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Lover (2019) by Taylor Swift Song Ranking

21 Feb

27.8% Awesome; 27.8% Good; 27.8% OK; 11.1% Meh; 5.6% Skip out of 18

5 Awesome

I Forgot that You Existed

Lover

The Man

Paper Rings

You Need to Calm Down

The first half of the ERA is so Me! The latter half, with the dark colors and over-sized men’s wear stuff is decidedly NOT my aesthetic. Also, the era felt interrupted and incomplete with the masters, a possible Kaylor break-up, and Covid-19. This album? Overall, my gripe is that it’s over-produced. Too much is going on and it’s as if someone is playing with all the new sounds, trying everything available. I think it would be better if the production was designed around the song. But there’s a lot of catchy hooks here, and lyrics working double-duty.

5 Good

Cruel Summer

Death by a Thousand Cuts

Me (originally a skip, but grew on me & high notes)

Afterglow

Daylight

5 OK

I Think He Knows

Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince

London Boy

False God

Cornelia Street (who’s story is this?)

2 Meh

The Archer

It’s Nice to Have a Friend

1 Skip

Soon You’ll Get Better (nice, but too depressing)

Reputation (2017) by Taylor Swift Song Ranking

20 Feb

33.3% Awesome; 40% Good; 20% OK; 6.7% Meh; Skip out of 15

5 Awesome

…Ready for It?

I Did Something Bad

Don’t Blame Me

Look What You Made Me Do

Dancing with Our Hands Tied

If you asked me I would say Reputation is my favorite album. I like how gay it is. How unapologetic. That moag! Most of the songs are fast and energetic. I can dance through pretty much the whole concert video. But numbers don’t lie. When the songs are ranked, Reputation does not top the list. It’s a surprise to me, but there’s still a lot to like here. Oh, and P.S. Taylor absolutely needs to stop doing duets or featuring men in her songs. And not because I’m anti-men or anything. I have a lot of favorite male singers. Just EVERY time she does = song ruined.

6 Good

So It Goes

Getaway Car

Dress (sexy)

Delicate

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

New Years Day

3 OK

Gorgeous (b/c it’s ambiguous)

King of My Heart

Call It What You WAnt

1 Meh

End Game (don’t like featured)

Skip

1989 (2014) by Taylor Swift Song Ranking

19 Feb

50% Awesome; 31.3% Good; 18.8% OK; Meh; Skip out of 16

8 Awesome

Blank Space

Style

Out of the Woods

Shake It Off

I Know Places

Stay

Bad Blood

Wonderland

These songs are amped up and theatrical. You can ‘picture’ each one as a movie, and the music videos are practically block-buster films. Also, I hear a lot of Kaylor vibes, and it’s fun to translate the obscure lyrics and figure out signs and hints. I wish I had been engaged during this era!

5 Good

Wildest Dreams

Welcome to New York

How You Get the Girl

Clean

You are in Love

3 OK

I Wish You Would

New Romantics

This Love

Meh

Skip

Red (2012) by Taylor Swift Song Ranking

18 Feb

20.8% Awesome; 58.3% Good; 8.3% OK; 4.2% Meh; Skip out of 24

5 awesome

Trouble

The Moment I Knew

Girl at Home

Stay Stay Stay

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Because Taylor Swift wouldn’t go on Spotify, I missed this entire era (1989 too). I had been a big fan, but then totally lost track of her b/c I couldn’t listen without paying money… So as a result, I always feel a bit disconnected from this album. But I do like that the songs start to be more coded here. There are some les/bi-vibes for sure! And reading into the true meaning of songs is fun for me. I consider it a 2nd job really.

14 Good

Red

Trecherous

All Too Well (over-rated–yeah, I said it)

22

Come Back Be Here

The Last Time

Holy Ground

The Lucky One

Everything Has Changed

Starlight

Begin Again

Trecerous (demo)

Red (demo)

State of Grace (acoustic)

2 OK

I Almost Do

Sad Beautiful Tragic

1 Meh

State of Grace

Skip

Speak Now (2010) by Taylor Swift Song Ranking

17 Feb

40% Awesome; 35% Good; 20% OK; Meh; 5% Skip out of 20

8 Awesome

Back to December

Speak Now

Dear John

Mean

The Story of Us

Enchanted

Better than Revenge

Ours

I love bitter Taylor writing “mean” songs! The sassiness in this album is relatable. Sure, there’s still rom-com imagery that I don’t love, but overall this is a major favorite of “mine.”

7 Good

Mine

Sparks Fly

Never Grow Up

Haunted

If This was a Movie

Haunted (acoustic) (orchestral is pretty)

Mine (pop)

4 OK

Last Kiss

Back to December (acoustic)

Long Live

Innocent

Meh

1 Skip

Superman

Fearless (2008) by Taylor Swift Song Ranking

16 Feb

16.7% Awesome; 33.3% Good; 50% OK; Meh; Skip out of 18

3 Awesome

love story

You Belong with Me

You’re Not Sorry

I call this the rain album, because I feel like it’s mentioned at least once in the majority of the songs. With this era, Taylor, while still cheeky, really went into a privlaged, patriarchal princess stage. Which did not resonate with me that much. And today, as a feminist, I find it problematic. But still, there are some catchy songs here, and it’s definitely sentimental to that time in my life.

6 Good

Forever & Always

Come in w/the Rain

Fifteen

Untouchable

white horse

hey stephen

9 OK

Fearless

Jump then Fall

Breathe

Other Side of the Door

Tell Me Why

The Way I Loved You

Superstar (bridge salvaged)

The Best Day

Change (end jam)

Meh

Skip

Medieval Holocaust: A Story of Plague and Greed [Anti-Valentine’s #15]

12 Feb

I was really struggling to come up with another reason to shun and not celebrate Valentine’s Day. But I had written the annual blog post17 years in a row now (I think?), so I was not going to give up easily. I had to think outside of the box. I wish I could say 2020 hit me on the head–or Covid-19. Because disease is important in our history and to our development as a society. It routinely kills more than war, so disease is a primary factor in shaping nations and their populations. Disease drives science, improves medical tactics, and shapes societal norms. Here is a historical event, that was intentionally carried out on Valentine’s Day, that speaks of disease, the ugliness of human-greed, and kinda sums of the sentiment and lessons of 2020. But also, provides a 17th reason why Valentine’s Day can, and should be abolished.

Many religions don’t honor Valentine’s Day as a legitimate holiday, because of it’s shaky origin story. I heard even the Catholic church removed Valentine’s Day from its calendar because Saint Valentine couldn’t be substantiated. And I know, many religions frown upon Valentine’s Day as too “Pagan” just like like they dislike Halloween. Hinduism, India’s major religion (80% of their population) doesn’t love the day of love (1). Traditionally, Asia’s most popular religion discourages public displays of affection between the sexes, including handholding, which Valentine’s Day encourages (1). I couldn’t find a religion that explicitly bans Valentine’s Day, though now that I’m thinking about it I’ll bet Jehovah Witnesses don’t acknowledge it because they don’t believe in anything that’s not actually written in the Bible (that’s my understanding, anyway). But they probably don’t single out that one holiday as more problematic than any other holiday either. They just across the board don’t celebrate things not in the pages of the Bible.

I was reading that Valentine’s Day is a touchy subject in Jewish eyes because of anti-Semitic rumors about the origin of the plague. In 1349 the Bubonic Plague aka “Black Death” was sweeping across Europe, with estimates that 60% of Europeans died from the disease (2).  Though we know now that Bubonic Plague is caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis and is most commonly spread by fleas that live on rodents like rats and mice, they had no idea what was causing millions of people to die back in those times. Currently, Bubonic Plague is treatable with modern medicines. In the Middle Ages, of course, no medical treatment existed to mitigate the Plague’s devastating effects (2). 

So fear took over. Terrified people (who didn’t have the benefits of science) were looking for someone to blame. And many Jews worked in the financial sector, acting as creditors. This vocation, contributed to anti-Jewish sentiment among the less privileged, so Jews were a natural choice to blame. Christians turned on the Jews in their midst, accusing them of spreading the Plague by poisoning Christian people’s wells (2).

*Trigger Warning*

*But it wasn’t just accusations, according to Dr. Yvette Alt Miller, there were horrifically violent attacks:

In Cologne, Jews were locked into a synagogue which was then set on fire.

In Mainz, the entire town’s sizeable Jewish community was murdered in just one day.

Across Europe, in Spain, Italy, France, the Low Countries, and the Germanic Lands Jews were massacred and tortured (2).

In 1349, a group of feudal lords in France’s Alsace region attempted to make the spontaneous attacks on Jews official. It was decreed that the property of Jews (murdered for supposedly spreading the Plague) could be seized by their Christian neighbors with impunity. With this financial incentive to kill Jews, the attacks only intensified (2). The feudal lords of the Alsace formally blamed Jews for the Black Death and adopted the “Benfeld Decree” which targeted Jews, singling them out for murder and calling for their expulsion from towns. This had an immediate effect as Jews in thirty communities were attacked (2).

The one hold-out to all the massacring was the city of Strasbourg. Strasbourg’s patrician class understood that Jews were important to their town’s economy–as they paid high taxes. So they had a financial interest in protecting their city’s Jews (2). But the citizens of the city had a desire to kill the Jews and see their own debts cancelled, or even to expropriate their property (3). The members of the city’s butchers and tanners guilds accused the three sympathetic patrician leaders, who would not round up the city’s Jews, of having been bribed by the Jews in return for protecting them. The citizens drove them from office (3).

Using these rumors that Jews had dreamed up the plague in order to poison Christians, the citizen-mob in Strasbourg, planned to full-on exterminate local Jews (to whom they owed massive debts). They designated February 14, St. Valentine’s Day, as the date on which they would execute Strasbourg’s entire Jewish population (1). The city’s Jews were given a choice of undergoing baptism or being killed. About half of them accepted conversion or left the city; the remainder were barricaded in the Jewish cemetery (3).  A number of about 2,000 Jews were burned alive on a platform in the local Jewish cemetery (1). Their murder took hours. Afterwards, eager townspeople combed through the smoldering ashes, not searching for survivors, but looking for valuables. There was primarily a financial motive for this enormous massacre.

A quote from von Konigshofen:

“…everything (all debt) that was owed to the Jews was cancelled… The council…took the cash that the Jews possessed and divided it among the working-men proportionately. The money was indeed the thing that killed the Jews. If they had been poor and if the feudal lords had not been in debt, they would not have been burnt” (2).

Strasbourg’s mob government and citizens faced no criticism. A few months later, they were officially pardoned for the killing of their town’s Jews and for stealing their money (2).

How do you close out a historical account of something so tragic and horrible? I can’t believe I had never heard of this massacre (genocide?) before. I will end just by reminding us to study our history, and remember that it repeats. People need to learn from mistakes of the past. Take proper precautions to prevent the spread of disease (and Covid-19!) even if it is inconvenient for you. Don’t fear, prepare. Accept all people, even if especially if they are different from you. Don’t hate, learn. See that money is not everything, and greed only causes ugliness. Don’t covet, volunteer. And also, just be decent human beings. Which you don’t need a holiday to tell you. Love every day, and don’t save affection for Valentine’s Day. You don’t need a reminder to love, nor should you remember to love on only one day of the year.

(1) https://www.southerndigest.com/article_3bcfe8ad-7fbf-5c6c-a400-46cde8907d8e.html#:~:text=Valentine’s%20Day%20is%20the%20traditional,the%20need%20to%20shun%20it.

(2) https://www.aish.com/jw/s/Horrific-Valentines-Day-Massacre-of-Jews.html

(3) https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/.premium-1349-a-valentine-s-day-massacre-1.5229805

Look Long (2020) Song Ranking

2 Feb

LOOK LONG (2020)

(27.3% awesome, 54.5% good, 9.1% OK, 9.1 % meh, skip out of 11)

3 AWESOME

shit kickin’

howl at the moon

FAVORITE FLAVOR

This album has everything: It’s retro but progressive, reminiscent but looking at the next generation, country and punk, it has a lot of divergent components that come together beautifully. I thought it was a sincere and cool album.

6 GOOD

KC girl

FEEL THIS WAY AGAIN

change my heart

country radio

sorrow and joy

muster

1 OK/NEUTRAL

look long

1 MEH

WHEN WE WERE WRITERS

SKIP

Indigo Girls Live w/the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra (2018) Song Rankings

1 Feb

22.7% Awesome; 50% Good; 18.2% OK; 9.1% Meh; Skip out of 22

5 Awesome

Compromise

World Falls

Chickenman (high notes @ end)

Fugative

Go

I wish all artists would do an album with the symphony! I don’t know how I fell behind the times, but I was kicking myself for realizing this happened a year or two late! WTF?! I gotta see what’s going on with my email. But I’m trying to make up for lost time. The songs came out multi-layered, and dimensional in a novel way. Some of the songs were very well-suited to the orchestra, while others are my faves as-is so I like them less when they are messed with. Overall, a really solid album.

11 Good

The Woodsong

Sugar Tongue

Able to Sing

Happy in the Sorrow Key

Yoke (great singing)

Love of Our Lives (higher for instrumentals)

Galileo

Come a Long Way (ending)

WAr Rugs

DAmo

Kid Fears

4 OK

Virginia Woolf

Come On Home

Closer to Fine (Emily sounds out of breath)

Ghost

2 Meh

Power of Two

Mystery

Skip

One Lost Day (2015) Song Ranking

1 Feb

one lost day (2015)

(30.8% awesome, 38.5% good, 30.8% OK, meh, skip out of 13)

4 AWESOME

happy in the sorrow key

OLYMPIA INN

learned it on me

THE RISE OF THE BLACK MESSIAH

I like a good concept album. And I think the highlight of this album is the geographical writing. The listener really gets a sense of each place, and the experiences tied to that location.

5 GOOD

elizabeth

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA IS YOUR GIRLFRIEND

SPREAD THE PAIN AROUND

ALBERTA

come a long way

4 OK/NEUTRAL

TEXAS WAS CLEAN

IF I DON’T LEAVE HERE NOW

FINDLAY, OHIO 1968 (bleak)

fishtails

MEH

SKIP