Tag Archives: Lavender Haze

Midnights Analysis-Evasive Character Perspective: Lavender Haze

27 Oct

Lately (folklore on) Taylor has been especially good at obscuring subject, timelines, characters, point of view etc… I suspect she does this to make her work palatable to the largest audience possible. She can cater to every different subset of listeners by making each song multifaceted. Diverse populations, people with divergent backgrounds and sensibilities can take different things from the same songs.

In folklore, fantasy and fiction were combined to make a sort of double story out of each song. This tactic builds in plausible deniability. The Last Great American Dynasty is an explicit example. In that song, Taylor is talking about the history of Rebecka Harkness, but also herself.

In Evermore, several different people were written about in the same song, until people could not extricate the truth for what line was about who. Take Dorthea. The song is about this Dorthea who we don’t know. Maybe someone from Nashville. But also a few of the lines could be Taylor talking about herself. And other lines really seem like present-day Taylor speaking to younger Taylor. The song is about all 3 of those people. And she is not clear about when the narrator or character changes.

For Midnights, I think Taylor used a different tactic. We were told these stories are personal, non-fiction, true events. I would say perspective (who is saying this?) and character (who is being talked about/to?) are the main foils to deciphering Midnights. She even switches the person who is talking and the subject being talked to in the same sentence at points. I won’t give an example here because I’m going to try to give each song it’s own entry. But that device makes it difficult to know who the songs are about–and that’s the point.

So our first controversial (we’ll get into it in a minute) song is Lavender Haze:

Toot noise like NYE

Model walking beat

Other songs that have this same type of beat are Style and Gold Rush, which are both very Karlie songs.

Meet me at midnight…

I think she’s talking to NY day muse. Though I think songs get repurposed over time to reflect Taylor’s current situations (think I Bet You Think About Me which was supposedly a Red-era vault track, but had many, many current symbols). I think this song has at least evolved for Taylor to be about Karlie.

At 0.59 sec, Taylor sings “I want HER midnights.”

In that song, Taylor is talking about hiding her WLW love during New Years Eve when everyone is around, and for the big midnight kiss because she is closeted. Her and her lover have to resort to spending private time cleaning up on New Years Day, when everyone is passed out or hungover. But Taylor says she wants her girlfriend’s midnights–she wants to be able to be up front about the woman she loves and partake in that public kiss tradition.

Staring at the ceiling with you

This line may be a character switch. It the midnights person the same as the ceiling person?

Oh, you don’t ever say too much

The two have been “dating” for 6 years but are weirdly private, not attending important events, speaking about one another in interviews, or acting like a couple save for the occasional paparazzi photo (read, hired be the celebrities themselves to take PR pics). If the two are actually together, their relationship is unnecessarily complex. And it seems like Joe is a bad boyfriend (minimizing Taylor’s accomplishments, being absent for important events, looking like an unhappy hostage dragging her 2 steps behind him when they are photographed).

And you don’t really read into

My melancholia

That sounds unfulfilling to me. If I’m severely depressed, I want Cool to engage with me and talk to me about it. Try to help me, at least show she cares. . . But Joe apparently just takes it at face value, and doesn’t mention it.

I thought the description for the movie related to Taylor’s life and songs, which may have been why she chooses that particular, and unique word to describe depression.

Melancholia film similarities to TS:

There’s a wedding (Taylor doesn’t want that 1950s shit. Karlie got married to a man).

Castle is money/status. (Taylor wants to keep hers, Karlie may have married a man for it).

narrow and winding, same as spiral. Not straight. Not easy. rural = desolate and alone. Labyrinthine?

Justine is pushed into a role others chose for her (marriage). (Just like Taylor is being pushed by media/public/parents/team/Joe? and doesn’t want that according to this song).

There is cheating and the marriage is called off. (Many of Taylor’s songs talk about cheating: Illicit Affairs, Betty, etc…)

The women in the film spend their final moments alone in a magic cave (kingdom in my bedroom, if you will) drinking wine by candlelight.

There is a SEA of FLAMES and Earth SHATTERS into a billion (million in Taylor’s case, says Mirrorball).

I been under scrutiny

You handle it beautifully

All this shit is new to me

Which part of this is new to Taylor? She’s supposedly been dating for 6 years, so not the committed relationship. She’s been famous since she was a child, so not celebrity, or media asking her things. She has even bearded at least once before.

I feel the lavender haze creeping up on me

If you missed my last post on how lavender is a decidedly gay color, go back one entry and learn some history.

Haze:

so lavender haze could be tenuous, obscure, confusing…

It reminds me of Cardigan:

Here, I think she uses smoke to symbolize the aftermath of a tragedy. And also something that was a reminder. And that causes confusion.

“Haze” reminds me even more of The Archer:

…I’ve got a hundred thrown-out speeches I almost said to you

Coming out speeches to her fans?

…Help me hold onto you

…I wake in the night, I pace like a ghost

She’s worried about what would happen if she came out

she’s a ghost because she’s caught in-between and because she feels her true self is invisible.

The room is on fire, invisible smoke

She imagines the worst outcome, and is anxious, but it’s in her mind so far.

And all of my heroes die all alone

Help me hold onto you/…Screaming, who could ever leave me, darling?/But who could stay?

Taylor wants to keep her fans, and place as a legend in music.  She wouldn’t want coming out to ruin that.

(I see right through me, I see right through me)/’Cause they see right through me/They see right through me/They see right through/Can you see right through me?/They see right through/They see right through me/I see right through me/I see right through me

Can fans see Taylor’s intentions?  Can they sense her fears?  Taylor has been signaling she’s queer-have fans picked up on that?  

Who could ever leave me, darling?/But who could stay?/(I see right through me, I see right through me)/Who could stay?/Who could stay?/Who could stay?/You could stay/You could stay/You…

Taylor is inviting fans to stay with her even if she comes out.

Furthermore she says she can feel the lavender creeping.

creeping:

You would not describe the haze of the honeymoon phase of a relationship as creeping. Creeping is negative, unwanted. The lavender is something Taylor is saying she does not want.

Surreal

I’m damned if I do give a damn what people say

Stated another way:

If I do give a damn about what people say

I’m damned

Taylor is saying if she cares about this pressure people are putting on her to marry, she will be doomed.

No deal

The 1950s shit they want from me

I just wanna stay in that lavender haze

Taylor doesn’t want the creeping lavender that will doom her (marrriage). She wants to remain in the gray, hazy area she is currently occupying. This could mean this awkward “private” relationship with Joe (if the public narrative is to be believed. Or it could mean bearding with Joe to portray herself as straight to the majority, and hinting at her true orientation to Gaylors.

All they keep asking me

Is if I’m gonna be your bride

This line is direct in who Taylor is talking to. Now, she could have changed perspectives or subjects with in the song (like in Question… and back to Peace) but this tells us Joe. The media and fans and maybe her team keep asking Taylor if she is going to be JOE’s bride.

The only kinda girl they see

Is a one night or a wife

The media and fans accuse Taylor of serial dating and not being able to keep a man, or they press her about when she will get engaged or have children.  

These are the “weird rumors” Taylor spoke of in the Lavender video.

I find it dizzying

The word dizzying makes me think of all the spinning on tiptoes in heels in mirrorball:

Taylor already told us she shows each person what they want to see. She is not being her authentic self.

They’re bringing up my history

Who is they? 

It could be media, fans, enemies, exes, Taylor’s own team, the music industry, her parents…  

What history is being drudged up?

Taylor’s dating history, Kaylor, her song catalog, awards shows, promotion…

But you weren’t even listening

Who is you?  

It could still be Joe, or the “you” could indicate a different subject: Karlie, another love/muse, Taylor’s team, her mom, fans…

…Talk your talk and go viral

This sounds like she’s addressing the media.  They say whatever narrative gets them the most clicks. 

I just need this love spiral

The opposite of spiral (depending on the way the word is being used):  straight, a line, flat, constant, consistent, unchanging, calm…

Love spiral reminds me of the heart that turned into a spiraling tunnel in the Me!  Music video:

Interestingly the heart/love spiral evokes the same feelings as this lavender haze song:

Get it off your chest

“Your” sounds less like a group (fans, her team, media, music industry) and more like one individual to me.

Get it off my desk

Whatever proposal that whoever is pushing. From the context of the song, it sounds like some sort of marriage. For someone to put something on Taylor’s desk (unless she’s talking metaphorically) this person or group has to be in proximity to her. That eliminates her talking about media, fans, or the general music industry. These two lines have to be Joe or Taylor’s own team. I think Joe, because get it off “your” chest is more personal, and less used for a collective like a team.

The media, fans, her team, and Joe all want Taylor to enter a Lavender marriage with Joe in order to satiate heteronormativity and straighten out her image. And this song makes clear Taylor wants to remain in this undefined haze.

…That lavender haze, I just wanna stay

I just wanna stay in that lavender haze

No Matter What Taylor Swift Says: Lavender is a Queer Color

26 Oct

I’m a lot late to the posting party, but it’s Halloween month, and I had to hurry, hurry and do my album reviews before I was waylaid by Taylor’s new offering. And I had to digest the new album and listen. Oh yeah, and work full time. But here I am on this aged controversy: Turns out the “weird rumors” are marriage to Joe Alwyn… Where’s our apology?

Anyway, Taylor “hetsplained” in the lingo of Gaylors the song because it’s pretty outwardly gay.


AskHistorians

Was “lavender haze” really a popular term in the 50’s to describe being in love?

So in the show Mad Men, there is a scene where the main character says he met a girl and another character says “look at you, you’re in the lavender haze!” Here is a link  to the scene in question.

Yesterday night, Taylor Swift announced the title of track one of her 10th studio album Midnights. The track is called Lavender Haze, and Taylor claimed that the term was a common phrase in the 50’s to describe being in love. Here is a link  to the video in which she talks about it. …Here is a transcript of what she says regarding the song:

Lavender haze is track one on Midnights, and I happen to come upon the phrase lavender haze when I was watching Mad Men… and I looked it up — because I thought it sounded cool — and it turns out that it’s a common phrase used in the 50s where they would just describe being in love. Like if you were in the lavender haze, then that meant that you were in that all-encompassing love glow… and I thought that was really beautiful.

After watching that I became curious about the term as I had never heard of it before. I had only heard of the term “honeymoon phase” which seems to sound similar to what Ms. Swift was describing. So I looked it up to find more information. Through the various PR articles reporting on the song’s announcement, one of the first things that popped up was this urban dictionary entry, which is not very helpful and uses the show as its main source. Another thing that popped up was this random Facebook post by an interior design group which claims that Lavender Haze was a popular 50s slang saying. The post was made in 2016 and cited no sources. I then tried Snopes.com – which I know isn’t the most reliable website in the world – and found no results.

I needed a proper source. So I dug deeper. I got on Google Scholar and found virtually nothing. No results or citations about the phrase. I went on Britannica.com which is a reliable encyclopedia website. Also nothing. I got pretty desperate and even searched it on YouTube. Nothing. I went back to google as a last resort and found that there’s a weed strain called Lavender Haze. Cool, but wasn’t what I was looking for. After scrolling through endless pages I found dead ends and articles about 50s slang – and Lavender Haze was not in either list I came across. So now I am confused.

The rumor that it was a 50’s popular phrase certainly wasn’t made up by Ms Swift herself [OR WAS IT?]

There is the old “sissy” to mean gay man, and it was lavender.

The Lavender scare which fired people thought to be gay.

Lavender sashes worn to commemorate the Stonewall Riots.

The feminist movement felt lesbians would undermine their group, and were deemed the lavender menace.

Lavender marriages were set up when Hollywood was run by the studios. These fake, straight marriages kept gay stars clean cut and socially acceptable so the studio could continue making money off of them.

See some actual blurbs from sources:

Not all lavender marriages are to hide gays. Some are just to increase engagement for an upcoming project (Showmance), or to make someone more likable (Chelsea Handler?) in the eyes of the public. Also, women attached romantically to men are taken more seriously, so they can exceed in their field better if a man is in the picture-barf (Beyonce’).

I have suspicions about some big names: I think Oprah and Steadman are lavender. Posh Spice and the soccer player. Bennifer. George & Amal. Cindy Crawford and her husband (George’s bf). Kenny Chesney and Renee Z. Will and Jada. I think Charlize Theron has had a series of bearded relationships. Taylor Lautner. Zac Efron. Leo.

OK, now that I got that off my chest, let’s talk about Taylor’s lyrics in the next post.