Tag Archives: Midnights

2022 Albums of the Year Countdown: Seriously Saying Something [Songs Ranked 9-1]

7 Dec

The Logistics (skip if you don’t care about math or the quantitative stuff):

I only judged good and up ranked songs this year.  I threw out OK, meh, and skip bc with streaming those will no longer get listened to.  Also, I did a percent of good and up songs per number on the album.  Because just stacking an album with garbage songs shouldn’t rank higher either.  You have to have good, great awesome songs, no matter the number of tracks.  I added the % of tracks that were good and above on the album to the score of the level (elite, A, Gr, G) for the final scores.  Highest is best.

Elite 6; awesome 5; A-Gr cusp 4.5; Great 4; Gr-G cusp 3.5; Good 3; G-N cusp 1; Neutral -1; N-M cusp -2; Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6

For the two bands that put their albums out in installments (Weezer and Young the Giant, Imagine Dragon doesn’t count because I already ranked their entire 1st installment last year) I am going to judge them separately, but also as one unit.  So I’ll place each installment in their ranked position, but then I’ll also do a fifth entry for each band judging it as one album.

One last note: I went back and fourth on Brandi. She released some obvious Grammy reminder music this year. They are different versions of her 2021 album, but it’s still the same album pretty much. Other artists like the Indigo Girls have released a double album with rock on one disc and acoustic on the other. And the price point might have been a bit more expensive than just a single disc. But Brandi released her separately–to get more albums sold, acquire more streams, and remind everybody that last year’s album is Grammy nominated. But I think the acoustic version was even more expensive than my signed copy of the original album, and that plus the cheatee numbers game left a bad taste in my mouth. If it had not been one of my top-tier favorite artists of all time, I would have thrown the copycat album away and not bothered ranking it. But it’s Brandi, so I included it. And she’s amazing so of course it ranked high. But I counted it as a half number so as not to throw off the totally legit albums in the ranking. So there’s that, Brandi is making me messy. Again.
Ok, Weezer is really messing up my ranking because they aren’t releasing their fourth installment of this concept album until December 21.  I told me I would only rank my A+ favorites after October 21st.  I had to finish the countdown by the time Midnights dropped so I could focus on that.  And I like to post this prior to Christmas on the first week of December, while anybody is still paying attention to things aside from the holiday.  BUT I have ranked ¾ of Weezer’s material.  I might stop if it had been mediocre and toward the bottom since it wouldn’t make that much of a difference if they were 35th place rather than 39th, for example.  But they are nudging the top spot without 7 more songs!  So what I’m going to do is post this with them in their mathematical position, but then edit to include Winter in late December, which may change up the whole top of the list…

From Lowest to Highest:

9.

Lissie: 83.33% + 32.5 = 115.83 Final

10 of 12 total songs = 83.33%

2 Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 7 Good 3

8+3.5+21 = 32.5

Sad- angsty. Bitter song! Catchy. Gr

Lonesome Wine- personal. G 

Night Moves- catchy. Sounds like Stevie Nicks. G

Flowers- self permission for emotion after a breakup. G.

Carving Canyons- deep! Descriptive. G.

I Hate This- autopsy of relationship. Regret. Breakup feels. Feeling. G 

Unlock the Chains- Inspired by Fleetwood Mac but original and not a copycat. Lyrics. Catchy. Gr.

Heart’s on Fire- Adult contemporary soft rock sound.  G.

Yellow Rose- backing sounds like Lord Huron, a little cowboy. G.

Midnight- good ending song for emotion after a breakup and for the album. Cohesive album. Tells full story. Notes. Brass. G-Gr

8.

Avril Lavigne: 75% + 41 = 116 Final

9 of 12 total songs = 75%

1 Elite awesome 6; 3 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 2 Great 4; 1 Good 3

6+15+9+8+3 = 41

This was such an exciting album!  I really, really thought it would take album of the year, because I liked it so much, all throughout 2022.  It dropped very early, and I listened so many times and never tired of it. For treadmilling, it’s perfect. It reminds me of her first album, still edgy, but an adult. Nothing seemed forced or disengenuine and it’s so great to hear pop-punk rock again! I hope Avril stays right in this very genre and does more of this. I LOVED this album. But also, numbers don’t lie, it’s fair and square eigth.

Cannonball- Such a high energy opener! Always gets stuck in my head. Good beat. Great example of pop-punk. Elite-A.

Bite Me- Tough girl. Talking shit to ex-loser. Catchy. Gr-A.

Love Sux- bitter song. I love that she holds HIM accountable but still acknowledges her hurt. More edgy version of Avril is back and I’m happy to hear it. A.

Avalanche- more of a vulnerable song. Touches on mental illness. Always stuck in my head. A.

Deja vu- Relatable song about someone doing the same garbage over and over and the girlfriend getting tired of it. Bitter song! A.

FU- Frustration of talking to someone you can’t get through to no matter what. Realizing you can’t change someone. Gr.

All I Wanted – They sound perfect together. Just a touch of that late 90s CA pop-punk. Gr-A

Dare to Love Me- Quiet song. Strong singing. G.

Break of a Heartache- ends album on an upbeat note. Says she’s tired of hurting.  Gr.

7.

Michelle Branch: 90%+30.5 = 120.5 Final

9 of 10 total songs = 90%

1 Elite awesome 6; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 7 Good 3

6+3.5+21 = 30.5

Who knew?! I liked her (overplayed) stuff in my younger years, and really, really liked her side project the Wreckers. I didn’t know where she went, but Michelle is back. And she’s speaking up. I love how she addresses real issues, yet keeps the songs themselves light and catchy.

Beating on the Outside- jarring opening line. Sex and marriage. Snippets of guitar sound good. G.

Closest thing to heaven- swirling guitar. G.

You got me where you want me- cello. Beautiful. Descriptive. G-Gr.

I’m a Man- I like how straightforward and blatant. Abortion rights. Why men are problematic. First notes get me pumped up! Elite awesome.

I’m sorry- the backing music increases intensity. Instrumental bridge. G.

Not My Lover- sounds like band Garbage. G.

When that somebody is you- quiet. Introspective. G.

You get me- adult contemporary. G

Zut! Alors- G.

6.5

Brandi Carlile:  90.91%+36 = 126.91 Final

10 of 11 total songs = 90.91%

1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 3 Good 3

4.5+12+10.5+9 = 36

Doesn’t count?

You already saw my disclaimer at the start of every ranking. I am not here for the money grab. Same songs but acoustic. IG just gave both same time same price. Don’t like $18 for the same stuff. I need to have a talk to the Grammys about album sales. She’s not the only one, but it $ucks all the same. But yet.. that VOICE. Brandi has the chops and knows how to use them. And I appreciate that the twins are featured more prominently in the acoustics. Brandi should know that the band can rock and harmonize since she was basically the third Indigo Girl for years. But alas, this is good, just not fair to fans.

Right on Time- stripped down. Focus on harmonies. More twin involvement is good. They took out everything that made the song excellent. Touch of western on the instrumental brought it up a notch. G-Gr.

You and me on the Rock- pretty harmonies. Quiet. Nobody can compare to Brandi’s singing I would just have had Catherine sing with her bc her voice is thin by itself. G.

This time tomorrow- I don’t like when they change key or whatever for a song I’m familiar with. It always sounds off to me. Nice piano and harmony though. Instruments bring a fullness that wasn’t in the original. G-Gr.

Broken Horses- not as punchy. Not as impactful. Not THE scream-note. Doesn’t make the cut.

Letter to the Past- nice harmonies. Good that the twins are heavily featured. Like the different instruments on short interlude. More western. G-Gr 

Mama Werewolf- love the bridge – angelic. Harmony sounds good. Piano brings a seriousness to it.  She took out high notes unnecessarily, making the vocals a little worse. G

When you’re wrong- wish that the rocking versions also featured more twin harmonies. Piano is nice. Cello is star. Singing is haunting. Gr-A.

Stay gentle- swelling strings. Should have been in the original version. Gr.

Sinners Saints and Fools- dropped from elite awesome to excellent. Still great, but the other version is whoa. Lyrics more easily heard here. Gr.

Throwing good after Bad- nice harmonies. G.

Space Oddity- God. She has such a voice. She can make anything sound good. Gr.

6.

Miranda Lambert: 80% + 47.5 = 127.5 Final

12 of 15 total songs = 80%

1 Elite awesome 6; 2 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

6+10+9+10.5+12 = 47.5

I thought this album might win. I love how cheeky and feisty Miranda always is in her songs. She really brought in with this album and it was a fun, yet sincere set of cohesive songs. The cowgirl vibe and outlaw mentality add a lot and seem totally apt for the singer. Miranda always does her best to shake up the boys’ club that is the country music industry, and I appreciate her always putting herself out there. More. Like. This. Please!

Actin Up- I like a cheeky song. Also liked the state call-outs . G

Scenes- catchy. Gritty sound puts you in the gritty travel that is living on the road. G-Gr.

Carousel- emotional. G.

I’ll be lovn you – catchy. Piano. Gr-A 

If I was a cowboy- gender bender. Feisty. G-Gr 

Country money- fun. Sassy. Is that Gwen Stefani’s voice at the end? G.

Geraldine – Lambert’s take on Jolene is one of my favorite songs of the year! Elite awesome

Music City Queen- probably the best featured artist of the year. The B52s fit the vibe of the song and make their presence known without overwhelming the song. Catchy. A.

Pursuit of happiness- empowering. Hopeful. G-Gr.

Strange- catchy . She is not specific about the problems that cause these strange feelings , but in this year 2022 we can guess the COVID/quarantine &/ politics. I like how she gives suggestions for letting loose and being easy on yourself during these odd times. A.

Wandering spirit -. The begging is low- and quiet then the backing instruments and choir come in on the wandering spirit part. Sounds full and conveys cowgirl to match the cover art. Gr-A.

Waxahatchee- G.

5.

Weezer-Summer: 100% + 28.5 = 128.5 Final

7 out of 7 total tracks = 100%

1 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 2 Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 1 Good 3

5+9+8+3.5+3 = 28.5

Lawn Chair- strings sound orchestral and lovely. Adds a beat. Lyrics are jarring compared to instruments. Gr.

Records- electric guitar is great. Like the beat. G-Gr.

Blue like jazz- I like the harder rock. Instruments are edgy. Swirling backing. Rounds/harmony. Gr-A

Opposite of me- piano swirling! Do do do are catchy. Gr-A 

What’s the good of being good- a march. Best friend stole his gal and talked $hit so he’s contemplating why not to go low. G.

Cuomoville- rock is nice to hear. Hopeful, positive lyrics. Feed em to the lions sounds really cool. Love the beat. Gr.

Thank you and good night- perfect to end the show. Electric guitar is awesome. Hard rock howl is cool. End is awesome! A.

4.

Taylor Swift:  75%+57.5 = 132.5 Final

15 out of 20 (I didn’t buy the Target album, so there’s one song I don’t have) = 75%

2 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 4 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3; 1 Awesome-skip cusp -0.5; G-N cusp 1; 1 Neutral -1; 1 elite-meh cusp 2; N-M cusp -2; 2 Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6

10+9+16+10.5+12 = 57.5

I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t love it. The rollout for the era was very retro 1970s so I think my expectations ruined my perception. I have no idea why there was a random 70s theme, because the songs do not convey that to me–it’s a very Man of the Woods moment. If Taylor had not had some rando promo, I think I would have enjoyed the album more. Also, the tricky, cheatee way of dropping a 100 different colored albums, different pictures, having 4 make a clock, recording a million versions of one song to amp up streams doesn’t set well with me. I wish the charts and the Grammys would modify the rules and records so that fans were not exploited. Buying the green album only to find out the purple album with an extra song was rolled out a week later is $hitty. I don’t like it, but it shows the power of curating a loyal fan base. Taylor’s sales and records may be inflated, but the number and buying power of her fans is not–she has a legitimate, obsessed following.

I will say the songs grew on me over many listens. What the album did do was inspire me to research and analyze and think. So I love that! Engaging with the work is my favorite part of being a music fan, and Taylor gave me a lot of fodder this year.

That said, if I was ranking Midnights against Taylor’s own catalog, it would not fare well. Every song had some element that I didn’t like: A beat, a phrase, the lyrics, etc… I think the entire thing would have benefitted from another draft and another edit. It shows that some of these lyrics, some of the songs were drafts, or vault, or half-worked. I think Taylor hustled to finish them up to feed the audience while the legalities of the Re-records get worked out. Taylor had to keep attention and her Eras tour substantiates that this album is to keep people listening and waiting for each old album to drop. She needs the “Taylor’s Versions” to be successful to complete her plan.

At any rate, I wish I liked the songs better, but I do like trying to decode the subtext.

Sidenote, I did not calculate anything below Good in my ranking to stay consistent with the whole list. I did include my opinions on those lower songs just for funsies. They are marked XXX to show I didn’t count them.

Lavender haze- Catchy. Good message. Calling out heteronormative milestones and pressure to hit them quickly/at all. Didn’t like the little ah ah stuff at first but it really grew on me. Like the faster go viral. One note. Good heartbeat noise in parts. Gr

Maroon- The song itself is just good. But the fact Taylor inspires me to research and analyze the meaning brings it up to great. So G-Gr 

Question…- Catchy. Tells a story. I like the sexy noises. Pronoun game is on pointe. Kissgate and it’s aftermath. Brave of Taylor to be so direct. The slowed down mean-girl /tone statement. Gr.

Anti-hero- This might be the most Catchy on Midnights. Self aware. Really putting herself out there more than usual. HATE sexy baby. It just makes my brain go to pedophile. DIL is confusing. The video didn’t count toward this ranking, but it was cheeky-Taylor (my favorite Taylor) I liked the quirky humor and wink wink aspects. Adorable! Gr-A

XXX Snow on the beach- Boring. Not really a duet. Not that catchy. Janet reference is jarring. M.

You’re on Your Own Now Kid- Explains why Taylor feels so lonely and isolated. G

XXX Midnight rain- I absolutely hate the distorted voice. Tells a story. Nothing really going on with backing. No notes. OK

Vigilante Shit- A bitter song! Calling people out. Superhero imagry- consistent throughout. Moag! The production is perfect – understated Reputation. A

Bejeweled- Kind of a throway song. Lyrics kind of superficial. I like the nice! Who is she talking to? The bridge brings something interesting to the song. G.

XXX Labyrinth- The backing has some nice touches but it’s not enough to redeem the blah. It’s too dreamy and half asleep. Lyrics repeat too much. M.

Karma- To everyone who closeted her, started her bearding, and foiled her coming out. With the masters heist. Subtle moag. Very detailed. Visual.  Gr.

Sweet nothings- Sweet song. I listen to it through the lens that it’s about her mom. The only person who loves Taylor unconditionally. Very subdued but it fits well the story perfectly. Tranquility and calm. G-Gr.

XXX Mastermind- This song makes her seem sociopathic. I think it addressed how she is an active participant in bearding and furthering her career with meticulous planning. I think she meant it cheeky but to me it comes across as creepy. That said this might be my favorite production on Midnights. Love moag and videogame noises. It would be looking at awesome territory if not for the psychopathic words.S-A

The great war- The story of Kaylor! Catchy. I like the snare to go along with war. Lyrics invoke war symbolism. Gr.

Bigger than the whole sky- Jarring transition between songs. This song so beautifully encapsulates grief.  This is where dream pop really shines. Conveys agony. I think a lot of people will find solace in this song after any ending  A 

Paris- Snarky. Someone gossiping about kissgate and the 1975 guy being a hookup. Pictures = kissgate. The fictional Paris is when Kaylor boarded up the windos and went private.  Cleaver change of characters. Her fantasy world. Not the kind that’s thrown is clunky. Meant to say it’s Tree, her publicist doing PR damage control. Brainwash Karly to pick her over josh. Go to the lakes or tower in actual paris. But it’s all imaginary  The song is flat and one dimensional in my opinion (which all of this is). G.

XXX High infidelity- Compelling. Makes me want to dig into the analysis. Multiple story threads weaved together masterfully. The oooo ooos are reminiscent of the train so many songs talk about. Lots of callback. Sort of boring musically but lyrics are elite. M-elite

Glitch- Catchy. Is this about Kaylor being a deviation from bearding. Or her dalliance with Kelsea? G.

Could’ve would’ve should’ve- Finally not boring at all. Good backing. Telling a few stories covertly. Extra points for motivating me to untangle who and why. Finally some actual skillful singing in the bridge. I wish the album had more of this. I like the different sounds of the song throughout. The fast part at the end makes me FEEL. Gr-A

Dear reader- I didn’t like it at first. Found the title like the start of a 3rd graders essay. But after a couple of listens I realized Taylor wrote a letter directly to the Gaylors- which is very special. I like the echoing sound. The vulnerability is really likeable. G-Gr 

3.

Kelsea Ballerini:  86.67% + 49 = 135.67 Final

13 of 15 total songs = 86.67%

1 Elite awesome 6; 2 awesome 5; 1 Great 4; 4 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 5 Good 3

6+10+4+14+ 15 = 49

Oh my goodness! This album inspired me to analyze so much. I love the multiple layers and hidden meanings throughout every song. I think Kelsea is one to watch, and I also hope she will fully come out one day. This album is just brimming with Sapphic feelings and I would love for a successful country singer to be open AND remain famous.

I can’t help myself- fun! Inspired by Shania. The repeated words make it cute. Gr.

If you go down I’m going down to- very much could be a (Dixie) chicks song. Strings sound good with it. A.

Love is a Cowboy- good imagry- being with you is like ropin the wind. Hints of fiddle. G.

Muscle Memory- catchy. G.

I guess they call it Fallin- love the faster lyrics. G-Gr 

Weather- upbeat. Catchy though lyrics are kinda sad. G-Gr.

Universe- slow. Pretty. Love song. G. 

Walk in the park- love despite being difficult sometimes. G-Gr.

Heartfirst- following your heart. G 

You’re drunk go home- fun! Love talking shit. Love the features. Notes! Like Shania, chicks, any country that’s cheeky. Elite awesome.

Doin my best- relatable. Talks about insider info. Snaps/claps. G.

Marilyn- thoughtful sounds. Double subject. G-Gr.

What I have- appreciate what you have. Introspective. A.

2.

Weezer:

16/21= 76.19% ¾ year + 60.5 yr = 136.69 Semi-Final

16.5 + 28.5 + 15.5 = 60.5

1.

Amy Ray: 100%+37.5 = 137.5 Final

10 out of 10 total songs = 100%

2 awesome 5; 1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 1 Great 4; 2 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

10+4.5+4+7+12 = 37.5

Amy Ray has always been political. She continuously makes her work mean something, it’s not just words on a page to her. She also puts her beliefs into action with her advocacy. I have always loved the Indigo Girls duo (They are my top of the top all-time favorite music/artists/band) and have grown to love Amy’s solo efforts as well. The transition between the two musical entities is sometimes jarring, but still on-brand.

I like how this album tells a story rarely (never?) heard. Amy Ray is Southern and loves her rural roots. She is also part of the LGBTQQAA community and I think based on interviews I’ve heard, that her identity has shifted over time, and with society’s level of acceptance. Amy Ray started out just being herself, and not really acknowledging her queerness, or taking an identity, let alone projecting it out to the masses. She pinged anyway and her band became pegged “lesbian music” by the mainstream. As part of the Indigo Girls, Amy was portrayed in a stereotypical, non-flattering light on sketch shows, sometimes derided, always in the center of her close-knit fan’s hearts. She learned to embrace her differences and used that to help others. I think now she leans NB or even trans, but in the podcast I heard Amy Ray indicated that it wasn’t a visible option for her when she was younger. Now she may feel too old (her sentiment, not mine) to totally change her trajectory.

All that is to say that this album of a southern queer is an important contribution to the landscape, and as with the Indigo Girls, I hope it opens doors for other artists to embrace their queer/rural roots simultaneously.

Joy Train- Reminds me of Bonnie Raitt. Great banjo!  Vocals are intentionally discordant but it’s not that pleasing to the ear. G.

Chuck will’s widow- Strings are the star. Very folksy. G-Gr.

They won’t have me- Recycled song. String interlude great. More powerful, emotive singing. Heavier bass gives it more urgency. Gr-A

From the room- slow. Harmony. G.

Tear it down- slow. Harmony. G

A mighty thing- after slow/bleak a welcome faster, brighter instrumentation. About homophobia. A.

Subway- could be an IG song. Love string interlude. Singing is powerful & longing. Gay rights. A 

Cowboys and pirates- catchy.  tells a story. Folksy/Americana. String! Gr.

Muscadine- slow. G.

North Star- a bit more triumphant sounding. Hint of choral/gospel. Hymn-like. G-Gr.

Question… EYE Theory (Just Kidding, Really I’m Joking) [Part 9]

2 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 Question… lyrics is highlighted. 

It’s just a question

Half-moon eyes, bad surprise, did you realize?

P.S. 

The person with half moon eyes is anxious.

Eyes:

Probably one of the most used words in her catalog.  Extras:  tolerate it, 

Dorthea

cowboy like me

gold rush

Gorgeous

london boy

I think he knows

so it goes

Exile

coney island

Ivy

call it what you want

cruel summer

Happiness

Eyes are used in 4-5 different ways throughout Taylor’s songs: Celebrity, attraction, bearding, uncertainty, sadness.

Fame:  The eyes full of stars phrasing is describing someone with ambition to be famous and wealthy.  Taylor describes Dorthea (which may just be her younger self) this way.  She also mentions it in Cowboy Like Me when she spots someone like her.  They both want higher status, money, and the spotlight and will tell the rich people anything they want to hear in order to get there.  

Attraction:  Gorgeous and Gold Rush speaks to attraction to women.  Taylor is upset she feels such a magnetic pull towards a woman, because it’s problematic for her public image.  She almost jumps into the ocean blue eyes in Gold Rush.  Simultaneously, Taylor has to hide this strong attraction.  It will not go with her good girl persona, and will not help sales.  Thus, the bearding.

Bearding:  London Boy is satirical.  There is no logistical way for Taylor to travel to all those places in a short time.  She mentions things that would be awful, like being there while his mates watch rugby-English gals agree that nobody wants that.  Taylor says she loves a gray sky and cab ride.  No.  Those are not perks, but downsides of the UK.  So the descriptions of this English dude are in that vein.  She uses child and boy, which are not romantic.  Taylor is saying this person is under her, subservient, lessor.  It’s like a mother, not a lover.  An employee? Also, Taylor is playing the pronoun game hard in London Boy.  She contrasts “he” to “you.”  He is the dude from the UK, that she has control of and YOU is her true love interest.  Taylor tells us the rumors are true (she’s gay).  And I fancy or want YOU is preceded by darling.  Taylor never says, I love you.  She speaks to the audience and says you know I love a London Boy.  The listeners have been told that Taylor loves a London Boy and she doubles-down on that again and again in the song.  She TOLD us she loves a London Boy, but she fancies and wants YOU. 

In I Think he Knows, Taylor continues the pronoun game contrasting he and you.  She tells us she sees YOUR lyrical smile and indigo eyes and wants to drive away with YOU, to mean her same-sex love.  HE just knows about it.  She again says he’s boyish, and tells us she’s an architect drawing up (bearding) plans.  So it Goes talks about the success of the bearding which hides Taylor’s true love.  In public, Taylor and her lover are magicians and illusionists, hiding their truth in plain sight.  And when they are alone there is sex and bliss.  But all the hiding and secrets and lies make the couple breakdown.  It’s hurting their love.  But Taylor is torn:  Her back is against the wall in regards to maintaining her public image–she must beard to be seen as straight and make money.  But she can’t let go of this love–she’s a hostage to her feelings.  There is strife about this difficult choice. 

The lover doesn’t care for it.  She stares at Joe like he’s an understudy, knowing that she would fight (Bad Blood) for Taylor.  These lovers have to walk on eggshells to keep their true love a secret, and it causes strife.  A million lies and many chances, are breaking the branches this relationship so carefully balances on.  All the closeting and hiding chips away at the love.  The lover gets tired of being invisible.  She doesn’t like pretending that she’s not the center of Taylor’s world.  But Taylor continues to closet and beard, never making the lover her centerfold, never saying her name from the podium.  And that makes the sun (= Karlie) go down, little by little Karlie tires of the ruse, and it gets colder and more lonely for both, per Coney Island.

Uncertainty:  The lover is promised to another.  It might be contractual.  She might want a “normal” life instead of a queer one.  It might be a choice of more wealth than Taylor can offer.  Between the lure and commitment to the guy and the life he can provide, and the problems and complications constantly caused by bearding and closeting, this lover is a flight risk.  In Ivy, Taylor says the future of this love affair–her fate is tied to what the guy will do.  If the lover doesn’t chose him, will he burn the house down?  This man has a lot of power and money… It’s just one more barrier to the Sapphic love. In Call It What You Want Taylor 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.  Problem is, Taylor sees a shiny toy, this bad boy with a price, and she bought it.  She is telling us she paid this man to be her beard in Cruel Summer.  But she already knows it’s hurting her lover and putting cracks in her actual relationship to play pretend. Taylor is separated from her lover, and that kills her.  She wishes the lover would show up below her window.

Devil = evil 

roll the dice = take a chance

Angels = good and pure

Roll their eyes = They judge the devil for taking that chance.  It was wrong.

No rules = the relationship is no strings attached, casual, a friends with benefits situation

Breakable = fragile, delicate, if you will.

Heaven = Taylor feels pure joy at being with this person.

I love you ain’t that the worst thing you ever heard = The lover is conflicted.  She could be back at the Speak Now days that Taylor went through where the gayness is a house of cards that if toppled will messily ruin everything.  The lover can’t acknowledge it, fears it, hides it away.  This line might also be saying the lover doesn’t want to be serious with Taylor.  The lover is just having a fun fling, but really wants to live a heteronormative life with her bf/beard.  She is not ready to be in a serious, monogamous relationship with Taylor.

He looks up, grinning like the devil = someone/something is undermining the heaven in this relationship.  It might be Karlie’s bf/beard, Jo$h.  And/or the public scrutiny and judgment about WLW love.

Sadness: Happiness is the sad culmination of all the stressors breaking the love apart.  Taylor chose to continue bearding and closeting for her career.  The lover chose heteronormativity, money, the man.  And Taylor is heartbroken.

The half moon eyes in Question… are the combination of anxieties constantly tugging Kaylor (any sapphic lover) apart. There is the internal homophobia and questioning, the career pressures, political considerations, bearding complications, on and on. How many struggles can one relationship survive? Then, there is just sadness about what will never be. All the anxiety kills the partnership.

Question… Desire to Touch Women is Taylor Swift’s Real Nemeses [Part 8]

1 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 ascertain the subject. Don’t get overwhelmed with the length of this post.  The word I’m trying to point-out from Question… lyrics is highlighted. 

When she said it was too much

Do you wish you could still touch her?

Touch:

sparks fly

Treacherous

state of grace

I Almost Do

Marjorie

You are in Love

Red

Gorgeous

It’s Nice to have a Friend

ready for it

end game

Delicate

gold rush

don’t blame me

Death by a Thousand Cuts

champagne problems

Ivy

Touch is trepidation. 

In Sparks Fly, Taylor can’t get too close to this person, or they might feel her attraction.  She is a house of cards, trying to remain unseen so the structure doesn’t topple and bely her true feelings.  Touch is a boundary Taylor won’t allow herself to cross.  In Treacherous, Taylor is confronted with the same situation and she’s no longer sure if it’s a choice.  She gets so close to the person, yet does not touch.  It’s not real if they don’t actually touch.  This path is reckless and fraught, but Taylor finds herself liking it.  In State of Grace, Taylor is still battling these feelings.  She realizes wanting touch like this has changed who she thought she was-she’ll never be the same. 

There is a slight double meaning in I Almost Do.  Sure, Taylor is talking about rekindling a romance after a break up.  But under the surface, Taylor is now dreaming of touching this woman.  She is one step closer to crossing her boundaries.  She almost does.  We talked about how the depths signify Taylor’s fears of losing control and the unknown, in Marjory.  Touch fits with the song narrative perfectly.  For once you let go of all your fears and ghosts.  You knew what it was.  Taylor can’t deny it any longer, this desire to touch women is proof her best friend is actually romantic love and sexual attraction.  Wishing you had never found out in Red, builds on this idea.  Now that Taylor knows she’s gay, she feels more for her love interest.  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.  Despite Taylor’s great fear, and her negative feelings about being out of control, she can’t let go of this red, passionate love. 

Taylor needs that real love, but it makes her angry.  I’m so furious that you make me feel this way, in Gorgeous is that same pull from Red.  Taylor doesn’t like losing control, but here she is captivated by this gorgeous woman.  Taylor dares to dream of her future with a woman in It’s Nice to have a Friend.  She has trouble crossing the boundary into queerness, but in that song the female best friend dares to touch her romantically and it sends Taylor’s thoughts to a future wedding.  She is coming around to the idea that, though gay love is not traditional or fully accepted, she might be able to be happy anyway.  Ready for It…  the opener of Reputation shows a new bravado about the situation.  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 WLW love forever, and at night all the touching that Taylor needs can take place in private.  

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 has fear and anxiety this person will leave her, they’ll chose someone else (a man?) over her.  And the thought of that makes Taylor miserable.  Taylor is so obsessed about keeping this new found love that she compares it to drug addiction.  Don’t Blame Me has Taylor, high on her lover’s touch, begging on her knees, and giving up grace to touch her.  Touch is forbidden and dangerous, but now touch is now a desperate need of Taylor’s.

But then there are political complications.  In Death by a Thousand Cuts Taylor describes how her and her lover’s paper thin plans were ruined by Trump.  Her lover gave up on her like a bad drug despite touching every part of Taylor.  

Taylor was working up to coming out.  She wanted to do it for her lover.  She wrote speeches…  But they ended up in the fire.  She couldn’t give an adequate reason why she just couldn’t bring herself to do it.  WLW slipped beyond her reaches as a result.  Now Taylor grieves for the living.  The tarnished (stigmatized) touch was the only thing that made Taylor feel and come in from the cold, numbing snow.  Though Taylor was unthawed by this love, and her whole being was impacted, her inaction caused the lover to leave.

Question… Fighting Drama, Queer Love is a Fight, the Masters & Kaylor are the Fight of her Life [Part 7]

30 Nov

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 song-subject. Don’t get overwhelmed with the length of this post.  The word I’m trying to point-out from Question… lyrics is highlighted. 

Did you wish you’d put up more of a fight? (Oh)

Fight:

So many, so many…  It’s a pretty crucial and central piece of Taylor’s writing.

call it what you want

Me

Only the Young

Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince

paper rings

Afterglow

false god

Madwoman

my tears ricochet

Ivy

Evermore

Hoax

Emotions devolve with each mention of “fight.”  Taylor begins fighting other people.  In Call it What you Want Taylor’s reputation is bad due to Snakegate.  But there’s a lot of hope because Taylor’s baby loves her for who she is and sticks by her side despite the drama.  

In Me! Taylor acknowledges that she makes it all about her, which causes fights with her lover.  But she never wants the lover to leave her, she does care.

Taylor’s love life is linked to politics, because her lover’s beard is linked to the Trump clan.  When the U.S. becomes hyper-polarized and everything is politicized, Taylor can’t let her image be tainted by Republican evil.  Only the Young captures the fear of evil reigning, and Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince clearly ties political happenings to fights with her lover.  Not wanting to get caught up in bad politics hurts the WLW relationship because Karlie has ties to the Ku$hners, either contractually or for convenience/status/money. And Taylor is afraid because people are whispering, she’s a bad bad girl. They suspect she’s gay, and especially in this political environment, that is terrifying to her.

Paper Rings, Afterglow, and False God show Taylor’s emotional trajectory regarding the fights with her lover.  Paper Rings is upbeat and hopeful.  In Afterglow, Taylor takes responsibility for her part in the fighting.  She jumps to conclusions and gets paranoid.  And in False God, Taylor is dejected.  She is in hell when her and her love fight.

The Lover era is tainted by the master’s heist.  Taylor is angry at $cooter and $cott for stealing her lullabies.  Throughout the Lover album, Taylor still seems wistful about Kaylor.  She wants to lure Karlie back to her.  Taylor still loves her despite all the “fights and flaws.”  There is a distinct change in tone from Lover to the folklore era.  Taylor realizes or suspects something about her lover.  Madwoman and My Tears Ricochet are mostly lashing out at $cott and $cooter, but there are snippets about a lover’s betrayal in there too.

Madwoman

This is Karlie on $cooter’s yacht after the master’s heist.

My Tears Ricochet

I don’t know how involved the Ku$hners and/or Karlie were in the Master’s Heist. I don’t know if Taylor knows for sure, or just suspects foul play and betrayal by Karlie. In It’s Time to Go, Taylor was pretty explicit mention twin and crook who was caught. She knew fans would piece together that she was talking about Karlie. Yet, an album later, in Happiness Taylor mentions all the relationship troubles went both ways. Two people are to blame for the demise.

Ivy alludes to the fight of her life.  Taylor is talking about both the masters and Kaylor.  Evermore asks what she was fighting for, because ultimately she was double-crossed by this lover that she was so set on fixing things with.  Hoax is one of the saddest, most hopeless songs in all of Taylor’s catalog, and mentions her winless fight.  She is re-recording the masters, but she lost the girl.

Question… Can the Ultra-Famous have Reeaal Friends? [Part 5]

27 Nov

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 the song’s subject(s). Don’t get overwhelmed with the length of this post.  The word I’m trying to point-out from Question… lyrics is highlighted.  

Miss Americana showed me that Taylor is pretty isolated, and lonely much of the time. In the documentary I came away with the impression that the people around Taylor are mostly superficial. Brendan was distracted, for instance. Abigale is still Taylor’s friend, but things were stilted. They are in different places in life. Abigale has a family and Taylor’s super-fame is not relatable. They had little to talk about. Tree, Taylor’s publicist seemed like the most genuine, interested person, but she’s on the pay-role. The other people on Taylor’s team seemed harsh and judgmental. Their focus was the brand making money, not Taylor the person who has actual thoughts and feelings. Taylor’s love interest was seldom shown. It was weirdly secret, and when Taylor won her Grammy’s she had nobody to share her happy moment with. Taylor’s mom was the only person that was there for Taylor, the person. And I think Taylor’s super-celebrity status makes her alone in the world. Her idea of friends conveys this:

And every single one of your friends was making fun of you

Friends:

Dorothea

blank space

You need to calm down

paper rings

london boy

Lover

champagne problems

tis the damn season

the last great American dynasty

Archer

This is why we can’t have nice things

Closure

Taylor talks about 5 categories of friends, with many people overlapping in the categories over time.  There are famous friends, other queers, peripheral friends, betrayers, and a friend who became her lover.

There are strategic friends.  “You got shiny friends since you left town.” The friends are new, dazzling, and elevate status.  What Dorthea does not say is that the friends have a lot in common, are good listeners, or loyal.  I get the impression from the passing remarks that these relationships could be superficial or to be in a certain scene.   The friendships are for publicity, to get in a door, or just thrust together because they are in the same business.  In the highly satirical song, Blank Space, she casually says “let’s be friends.”  There is nothing real or authentic about it.  It’s not a friendship based on trust or mutual interests, it’s mutually beneficial.  Taylor is describing entering into a contract for the benefit of the media and general public, not a genuine connection.  

Then there are other queers.  Taylor feels their commonalities.  They are physically around where she lives, and in the industry.  They share similar experiences and struggles.  Though Welcome to New York doesn’t specifically say “friends” it has a similar tone to the rest of these songs.  

Welcome to New York

These people escaped their small towns and the homophobia so rife in them.  Many of them were estranged from family and had no one when they came to New York looking for a better life.  They put that angst, and the pain of being bullied for being gay, away and lived more authentically.  These people came together, and are coexisting in the same space, but Taylor doesn’t mention being especially close to any of them.  She is doing her own thing, and they are going about their business too.  They nervously and excitedly walk through the village realizing there are people like them.  They search for love–a unique experience given their childhood isolation and trauma.  And Taylor is right there with them, feeling the difference in acceptance between Nashville and New York.  In You Need to Calm Down, these friends are explicitly named as part of the queer community.  The homophobes are comin’ at them like a missile.  And Taylor is on the inside of the gay trailor-park, the same as the queer friends.  Though she isn’t close to any one person in this community, she gets it.  Taylor is one of the queers.

There are other people that are around during the important relationship.  In a lot of the songs, friends are relegated to the background, while Taylor and her Lover are centered in the lyrics.  In Paper Rings the friends were high the first night they met.  It’s like Taylor barely notices the friends because her love “blurs her periphery”-they are just inebriated people that can crash in the living room.  The friends are just there in songs like London Boy.  Champagne problems reiterate that the friends are fickle, not evergreen.  If something goes wrong, the friends aren’t there cheering.  Much like this song, Question…

The fourth category are betrayers.  I get major frenemies vibes from most of these songs, actually.  In Tis the Damn Season Taylor talks about so-called friends just there to gossip.  Last Great American Dynasty uses bitch-pack, a moniker that may be a bit sarcastic, but isn’t a super-nice way to describe actual friends.  The Archer says all her enemies started out as friends.  In This is Why we Can’t Have Nice Things, Taylor reminds the audience that she isn’t that great at picking out authentic friends.  She aligned with people who later turned on her, and threw her under the bus.  She makes a point to toast her real friends, but in the same breath mentions the people she can actually depend on-her mama and her baby(lover).  

Finally, there is Karlie.  Her lover and her went from friends to this.  She keeps writing pages about their epic love story.  And after the final break-up being friends again would iron it out so nice.  But Taylor doesn’t want that.

Question… Closeting Leads to Fall Out [Part 4]

26 Nov

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 possibly ascertain the subject. Don’t get overwhelmed with the length of this post.  The word I’m trying to point-out from Question… lyrics is highlighted. 

But one thing after another f—ing situation

Circumstances, miscommunications

Miscommunication:

The story of us

Miscommunication is negative in both Taylor’s songs that feature the word.  She loses mutuality in these relationships, there’s misunderstandings causing real and imagined slights.  It causes tumult for the couple.  Even though there is still love, things break down. There is also a LOT of this during the Kaylor relationship, as told by The Great War, and other songs.

And I have to say, by the way

I just may like some explanations

Can I ask you a question?

Question:

Marjory

coney island

Marjory has a tricky bridge with a double-subject.  Yes, throughout the song Taylor is talking about her beloved Grandmother [this song means a lot to me because of that].  But this part that I highlighted not only is talking about actual swimming with Grandma, it also speaks to someone tall (Karlie) pushing Taylor to let go of control and swim in this new water (public-WLW).  Taylor hates and fears it (the actual deep water her Grandmother urges her to swim to, where she can’t touch the ground, and the metaphorical unknown, “falling feels like flying til the bone crush” depth where she has no control. She complains because Taylor has always micromanaged her brand and image.

Further, Taylor indicates the I gave you everything, what more could I have given sentiment alluded to in many other songs.  She says she should have had an open, honest discussion with Karlie, instead of playing games (Cornelia Street), giving the silent treatment (Afterglow), and losing communication.  Taylor should have kept the receipts, because now with the husband and child and connection to Trump, Karlie is completely dead to her (gross metaphor, but apt in the song about Taylor’s deceased Grandma). 

And in Coney Island Taylor is regretful about this.  She says when the sun sets (Karlie leaves) it gets cold and depressing.  In that song, too she is asking questions to Karlie after she already left for a heterosexual life.  Karlie didn’t like being private only, or being on the backburner to Taylor’s career, but put up with it politely for a long time.  Until she couldn’t take it anymore and finally gave up, “putting the sea between you and me.”

Did you ever have someone kiss you in a crowded room?

Crowded:

Dress

The story of us

Taylor is saying she’s like a duck in these two songs: Calm, palatable, relatable, suitable for the crowd/public, but there is a lot of anxiety, stress, and secrets going on underneath the surface. Taylor has a WLW lover (disguised as best friend) right there in the limelight with her. Secret moments in a crowd/public convey the closeted aspect of her WLW relationships.  The are in plain sight, but protected in a magical cloak of friendship thanks to heteronormativity.  And Story of Us has the same feel.  Taylor is standing in public with a happy face but her lover, soon to be ex is estranged due to the misunderstandings caused by closeting breaking them down.  Question’s kiss in a crowded room talks about the Betty-type aspect of going public with this secret love, and the consequences, both positive and negative of that. Despite troubles caused by the veneer of perfect, all-American good girl, best friend to fans brand-image, these secret, female loves stay with Taylor forever, like a tattoo. She needs to have them in her life, but must chose between them and closeting for fame/legacy.

Question… Cognizants Illuminated [Part 3]

25 Nov

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 Question… lyrics is highlighted. 

We had one thing going on

I swear that it was something ’cause I don’t remember who I was

Before you painted all my nights a color I’ve searched for since

Paint:

Again, there’s so, so many so I picked ones I thought were more pertinent.  Here’s the others:  the best day, I’m only me when I’m with you.

dear john

John Mayer was an abusive mind-fuck that left Taylor feeling destabilized.  He brings her up only to shove her down.  She uses “paint” as a way to describe him controlling the situation.

everything has changed

Dancing with our Hands Tied

paper rings

the 1

Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince

coney island

Peace

Taylor seems to regard the word “paint” as something that washes over her, changing emotions entirely. Creating a vibe. An emotional washing over of an entire situation. She is painted sad, she is painted happy. When she paints artistically, the same emotional change colors her creative works. Walls and murals represent overall emotional states (depression/love). Her songwriting conveys deep feelings.

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, less depressed, more open than she had prior to that moment.  Taylor confirms this sentiment in Dancing with our Hands Tied when she describes being deeply depressed until this new, real love paints her golden. 

Though in The 1, Taylor offhandedly mentions her and her love never painted by the numbers.  She’s framing their relationship as “different” “weird” which shows society’s sentiment about homosexual love, as well as her own internal homophobia and fear of being outed.  BUT something awoke in Taylor, even if she’s afraid of it.  In Paper rings, painting is mentioned, but immediately prior to that Taylor says they went from friends to this and she has dirty dreams about this former friend, turned lover. The painted wall is showing the feelings that arose from this new love. Taylor says she jumped into the relationship even though it made her blue.  She’s sad because the couple represents a stigmatized form of love and they had to hide it from society.  Also because Karlie had a commitment to a guy (beard/arrangement) so Taylor had to share.  “I’m with you even if it makes me blue” has the double meaning that Taylor is still going to beard with Joe in order to obscure this secret love–and that makes her depressed. 

Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince tells how and says how Taylor sort of came full circle (and obviously with far less toxicity than JM) going from recipient to perpetrator of turning the sky from blue to gray. Now it’s her girlfriend that she makes sad by hiding.  She hurts her lovers ultimately because of her fear of being an out WLW.  Even so, in Peace, Karlie doubles down on her love and level of commitment.  Karlie says she will warm Taylor’s heart to cast off Taylor’s waves of depression.  Karlie brings up Taylor’s authentic love for her too–shown by the butterfly mural that was commissioned during Lover promo.  The love Karlie feels is not for show, even though Kaylor has many, many complications Karlie would sit in the trenches with Taylor, give her a child and she would even die for Taylor.

Color:

I’d lie

out of the woods

Me!

Delicate

paper rings

tolerate it

In the song, I’d lie, Taylor is indifferent to the boy.  When he talks she is daydreaming, counting the colors in his eyes, which she notices looks like his father’s eyes.  She also notices his sister is beautiful.  And what would Taylor lie about?  “If you asked me if I loved him…  I’d lie”  She would say yes, she loved HIM, even though she has eyes for his sister. 

Taylor overtly recognized real love (vs. comp-het) in Out of the Woods when she says “the rest of the world was black and white but we were in screaming color.”  It speaks again, to her having an awakening because of this novel love she felt for this new type of person (a woman).  Taylor further conveys this new knowledge that she’s queer in Me! When she describes herself as not like the others and mentions the rainbow of colors (pride flag, LGBTQQAA all represented).  After her gay-awakening, Taylor sees the world with new eyes.  The blue is brighter and more unique in Delicate. 

Paper Rings, despite it’s high-pop cheery tone, is Taylor coming back down to Earth.  Jumping into this same sex relationship brings complications.  There is hiding, which causes fights.  There are beards for each and the necessary closeting makes both partners depressed.  The wall is blue, like their moods.  More so, parents and the industry don’t like it.  For these authority figures it’s reduced sales, a less palatable persona– a problem.  Taylor says her love should be celebrated–she is seeing the world in screaming color, but these people with power over her just tolerate it.

Everything I just wrote about paint and color was summed up neatly in Taylor’s two lines:

I swear that it was something ’cause I don’t remember who I was

Before you painted all my nights a color I’ve searched for since

Finally enlightened about the gay part of herself the world became more vivid to her.

Question… Good Girl or Wrong Choices? [Part 2]

24 Nov

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 Question… lyrics is highlighted.  

Good girl, sad boy, big city, wrong choices

We will look at good girl, city, wrong, and choices in other songs.

Good girl:

Style

Sad, Beautiful, Tragic

Good girl speaks of innocence and socially acceptable passive femininity.

Big city:

There’s a long, long list of songs that mention “city” so I chose ones that I thought went with the vibe of Question…  Here’s the others just for consistency:  The Lucky One, Never Grow Up, The Last Great American Dynasty, Holy Ground, I almost do, Mine, mean.

Cornelia st

false god

King of my Heart

In these songs “city” is NYC.  Screaming your name is many ads and campaigns that feature the subject of Cornelia Street (Karlie).  Taylor says, “I’m New York City” the place Karlie calls home.  Taylor is saying she is Karlie’s home.  Finally, in King of my Heart Taylor reveals that her and Karlie have a private relationship inside her room, because the boys never took her where Karlie does (same, girl).  Taylor’s priorities changes from men/money to sexing Karlie in private.

Wrong (Choices):

Here’s a couple that I thought were more loosely related:  long story short, only the young.  End Game for Choices (but I think it’s the Ed Shereen part).

Wonderland

state of grace

tolerate it

new years day

Evermore

Betty

The trend in all these “wrongs” is a stigmatized type of love.  Loving in shades of wrong.  Took a wrong turn.  Staying when it’s wrong.  Something went awry in Taylor’s world.  And Taylor is a wealthy, white, cis(I’m guessing), female in America.  Loving some dude, any dude is not socially unacceptable.  I would say it’s welcome and expected.  The love that is “tolerated” the love that ruins relationships (Betty) because it has to be hidden, is WLW love.  The hiding brings complications. They must both beard. But Taylor gets a sense she’s been betrayed when she sees Karlie “dance” with him. As told in Betty. And to try to salvage Kaylor, Taylor keeps writing letters to come out, but fear wins out and she throws them into the fire.

Good girl, sad boy, big city, wrong choices

Taylor wants to remain appropriately feminine to the public. Hiding her authentic self makes her depressed, makes her lover sad, and is destructive to the relationship = sad boy. Big city is the setting and personification of the Kaylor love story. Wrong choices indicates a desire to love and really feel it rather than be palatable, but also the stigma of gay love. It is “wrong” to the majority and Taylor fears that more than she fears losing her true loves. She can’t bring herself to come out.

Taylor Swift’s Question… Analysis [Part 1]

24 Nov

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 Question… lyrics is highlighted.  

(I remember)

False God

August

Other Side of the Door

Wildest dreams

All Too Well

The “remember” in each of these songs seems tinged with sadness and regret.  They all deal with miscommunications with lovers.  It’s the first line of Question… which tells us the subject of the song will be sadness and regret about losing a lover.

Snow on the Beach-I Guess They Call it Falling

22 Nov

I don’t like this song. I think it’s boring, and not really a duet or feature. I’m less trying to analyze this in a serious way and more of a playful trying to connect dots. I saw a SwiftGron analysis and thought it was quite plausible, but I don’t know anything about that period of time, so if I tried to find connections it would really be just copying someone else’s work. Also, I wanted to include Kelsea Ballerini, because I do think her album is all about Taylor.

I think the gist of this song is Taylor becoming infatuated with Karlie.  The weirdness is a different kind of love.  The weirdness is public homophobia.  The silent snow is the private, closeted nature of the relationship.  It’s not the first time Taylor had a private, closeted relationship.  I don’t think (because I don’t have the foundational knowledge) Taylor is directly referencing Dianna and Swiftgron in these lyrics, but Taylor’s WLW relationship behavior comes into play.  Being closeted and famous is hard on a relationship and both Swiftgron (I think?) and Kaylor were full of extenuating circumstances and external forces making things difficult.  Both relationships were on and off.  And there might have been some overlap between Swiftgron and Kaylor.  Enter Kelsea Ballerini.  I also don’t think Taylor is intentionally mentioning KelSwift in this song, but this song also has parallels to Kelsea’s album.  Kelsea is commenting on this type of situation, and the lyrics of her songs fit very well in the Kaylor rebound (or cheating?) situation.  Alas, I was unable to tie Zoe Kravitz to the song even though I think her and Taylor have something going possibly currently or during quarantine at least…

One night a few moons ago

I saw flecks of what could’ve been lights

But it might have just been you

Passing by unbeknownst to me

This line reminds me of Taylor’s song,

Long Story Short

Dianna’s Tumblr was:

It also reminds me of

Question…

Life is emotionally abusive

And time can’t stop me quite like you did

Like you did—it’s in past tense.  So this part of the song is not talking about a current love.

And my flight was awful, thanks for asking

Does it place this song timeline around Snake-gate (2016)?

My first thought regarding this line is the end of the LWYMMD video showing all the different eras/reputation song Taylors.  One of the Taylors cuts the wing of the plane to show a possible scrapped album (Karma?) and graffitis “Reputation” on the side.  The controversy caused a change in album eras from hippy to dark.

Or is it bringing up the new private jet controversy?

Or is Taylor just referring to someone who does ask about her day, and invest in her feelings (she flies a lot)?

Unlike the subject of Lavender Haze (Joe?):

I’m unglued, thanks to you

Kissgate Damage Control:

Very hurtful, Taylor.

Question… 

And it’s like snow at the beach

Weird but fucking beautiful

Taylor does a special behind the music for two songs only, and one of them was Lavender Haze, a very gay-sounding title, given the LGBT communities history, ties, and affiliations to that color.

Of course the Hetlors took that and ran with homophobia. Because of course a vague “weird” means stigma over gayness, amIright?

In this particular instance the “weird rumors” in Lavender Haze are the 1950s shit.  Marriage/pregnancy, etc…  But is she playing with the assumptions of Hetlers in this song by saying what they thought (in this situation and every situation, honestly) was “weird” aka gay stuff, is the love she considers beautiful?

Flying in a dream, stars by the pocketful

You wanting me tonight feels impossible

But it’s coming down, no sound, it’s all around

Coming down can also be negative. The relationship is coming down because of external forces. Alluded to in

Question…

Being nearly outed causes Kaylor to go into damage control and eventually go dark altogether.  Which causes many problems for Taylor and Karlie.  It’s stressful, and a lot of the issues are external, not really malicious between them (The Great War).  Yet, it’s too much pressure and I suspect they break up several times based on Death by a Thousand Cuts and many other songs.  Somewhere in the Kaylor on and off relationship, I Taylor could have had a thing with Kelsea.

Listening to Kelsea’s album, it’s certain Kelsea, at least, loves(d) Taylor.  

Looking back at Taylor’s past I think it’s reasonable to think that Kelsea could have been a rebound to one of the break ups, if not the final Kaylor break up.  Because closeting causes relationship stress.  And Taylor did that before.  I think.  Did Dianna and Taylor also have an on and off relationship?  I missed all of Swiftgron so I don’t know as much about it.  But Style addresses this:

So it’s plausible it could happen again.

Kelsea’s I Guess They Call it Fallin’

PEDESTAL?

How common of a word is this?

But here it is in a Taylor song.

Long Story Short

and I think that song is referencing this TS song–

Wonderland

Strangers watching, gossip, gay rumors may have had a hand in making that relationship go south. The closeting killing love is a repetitive theme in Taylor’s love life.

Like snow on the beach

Like snow on the beach

Like snow on the beach

Like snow, oh, oh oh

This scene feels like what I once saw on a screen

I searched aurora borealis green

This is the part that convinced me most about someone else’s Dianna theory. The cold beach vacation where Northern Lights can be seen? And Dianna having green eyes. It’s pretty on the nose. But here’s what I found in my own research:

Karlie is a spokesperson for Swarovski. Who, like developed the Aurora Borealis effect in crystals.

I’ve never seen someone lit from within

Blurring out my periphery

Taylor can only see this person.  Everything else is blurred.  This person made her lose all perspective and her entire focus is on them.

My smile is like I won a contest

Here’s a song talking about winning a prize. I think “winning” Karlie over Jo$h is what Willow is talking about.

Willow

And to hide that would be so dishonest

This line gets into the meat of the Kaylor external problems and primary conflict:

I Know Places

Gay Panic.  Taylor wants to keep the WLW private. She wants to remain safely within the kingdom of her bedroom with her private lover.

Taylor says she is too afraid and goes into gay panic damage control mode if the rumors get too loud.

Peace

I think the first verse of Peace is Taylor saying she’ll always stay afraid, in the closet and the remaining verses of the song are Karlie assuring Taylor it will be fine. Karlie says she loves Taylor for real. And they’ve always glass-closeted and it’s been OK so far.

Renegade

To me, this song seems like Taylor’s idea of what Karlie wants to tell her (“Karlie” talking):

I guess Karlie got tired of waiting and decided Taylor’s fear of living out in the open with her was more of a ‘do you just not want to’ situation.  She went back to her beard and had a baby.

Exile

Taylor says she is in agony remaining in the closet, but seeing Karlie have a public boyfriend (he’s a beard). Karlie tells Taylor, just come out we were always walking right on the edge of public/private love.  Taylor knows how the movie ends and is still fearful about being openly WLW.  Karlie says she can’t come out for Taylor, she can’t spend any more time commiserating the imperfect circumstances, Karlie has no more tears for this situation.  Now Taylor now has to live with seeing Karlie in a public relationship with a family.  And Taylor says she’ll come out.  But only the side door = Lavender Haze.

Back to this song:

And it’s fine to fake it ’til you make it

‘Til you do, ’til it’s true

Taylor signals about WLW.  She inserts gay lyrics and double-meanings.  She’s softly coming out, little by little.  Coming out the side door, faking it til she can actually do it.  

Also, the fake it part could be Taylor trying her best to move on from Kaylor.  She doesn’t want to be blue and stuck at the restaurant.  So she tries to feel something with other women.  Kelsea says she’s at least one of these women:

Fletcher’s remix of Better Version, feat Kelsea Ballerini

See my other post about this verse, and how I ruled out Morgan Evans as the subject, and ruled in Taylor.  I mean fuck HER is not about Morgan, right?  I guess Kelsea could also play the pronoun game, but in a Fletcher (out as some part of the LGBTQ community) song?!

Now it’s like snow at the beach

Weird but fucking beautiful

Here’s a couple of Kelsea songs with the same type of vibe of Snow on the Beach. It seems like Kelsea and Taylor might have had a stargazing date or something like that.

Kelsea’s Love is a Cowboy

Kelsea I Guess They Call it Fallin’

Flying in a dream, stars by the pocketful

Kelsea’s Marilyn:

Kelsea brings up the main problem: Taylor choses fame over her own authenticity. She is a celebrity that everyone knows, yet goes to a house, not a home, alone. It’s personally unfulfilling hiding your sexuality and true loves as the trade-off for legend-status.

You wanting me tonight feels impossible

But it’s coming down, no sound, it’s all around

Kelsesa’s I Guess They Call it Fallin’

Like snow on the beach

Like snow on the beach

Like snow on the beach

Like snow, oh, oh oh

I can’t speak afraid to jinx it

I don’t even dare to wish it

But your eyes are flying saucers from another planet

Kelsea’s Universe:

Now I’m All For You like Janet

I think it’s nice to reference other important artists in your work.  That said, this line is very jarring and fights with the tone of the rest of the song.  I find it to stick out like a sore thumb, be forced, and out of place.  I’m not sure if this was part of Lana’s contribution, but I’ll reach anyway to try to put it into some context (I’d like to throw it out).  I couldn’t find any commonality between Janet and Karlie.  Or Zoe Kravitz (who I would love to find some sort of lyrical evidence on because I think this is a real thing too).  I found a teeny thing relating to Kelsea, but don’t scratch my eyes out about it–it’s the best I could do with this one…

Kelsea is divorced now. Possibly because she discovered her sexuality through a love or fling with a woman.

Can this be a real thing? Can it?

Are we falling like snow at the beach?

The snow coming down and all the fallin’s fit together. It does seem like two perspectives talking about the same moment.

Kelsesa’s I Guess They Call it Fallin’

Weird but fucking beautiful

Flying in a dream, stars by the pocketful

Kelsesa’s I Guess They Call it Fallin’

Kelsea doesn’t like being played with. She felt all these strong feelings and real emotions, but the other person let her down. They are living in a dream world, not reality.

You wanting me tonight feels impossible

But it’s coming down, no sound, it’s all around

Like snow on the beach (snow on the beach)

Like snow on the beach (are we in a dream?)

Like snow on the beach (you want me)

Like snow (like snow)

But it’s coming down, no sound, it’s all around

I think the repetitive ending is very similar to the end of Kelsesa’s song.

Kelsesa’s I Guess They Call it Fallin’

Like snow on the beach (it’s coming down, it’s coming down)

(It’s coming down, it’s coming down)

Like snow on the beach

(It’s coming down, it’s coming down, it’s coming down, it’s coming down)

(It’s coming down, it’s coming down, it’s coming down, it’s coming down)

(Coming down, it’s coming down, it’s coming down, it’s coming down)

Taylor loved Karlie.  The closeting was too much.  Kaylor was unsustainable.  Karlie moved on and Taylor was still at the restaurant, hair pinned up.  Taylor may have tried to soothe her broken heart, and/or move on by seeing Kelsea.  But the KelSwift relationship is just another let down.  Kelsea Taylor simply can’t let go of Kaylor and that makes her unable to be open to new love right now.  Kelsea, made discoveries about herself partially as a result of this fling/hook-up/dating? 

And now she’s hurt too.