Tag Archives: bearding

TS Snippets: He’s got that boyish look that I like in a man

4 Feb

What can I say–I enjoy research, and lyrical analysis, and I know my posts can get looooong. I decided to repost pieces to give a more bite sized chunk of information. I’m calling the series TS Snippets, because I couldn’t meld Swift into snippet without making it confusing.

Baby boy, boyish look, baby love, etc… Seem out of place for a grown-a$$ man, but Taylor routinely uses them in her songs.

You’re on Your own now, kid-each verse is 3-4 experiences present to past

30 Jan

This song isn’t quite a happy reminiscing. There’s both sadness and determination in the lyrics. The thesis is that Taylor has felt alone in every stage of her life: Her dad was MIA during her childhood either physically or emotionally. She was bullied in school at times. Her country label made her feel inadequate by creating her “perfect” alter-ego and hemming in her creativity. Dating men and being a beard made Taylor feel empty. 1989 Era was fun, but felt inauthentic and lonely and Taylor was secretly struggling. After the Kaylor breakup Taylor feels hopeless that she can ever genuinely love, because she sees it as problematic for her career. Currently Joe (her supposed partner) is absent. But because of all the loneliness and isolation, Taylor has honed her writing and furthered her career. Despite not being able to count on anyone aside from her mother, nobody can take away Taylor’s writing skills.

A lot of it has earmarks of the move to NYC and the 1989 Era, but I do think Taylor looks back further in time within the song. She talks about playing in parking lots when she was trying to get started. She may also be looking at her life as a whole and mentioning how she still feels like she’s on her own.

Theory: I hope I can explain what I’m thinking clearly. Taylor wrote the song in a chronological timeline (A-present day, B-1989 Era, C-Nashville, D-parents). Then, to obscure the timeline and subjects within the song she took the most recent (A) and made each line it’s own verse. Then she took 1989 Era (B) and made that the 2nd line of each verse. Then she broke the Nashville (C) into the 3rd line of each verse. And finally she made her childhood/parents (D) the final line of each verse. It’s possible each verse starts at the present (2022), mentions 1989 Era, goes back to Nashville, and ends with her childhood. Instead of AAAA, BBBB, CCCC, DDDD she mixed it to ABCD, ABCD, ABCD, ABCD.

For example:

A-Smoking with your boys could be her current situation with Joe. She’s in a house, not a home, alone. He’s off living his separate life, high like the night they met (Paper Rings).

B-The face Taylor wishes she could touch is Karlie’s but they’ve broken up.

C-The town Taylor wants to leave (for NYC) is Nashville.

D-The only one that can bring Taylor back to TN over a lifetime is her mom.

That might be loosely the formula Taylor used in the song. Does it hold up? See what you think…

Since the subjects of the song are unclear, and may change, and the timeline is not set in stone, I tried to think of all scenarios that could fit each line. Taylor didn’t call and tell me the specifics so I’m trying to gather the keys I do know about in order to get the gist.

Summer went away

Taylor doesn’t tell us the year she’s singing about, just the season.  Later in the song she talks about moving out of Nashville so I’m guessing most of this song is about 2014.

Taylor also mentions starving her body in the song and she was at her thinnest during the 1989 era:

Still, the yearning stays

Taylor also does not tell us what type of yearning she’s been feeling, or for how long:

A boy?

Her dad?

To be discovered?

Her family after she moved from TN to NY?

Gay love in general (or Dianna, specifically)?

The word can be used several different ways:

I play it cool with the best of them

I wait patiently

We know Taylor doesn’t sit back, waiting around to make music, or for her career to progress.  She takes action and proactively strives for more success.  But what then, is Taylor waiting for?

Her Dad?

Tolerate It:

Jake Gyllenhaal?

I don’t know if Jake was a real relationship or beard to cover for Jake’s sexuality and/or the Dianna Agron romance.  I used to be certain it was bearding, but when Red (TV) drudged up this decade-old relationship, and Taylor insinuated the red scarf did symbolize her virginity as Swifties suspected, I was no longer sure.

Dianna?

Come Back, Be Here (2012):

He’s gonna notice me

After I read this line I wondered if 2012 Taylor was looking back to the beginning of her career.  Is she remembering trying to break into the country music scene?  1989-Era Taylor could be thinking back to her start in country music because she was about to try to fully break into pop music.

Is HE $cott Borchetta or other music execs?

Is HE her dad?

Taylor could be talking about how her dad is always traveling for business, when she’s home, and how he stays home with her brother while she tours.  Her mom is involved in her life, but her dad is absent.

Is HE Jake Gyllenhaal?

Whatever they had together, it was on and off:

We are never ever getting back together:

Dianna Agron?

Of course, if Jake was just a bearding situation all of the above applies to Swiftgron.

Come Back, Be Here (2012):

We are never ever getting back together:

It’s okay, we’re the best of friends

Taylor wasn’t really best friends with studio execs, her dad, Jake, OR Dianna (they were very secret lovers) so I’m not sure this line is directly referencing any of the subjects that are options for the previous line.

If this line IS talking about the subject of “he’s gonna notice me” then I think Taylor is contrasting her parents.  Her dad doesn’t notice her, but that’s OK because her mom is her best friend.

If “I wait patiently he’s gonna notice me” is her dad and the best friend is her mom the song is describing how Taylor feels a hole in her life and goes to great lengths to put a bandaid over it by gathering friends and fans around her, and focusing on her music career.  She is saying because she feels a void in her parental relationships she has spent the time writing and making music which brought her all the friends and fans and fame.

My impression was that this line is doing two things:  Talking about the subject of the previous line and being used as a tool to put the story and the listener back in the correct timeline (1989 Era and The Squad).  For the latter, Taylor says it’s alright that HE doesn’t notice her because she has formed her own friend group that distracts her and makes her feel better.

Anyway

I hear it in your voice

Is Taylor saying this person is more dismissive when they’re with their friends?  

OR

Is she saying the voice literally sounds different when this person is smoking?

Tobacco:

Smoking weed could also change the sound of someone’s voice:

And it’s possible, but not a rule:

You’re smoking with your boys

I couldn’t find any evidence Scott Swift smokes.

I couldn’t find any evidence Scott Borchetta smokes.

I saw Karlie Kloss has NEVER smoked.

Is the smoker a lover/ex?

Jake-

He has smoked for movies, but he also smoked cigars and pipes at some point in time:

Jake G. also has been known to smoke weed:

Dianna-

She has also smoked for roles, and has been seen in public with a box of cigarettes: 

I couldn’t readily find anything about Dianna smoking weed, so if she does it seems she does it on the DL.

Joe-

He is the wrong timeline for this song, but I bring him up because Taylor talks about the beginning of her career in the song, so it’s possible she talks about a more current boyfriend/beard leaving her (emotionally) on her own as well.  

Joe smokes, but I think the Taylor Swift team cleaned up his image scrubbed the internet to be an appropriate partner for her.

Paper Rings could be talking about meeting Joe and his mates who were high.  It would  have to be his friends attending the MET Gala according to the most popular timeline of their relationship:

But also, Joe might be a is a cover for Karlie.  And that brings us back to the correct timeline for this song:  I think Paper Rings is for Karlie, and could allude to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show where Taylor and Karlie [supposedly] met.  Taylor could be talking about how the other models were high at that 2013 show:

I touch my phone as if it’s your face

This gesture seems too romantic in nature to be a studio exec or father.  Taylor could have changed subjects after the “he’s gonna notice me” line.  It also rules out beards, because she wouldn’t long for their attention-it’s a business relationship.  This line, possibly the whole song might be talking about a romantic relationship:

Dianna-

Come Back, Be Here (2012):

Karlie-

It can’t be Karlie because she doesn’t smoke.  She wouldn’t be smoking with her boys.  It would also require this line to be another time jump, because during the 1989 Era Taylor and Karlie were constantly seen together.  It wasn’t until later that Taylor was alone and longing to touch Karlie’s face.

I didn’t choose this town

Nashville?

It was Taylor who wanted to move to Nashville in order to break into the music business.  Her parents say they didn’t want to pressure her to succeed, so they let her think the move was their idea.

London or New York?

This could be interpreted two ways:  Taylor is talking to someone who lives in London in this song and says she didn’t choose this town (London).  

OR 

Taylor could be saying Karlie was the one who chose NYC, but she had wanted to move to London.

I dream of getting out

Taylor dreams of leaving the afore-mentioned town?

She never lived in London so she doesn’t dream of moving away.

Taylor seems to have loved NYC until her and Karlie split and she couldn’t bear to be reminded of Kaylor, so if she’s talking about NYC (not a town) it requires another time jump.

That leaves Nashville.  Though Taylor wanted/needed to move to TN to get a foot in the door to music, she tired of it quickly.  Taylor was bullied in middle school, and she felt constricted in the red state.

There’s just one who could make me stay

A romantic partner/ex?

Dianna-

After 2012, it looks like Dianna was traveling back and forth to Australia, living in CA, and also spending time in the UK.  It looks like “staying” isn’t Dianna’s strong suit, so I don’t think this line is about her.

Karlie in NY?

It’s plausible Taylor is saying that Karlie is the only person who could have kept her in the U.S., but I’m not sure because it’s not like Taylor adamantly didn’t want to live in NYC.  

All my days

This addendum made me think more about a blood relative, than a romance which is not guaranteed to last a lifetime.  Taylor talks about wanting to leave Nashville due to feeling restrained and trapped there.  But the one thing that can pull her back through a protracted timeframe is her mom.

Her mom in TN?

From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes

Sprinkler splashes brings to mind exuberance and warm sunshine fun.  Fireplace ashes alludes to endings.  Taylor talks about things burning down in many songs.  To her, fire and burning are something scary and awful that destroys.  A break-up, panic about being outed, a ruined career:

After this destruction, the ashes are the only remnant of what used to be.  

My Tears Ricochet-

Hoax-

In this line Taylor went from happy, sunny fun to the debris left from a fire [drastic cause of destruction].  She could be talking about a combination of things that tie the song together:  childhood fun with her parents, or the 4th of July parties The Squad attended, to break-ups.

Her dad?

Taylor’s relationship with her father started out admiring, and considering him a protector of her, “My daddy’s gonna show you how sorry you’ll be.”  Later the relationship with her dad was stalled–he was often absent from Taylor’s life.  Then he only tolerated her [sexuality?] and finally when he [maybe] cheated on her mom there was not quite estrangement, as he is heavily involved with Taylor’s career, but a schism formed.

$cott Borchetta/studio?

Taylor could secondly be bringing up her relationship with $cott Borchetta and her label at large.  Getting signed started out a dream come true, hopeful and exhilarating, ended in oppression, then ruins when he sold her masters.

Jake G.?

He could be an option here as well.  Taylor might have gone into it with optimism.  Whether she had comp-het and was trying to make a straight coupling work, or if she was thrust into a bearding situation, she seemed sincere in trying to make it work.  At the end, Taylor was jaded (either toward men or the bearding process).

Dianna?

She could also work here.  Swiftgron was red and passionate, but Dianna was gone all the time, and there may have been cheating on both sides of the relationship, until their romance was obliterated beyond repair.

The Squad?

The time period of this song seems to be mostly the 1989 Era so Taylor could be bringing up The Squad.  I think she hired them to distract from her boy crazy image.  The 4th of July parties looked mostly like photo-shoots to me.  Then after the 1989 Era put friendships in the forefront instead of boys, the group disintegrated and “we’ll never say that word again.”

Karlie?

Lastly, Taylor could be looking at all her relationships throughout her life and evoking how she and Karlie were both made of ashes at the end of Kaylor.

I waited ages to see you there

Taylor describes waiting for whoever she was talking about in the last line over ages.  Career-wise she could be talking about from the time she was a child to before she was a household name.  Taylor waited a long time, and also over many birthdays to be recognized as the musical prodigy that she is.  And the 1989 Era solidified Taylor’s place as a pop star.

Her fans?

Taylor’s father?

He never really came to her shows or awards.  Is she saying she waited ages for him to show up for her:

Jake or Dianna?

This line brings to mind, The Moment I Knew:

If Taylor is talking about Jake it brings up the 21st Birthday mythology that he was a no-show.

Dianna was not there a lot of times, which was a central issue in the Swiftgron relationship.

And if she’s talking throughout her life, Taylor could be telling Karlie that when she’s with Jo$h and not her, it wrecks Kaylor.

I search the party of better bodies

The party of beautiful people could be some sort of music networking thing that Taylor went to in order to get known and break into the industry, or even when she was trying to cross over to pop:

The party might be talking about any event Taylor attended with the models.  Is she talking about The Squad?

The party could be some awards pre or post party where Jake or Dianna attended.  For example Taylor, Dianna, and Lea Michele all went to the 2014 MET Gala:

Just to learn that you never cared

Scott Borchetta/her country label?

The Squad/fake friends/paid PR-

Jake G.?

All Too Well Short Film:

It wasn’t real to him because she was his beard?

But innocent Taylor was not on the same page. She saw a future with Jake, and was shocked when he suddenly broke things off:

You’re on your own, kid

You always have been

I see the great escape

So long, Daisy May

Who is Daisy May, and what characteristics is Taylor trying to highlight?

Daisy Mae Scragg of Lil’ Abner comic strip-

Daisy Mae Dutten of video game Bullworth Academy-

Daisys that aren’t Maes:

Daisy Buchannan of The Great Gatsby-

Like Anti-Hero this may be Taylor’s critical side. She could see herself as these traits when she is in her self-hating mode.

Daisy Kenyon in the film of the same name-

I picked the petals, he loves me not

Or maybe it’s none of those characters, and Taylor (tagged as the daisy) is just referring to herself:

Something different bloomed

https://www.billboard.com/music/pop/taylor-swift-solo-songwriter-list-1235022983/

Writing in my room

I play my songs in the parking lot

I’ll run away

Taylor leaves painful situations to write and to focus on her career ambitions.

From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes

I called a taxi to take me there

She is saying she had nobody to drive her because she was on her own. Taylor had to pay someone to take her.

Where is Taylor at and where is she going?

Probably not TN to NYC-

She’s wealthy, but this seems like a long fare.

Maybe she means figuratively.  Taylor wants to be a household name, and she does this by bringing a personal touch to her listeners.  During the 1989 Era, Taylor called a Taxi company and made an account to pay for all of her fans to get to and from her concert.  Gestures like this make for a loyal fan base, which will help Taylor’s music career succeed.

I search the party of better bodies

Aspiring music writers/singers?

Taylor could be looking back at the start of her career during her juncture between country and pop music. She could also be talking about competing with other women for the crown of pop stardom.

Models and actresses joined the squad to bolster their career?

Just to learn that my dreams aren’t rare

You’re on your own, kid

You always have been

From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes

I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this

blood-

Sweat-

I really wanted to find out how long Taylor rehearses choreography for shows and tours, but this must be top secret information.  Despite trying for hours to Google different key words I couldn’t find anything that specified in any kind of detail how many hours.  I imagine it’s a long time.

A general example of rehearsals (not related specifically to Taylor):

Taylor’s purported 3x weekly workout and treadmill schedule:

Tears-

I hosted parties and starved my body

Taylor divulged she had disordered eating in Miss Americana.  I read in 2014 that she weighed 132lb.  This might not be accurate at all, who knows, but taking that number for an example it puts her BMI at 18.4 (underweight).  Also, I know BMI is a bit antiquated and depends on many variables that are not standardized to everyone.  But I’m trying to show some kind of quantitative example, so just go with it.  At 5’11” Taylor could weigh up to 178lb and be in a healthy weight range, per the BMI calculator.  

This is 1989 compared to Reputation:

Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss

In her country years Taylor had an idealized vision of what love should look like.  She seemed to draw from Disney and other fairytales in her youth.  

Kisses in Taylor’s songs:

As she got older, Taylor started dating and may have held onto some of that naivety.  It seemed like she thought a boyfriend could fix all of her problems.  She trusted these guys and seemed genuinely disappointed when they let her down:

Jonas brother-

Jake-

John Mayer-

Later, the boyfriends looked more fake (Tom Hiddleston) and some/all could have been beards.  To me, it looks like Taylor was pushed into these showmances and bearding situations (JJ, TL, JG, JM), but then she started hiring her own beards in order to “save” her career from her sexuality. Posing for a photo kissing a man would increase buzz around her music, make her more relatable, (and save Taylor from being outed?).

The jokes weren’t funny, I took the money

What money did Taylor take? 

Money from the studio to get started?

Money from fans who believed that Taylor’s genuine stories perfectly matched up with the PR narratives?

Money from celebrities who wanted to hide their sexuality under a beard?

Taylor is tying money to her dating life in this line.  She doesn’t like the boy-crazy jokes, BUT she took the money.  A definite possibility is that Lautner’s people, Jonas’ people, Jake, and even JM could have paid her for bearding services:

The gossip says that Jake is known for hiring beards:

A meme or a perceptive insight?

My friends from home don’t know what to say

Taylor’s friends are surprised that she is doing inauthentic things they know aren’t in her character in order to grow her career.

I looked around in a blood-soaked gown

The only thing that comes to mind is Carrie:

At first I thought this reference was out of left field, but after reading the following I thought it fit Taylor surprisingly well:

And I saw something they can’t take away

THEY can’t take away Taylor’s writing ability.  She honed her skills alone in her bedroom, practiced them in parking lots, and she will always have that.

‘Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned

The pages turned could be moving on to the next chapter of life, for example, the move from Nashville to NYC. This could additionally be talking about leaving relationships.

This is true about her writing/music too. Songs were cut or never added to the album for whatever reason (a lot were too gay).

Everything you lose is a step you take

With every new start something had to end.

Every song in the crypt contributed to the final product of the finished album [writing is editing!]. And those finalized albums are the stepping stones to the great fame Taylor enjoys(?) today.

Is Taylor talking about something specifically here?

Country/Nashville/home roots?

Jake G. (or men in general)?

It wasn’t working out, but that brought Taylor to the Kaylor relationship (women)?

If Jake was a beard, does the above apply to Dianna?

The Squad/fake friends?

So make the friendship bracelets

During the 1989 Era, bracelets were given to the crowd:

A fan gave Taylor a bracelet with pink and blue and purple beads with the word “pride” spelled out. She displayed it prominently in the below photo:

Take the moment and taste it

I don’t know that much about Buddhism, but there is a philosophy within that talks about living in the moment. And it applies a lot to worry and anxiety. The tenants have subjects of the spirituality be aware of their 6 senses (I think heart is the 6th?) in order to be present at this place in time. It relieves worry and regret which focus on present and past.

Less seriously:

You’ve got no reason to be afraid

You’re on your own, kid

Yeah, you can face this

Renegade-

You’re on your own, kid

You always have been

Where does all of this leave us?

I think Taylor is telling us she has a rift between her and her father. But her mom is someone she can trust, and Andrea loves her unconditionally.

Nashville, country music, and her label made Taylor feel constricted and trapped.

Moving to NYC felt like wonderful freedom and breaking into pop catapulted Taylor to the top of the industry. There was a price to pay for that though-starving her body for just one example.

Jake may have hired/(secretly regarded?) Taylor as a beard. Taylor either didn’t know she wasn’t a real GF, or didn’t understand how Jake could remain cold and detached when acting the part made Taylor catch real feelings for him. It’s also a possibility that Taylor already knew she was queer, and the breakup with Jake hit her hard because she was morning the loss of a straight future she would never have.

With Dianna, Taylor knew she needed more. She wanted someone to be present and consistent and loyal, or it left her unhappy. There could also have been the revelation that she could never fight the logistics to be with a woman. Taylor might have been so upset because her career and Dianna (or any woman) could never coexist.

The Squad felt superficial and empty. Even though Taylor was able to have all the friends she wanted as a kid, it wasn’t satisfying and didn’t last.

Kaylor breakup hit Taylor hard and she is still recovering.

Bearding/Joe protects Taylor’s career but she’s living an isolated life, unable to have a true love. That makes Taylor miserable, but she leans on her music to cope.

Dancing with our Hands Tied- Chains and Restraints [Part R]

17 Jan

Logistical Info:

Remember we’re looking at words in the lyrics of Question… to try to decipher who and what and when.

We’ve almost gone through the entire song, pulling lyrics containing the same words to get a sort of consensus or feeling about Taylor’s intention.

Now that we’re toward the end of Question… lyrics, we need to address the central part of the song: Kiss in a crowded room. And the kiss really brings to mind Dancing with our Hands Tied and maybe Kissgate.

We will analyze Dancing with our Hands Tied to see if it parallels Question….

Except this particular line within Dancing with our Hands Tied got a bit long because I really don’t know for sure and there was no solid direction to take the analysis. I will go into it in detail in this post so the guesses don’t overwhelm the analysis of the song as a whole.

And I’ll spell out my conclusions from this post in the full analysis of Dancing with our Hands Tied. But that post was getting very long and I was afraid nobody would read it. So to make things even more confusing each line in DWOHT is going to be its OWN post. But then I’ll do a main DWOHT post with just links to each different post. It’s a whole big thing.

Then we’ll get back to the end of Question

Was that explanation as confusing as trying to guess who Taylor’s songs are about?

Dancing with our hands tied, hands tied

We’ve discussed how Taylor construes “dance” to mean having no inhibitions. She talks about how children are willing to dance without shame in Fifteen. The word is used to show the elation, relief, and liberation of being herself, as in the song, Long Live (Question…  [Part 17]).  Slightly adjacent to being in an uninhibited, unflappable mode relating to her queerness (NOT her default state of anxiety and fear) Taylor uses “dance” to express allegiance and belonging. When she dances in Welcome to New York it shows that Taylor found people that accept her and “Dance” is used to show affiliation with these urban queers. Same with Beautiful Ghosts. She “dances” or unites with these other gay people because that’s who she is, and they integrate her into their chosen family (Question…  [Part 17]).  The preponderance of “dancing” in Taylor’s catalog is relaxation and ease with her innate sexuality.  

Dancing with our Hands Tied, however, is not completely free.  With that phrase, Taylor is not only describing the physical representation of her and her lover’s arms and hands tangled and intertwined.  She is telling us despite the dancing, there were always handcuffs, chains, restraints, hemming-in of their relationship.  And with her own relationship to her (queer) self.

This bejeweled dress also looks like chains, shackling Taylor Swift into her public image. With the money she makes from her brand, comes the forced closeting and bearding and straightwashing. “Where’s that man who threw blankets over my barbed wire?” in Tolerate It [a song about people not accepting Taylor’s sexuality] shows how the TS brand hides Taylor’s barbed wire (rough edges, sexuality) by propping a man next to her. The song is telling us Taylor beards to hide her sexuality. Invisible String reiterates how Taylor the brand looks beautiful dripping in jewels, but Taylor the person is restrained by these same gems. “Something wrapped all of my past mistakes in barbed wire/Chains around my demons…”

Taylor loves, but in secret.  Taylor uses dancing in Cowboy Like Me to misrepresent her sexuality to the rich folks. She dances with this other queer person to look outwardly romantic and mollify homophobic reactions (Question…  [Part 17]).  This is Taylor’s personal life:  She feels she has to dance and spin on her tiptoes, al-la Mirrorball, showing her audience, the media, and the general public everything they want to see.  The closet stifles Taylor, but also makes her feel safe, per Clean and Lavender Haze. It’s no accident the gold mirrorball dress also has the jewel/chains. She is shining for others, but the mirrorball mentality also keeps her tied up in that image.

The specific event of Kissgate hurt Kaylor because Taylor defaulted to brand damage control instead of opening up and coming out.  All the anxiety kills the partnership.  The half moon eyes in Question… are the combination of anxieties constantly tugging Taylor and any sapphic lover apart.  

Not sticking up for your (sapphic) love out of fear of social rejection is a common theme in so many of Taylor’s songs because it’s the primary problem in Taylor’s real life (Question…  [Part 14]). Her actions and inactions cause her partner to be relegated to the back of the closet.  And all the hiding, and secrets, and lies are hurting their love.  Which is why in Betty, Taylor wants to rectify the situation by publicly kissing Betty/this woman she loves (Question…  [Part 17]).  

Taylor’s early romances ended nearly the same as her current romance has ended.  She has always felt regretful about her situation and wishes the lover would show up below her window.  But there are just too many secrets, lies, miscommunications, and accusations complicating things.  For example, Betty, a highly autobiographical allegory for Taylor’s real life, shows a common conflict of closeting and bearding.  James (aka Taylor) was nowhere to be found, because she hates the crowds (creates a spectacle wherever she goes).  But she saw Betty dance with HIM, which James/Taylor misconstrued as legitimate. It’s just like reality where bearding is sometimes pulled off too well, creating jealousy and mistrust. 

In both Betty and in Taylor’s real dating life, a chain of negative reactions follows the act of bearding and the relationship between the female lovers suffers.  So after being pushed away by Taylor’s closeting, instead of throwing pebbles at Taylor’s window, the girlfriend actually leaves (Question…  [Part 14]).   Then, there is just sadness about what will never be. 

In the case of Kissgate and Kaylor, I think Taylor wanted to go to The Lakes and be a private couple, just the two of them.  But I suspect Karlie felt obligated to be with Jo$h, and still wanted to be with Taylor, as attested by Ivy.  There is a back and fourth in that song. Taylor is anxious at the impending doom of Karlie’s wedding (among other things) and Karlie answers, trying to assuage Taylor’s fear of the Ku$hners burning the house down. These lines (starting from “How’s one to know” are from Karlie’s perspective:

Karlie lived and died for her affair with Taylor despite an upcoming deadline with Jo$h. Taylor gets afraid and tells Karlie to just go to the guy, but Karlie asks Taylor to sit with her, drinking Jo$h’s wine, and wait and see what Kaylor can be. Karlie, further says all of this is under Taylor’s control. Karlie’s pain is in Taylor’s freezing hands, but she wants to hold on to Taylor. Even though Karlie has made a commitment that is soon to start, she says Taylor impacted her and she can’t pretend their love isn’t centered in her life. Karlie didn’t choose to fall in love with Taylor, and she acknowledges that falling in love with Taylor is messing up the future that she had long ago planned, but it happened. Karlie is covered in the invasive, inconvenient ivy of Taylor’s love. Taylor couldn’t go along with continuing an affair with a married Karlie because of distress about losing control, apprehension about the unknown, and antipathy of those political associations (Question…  [Part 10]). 

Because each of their hands are tied due to bearding, Kaylor had to stop “dancing” despite truly loving one another. Taylor’s break-up with her lover kills her.  And Karlie is dead to Taylor now that she has a child and a (diabolical) husband.  Karlie politely lived with being hidden and put on the back burner, until she didn’t (Question…  [Part 10]).  She eventually left the deprivation of the closet which erased her.  Karlie went ahead and “married” the guy or more accurately, commissioned this heteronormative life (Question…  [Part 9]). 

Now both Taylor and Karlie are dead inside, cold lifeless hands reaching out (“do you wish you could still touch her?”) grieving for the living.

Dancing with our Hands Tied- Smoke is Worry [Part P]

14 Jan

Logistics:

Remember we’re looking at words in the lyrics of Question… to try to decipher who and what and when.

We’ve almost gone through the entire song, pulling lyrics containing the same words to get a sort of consensus or feeling about Taylor’s intention.

Now that we’re toward the end of Question… lyrics, we need to address the central part of the song: Kiss in a crowded room. And the kiss really brings to mind Dancing with our Hands Tied and maybe Kissgate.

We will analyze Dancing with our Hands Tied to see if it parallels Question….

Except this particular line within Dancing with our Hands Tied got a bit long because I really don’t know for sure and there was no solid direction to take the analysis. I will go into it in detail in this post so the guesses don’t overwhelm the analysis of the song as a whole.

And I’ll spell out my conclusions from this post in the full analysis of Dancing with our Hands Tied.

Then we’ll get back to the end of Question

Was that explanation as confusing as trying to guess who Taylor’s songs are about?

And I had a bad feeling

Taylor is chronically anxious about a lot of things.   Primarily, (and in her words) her house (physical embodiment of her sensibilities) is haunted (gay) (Question…[Part 6].  Taylor feels torn between her “aberrant” sexuality and being seen as the ideal woman, or at least politically correct.  It’s a struggle for Taylor to be authentic to who she is, but also appeal to a wide swath of people to maintain her fame (Question… [Part 12]).  She’s gay, rattled, and drunk, yet she projects hyper-femininity and confidence to be palatable to the masses.   Throughout Taylor’s life her sexuality caused her to hide, panic, and scheme. 

The middle of the night is a time for Taylor to ruminate and contemplate why she is in cages.  Taylor is a super-star. Her every move is published for the world to judge. A primary problem is that Taylor has to retract central parts of her branding if she wants to be open about her sexuality.  If she sticks to the tenants of the Taylor Swift brand, Taylor, the individual, must closet and beard (Question…  [Part 6]).  She has strife about this difficult choice, because Taylor worries that her sexuality will accelerate her losing everyone and everything.  

But Taylor already loses her important romances.  This is part of the reason why, even at the early stages of a relationship, Taylor is terrified to lose the love.  She senses it’s fickle and fears it could go away at any time (Question…  [Part 11]).  Taylor has suffered loss and loneliness with at least Emily, Dianna, and Karlie.  Emily was out of the band suddenly and Taylor felt sorry.  A fake article about Swiftgron went viral and Dianna erased her blog and tattoo then Taylor was only seen with her one more time.  Karlie’s timeline is complicated, but the last four albums tell us they couldn’t get on the same page about how to proceed with their relationship.  For instance, Call It What You Want tells Karlie [I hear her name in the song and can’t hear anything else] they don’t have to name what they are.  It speaks to Karlie being nervous about calling herself Sapphic.  Taylor urges her to just go with it and don’t worry about labels–she just wants this love. 

Yet, in Cruel Summer Taylor still paid a man to be her beard. Taylor’s lifelong defense mechanism is closeting so when she sees a shiny toy, this bad boy with a price, she bought it.  

The night of Kissgate, Taylor went on a Kaylor-liking spree online, signaling some pre-gaming had occurred even before the 1975 concert.  Taylor drinks to calm her anxiety, and anything too gay makes her especially anxious.  She correlates the overwhelming feelings of Sapphic love with drunkeness.  Being drunk is cathartic and freeing, allowing inhibitions to be lowered.  But it can also make your head spin, cause you to go rougue, and can make you throw up (the blurple color shows she’s gay inside) on the street (Question…  [Part 11]).  The night Taylor is talking about in Question…  she was “on something” is both liquor and the high of gay love (Question…  [Part 11]).  

Taylor can’t stand the heat, is constantly afraid of impending fire, and the invisible smoke hangs over her.  The smoke (hint of a fire) is unrealized events that Taylor fears.  The heat of the fire is every time Taylor is overtly gay and too many people notice.  The (anticipated) fire is getting burned by coming out or worse, being outed. The water rushing in is damage control by Taylor’s PR team. 

The rain is Taylor’s own overcorrections when things look too queer.  It’s rain, a naturally occurring more passive event (vs. firefighting, a planned, aggressive action). Taylor uses rain to describe herself putting out the gay fire to show it’s compulsory and imposed when she yields to her team’s straight-washing. It makes her feel safe, yet contrite.  

Taylor suffers because she loves the gal, but also knows how “out(ed)” celebrities lose their fame and die all alone.

Dancing with our Hands Tied- Taylor wishes she would have embraced her lover despite the fire [Part N]

12 Jan

Logistical Info:

Remember we’re looking at words in the lyrics of Question… to try to decipher who and what and when.

We’ve almost gone through the entire song, pulling lyrics containing the same words to get a sort of consensus or feeling about Taylor’s intention.

Now that we’re toward the end of Question… lyrics, we need to address the central part of the song: Kiss in a crowded room. And the kiss really brings to mind Dancing with our Hands Tied and maybe Kissgate.

We will analyze Dancing with our Hands Tied to see if it parallels Question….

Except this particular line within Dancing with our Hands Tied got a bit long because I really don’t know for sure and there was no solid direction to take the analysis. I will go into it in detail in this post so the guesses don’t overwhelm the analysis of the song as a whole.

And I’ll spell out my conclusions from this post in the full analysis of Dancing with our Hands Tied. But that post was getting very long and I was afraid nobody would read it. So to make things even more confusing each line in DWOHT is going to be its OWN post. But then I’ll do a main DWOHT post with just links to each different post. It’s a whole big thing.

Then we’ll get back to the end of Question

Was that explanation as confusing as trying to guess who Taylor’s songs are about?

Swaying as the room burned down

Taylor continues the fantasy of what she wished she would have done in her regretful re-do of the situation:  Taylor would have kept dancing (other songs told us this means uninhibited/free and romantically affiliated with her lover) (Question…  [Part 17]).  Taylor, despite fears of her career going up in flames, would have embraced her lover openly, indifferent to everyone looking.

This has been a lifelong struggle for Taylor, and she sings way back in 2008 that it’s bothering her.  Taylor feels lonely at her new apartment in Fifteen.  When Taylor is saying never grow up, it’s interesting she brings up being burned and scarred by love as her primary concern.  Does Taylor wish she never grew up, because when she was little (seven and prior) she didn’t know she was gay?  She was just her, no stigma, and she wishes she could go back to that?  In the song, Taylor spirals into the anxious thought that everything she has will be gone at some point.  Taylor fears that her sexuality will accelerate her losing everyone and everything (Question…  [Part 10]).

The Archer further substantiates that Taylor has struggled with her sexuality long-term, and she closets to cope.  “The room is on fire, invisible smoke” is talking about that struggle.  The fire is the worst outcome–It’s getting burned by coming out or worse, being outed (Question…  [Part 16]).  The smoke is a whiff of what could happen–it precedes fire.  She has to be very, very sneaky about hiding the gay-affair, or he (a husband, prying eyes, the media) will burn their house of love down. 

The kiss in a crowded room was an important, life-changing event.  But it’s not the only event where Taylor was nearly or partially outed (a fire) and she panicked and shut it down to salvage her image and career. This feared fire is talking about getting outed in any scenario, Taylor just uses this specific example for Dancing with our Hands Tied and Question… because a specific story makes for better writing than talking in generalities.  This sentiment is bigger than any single moment in time.  

When Taylor is caught kissing a woman, her fears come to fruition.  She imagines the worst outcome, and is anxious, but the consequences are all in her mind so far. That’s the smoke.  A prelude to the actual bad event.  It’s Taylor’s anxieties and fears.  Taylor can’t stand the heat, is constantly afraid of the impending fire, and the invisible smoke (ruminations of the worst case scenarios) hangs over her (Question…  [Part 16]).  Every time Taylor is gay on main and too many people notice– the smoke becomes perceptible.  

When there’s only smoke, there is time to quell any fire.  That’s the damage control by Taylor’s PR team and Taylor’s own overcorrections when things look too queer.  She wants to keep her fans and fame, but the recompense hurts her relationship with the woman.  When Taylor pushes her straightness by lying and amping up the bearding, her lover is hurt by the closeting.  For instance, Karlie stares at Joe like he’s an understudy, knowing that she would fight (Bad Blood) for Taylor. A million lies and many chances are breaking the branches that this relationship so carefully balances on.  All the closeting and hiding chips away at the love.  Taylor’s smoke ruins her most important romantic relationships every time.  Recently, Karlie suggests in Ivy that Kaylor take a risk and stay together.  Even with the “husband” in the picture (“drink my husband’s wine” = Jo$h’s wine). 

But Taylor is afraid of being out.  In Delicate Taylor also says she doesn’t wanna share, and the politics of it would hurt Taylor’s image.  Consequently, Cardigan talks about how Taylor’s secret lover finally “ran like water” “steppin’ on the last train” because of Taylor’s stipulations (must be private, and it’s me or him) (Question…  [Part 16]).

Which brings us back to Daylight:  “clearing the air I breathed in the smoke.”  The smoke Taylor breathes in when trying to clear the air is Taylor holding onto imagined negative outcomes.  She is hypervigilant about running damage control and overcorrecting any even slightly gay situation.  The pain of picking closeting over the love of her life, time and time again, makes Taylor feel asphyxiated (Question…  [Part 16]).  

Dancing with our Hands Tied- The Mess You Wanted because We’re Gravity [Part L]

9 Jan

Logistical Info:

Remember we’re looking at words in the lyrics of Question… to try to decipher who and what and when.

We’ve almost gone through the entire song, pulling lyrics containing the same words to get a sort of consensus or feeling about Taylor’s intention.

Now that we’re toward the end of Question… lyrics, we need to address the central part of the song: Kiss in a crowded room. And the kiss really brings to mind Dancing with our Hands Tied and maybe Kissgate.

We will analyze Dancing with our Hands Tied to see if it parallels Question….

Except this particular line within Dancing with our Hands Tied got a bit long because I really don’t know for sure and there was no solid direction to take the analysis. I will go into it in detail in this post so the guesses don’t overwhelm the analysis of the song as a whole.

And I’ll spell out my conclusions from this post in the full analysis of Dancing with our Hands Tied. But that post was getting very long and I was afraid nobody would read it. So to make things even more confusing each line in DWOHT is going to be its OWN post. But then I’ll do a main DWOHT post with just links to each different post. It’s a whole big thing.

Then we’ll get back to the end of Question

Was that explanation as confusing as trying to guess who Taylor’s songs are about?

I’m a mess, but I’m the mess that you wanted

This lyric is Taylor reminding her sapphic lover that they knowingly signed up for this. Taylor is saying she comes with a lot of baggage: Internal homophobia, anxiety, brand-pressures, media scrutiny, etc… Taylor’s feminine loves know the deal before they enter a situationship with her.  They know there will be bearding and closeting.  Everyone knows sapphic love with an A+ list celebrity is delicate, possibly short-lived. 

Karlie came into Taylor’s life at a low point and offered emotional and physical love, gaining Taylor’s trust.  There was mutual adoration and devotion for every part of the other–in private.  All the sadness, all the drama of 2016, was rectified and regaled to the background by the intense romance these two shared.  The stars in Cardigan symbolize positivity, warmth, and love.  The scars are still there, but those positive feelings were able to supersede the pain (Question…  [Part 15]).  

Oh, ’cause it’s gravity

Oh, keeping you with me

Comparing this love to gravity reminds me of “All we are is skin and bone” in Treacherous.  Taylor is saying this love is natural and inescapable.  Just like the body systems that comprise us as humans lead to innate physiological outcomes (Question…  [Part 13]).  Taylor has desire and passion for this love interest that is beyond her control, even if she’s afraid of it.  

The use of “gravity” in the song is also like, This Love, which describes the tides dictating if the love interest is here or gone.  The word “swept” is an example of a force, like this love affair, that is stronger than individual choices (Question…  [Part 13]).  In the same way gravity is non-negotiable physics. 

There is an unseen exertion on these two women and they are pulled together (whether or not that works for them).  This woman makes Taylor feel like she’s coming undone because she has this strong attraction, but knows it will cause her trouble.  Their love is forbidden and dangerous (Question…  [Part 15]).  No matter how much strife their love causes in each of their lives, the force cannot be avoided.

Dancing with our Hands Tied- PR will Divide us [Part J]

7 Jan

Logistical Info:

Remember we’re looking at words in the lyrics of Question… to try to decipher who and what and when.

We’ve almost gone through the entire song, pulling lyrics containing the same words to get a sort of consensus or feeling about Taylor’s intention.

Now that we’re toward the end of Question… lyrics, we need to address the central part of the song: Kiss in a crowded room. And the kiss really brings to mind Dancing with our Hands Tied and maybe Kissgate.

We will analyze Dancing with our Hands Tied to see if it parallels Question….

Except this particular line within Dancing with our Hands Tied got a bit long because I really don’t know for sure and there was no solid direction to take the analysis. I will go into it in detail in this post so the guesses don’t overwhelm the analysis of the song as a whole.

And I’ll spell out my conclusions from this post in the full analysis of Dancing with our Hands Tied. But that post was getting very long and I was afraid nobody would read it. So to make things even more confusing each line in DWOHT is going to be its OWN post. But then I’ll do a main DWOHT post with just links to each different post. It’s a whole big thing.

Then we’ll get back to the end of Question

Was that explanation as confusing as trying to guess who Taylor’s songs are about?

I, I loved you in spite of

Taylor is in cages.  She must choose between authentic sapphic love and closeting for her career.

Taylor, Inc. marketed her to be every fan’s bestie. Retracting central parts of her branding to live openly would repel the homophobic fans, but more than that, any fan that had a parasocial relationship with her would become estranged.  In the middle of the night, Taylor agonizes about it-she doesn’t know how to proceed.  And whenever she’s pressured, Taylor defaults to gay-suppression out of panic.  When there is gossip that Taylor is gay (Emily video looking too friendly, fake Swiftgron article, Kissgate, Bettygate, Lavendergate, Glittergate…) instead of just being genuine and coming out, Taylor acquiesces to the PR containment.  She obfuscates, doubles-down on the bearding, and misrepresents the truth (Question…  [Part 6].

Deep fears that the world would divide us

In general, Taylor prioritizes her image over all of her lovers.  The patriarchal, heteronormative world requires Taylor to portray a specific aesthetic in order to be famous, and that excludes queerness.  So, there are two sides of Taylor:  Veneer of (straight, beautiful) perfection, palatable to a wide audience, vs. anxiety, fear, body dysmorphia, queerness (Question…  [Part 12]).  She has a choice: Closet for her career OR authentic love, not both (Question…  [Part 4]).

During Snakegate Taylor’s lover loved her for her.  Sometimes Taylor makes it all about her, but she wants her lover to stay (Question…  [Part 7]).  Taylor takes some responsibility for some of the fighting with her lover.  And says she is in hell when they fight.  

Karlie’s beard/husband and his family are contemptible and have Trump ties.  Karlie “ran with the wolves” (the Ku$hners, her neighbor and sister in-law Ivanka, by extension the Trumps) and is adjacent and complicit to republican evil (Question…  [Part 16]). 

I do think Taylor is using Hillary Clinton’s “still with her” slogan to make fun or mock Karlie’s feeble “I tried” tweet, hence the sarcastic singing voice in that Question… verse.   It could make sense for the song to allude to Karlie’s political hypocrisy since Taylor mentions “fuckin’ politics and gender roles” in the prior verse (Question…  [Part 16]).  And Taylor has described Karlie as “counterfeit” and “faithless” in other songs.  Those are both synonyms of “hypocritical” so it fits.  No matter Karlie’s actual political beliefs, Taylor does not want her brand anywhere near diabolical politics or evil people.  She and Karlie can’t ever be together publicly because Karlie’s associations will tarnish Taylor’s brand (Question…  [Part 16]).  

Taylor also suspects that Karlie might have involvement with the sale of her masters.  $cooter was Karlie’s manager at the time.  And her beard/husband had an association with the firm that helped fund the deal.  And that yacht pic is damning. Did Karlie have something to do with masters heist? 

It’s a question mark. 

“Twin of your dreams/crook who was caught” sounds conclusive, showing at some point Taylor thought she did.

I don’t know if this was ever cleared up between them. I also don’t know what time period The Great War was written about, but in it Taylor says, “And maybe it’s the past that’s talkin’/Tellin’ me to punish you for things you never did.” There’s a chance there was a misunderstanding. I think there was just because I don’t know that Taylor would still sound so heartbroken and low 3-4 albums out, if Karlie had betrayed her on the masters. Wouldn’t she lash out or be angry as she has in the past?

But that song also says something like, that was the night I almost lost you, and I’m almost certain Kaylor has broken up [again, Taylor’s current sadness told me this]. So the timeline of The Great War is up for debate. Also I’m just assuming one primary subject in that song is Kaylor, maybe it’s something/someone else–you guys know my time has been spent on these two songs. I haven’t gotten to TGW in a serious way yet…

In other words, I don’t know if we have enough evidence to make a decision about Karlie’s involvement in the Master’s Heist either way…

But the point is: Taylor is rerecording the masters, but lost her lover due mostly, to external factors.

Dancing with our Hands Tied- Awakening & Touching [Part E]

29 Dec

Logistical Info:

Remember we’re looking at words in the lyrics of Question… to try to decipher who and what and when.

We’ve almost gone through the entire song, pulling lyrics containing the same words to get a sort of consensus or feeling about Taylor’s intention.

Now that we’re toward the end of Question… lyrics, we need to address the central part of the song: Kiss in a crowded room. And the kiss really brings to mind Dancing with our Hands Tied and maybe Kissgate.

We will analyze Dancing with our Hands Tied to see if it parallels Question….

Except this particular line within Dancing with our Hands Tied got a bit long because I really don’t know for sure and there was no solid direction to take the analysis. I will go into it in detail in this post so the guesses don’t overwhelm the analysis of the song as a whole.

And I’ll spell out my conclusions from this post in the full analysis of Dancing with our Hands Tied. But that post was getting very long and I was afraid nobody would read it. So to make things even more confusing each line in DWOHT is going to be its OWN post. But then I’ll do a main DWOHT post with just links to each different post. It’s a whole big thing.

Then we’ll get back to the end of Question

Was that explanation as confusing as trying to guess who Taylor’s songs are about?

Deep blue, but you painted me golden

Taylor’s realization that she is queer, has always infused anxiety into her.  Even way back in her catalog she had an inkling she felt differently, and she immediately tried to hide it.  The behavior is part of her standard protocol at this point.  Throughout her life Taylor’s fear of her sexuality caused her to hide, panic, scheme, and the result was loss and loneliness. Forcing sexuality into dormancy is distressing.  The torture of burying a crucial part of yourself would cause moroseness.  

Taylor uses the word “color” to convey she had a gay awakening (Question… [Part 3]).  The songs that have “paint” show that Taylor’s world lit up when she really felt love (instead of comp-het).  Someone opened her eyes in Everything has Changed and she felt passionate/invigorated, and more open than she had prior to that moment (Question…  [Part 3]).  The words planet/Saturn.  proclaim how extraordinary this person makes Taylor feel.  Taylor’s love feels enormous and vast to her (Question…  [Part 15]). 

Taylor is illustrating the contrast between this sublime and ethereal state and her previous condition.

Oh, and you held me close

Taylor feels more with women.  One of the first symptoms of queerness is Taylor romantically daydreaming about dancing with girls.  She goes through a trajectory of trepidation, then wonders if it’s a choice at all because desire to touch women feels so innate.  Next, Taylor won’t let herself cross the threshold into queerness, but gets thisclose to touching (so it doesn’t count).  It is all too tempting and she can’t resist, nor can she deny the obvious any longer. Longing to touch women changed who Taylor thought she was (Question… [Part 8]).

Yet, Taylor fears losing control if she touches women.  We talked about how the depths of the water in Marjory signify the unknown.  Taylor has never liked getting in too deep, where her feet can’t touch the ground, and she doesn’t know where she stands. 

But at times, the love and desire is stronger than fear.  You are in Love says, “For once you let go of all your fears and ghosts. . . You knew what it was.”  Taylor can’t quash her feelings any longer, this desire to touch women is proof her gal-pal or best friend is actually romantic love and sexual attraction.  “Wishing you had never found out/that love could be that strong” in Red, builds on this idea.  Now that Taylor knows she’s gay, she is more alive.  It’s out of her control screeching a speeding car to a sudden stop, flying through the free fall, yet she can’t go without it.  She’s blue when this person is gone, gray when she’s all alone.  Taylor is disturbed by the revelation that she needs this red, passionate love, and wishes she didn’t.  “I’m so furious that you make me feel this way,” in Gorgeous is that same magnetic and dangerous pull described in Red.  Taylor doesn’t like losing control, but here she is captivated by this gorgeous woman (Question… [Part 8]).  

Taylor judges the sapphic touching like it’s an addiction, and becomes obsessed with it. Don’t Blame Me has Taylor, high on her lover’s touch, begging on her knees, and giving up grace to touch her.  She’s torn between trepidation of this forbidden and dangerous love and feeling depressed when she doesn’t have it (Question… [Part 8]). 

Despite craving sapphic love Taylor also redoubles the bearding–it’s her safety net.  Ready for It…  the opener of Reputation shows a new bravado about the situation.  In the lyrics Taylor goes from he (the beard) to you (the gal she’s in love with) describing her future plans.  She will keep the beard as a cover for the sapphic love forever, and at night all the touching that Taylor needs can take place in private (Question… [Part 8]).  

Taylor jealously guards her new found love with a woman in End Game, Delicate, and Gold Rush.  Now that she crossed her boundaries and touched a woman, Taylor can’t be without it.  She frets that this person will leave her, they’ll choose someone else (a man?) over her.  And the thought of that makes Taylor miserable (Question… [Part 8]).  

Question… Dancing is Exemplification of Uninhibited Sexuality [Part 17]

18 Dec

Ok, thank you for your patience while I worked on this next part.  We are still doing the same thing–looking at specific words in the song in Taylor’s other songs to see how she means them.  It’ll help decide what this song is saying.

The main event in Question… is this kissing of someone in a crowded room.  And the result is laughing, clapping, ditching out, feeling regretful.  I can’t know for sure what Taylor is talking about, but I do know she said the songs from Midnights is her story.  This is not a fictional album.  

And Lavender Haze told me Taylor is not married (and doesn’t want that 1950s shit) so this kiss is not the end to a wedding ceremony.  Besides, the song says in a crowded room and a TS wedding would be BIG news, and we haven’t heard of it.  This is not about a secret wedding, it’s some public event.  

I can only think of Taylor kissing inside a room when it’s crowded with people one time:  KissGate.  I want to finish the Question… analysis by looking at a super-similar song, Dancing with our Hands Tied, suspected to be about KissGate.  Before we can do that, we need to look at the way Taylor uses the word, “dance” throughout her catalog.  So first, the songs with that word, then we’ll try to decode Dancing with our Hands Tied, but with Question… in mind.  Don’t worry, I’ve written ahead, and this does come together despite this description being chaotic.

Dance:

Never Grow Up

Taylor loves her childhood and wishes she could have remained there (Peter Pan).  In Never Grow Up she is telling a young person (her younger self?  A relative?  A friend’s child?) to appreciate their childhood while it lasts.  In the song “dance” is used to show having no inhibitions.  The child dancing before school is free from worry about what others think.  Taylor tells us we lose that as we age.

Fearless

The glow on the wet pavement is reminiscent of all the celestial words.  It creates a dreamy, larger than life image where this YOU (a girl) interests Taylor.  “I wonder if you know” is a telling phrase, because female friendship and romantic flirting can look similar, especially under the veil of heteronormativity.  Taylor imagines herself dancing with this person.  But her fears even creep into her fantasies.  This person has to drag her to dance.  And they dance in a storm.  The weather for the dance is threatening, because Taylor fears the reaction of the community would be stormy.  Yet, Taylor wants to be close and dance with a girl in public, wearing her best dress.  In her mind, Taylor will be fearless.

Long Live 

Long Live was written about the band for plausible deniability.  “Me and you” (vs. us, the band, a collective) made magic and were able to crash through the walls and enter the kingdom.  Taylor has focused in on only one other person in the song.  Taylor isn’t talking about a whole band, just the ever reappearing YOU (aka a secret female) who is in so much of her catalog. 

Taylor begins in the out-group, which has multiple meanings:  Before fame, ostracized love.  “The walls we crashed through” is a pretty gay line.  Walls can be obstacles to clear to break into the music industry, it could be records shattering.  But walls also enclose something forbidden to the out-group (normal love and acceptance of that love).  

And the magic they made (their chemistry contributes to the end-product of music that is acclaimed) allowed them to infiltrate this kingdom.  The kingdom is the music industry, upper echelons of fame, and the feeling of being normalized.  Taylor seems shocked (“I was screaming”) that “the crowds went wild” and “we” were named royalty.  There is an impression that Taylor feels they duped the kingdom to allow them entry in this sacrosanct place where they had been unwelcome.  

”The kingdom light shined just for ME and YOU.”  “Danced” is used to show the elation, relief, and liberation now that this pair has beguiled those who previously disparaged them.  YOU is feeling like a hero and they both know their lives will never be the same.  Now that they have conned their way into the in-group with their talent “it was the end of a decade but the start of an age.”  The two have broached fame and their love finagled the kingdom’s acceptance.

Tim McGraw

The moon, a symbol of femininity, is prominently featured in Tim McGraw.  YOU (we know her already from other songs) is wearing a little black dress and Taylor is in old faded blue jeans.  “Danced” is a tool that shows these girls are more than friends.  The letter that was never delivered to the other person reminds me of “the hundred thrown out speeches I almost said to you” in The Archer.  Taylor tries to come out, but loses her courage for fear of losing her audience.  The letter to this girl in Tim McGraw reveals Taylor’s romantic feelings, but Taylor loses her courage and the words remain safely under her bed. The unsent letter  also reminds me of “writing letters addressed to the fire” in evermore. A song about losing a special lover due to her bearding and closeting. Again, Taylor wrote the coming out letters, but didn’t have the courage to make them known.

Welcome to New York 

Beautiful Ghosts

“Everybody here was someone else before” is the core sentiment of Welcome to New York.  To me, it speaks to a common queer experience of leaving a condemned life in a rural/conservative area in search of acceptance and other gays.  Once out of the small towns, LGBTQQAA people are more free to be their authentic selves.  Dear Reader talks about this too:  “Get out your map, pick somewhere and just run…/Burn all the files desert all your past lives/and if you don’t recognize yourself/that means you did it right.”  WTNY talks about entering a city life and putting broken hearts in a drawer.  Now that these queers are in a larger, more liberal city they can put all the rejection and bullying behind them.  Forget it and be who you want (homo examples were given).  The new soundtrack is the unfamiliar, open life these queers are now allowed to lead.  “Dance” is again used to show freedom and belonging.

The fact she’s haunted (Taylor-speak for gay) keeps her away from normal society in Beautiful Ghosts.  She wants to be wanted, but it isn’t safe because of her innate sexuality so she wanders aimlessly and alone.  Her queer peers let her into this special world and she finally experiences being wild and free (vs. constrained and uptight).  Taylor never feels so alive as when she is with other queers and her lover.  Taylor clings to this new life, sadly remembering her past life in the straight world.  In the end she “dances” (joins) the other ghosts (queers) because that’s who she is, and they accept her for her true self.  

Out of the Woods

Why does this couple never stand a chance?  (They’re sapphic and that is denounced).  This very mundane moment of dancing in Out of the Woods (a very anxious song about fear of being discovered) is regarded as a night these two could never forget.  Why is dancing at home so special?  I interpret this awe to Taylor’s incredulousness at being able to be intimate with another woman.  She never expected she could venture out of her comfort zone and be free in that way.  This song is a prelude to I Know Places and here, Taylor didn’t expect she would be able to have private love and escape the hunters.  But the moment is tinged with sadness, because Taylor knows inevitably her career will be her priority and she will have to hide this part of herself at the expense of this relationship that makes her feel so good.

Holy Ground

“We blocked the noise” could be the literal sounds of the city.  Secondly, the couple’s desire towards each other blocks out any criticism from society.  Taylor notes that she has something to lose for the first time.  Despite all her previous crushes and dating, this is the first time a relationship feels substantial to her.  It’s different from the rest (because it’s with a woman).  Even after the break-up, when collected dust shows the passage of time, Taylor sees the face everywhere because this person stays on her mind. 

Don’t look down is a common saying meaning to stay focused on the action you’re taking, and don’t catastrophize about everything that could go wrong.  Taylor and this person were so into each other that it was one of the rare times that Taylor wasn’t anxiously ruminating about how everything could fall apart in her life.  At the end, Taylor makes clear this (dating women) would not be a new pattern of behavior.  She only wants to “dance” (feel this carefree and calm about being sapphic) if it’s with this special person.

Cowboy Like Me

When this person asked Taylor to dance she knew it meant more than just holding each other in public for a three minute song.  “Takes one to know one” is Taylor saying she recognized that this person is also queer, like her.  They both have the same motivation–to hide their sexuality from the public, via pretending to love each other.  It’s protection.  Taylor knew this commitment to dance was her new life–she would never really love someone she actually has feelings for (women) again. 

In the prior songs, Taylor construed the word “dancing” as releasing inhibitions, feeling free to love, relief and elation at the ability to let go and be herself (sapphic).  Here, she says, “dancing is a dangerous game.”  The dancing is not authentic as before, it’s a show, a game.  These two do not really love each other-they are together to appease the heteronormative public and remove scrutiny of their public personas.  “Tricks up my sleeve” proves Taylor and this person are dancing in order to deceive.  Neither of them prioritized love, they both want the car/$$/fame.  There has been an agreement to look outwardly romantic with each other to trick the people with money into financing them.

Betty

“You heard the rumors from Inez [it’s not an accident that this rhymes with Perez.  As in Hilton, a mean gossip].  “You can’t believe a word she says/most times, but this time it was true.”  James/Taylor and Betty/Karlie/Dianna/(insert any woman) are more than friends–they’re actually lovers. Taylor comes out right there.  But with a lot of plausible deniability built in. 

A major event in Betty is a lavender wedding in Taylor’s real life which was translated into a high school dance for the fictional stand-ins representing the real people. 

Two cowboys have to sell their relationship to the world in order for investors to be cool with them (homophobia is real).  But Betty has to impersonate someone in love to make the public believe it.  James can’t watch this travesty-it hurts too much to see Betty act in love with the guy.  James does not attend this event.  Besides whenever James/Taylor goes anywhere crowds form and watch her every move.  She cannot pretend to be cool with Betty’s lavender marriage.  But Betty has to sell this straight relationship.  In doing so, Betty is so convincing that her girlfriend James buys that the act is real.  James sees Betty dancing with HIM and loses it (enter the entirety of Afterglow).  Betty is publicly with this dude, but James/Taylor finds this threatening because dancing is their thing.  “Dance” is used here to show allegiance and belonging.  Except James jumped to conclusions and put Betty in jail for something she didn’t do.  Now James/Taylor is remorseful about flying off the handle like that and just wants to kiss Betty/her female lover in front of her stupid friends (the media, fans, & public).

Back to Dancing with our Hands Tied which has many commonalities with this kissing in a crowded room central to Question…

Taylor construes “dance” to mean having no inhibitions. She talks about how children are willing to dance without shame. The word is used to show the elation, relief, and liberation of being herself, as in the song, Long Live.

Taylor also uses the word to clarify between friendships and romantic relationships. Dancing is Tim McGraw shows this distinction. Fearless also uses the word, “dance” to demonstrate Taylor’s profound feelings for this girl are not platonic. She is consistently using the word, “dance” to show freedom of sexuality. In Out of the Woods, Taylor is astonished to be intimate with this woman, as she never expected she could venture out of her foxhole to be unguarded. Holy Ground is the same sentiment. “Dance” is being unbothered and happy-go-lucky in her queerness–a state Taylor enters only with this specific person.

Slightly adjacent to being in an uninhibited, unflappable mode relating to her queerness (NOT her default state of anxiety and fear) Taylor uses “dance” to express allegiance and belonging. When she dances in Welcome to New York it shows that Taylor found people that accept her and “Dance” is used to show affiliation with these urban queers. Same with Beautiful Ghosts. She “dances” or unites with these other gay people because that’s who she is, and they integrate her into their chosen family.  

Lastly, Taylor uses dance to show intimacy between two people. One conflict of Betty was that the dancing as spectacle was misconstrued as legitimate. A chain of negative reactions from James followed the act of dancing and the relationship between James/Taylor and Betty/female lover suffered. In that song, Taylor wants to rectify the situation by publicly kissing Betty/this woman she loves. Paradoxically, Taylor uses the same tactic of dancing in Cowboy Like Me to misrepresent her sexuality to the rich folks. She dances with this other queer person to look outwardly romantic and mollify homophobic reactions.

The preponderance of “dancing” in the catalog is relaxation and ease with her innate sexuality.

It’ll probably be a few days, but next we’ll look at the entire song, Dancing with our Hands Tied.

Question… Planets, Stars, & the Moon-Nothing Compares to You [Part 15]

13 Dec

Taylor wins the pronoun game.  I’m not even going to try to untangle the speaker/recipient/changing characters in this song.  It was written so convoluted that I haven’t even seen a satisfactory answer to this yet.  Instead, I took lyric snippets from other songs featuring the same word, to get a feeling about Taylor’s sentiment and even subject. Don’t get overwhelmed with the length of this post.  The word I’m trying to point-out from the Question… lyrics is highlighted. 

Does it feel like everything’s just like second-best after that meteor strike?

There are no other meteors in Taylor’s songs, but the word seems significant.  We already talked about the stars in the eyes of Dorthea and Cowboy Like Me, but there are other celestial words from Taylor’s catalog.  I’m not including “sun” because there is such a strong tie to Karlie Kloss.  Paper Rings uses moon to talk about friends, and we know Taylor relegates her lover’s friends to the background so I omitted that song as well.  Let’s see what the other words tell us about how Taylor regards space stuff.

The Moment I Knew

The million stars aligning are used to show something sublime and ethereal occurs if Taylor’s lover makes it.  But instead she says, it’s The Moment I Knew the relationship was over.

Today was a Fairytale

Untouchable

Mary’s Song

The word “planet” is used in Today was a Fairytale to proclaim how extraordinary this person makes Taylor feel.  She says everything made sense after she saw this person (because they were a gal).  I think Taylor’s perplexing (gay) feelings were put into context when she felt considerably more for this person compared to other crushes she’d had.  This revelation is continued in Untouchable.  Taylor doesn’t know why she’s so caught up in this girl.  But she uses words like diamond sky, sun, and a million stars spelling this person’s name to show how they are unattainable.  This girl makes Taylor feel like she’s coming undone because she has this strong attraction, but knows she shouldn’t act on it, that it wouldn’t be reciprocated, or it would be forbidden.  Taylor appraises the girl as precious and impossible to get near like the pretty stars in the sky.  And the adults notice the love between the two.  

The song starts, “SHE said I was 7 and YOU were 9.”  She = Mary, You = Taylor.  In this fantasy of Taylor’s, the daddies never believed they would really fall in love (because they’re both girls).  The end of the song says, “And I’LL be 87 and YOU’LL be 89.”  And I’LL still look at YOU like the stars that shine.  Taylor is tricky with pronouns, and she never gives the love interest a gender or name.  I think it could be the girl with the braids from Seven.  I hypothesize the arc of this song is young Taylor wishing she could live heteronormative milestones with a girl.  She wants to love, fight, marry, have children, and grow old with someone (a female) she loves.  Taylor sees the mothers as knowing, and wishes the entire community would celebrate their love (even though they are both female).

I’m Only Me When I’m With You

Seven

We know from before that Taylor uses the word “paint” to show being encapsulated by a feeling.  Painting pictures in the sky is both stargazing and the way Taylor’s love feels enormous and vast to her.  It’s why Taylor feels like I’m Only Me When I’m With You.  She is all-encompassed by this person who she knows everything about and can’t live without.  Seven talks about this childhood love too.  Taylor uses moon and Saturn to try to put into words the magnitude of love she feels for her girlfriend.  Interestingly, the moon is the mother of the zodiac (the sun is the father).

Taylor says the love is substantial, and denotes the individual she loves has feminine, yin energy like the moon.  She even says that she currently still has love for this girl she was so close to as a child.

Tim McGraw

Remember the line “If you asked me if I loved HIM…  I’d lie” in the song, I’d Lie?  I think Taylor is telling on herself again in the 1st and last verses (notably the only verses this nameless, faceless HE is mentioned) of Tim McGraw.  She tells the audience that she made up a fictional moment with some boy to create plausible deniability and wrap the real verses of the song in heteronormativity.  We have no description of this guy, except the dismissive “just a boy.”  Heck, we know more about the truck–it’s a Chevy, it drives backroads frequently, it gets stuck often–then we know about the guy.  And all the way back to Taylor’s first single she was using he vs you.  She had a throw away make-believe boy talking romantically about eyes as stars, but he’s just a red herring.  The actual subject of the song is this third (female) person, YOU who is wearing a little black dress.  Taylor reminisces about how she (wearing faded old blue jeans) had her head on this girl’s chest.  It’s the girl Taylor is missing.  It’s their memories Taylor brings up hoping the gal will remember her by them.  The boy under the stars–that’s a lie.

Cardigan

I know we’re inside the Question… lyrics looking for words contained in other songs to try to get an understanding of Taylor’s meaning.  I’m going to complicate it further by bringing yet more songs into it to try to put “you drew stars around my scars” into context.  I will right-align them so these songs don’t get confused with the celestial lyrics we’re interpreting.  Bear with me.

The entirety of Look What You Made Me Do speaks to Taylor’s problems, issues, and drama.  Snakegate, celebrity beefs, people using her–Taylor’s image was taking a beating.  In Delicate Taylor sings, 

Even though Taylor was being drug through the mud during this time, this person she met didn’t listen to all that negativity.  And Taylor knew for certain that this person wasn’t just someone trying to gain clout by being with her.  At that time, it would be seen as negative to be involved with her.  Taylor was seen as problematic, boy-crazy, playing the victim.  Hoax also talks about this time when the media, the general public, even “fans” were “pulling her apart.”  It was a very painful time.

And in Dress Taylor describes how this secret relationship has left a mark on her that’s indelible.

This person came into Taylor’s life when she was at a low point, but saw her for who she is.  The lover treated Taylor with warmth and got under Taylor’s skin (like a golden tattoo).  And the feelings go both ways.  Karlie(?  I’m assuming is the person) shares her perspective in Peace and in Ivy:

Peace

Ivy

These lyrics show Karlie is just as serious about the relationship as Taylor.  It’s not clout-chasing, phony, or a fling.  In both songs Karlie even says she would die for Taylor.  That’s heavy.  And to sum up what I think “you drew stars around my scars” means to Taylor is Death by a Thousand Cuts:

Karlie came into Taylor’s life at a low point and offered emotional and physical love, gaining Taylor’s trust.  There was mutual adoration and devotion for every part of the other–in private.  All the sadness, all the drama of 2016, was rectified and regaled to the background by the intense romance these two shared.  The stars in Cardigan symbolize positivity, warmth, and love.  The scars are still there, but those positive feelings were able to supersede the pain.  

OK, back to the words relating to sky for Question… dissection:

Ivy

Ivy speaks to an affair Taylor had with a married woman (your husband’s wine).  The song starts with “in from the snow” telling the audience that Taylor met this person in the winter.  Probably the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show which was in December.  The affair lasts into the spring, as the clover signifies:

Clover also signifies something invasive and difficult to eliminate (like Kaylor’s impact on each other):  

Like this love affair.  It’s another way of talking about the metaphor of the golden tattoo.  Forever.  Clover spreads quickly, like the love affair that took Taylor by surprise and grabbed every piece of her in no time.  Clover puts down roots.  But it is considered a weed.  Taylor put roots in Karlie’s dreamland (her arranged marriage/bearding contract with a billionaire man) and Karlie can’t emotionally extricate herself from the situation. This beautiful love that so easily blooms is a weed to both parties’ life program.  It creates complications.

Ivy is an escalation of the intrusiveness of clover.  Ivy is aggressively imposing.  Taylor gets increasingly desperate to save her relationship with Karlie, even though the “time is near.”  This is a known  prearranged event on a date foreshadowed by spring.  Karlie feels torn by the love she would die to keep, and the urgency of her imminent premeditated engagement.

Ivy blocks the sunlight. It chokes trees. Trees could be both ruining Kaylor and exposing or jeopardizing Karlie’s straight marriage. Something is approaching that causes everyone involved to feel tension and act audaciously.

Here, “Crescent moon, coast is clear” indicates it’s night, but darkness is illuminated by the moonlight.  They are sneaking behind the husband’s back, because they cannot stay away from each other.  The moon is mentioned as a light source, but it’s not a random choice in Ivy:

The crescent speaks to the changing phases of the moon that show time has passed in this affair, it shows the affair must change with time, and the moon phase shows the end of this romance is imminent due to the upcoming event.  It ties to the changing seasons Taylor is already pointing out.  Changing heart and vacillating resolve are also perfect descriptors of the characters in this song.   

Crescent is one phase from being away from the sun. In darkness. The song Ivy takes place in the spring, one phase away from the summer event that spells the end of Taylor and Karlie’s romance. Taylor will be away from sunshiny Karlie, in the dark depths of depression.

The looming event?  This “second wedding” or “celebration of the Oct wedding” seems pivotal.  Was it the final contract being signed?  A covenant?  This is what spring presaged, and this June date is when the affair would be in jeopardy:

Very Cowboy Like Me.  It’s a little on the nose, in my opinion.

Interesting choice of movie.  Gay.  Cowboys??!

Reminder of the Question… lyrics:

Does it feel like everything’s just like second-best after that meteor strike?

Karlie’s life with Jo$h can’t compare to the Kaylor affair.

Together, Taylor and Karlie are otherworldly. The love makes Taylor who she is, and gets into her being, permanent like a tattoo. And the love was reciprocal. Karlie would die for Taylor. And like clover and ivy, the love covered everything, impacted both of their lives.

Coney Island

Taylor knows she left her lover (Karlie?) hanging.  She knows Karlie used to be happy, but she made her depressed.  Even though this is the central person in Taylor’s life–it’s Karlie she pictures in a crucial moment–she never acknowledges Karlie as her soulmate publicly.  Taylor uses “universe” to show how far away she seems to her lover.  Taylor’s priorities are misaligned pertaining to Kaylor, and that hurts Karlie.  It makes Karlie feel depressed, neglected, lonely, awkward, and forgotten when Taylor does her celebrity thing (and the closeting that goes with it).

That’s what helped Karlie make her decision. Not only was there a prior obligation, but Taylor’s closeting was making Karlie heavyhearted. So the prior obligation won out in the end. Karlie “married” the guy or commissioned this heteronormative life. Now both Taylor and Karlie are dead inside, cold lifeless hands reaching out (“do you wish you could still touch her?”) grieving for the living.