all the stars in the (night) sky?  We’ll see if this comes to fruition. 

I’m so sorry for not being sorry

On to the new stuff on this brand new album! 

Song titles written in all caps (contrasting to the all lowercase of folklore).

SUBJECT TO CHANGE- There is the surface meaning of this song.  And I’m not talking about that, I’m reading into it.  

Seasons do it

I know, Taylor doesn’t own seasons, or the concept of seasons indicating changes.  But also, she conveys things in terms of seasons a LOT:

also somebody compiled all of Taylor’s lyrics mentioning a season:  

And it happens when the night goes day

Like the evolution of dark, moody Reputation to the butterflies and sunshine Lover, Kelsea is mentioning a night to day transition. 

Going through it, I knew it/The right and the hard thing are sometimes the same…

Thank God, I got a strong gut feeling/Leading me to somewhere new

To me this sounds like Kelsea discovered she liked women, and now is “new” to dating them.

This sounds like internalized homophobia with all the talk of fear and uncertainty.  Therapy may have caused the growth and metamorphosis (like caterpillar to BUTTERFLY).  And “unravel the architecture” sounds like dismantling, un-learning.  Built by youth = indoctrination, social-learning/norms, COMP-HET, anyone?!

But if one thing’s the same/It’s that I’m subject to change, yeah…/A little unpredictable, I confess

This is foreshadowing, people. For those of us in the know, Kelsea’s softly coming out here. For the general public who is clueless, she’s telling her audience/the world that there could be, or there’s going to be something changing about her.  Don’t set your expectations on the image we know of Kelsie, because there is this new thing she is about to become–WLW?

If I’m honest

BIG PAUSE

This pause is LOADED.  She is not brave enough (yet) to tell her truth, but Kelsea is sure hinting at it.  She says, “if I’m honest” and in the pause you think: Honest about what?  Is she going to tell us some news?  Is this secret contained in the pause the change being talked about in this song?  My guess is yes, it’s a newly realized, and now actualized knowledge she’s, “not straight” as Julianne Hough said.  Maybe a gay relationship of some kind…

Growing up, it kind of hurts like hell

Growing up different, or being different but not knowing why hurts.  Being bullied for being different leaves scars.  Knowing you’re different and not acknowledging it, or actively hiding it, is hell.  She could be talking about regular growing pains, but within the context of the song she could also be talking about growing up gay.

It’s chaotic, ironic

But it’s how I learn to find myself…

I’m going to put an excerpt in that says what I think this line is about:

I don’t think about the chapters/It’s all about turning the page/And that’s alright (Yeah, that’s alright, yeah, that’s alright)

And finally, she gives herself permission to love woman publicly, and tells the world also, that it’s OK–because it is!

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