Kelsea Ballerini is Taylor’s 2nd Choice

10 Oct

Nobody can be a Karlie. But being a backup plan is tenuous and unfulfilling.

Alone, these might be considered “reaches” but compiled all together, it’s a LOT of coincidences.


[Chorus] When the sun starts falling, the girls start calling

Taylor called Karlie the sun.  Compared her to sunshine.  Used gold to denote her in songs.  Here, Kelsea says the sun starts falling, which can mean more than the obvious day to night.  A layered meaning could mean Karlie is falling out of Taylor’s life.  The sun set on Kaylor. Karlie is not considered gold anymore, but more of a veneer.  It speaks to a rift and breakup between Taylor and Karlie.  

And I think in this context, girls start calling, is just a covert way of disguising a love song into a friends partying song.  Girls plural could have easily been girl.  I think Kelsea is saying when Karlie, the sun, falls away from Taylor, that girl (Taylor) starts calling her.

The wine comes off of the shelf

Again, Taylor doesn’t own wine, but if you were alluding to her, or talking about hanging out with her, that might be the beverage you’d mention.  Taylor has mentioned wine in at least 11 lyrics (not to mention champagne):

Then the drums start to kick in and all my inhibitions

Kelsea could just be using this line to show action.  She might be bringing her going out on the town back to a subject she knows well–music.

But I looked up “drum” in Taylor’s lyrics and the two songs that contained the word were interesting:  Better than Revenge and Hoax.  In the first, Taylor is talking about a girl who “stole” a boy she liked P.S. boys cannot be stolen, they are people with their own free will and should be the recipient of anger if they choose to cheat/leave.  Anyway, Taylor says, “She had to know my pain was beating on me like a drum.” 

So stay with me.  To analyze Kelsea’s use of “drum” in this song, we need to look at Hoax, but to give context to all the pain of that song, we need to look at a happier time in Taylor’s discography, King of My Heart:  Which has a lot of clues and references to Karlie and the Kaylor relationship.

King of My Heart

I’m perfectly fine, I live on my own/I made up my mind, I’m better off bein’ alone

Taylor lives alone, and is comfortable being single.

We met a few weeks ago/Now you try on callin’ me, baby, like tryin’ on clothes

This line is hinting that the “you” in this song is a model.

The line also indicates this model is tryin’ on calling Taylor baby.  It’s a new relationship, and possibly a new sexuality too (WLW) and Karlie is feeling it out.

Salute to me, I’m your American Queen

And you move to me like I’m a Motown beat

There is this Motown dance party.

But more than that check out my last post about the music video that Karlie was in. In it she watches Motown and dances suggestively. It looks almost masturbatory, honestly. Taylor is saying in this line Karlie moves to her like that (sex).

Jesus, that’s explicit.

And we rule the kingdom inside my room

Taylor and Karlie can only be a couple when they’re hidden and protected.  They have to be together only in Taylor’s room, away from prying eyes.

‘Cause all the boys and their expensive cars/With their Range Rovers and their Jaguars/Never took me quite where you do

No matter the expensive, fancy things that the boys bring with them, no matter the ease of a relationship with a man–they could never compare to what Taylor has with Karlie.  

And all at once, you are the one I have been waiting for/King of my heart, body and soul, ooh whoa/And all at once, you’re all I want, I’ll never let you go/King of my heart, body and soul, ooh whoa/And all at once, I’ve been waiting, waiting/Ooh whoa, ooh whoa/And all at once, you are the one, I have been waiting, waiting/Body and soul, ooh whoa/And all at once

This is a pretty sexy interlude with all the ooh whoas and repetition of body and soul.  Taylor is saying she likes when Karlie sexes her up, but also it’s a romantic soul connection, not just a fu(k-fling.

Late in the night, the city’s asleep/Your love is a secret I’m hoping, dreaming, dying to keep

Taylor again, emphasizes that this love is secret and she has anxiety about keeping the relationship AND the secret of the relationship.

Change my priorities/The taste of your lips is my idea of luxury

Again, referencing the fact the boys have money and cars and stuff, but Taylor would forgo all those physical items for Karlie’s physical touch.

…Is this the end of all the endings?/My broken bones are mending

It’s not the last time Taylor will mention bones when she talks about the pain of this relationship:

With all these nights we’re spending/Up on the roof with a school girl crush

Drinking beer out of plastic cups

Say you fancy me, not fancy stuff

Taylor told us she cares more about love with Karlie than items boys can give her, and that lifestyle she could lead with men.  Now she asks Karlie to say the same:

Back to Hoax:

The second song containing the word “drum” is Hoax, possibly the most painful song in Taylor’s catalog, in my opinion. 

My only one/my kingdom come undone/my broken drum/you have beaten my heart

is a bleak, sad line.  Taylor says Karlie is the only one she ever really loved.  And Karlie going with Jo$h (picking the expensive things over love with Taylor in the private ) has burned down the kingdom inside Taylor’s room she spoke about in King of my Heart.  

Taylor could be likening her heart to a drum since they both beat.  She’s telling the subject of the song they have broken her heart.  Beaten has a few meanings:  It could be talking about a heart pumping, but in the past tense.  It could indicate winning a competition (Jo$h won the trophy or champion ring, Karlie).  It could be a physical beating (let’s hope not, but we have several knife and sword fights in Taylor’s catalog).  

So back to Kelsea, she says:

Then the drums start to kick in and all my inhibitions

So.  The drums are a signal Taylor is heartbroken and Karlie is out of her life.  When Karlie is out, that’s Kelsea’s chance to be in.  Broken drum is when Kaylor is off-again, but when that happens Taylor calls up Kelsea.  The drum hurts Taylor, but the drum brings Taylor to Kelsea. It’s a reason why Kelsea might be reluctant to go out.  This relationship is somewhat one-sided, fickle, fleeting, uneven.  But…

Are gone by a quarter to twelve

This plays into my theory about the stars and moon possibly being in Taylor’s Midnights album.  The clock.  Taylor’s clock of albums has different colors for each number.

You can easily see Red (Dianna) went from the latter part of Speak Now to the early part of the Reputation era.  Then the numbers turn gold for sunshine Karlie.  And the gold numbers match up with the albums that reference Karlie (Reputation, Lover, folklore, and Evermore).  

But look at 9 (quarter to 12).  Halfway through it goes from gold to aqua/green/blue.  Is this the time Kelsea is referring to in the song?  The sun goes down at 9 (Karlie goes away) then Taylor calls Kelsea up and that’s Kelsea’s cue to throw out her inhibitions and worries and go have fun with Taylor?  Are these green/blues for Kelsea?  Or signifying Taylor is blue/depressed/closeted/single so rebounding (with Kelsea)?

Yeah, I try to be an angel, then the whole thing goes to hell

Lord, help me, I just, I can’t help myself/(She can’t help it, thе girl can’t help it)/(She can’t help it, thе girl can’t help it)

Kelsea knows it’s not a good idea to get with someone who is back and fourth, still not over her ex, and that may take their relationship as seriously–but she can’t help it.

[Verse 2] And I could go for a walk and maybe eat a salad

Kelsea is comparing herself to Karlie, because Taylor is still not over Karlie.  Kelsea (from the midwestern/southern state of TN) said what she eats in a day and fast food was high on the list:

Karlie said what she eats in a day, and her menu was drastically different than Kelsea’s.  

Models can’t eat very much.  Their very income depends on keeping their body lean (underweight) so they notoriously eat very little.  If Kelsea is trying to be like Karlie, the former Victoria’s Secret Angel, she might try to exercise and limit calories.

I could pick up my guitar and write another ballad

Kelsea could write another song like one of these that wish Taylor were more focused on her. Or a love song of their good times. It’s something she probably finds cathartic, and it’s something she has in common with Taylor.

I could even meditate to live with less distraction

All that pick me up at eight, I’m tryna kick the habit, but

Basically, this song talks about how when Taylor is not with Karlie, she goes to Kelsea.  And Kelsea naturally compares herself to the gal that Taylor is pining over because Kelsea wants something more than to be a backup plan.  Yet, even though Kelsea knows her relationship with Taylor is problematic and unfulfilling she is trying to be like Karlie herself (eat salads meditate) so Taylor will regard her in the same way and stay.  Kelsea’s head knows it’s trouble, but her heart can’t say no and leave it alone.

[Pre-Chorus] Oh-oh, here I go again/Oh-oh, I can’t say no

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: