Tag Archives: music

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.

Kelsea Ballerini and Taylor Swift are Legends

28 Jan

Here’s another song in Kelsea’s catalog where I think she is talking about Taylor, and purposely inserting certain words, themes, and images to reference Taylor. You decide:

Legends

We were golden, we were fire, we were magic

Is Kelsea intentionally using key words from Taylor’s songs?

Taylor modifies how she sees love from passionate, burning red, to golden like daylight. She wants to step out of the woods into the warmth of daylight.

Deep blue, but you painted me golden

The fire is a spark, or a comforting light in the darkness. It’s both warming and dangerous (if not controlled). Taylor also sees fire in a negative light, as being outed, burning the room down. And fire turning to ashes is like a relationship that ends, enkindling both people.

It seems Kelsea is alluding to comforting and warming, as she Wedges “fire” between golden and magic.

Magic is Taylor’s realization of what attraction and love feel like (vs. comp-het). Magic is also the disappearing act her and her sapphic lover are able to pull off thanks to heteronormativity [best friends!].

Yeah and they all knew our names all over town

Taylor and Kelsea are both big names in Nashville.

They have both toured the world and topped the music charts.

Taylor’s description of Nashville:

To Taylor, Nashville has become limiting and artificial, entrapping her in a disingenuous image. Kelsea moved to Nashville as a teen because she had seen Taylor do it. Kelsea wanted to emulate Taylor’s career, and was excited to be in a place where it could happen. So many eager hopefuls travel to Nashville, seat of country music, to make it in the industry.

We had it made in the middle of the madness

A music star has a crazy schedule.

“Celebrity” could be a chaotic life.

Sapphic affairs might cause a stir.

Madness could be rebelling against social norms.

We were neon in a gray cloud

Taylor uses bright color to describe sapphic love (vs. the black and white of straight love):

Taylor is chronically sad and depressed (in part due to being closeted):

Both cheating and sapphic love put Taylor’s relationships in a gray area:

The clouds might signify Taylor pining for Karlie, or trying to get her back:

But Kelsea says they were colorful and gay in the midst of Taylor’s depression, in a confusing situation, and when Taylor’s head is still in the Kaylor clouds.

Yeah, we wrote our own story

They paved their own way because what other two (country) music stars are in a sapphic relationship?

They each literally wrote their story in their songs.

Full of blood sweat and heartbeats

Full of blood?

Is it talking about working toward careers: blood, sweat, and tears? But there were no tears, so the heartbeats are a reprieve from that? The heartbeats signal excitement and passion.

Or is it talking sexy time (pitter patter of the heart then getting sweaty) under a blood moon?

They might have had their affair during the month of a lunar eclipse.

Or the blood moon may signal an infrequent and intermittent affair (twice a year).

Additionally, it could be some October as the full moon that month is called Blood-Moon due to hunting season.

Can we use the moon to pin down the time frame the Taylor and Kelsea might have had a fling?

Months of blood moons:

Based on the Delicate cover and Taylor’s response to it:

and the towels pic:

I think their affair could have happened at least in 2018. March-May 2018 seems more than friends, possibly. Due to the on/off Kelsea’s discography alludes to it could have also been intermittent in years prior or after this too.

Counterfeit:

Taylor wants to resolve Kaylor, but she is anxiously waiting for things to align. While Taylor waits for the perfect timing with Karlie there’s a glitch and she gets with Kelsea.

Beating hearts/heartBEAT:

We didn’t do it for the fame or the glory

Kelsea is contrasting the very public Kaylor to KelSwift. Karlie and the models might have been hired as PR to eliminate the boy-crazy image Taylor hated. Taylor needed a best friend to take away mention of men. Karlie signed on to play the BFF to get more exposure and recognition to bolster her own career.

And Kaylor accidently fell in love.

But Kelsea and Taylor are not together for PR or careers. There was never money exchanged between the two.

They came together more organically.

But we went down in history

Yeah we were legends

That sounds a lot like a closeted sapphic relationship! There are rumors, but no pictures.

It also sounds a lot like the premise of the folklore album.

But notice Kelsea is talking in past tense.

Loving you baby it was Heaven

Another past tense line.

In Cruel Summer, Taylor describes her relationship with (I’m pretty sure) Karlie. The relationship is delicate and fragile for many reasons: Taylor feels conflicted because society taught her that sapphic love is sinful, and she brings up religious figures to show her concern. The relationship is also fickle because Kaylor started out friends with benefits, no strings attached, and Taylor and Karlie caught stronger feelings on antithetical timelines. Thirdly, the Kaylor relationship feels precarious because Karlie can’t commit fully–partially because she had a long-term boyfriend/beard.

During KelSwift, Taylor is still apprehensive about her sexuality, especially in a public forum. Now Taylor treats Kelsea like Karlie treated her at first. She doesn’t want to be serious, and is just looking for a fun fling. Kelsea, however, has strong feelings for Taylor, just like the strong feelings Taylor had/has for Karlie. Taylor has been on both sides of the equation between Kaylor (pining/wanting more) and KelSwift (distracted/non-committal).

What everyone wondered we’d never question/Close our eyes and took on the world together

This line is more strong evidence that this is a different (gay) type of relationship. Why would other people wonder about this couple? Why does the pair need to take on the world?

I think “take on the world” is also talking about their music careers. Kelsea and Taylor and both striving to get their music out to the world.

Do you remember?

We were crazy

Tragic and epic and so amazing

Interesting choice of words…

I’ll always wear the crown that you gave me

The crown. We talked about how Taylor has at least 3 songs that mention a crown specifically in the Homecoming Queen analysis.

Out of Kelsea, her husband, and Taylor who was the first to move to Nashville, and who got signed first?

Kelsea’s husband was signed after she had already been signed for a year.

https://www.seventeen.com/celebrity/music/news/a29259/all-it-took-was-a-tweet-to-make-kelsea-ballerini-an-instant-star/

We will always stay lost in forever

And they’ll remember

We were legends

Like we were written down in permanent marker

KelSwift leaves an indelible mark on Nashville and music. And the couple will always have good memories of their relationship. This line also might be a call back to an early Taylor Swift performance in Nashville:

Kelsea uses “permanent marker” possibly to contrast the word “paint” that Taylor often uses in her own songs. Paint can be RE-painted, or covered up easily. Permanent marker is more difficult to remove or modify.

Not even the brightest sun could ever fade

In Peace, Karlie tells Taylor she is sunshine/fire/friend, and would take away Taylor’s depression and die for her:

To Kelsea, sunshine is Karlie. She is saying even Karlie at her brightest, can’t take away the memories of KelSwift.

Come whichever hell or high water

Taylor thinks fiery hell would be getting outed in a gay relationship:

And the water is Taylor’s team putting out the fire with their damage control:

Kelsea is saying KelSwift could survive despite the closeting (for fear of fire/hell) and the PR damage control (water/flood) that also comes with bearding. Kelsea is also in the industry so she knows how important it is to be descreet. She even wrote a song about keeping secrets, If You Go Down (I’m Going Down Too). Kelsea is commenting that Taylor wouldn’t be outed with her. And Kelsea is saying she already knows the industry and the PR damage control doesn’t bother her.

It was always me and you either way

Hey we wrote our own story

Full of blood sweat and heartbeats

We didn’t do it for the fame or the glory

We just did it for you and me

And that’s why we were legends

I’m not the only one who noticed similarities between Kelsea and Taylor in this song.  Unlike the hater that wrote the following article, I don’t think Kelsea is doing a cheap remake of Taylor’s work. I think Kelsea is intentionally referencing Taylor in order to furtively tell the audience who the subject of this song is–Taylor.

2022 Music Statistics

21 Jan

Unfortunately for statistical accuracy, I used a pad for over half the year, and it was a shared device so it wasn’t under my username. Then my phone died and I had to switch to an older phone. So this is not accurate at all, but it fits the vibe of 2022 (ruined) so I’m posting it so I can look back at it in the future.

Most popular artists this year (on this device and username):

Taylor Swift led this year, followed by MY MATE ManiK Fox. Check out her music on Spotify or Apple–I think it’s on all the platforms. ManiK Fox. After that was Kelly Clarkson and Brandi with their pipes. Young the Giant was 5th on this device, feisty Miranda Lambert 6th, and album of the year winner, Amy Ray 7th on this device:

Most listened to albums (on this device):

Popular Songs:

I really hope Katie Pruitt puts out some more music soon, I was enjoying listening to her a lot after we discovered her at Brandi’s concert. You can tell the stats are skewed because a lot of Christmas music is showing up even though I really don’t listen to it much, and never outside of December.

Best Moments of 2022

1 Jan

I was really grasping at straws for the most part to make this a list. I had to dig deep to think of the good times.

#21 Best thing:

Pride Parade was neutral. It Rained hard for a long time. We were soaked and chilly.

The police were good sports when the gays decorated them–they didn’t hate it. They DID refuse glitter though 😛

Despite the rain (and Cool’s event anxiety) we looked awesome.

#20 Best thing:

ScarecrowFest was neat. The entire town had sponsered scarecrows, and they were everywhere! We got to vote for our favorite on the website. Though as of yesterday (12/31) they still had not posting the result of the vote…

#19 Best thing:

I was in a totally different market at work:  (Jan-July/Aug) as extra help and that took me away from Jogre and KDouche-Finally! My interim supervisor was the best!!! He was communicative, friendly, and helpful. Good help was available, training was more frequent. They treated me nice, and so did everyone in that market (until I was actually transferred to their team permanently). I had really high confidence and hope that my work problems were over. [I didn’t know at the time it was a bait and switch…]. I was happy at work for half the year. 

#18 Best thing:

Zoo for Cool’s bday was fun.

This is not a zoom lens. You actually get this close to the penguins and the puffins!

It’s not higher because we got lost on the way back to the car, and walked (unplanned) 8 miles around sketchy areas in the heat and humidity.

#17 Best thing:

You-pick farm was low-key and fun. Flowers were beautiful. 

#16 Best thing:

Went permanent for the new market after the Sup said she doesn’t regulate OT. I was relieved and hopeful. 

At the time this was extremely good news. I would be away from Jogre and KDouche forever! Little did I know this sup was an even more aggressive narcissist. But for the time, it was really, really good news and a relief.

#15 Best thing:

Narwahls

They have alcohol slushies, and they do a flight. And also… Adorable!

Don’t I look miserable and tired, P.S.? This was after the moving ambush, packing frenzy, driving across 4 states, and sleeping on concrete. But the slushy was really good.

#14 Best thing:

Got a shamrock shake in the town of Shamrock TX when we were on our moving road trip. The milkshake machine worked!!!

#13 Best thing:

Randalls

#12 Best thing:

Music was pretty good again this year and I was on top of my ranking which felt good. 

Thanks to Taylor Swift for forcing me to finish it by Oct. It actually really helped (though I STILL have to do Weezer’s winter installment.

#11 Best thing:

Loft Landlord offered to let us sign a lease early to lock in same price for the next 19mo. We signed longer in order to move in better weather. 

We started asking about the price for renewal early, not wanting to be taken by surprise again. And I knew I needed to start packing and making reservations for storage and moving trucks by November. . . Having moving PTSD, I was very stressed and unprepared to pack all of our stuff again. And we had not recovered from 500 Move (Glendale, AZ) or our work CoL paycut. So even though there’s been car break-ins, burglary, fights that escalated to brandishing, a car on fire, rapes, and a full-on 12 person gun fight–I was relieved. I couldn’t pack and do all the moving logistics, make all the change of address calls, find a place, etc… so soon. And the money wouldn’t allow it-not in ideal way anyway. So it feels good to be locked into this rental price and to have some stability for the next year and a half.

#10 Best thing:

Halloween movie marathon! 

#9 Best thing:

Cool got her music on Spotify and Apple Music and other platforms!!!

This has been a long term goal and she made it happen this year. I am so PROUD of her. Take a listen to ManiK Fox. Follow on social media, as she is always making music and art. She has two albums up right now with more to come. I got to help name a couple songs on the first album, so that’s pretty neat too. And the second album has a song with the characteristics of each astrological sign, so January is the perfect time to check it out.

#8 Best thing:

After 13 years we ordered rings.

Wedding rings, commitment rings, whatever you want to call it. Cool and I don’t need papers, of licenses, or rings to legitimize what we have together. We could never afford it before, but made it a priority this year.

The rings are made of dinosaur bones/fossils! Cool’s will have stegosaurus and mine has T-rex. And they have actual meteor (is everything else second best after that meteor strike??!) in them. Mine (my planet in the moon) will have lunar meteor in it. And they’ll have beveled edges so they don’t look like a Claire’s ring.

It’s so low on the list because they won’t come for 10 weeks (in late March 2023).

#7 Best thing:

Double pained windows 

It’s toward the top of the list because it allows temperature control. We’ve always had drafty, single pane windows and a sliding glass door which do nothing for the cold or heat. So the double panes allow us to be more comfortable, and also lower the utility, which is a top priority for me. We always wanted double-pane windows, but could never afford that type of rental before! So Yay(?) random (gun) violence for making this loft affordable.

Except for the one drafty one (yup, that’s snow/ice/frost on the INSIDE):

And of course one of the items stolen from our storage was a window plastic kit…

#6 Best thing:

song analysis

well, you’ve seen.

At some points, analyzing songs was the ONLY thing that would stop my ruminations. It was one time I was relatively calm, and thinking about something else. Writing was a bright spot, and I wish I could get some type of income from writing from home.

#5 Best thing:

Finally found Goose a good vet

We have gone through FOUR (5 if you count my last vet job where the vet didn’t GAF) where the vets were too busy to care. Exams were done in the back, blood pressures half-assed or not done at all. Goose was treated like a checklist and I was treated as a nuisance.

But Dr. Ervin LISTENED. He took TIME to do things properly. He was professional and kind. Goose and I love him!

#4 Best thing:

Got $2800 from renters insurance for 500 Move (out of literally $10k paid directly to 500 move, and probably $5000 of damage/lost/stolen items) But it was something! 

It was very easy to complete the claim too (unlike 500 Move). You just select your items from an amazon-like link.

#3 A,B,C Best things:

Brandi in KC-close enough to walk and next door to the zoo!

And at the zoo, you got to go right in with the kangaroos! No fences between us at all. And no staff was even in there watching. It was amazing! This pic is actually how close we got (don’t worry, we stayed on the path, as advised by the signs).

The AirBnB was within walking to the venue. No lateness phobia! No parking! No paying to park! No having to wait to leave or messing around with drunk drivers trying to get out of the venue! We just ate at home, walked through the neighborhood, and walked right up. As a result we were first in our line (which is not usually my luck).

#2 Best thing:

The 4 cats were perfect angels on the car ride and in hotels during the move.

They were almost entirely quiet during the car ride. And we had charcoal liners in their carriers, so when baby Angus had to go at a very inopportune time on the road it wasn’t a big deal. He tried very hard to hold it, then harder to tell us he was about to have an accident. When we coaxed him to just pee nobody smelled it and no one was wet!

And it was the best they’ve ever done in a hotel. Goose gets angsty and stressed out in hotels and won’t sleep-or let us sleep. Once, he was so unhappy about a car ride that he peed on my hotel pillow! And he NEVER inappropriately urinates. And in the past, C.L. yowled the whole car ride and was wandery and unsettled in the hotel.

I was ready for the worst. If two cats made for a bad trip, 4 were going to be miserable! But more cats actually helped. It was like they calmed each other. The sat in pairs in the car and like I said, everyone was just cozy. And they SLEPT in both hotels. It was more than I could expect from 4 babies, and I was so PROUD of them. And relieved to listen to podcasts instead of meows in the car. And very pleased to sleep at night, instead of trying to calm stressed out cats. Oh, and NO meds, ZERO substances. Just more cats than before.

#1 Best thing:

It was bad: I felt hopeless, depressed, anxious, uncertain, and constant dread. I knew there was no way out without upsetting my whole life, probably getting less money, and likely having to go to an office, and I didn’t want that. So I remained in the company, just on edge and paranoid and unhappy. BUT out of nowhere the corporation moved me away from my narcissist supervisor back to the other side of the company! And NOT to Jogre’s team. I did not have to do anything or say anything. Everyone (including, and especially MNarc) was upset about the yanking, and lack of communication, and the timeline (NOW, NOW, NOW!), but it solved all my problems in one swift action! I automatically felt a million times better. I am able to think about things other than work. I don’t have required overtime every weekday, or holiday hours to work. And I don’t have to put up with being abused anymore. It feels good, and I want 2023 to be calm and peaceful!

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… The word Drinking/Drunk is in at Least 16 Taylor Swift Songs [Part 11]

9 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. 

Out of time, she was on your mind

With some di–head guy that you saw that night

But you were on something

It was one drink after another, f—ing politics and gender-roles

Drink:

I only used “drink” and “drunk” not any specific alcohol because that would have a slightly different connotation.

Gorgeous 

Delicate

London Boy

Taylor doesn’t flirt with this woman until she gets drunk.  Then she conveys that she doesn’t know or care where her “boyfriend” is.  Taylor says her life is ruined because this gorgeous person isn’t hers.  The same pattern follows:  Taylor and this person get a drink on a secretive date at the dive bar in Delicate.  There is anxiety in the song, and Taylor drinks to quell it, as well as an excuse for a hang out.  In the song “for Joe,” London Boy, Taylor enjoys having a drink in the afternoon in Soho–which just happens to be London’s prime gay spot.

I think in all of these instances, Taylor is leaning on drinking because she’s fretting about many things.  She’s anxious about being Sapphic, she is concerned the girl won’t like her back, or that she’ll think Taylor is coming in too hot.  And Taylor is afraid about how the bearding and WLW and the public perception will play out.  Taylor drinks to chill.  

Blank Space

Dress

Cornelia Street

In Blank Space, Taylor mocks the media’s image of her as a crazy ex-girlfriend.  She simultaneously shares her bearding modus operandi.  She manages to get a THIRD layer into this song by talking about getting drunk on jealousy.  She doesn’t wanna share her actual lover.  Dress also uses “drunk” as a double-entendre.  There is a description of a secret, private intimate moment of spilling wine in the bathtub.  The love her and her lover share is also making her drunk with happiness and a type of attraction she’s never felt before.  Cornelia Street makes this same comparison.  This new love is unfamiliar, they are starting on a fresh page and writing as they go.  Even so, the love is stronger than anything they order at the bar.  Being drunk can be fun, it allows inhibitions to be lowered.  But it can also make your head spin, cause you to act a fool, and can make you sick.  Taylor compares Sapphic love to that experience of drinking too much.  And even at this early stage of new love, Taylor is terrified to lose the love.  She senses it’s fickle and fears it could go away at any time.

Getaway Car

Cruel Summer

Taylor tells us listeners why she is so afraid to lose this new love:  There is a third person involved.  The lovers were mindlessly enjoying each other, Taylor drinking in the love and the whiskey, but the third person was pursuing them.  Taylor says 3 is not a love story, it’s a circus.  And that is why their love is cursed–the 3rd person ruined it.

Cruel Summer seems like the chapter after Getaway Car.  Taylor explains how she was crying in the back of the car, because even though she originally agreed to a no strings attached situation, she caught real and strong feelings.  She is IN love with this lover, and the subject is taken aback, possibly reluctant to enter into something serious with Taylor.  We are not told if the lover isn’t into Taylor, if she doesn’t want to acknowledge she’s Sapphic, or if she feels strongly loyal to her beard…  But the love isn’t flowing equally in both directions at this point in the narrative, hence the “ain’t that the worst thing you ever heard?” line after declaring love.  Despite any misgivings, the lovers do not completely break up, Taylor and her lover sneak around.  Taylor goes in through the garden gate, entering into this complex love triangle, and losing herself in the secrets and love.

End Game

King of my Heart

End Game is a persuasive essay.  Taylor outlines a nice date of drinking and making out on the beach as the desirable mode for the relationship.  She says she’s serious about the romance, not just playing around.  And importantly, she is trying to entice her lover to pick her.  King of my Heart is persuasive also, but with a tinge of anger and some assumptions mixed in.  She indicates her and this love are off and on–they’re on the roof with plastic cups, spending the night together, but then there is an off period where Taylor doesn’t know if it’s the final ending.  Taylor jumps to the conclusion (or sees signs?) that her lover is not picking her, because the lover wants the finer things in life. Taylor thinks the lover choses money, and asks her lover to say their love alone is enough for her.

Death by a Thousand Cuts

Cardigan

Ivy

My Tears Ricochet 

Drinking and getting drunk mark Taylor’s journey of grief after the split.  During the break-ups Taylor is emotionally raw.  She oscillates between sadness, reminiscing, empathy, and anger.

Sadness:  Death by a Thousand Cuts is how Taylor suffers during the break-up(s?).  Taylor tells how their plans all fell through.   She says “we” boarded up the windows. Her and her lover were not seen anymore in public, but were still together.  This lover impacted every part of Taylor:  emotional, physical, spiritual.  Taylor gave too much of herself to her lover, and it still wasn’t enough to keep this person in her life.  Now, she is lost without her lover so she just gets drunk.  But Taylor makes sure to tell her lover the chandelier is still flickering in the private place with the windows boarded up–in case her lover wants to return to their private romance.

Reminiscent:  Taylor fondly reminisces about many good times with her lover, and the positive impact that this person had on her life.  Drunk under streetlights, kissing in cars and in bars, sleeping over on weekends.  In Cardigan the lover was too friendly to Taylor’s enemies or bad people, and now the lover has run away from Taylor.  Even with these transgressions, the lover marked Taylor forever.  And at the end of the song Taylor repeats many times that she knew this lover would come back to her.  Is this a wish or dream, or DID the lover, in fact, return to Taylor like a favorite sweater that had been misplaced under the bed?

Empathy:  Ivy is Taylor’s idea (she wrote the song after all) of what Karlie might say.  Taylor always reached for Karlie’s hand, but Karlie’s hand in marriage was already promised to another.  That made Karlie feel loyalty about the prior promise, but also conflicted because she loves Taylor back.  Karlie says, she too, looked forward to these stolen, sneaky moments, though she always knew it would be for a finite time because of her prior commitment.  SHE says it’s Taylor who pushes her away, and tells her to run.  And Taylor’s hand is the chilly, distant one.  Karlie’s pain is in Taylor’s palm.  It’s Taylor that is in control of the outcome of their relationship.  Karlie lived and died for their time together and is willing to dare to see what happens if her and Taylor stay together, drinking (Karlie’s husband/beard) Jo$h’s wine.

Anger:  I don’t know if Taylor is discussing the master’s heist in regards to the SBs or if Karlie is mixed in the lyrics of My Tears Ricochet too.  The battleships and the waves remind me of Gold Rush, a definite Karlie song.  But the cursing and killing and wishing I’d stayed seems too strong for the Kaylor situation in my opinion.  It might just be anger in the stages of Taylor’s grief, or she might have thought or found out that Karlie had something to do with the masters sale to an enemy.

Mirrorball

Nothing New (TV)

Even with all the love upheaval, it always comes back to Taylor’s career.  As upset as her choices pertaining to her love life make her, she still prioritizes building a legacy.  Mirrorball describes how Taylor shows every different person what they want to see.  She is not authentic to herself, in trying to please everyone else.  She is wearing uncomfortable shoes, standing awkwardly and painfully on her tiptoes, and spinning and shining for her audience, the media, the general public…  I imagine holding such an unnatural physical and metaphorical position must be tiring and sometimes torturous, but Taylor is afraid the end is near so she withstands it.  She shatters and bleeds, but nobody notices, they just notice her sparkle.  Taylor does not want to age out of music, and she doesn’t want her reputation to go south again.  She tells us she will do anything to avoid those dire consequences.  

Like Mirrorball, Nothing New (TV) goes into Taylor’s fears.  She was just being a young woman and the media called her a goodie-goodie, but when she dated like any young person might, they attacked and slut-shamed her.  Taylor couldn’t win.  Women can’t win.  She reminds us that longstanding pop stars in the industry must constantly reinvent themselves or be retired as yesterday’s news.  Taylor puts on her best face, though it’s exhausting, but constantly worries a new younger, gal will usurp her.  People like a young, new thing and throw away women quickly.  Taylor ends the song by giving her younger self advice.  But knowing that the keys to career success lead to unhappiness, emptiness, and loneliness makes older, wiser Taylor sad to give this advice.  Taylor followed that very map, and as a result, is at the top of the music industry, yet she drinks herself to sleep, worrying about it being snatched away from her at any point.  I think the “miss me when they drive me out” means both driving/pushing/relegating her to retirement, and also wondering if people will remember her legacy after the hearse drives away.

Here’s the lyrics from Question… since it’s been many words since you saw them:

Out of time, she was on your mind

With some di–head guy that you saw that night

But you were on something

It was one drink after another, f—ing politics and gender-roles

Question… sums up the song analysis of every use of the word “drink” or “drunk” over Taylor’s albums. 

The dickhead guy is the 3rd person muddying up her relationship with her lover.  This is why Taylor is always afraid her lover will not chose her, this is why Taylor tries to persuade her lover to stay. This dickhead is ruining everything because Taylor’s lover previously made a commitment to him.

“Out of time” could mean the glass closeting was finished due to this kissing in a crowded room.  They would no longer be seen as “friends” in the media and to the public. “Out of time” could additionally mean that Taylor faced a decision to come out to her fans and live openly Sapphic with her lover or continue to closet and beard, but lose the lover.  “Out of time” could have the third meaning that the lover’s finite time having an affair with Taylor was over because the guy demanded the full commitment she had promised.  

“She was on your mind but you were on something/it was one drink after another.”  We know from the drink/drunk lyrics in other songs Taylor uses alcohol to calm her anxiety.  And dating a woman, being seen with her girlfriend causes her maximal anxiety. Taylor also compares Sapphic love to that experience of drinking too much. The night Taylor is talking about in Question…  she was “on something” is both liquor and the high of gay love.  Drinking is also used to describe stages of grief in many songs throughout Taylor’s catalog.  The same goes here, this kissing event, and the choices everybody made as a result of it, have put Taylor in the stages of grief.  And the final drink/drunk songs are Taylor’s fears that her career will end, and how she has to be what people want her to be for that not to happen.  There is kissing in a crowded room, and same as always Taylor picked her career and image over her lover–putting her in grief and despair once more.

Question… Surprise! Taylor’s Realization Closeting Comes with Career [Part 10]

8 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. 

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

Out of time, she was on your mind

Surprise:

Mine

getaway car

coney island

The word “surprise” comes back to what’s shaping up to be the central thesis of Question…  Taylor was taken by surprise in Mine that she “fell in love…daughter.”  Taylor is in love with a girl.  In Getaway Car, Taylor “switched to the other side”–the queer side.  And in Coney Island, Taylor mentions her chronic behavior of hiding away her true feelings, and her love/lover with them.  Taylor’s closeting relegated her lover to the background, and it’s not surprising, but still disappointing to all involved (except the money-makers and the homophobes).

Realize:  

Fifteen

jump than fall

I knew you were trouble

picture to burn

back to December

Never grow up, 

I don’t think young Taylor knew it but in Fifteen she wasn’t only talking about how boys have one  thing on their minds, so girls need to be a bit more cynical.  Taylor tells how the attention from the boys felt good.  Wanting to be wanted made Taylor dream of marrying the boy, not any type of attraction to HIM.  It sounds like she didn’t actually like the boy–she liked being liked.  Later, Taylor is on the phone and an epiphany hits her–she loves her friend’s laugh.  Jump than Fall is the realization that Taylor likes this girl more than a friend.  This realization continues in I Knew You Were Trouble.  Taylor is taken to places she had never been.  It scares her, and she’s kicking herself because she knew this person would cause trouble for her.  It’s telling that Taylor mentions “shame” in this song.  That’s why she berates herself for getting involved with them in the first place–somewhere inside her is internal homophobia that feels shame about being/acting on gay.

I went back to get the OG lyrics of Picture to Burn, in order to try to tell the mindset Taylor was in at the time.  I think it’s less of a slur–like my ex-boyfriend is dumb and gaaaay eye roll.  And more of a–we had a secret same sex thing and now you’re talking $hit about me, so I’ll ‘out’ you as retaliation.  Neither is that great, but there’s no rules in love and war, so I hear. 

The tone of Back to December is regretful.  The key line to me is “when fear crept into my mind” that led to Taylor breaking up with this person.  I have to think the fear might be of having WLW feelings, or homophobia.  Finally, the last song that uses the word “realize” seems less related to Question…  But it does tie in.  Taylor feels lonely at her new apartment.  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 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 might fear that her sexuality will accelerate her losing everyone and everything.

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

Out of time, she was on your mind

The surprise and shock of 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 tries to hide it.  That is part of her M.O.  Question…  might be about the Kissgate incident specifically, but I think it’s a bigger story.  Taylor is saying how throughout her life her fear of her sexuality caused her to hide, panic, scheme.  And the result was loss and loneliness. 

Taylor keeps running out of time with each lover. Here’s just 3 examples from loves with a lot of evidence:

#1: Taylor made a loving video for her fiddle player, Emily that’s baby-gay vibes.

And a short time later, Emily was suddenly out of Taylor’s band.

Liner notes say, “sorry, sorry, sorry” and Breathe speaks about it.

#2: April 2013 articles were written, Tweets were posted about Swiftgron:

They are thought to have broken up that same month,

with this final post on Dianna’s Tumblr before she deleted it:

The last time Swifgron went anyplace together (FUN concert) was Sept. 2013:

#3: Kaylor

This timeline is complex and there is no consensus of it. I suggest just listening to Reputation through Midnights for answers. As the music tells us, Taylor and Karlie were on and off, and we know Taylor is so upset about being without her muse that she can’t stop writing pages…

The last time Taylor and Karlie were pictured together

was at Taylor’s Nashville concert.

Karlie was having her bachelorette party??!

Time and time again Taylor chose her career and the closet over her lovers, and all she’s left with is memories and regrets.

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.

2022 Albums of the Year Countdown: Revelry, Theater, & Therapy [Songs Ranked 18-10]

6 Dec

The Logistics (skip if you don’t care about math and 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:

18.

Red hot chili peppers: 64.71% + 39 = 103.71 Final

11 out of total 17 = 64.71%

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

4.5+12+10.5+12 = 39

They are weirdly enough still their authentic selves after all this time. The album was familiar yet new. They have a formula–and it works for them.

Tippa my tongue- sings similar to Giveitaway. Funky guitar. G-Gr 

Peace and love- funky interlude. G.

Eddie – wails on guitar. Funk. 70s. Gr.

Fake as fuck- catchy. Funky guitar. Spacey, psychedelic bridge. Trumpet! Gr-A

Roulette- G

My cigarette- I absolutely love the music on this track!  It would probably be an awesome if was about anything else.  Anything! Singing about the killer cigarettes is yuck. Smoking is unhygienic, gross, and literally tied to a bunch of cancers and health problems.  I understand cigarettes are small potatoes once you’ve done heroin, but still…  G

Afterlife- Gr

Shoot me a smile- G

The drummer- catchy. Funky guitar. Nice beat. G-Gr

Bag of grin- darker. Fast backing is interesting. Chorus has a nervana sound. Gr.

Copperbelly- G-Gr

17.

Marcus Mumford:  80%+24.5 = 104.5 Final

8 of 10 total songs = 80%

1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 7 Good 3

3.5+21 = 24.5

I liked the album, but feel like it needs something. I can’t quite put my finger on it…

Cannibal- singing sounds like band. Softly angry. G-Gr

Grace- nice singing. Catchy. Drawn out words are nice. Double voice on bridge adds. Guitar breakdown is interesting. G .

Prior warning- quiet. Sparse. Chimes. Shooting noise. G.

Dangerous game- interesting. Sounds like the singing I liked from the band. G.

Better angels- more rock. G.

Go in light-vsings with feeling. G

Stonecatcher- haunting. Duet goes well. Piano. G.

How- Brandi always sounds perfect. She is awesome at meeting the vibe. And of course notes/harmonies. Sounds great together.

16.

Luke Combs:  75%+31 = 106

9 of 12 total songs = 75%

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

8+14+9 = 31

Doin This- a lot of heart. Shows genuine love for music not just fame. G-Gr 

Any given Friday night- tailgate song! Relatable. Small Town fun. References John mellencamp. G

The kind of love we make- catchy. Love song. The singing has urgency to it. G-Gr 

On the other line- mirraccas! Fishing instead of being with his gal. Unapologetic. Double meaning of line. G-Gr 

Outrunnin your memory- catchy. Miranda sounds perfect with him. Gr.

Used to wish I was- story of a failed fb career but it was fate that brought him here. Embracing who he is. G-Gr.

Ain’t far from it- catchy! References Allen Jackson. Good syncopated beat. Fun. Gr

Call me- he figures Even if she’s bitter he’s still on her mind. G.

Going going gone- descriptive and visual. Comparisons. G.

15.

Dropkick Murphys:  80%+27 = 107 Final

8 out of 10 total sons = 80%

1 awesome 5; 2 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 5 Good 3

5+7+15 = 27

All you fonies- G

Cadillac Cadillac- G

Dig a hole- country western. Guitar changes their sound a lot. G.

The last one- harmonica. Pro- Blue collar work. Workers rights. G.

Never got drunk no more- a conversation. Hungover person says they’ll never drink again. The wife knows it’s been said before and doesn’t believe it. G-Gr.

Ten Times More- G-Gr.

Water are a’risi- G

Where Trouble is at- A

14.

Lizzo-

9 of 12 total songs = 75.00% + 33 = 108 Final

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

5+4.5+4+10.5+9 = 33

Overall, I love the positive vibes, I love loving yourself and your friends.  This album seemed like a lot of therapy has taken place, and is doing the talking.  The positivity is a good post-Covid sentiment to push.  I know it’s about Lizzo’s Twitter wars and how that caused her trauma.  I’m glad she could write this album to help process that pain in a constructive way.  As society, we need to find a middle ground on weight.  The 90’s Kate Moss look was dangerous.  But being morbidly obese is also dangerous.  We shouldn’t bully, but not intervening (in either direction) when someone is literally killing themselves is just not enough either.  On a completely different note, I got big, bi-vibes from a lot of these songs.  

The Sign- references quarantine. Cool electric guitar sounds. G-Gr.

About damn time- very disco. Used disco samples-fun. The hustle flute and I’m comin out Tonight lyrics. A little on the nose. Gr.

Grrrls- valuing friends and women. Empower. Bi-girl energy. G.

2b ready (to be loved)- more disco samples. Empower. G

I love you bitch- empowering song about self-love. Tals about struggles . A 

Special- Rhymes video with video. Talks about race, weight, loneliness, and self-esteem. More self-love and love for others. Empowering. Gr-A

Special- empowering. Self love. Propping others up. G-Gr.

Everybody’s Gay- no they’re not. Is that Thriller sampled? It’s hilarious that she references Michael Jackson in a song with gay in the title. Spectacular keyboard. G-Gr 

If you love me – more empowering and self-love. Does the MJ woo!  I like the sentiment very much, but don’t like the fat-positive movement-it’s literally dangerous.  That’s not to say I want bullying, or pro-anorexia, but weight does impact health negatively in many different ways.  G.

13.

Panic at the Disco: 75% + 33.5 = 108.5 Final

9 of 12 total songs = 75%

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

9+12+3.5+9 = 33.5

I still don’t know when Brendan did, or why everyone is calling him problematic.  So I went ahead and ranked a band I really liked way back when. I didn’t research the album but my overall impression was that it’s theatric. I’m not sure if it’s an actual soundtrack or play or something, but it could be.

Viva Las Vengeance- I love the energy behind this. The notes always move me. There is a show tune quality to it.  Notes! Gr-A 

Middle of a Breakup- relatable. Notes. Idk much about theater but this song also seems show tune adjacent so I’m wondering if this is a concept album. Meatloaf quality. G.

Don’t Let the Lights go out- notes. Heart beat. G.

Star Spangled Banner- def theater. Never saw Rent, but this seems like it could fit in there. Verse reminds me of Billie Joel. Nice orchestral at end. Gr.

God Killed Rock and Roll- very Queen. Like exact rip- of their everything. Notes. Gr-A 

Something About Maggie- cross between Queen Amie Mann and show tune. Brass is nice.  Notes. I like the circusy interlude. Nice trumpet at end. G-Gr.

Sad clown- Dichotomy between the happy energetic music and angsty lyrics. Notes and notes and notes! Gr.

All by yourself- slow. Reminds me of wonder years Beatles theme at first. Notes. G

Do it to Death- sounds like a commercial ad. Choppy transitions.

Gr.

12.

Imagine Dragons:  66.67+42 = 108.67 Final

12 of 18 total songs = 66.67%

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

4.5+12+10.5+15 = 42

It was like there were two writers on this album. Some of the songs were very screamy and some were the sound I liked from prior albums. The discs are very–I’m in therapy. Which is fine, and sometimes uplifting. Not their best work.

Bones- catchy. Distortion. Electronic snips. Just enough screamy.

G-Gr 

Sympathy- interesting comparisons. Flute? Ownnawannapia. Gr.

Sharks- foreboding. Claps that aren’t Ott pop. Like the pace of comin to get you. Whisper used to good effect. Like a horror movie. Gr.

I Don’t Like Myself- someone had therapy. Introspective. Gr-A 

Blur- Gr.

Higher Ground- syncopation. Reminiscent of their earlier work. G-Gr 

Take a Easy- channeling Weezer. Catchy. Harmony. Nice Base toward the end. Could do without the screamy. G-Gr.

Waves- catchy. Seems heartfelt and sincere. More comparison to water. G.

I’m Happy- therapy. Repetition. Some moag. Nice distortion at the end. G.

Sirens- catchy. G.

Younger- this must be the letter to self that was mentioned earlier. Good instrumental break. G.

I Wish- lots of emotion. Nice to hear about friendship.  The vocals get a bit overwrought, but the swelling instrumentation at the end is nice. G

11. 

Kelly Clarkson:  83.33%+25.5 = 108.83 Final

5 out of 6 total songs = 83.33%

1 Elite awesome 6; 3 awesome 5; 1 A-Gr cusp 4.5

6+15+4.5 = 25.5

I really wish Kelly would have put out a full-length album.  She would probably be my top album of the year if there was more material.  Girl can SING.  It’s breathtakingly amazing to listen to her belt it out.

Call Out My Name- notes!  The instruments sound 80s.  Gr-A

Happier than Ever- starts very slow, but blazes into a notes/bitter song.  Tiny elephant trumpeting.  The beat ramps up.  The notes ramp up. A

Trampoline- A

Queen of the Night- WOW, wow, wow!  How does anyone compare to Whitney?  It’s pretty brave to even do a cover of possibly the best singer of all time.  But Kelly really goes for it.  Great notes and a bit more edgy of a delivery.  Buzzsaw noises. Taking into account production and technology differences between the early 90s and now, I dare say this one is the better version.  They are both elites though.  Elite Awesome

Fake Plastic Trees- notes! A

10.

Demi Lovato:

11 of 16 total songs = 68.75% + 46 = 114.75 Final

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

15+13.5+4+10.5+3 = 46

The genre switch is forced, but Demi’s pipes are able to work any material in front of her.  I didn’t think the pop-punk was apt or genuine for her, and I begrudgingly remain unbiased when giving points.  I don’t like her appropriating pronouns, and I don’t like her sketchy manager, but the gal can SING!!!

Freak- channeling Paramore. More edgy. Screaming. G-Gr 

Skin of my teeth- reminds me of Ashlee Simpson. Personal lyrics. Catchy. Notes! A.

Substance- upbeat backing for depressing sentiment. Notes. Personal. Gr.

Eat me- lots of acoustic background sounds. Fast. Shouting. Angry. Brittney copy. Note to yell. Could be in a comic movie. A.

29- age inappropriate. 17 to 29. Calling out some scumbag. Notes! G-Gr

Happy Ending- about her addiction. Relatable about demons and searching for elusive happiness. G-Gr 

City of angels- many LA sights & places. Hard rocking. Gr-A.

Wasted- double meaning. notes. Gr-A.

Dead Friends- personal. Upbeat. Punky. Notes. Gr-A 

Help Me- screamy. G 

Feed- uplifting. Personal responsibility and choices. A

2022 Albums of the Year Countdown: Artists Return [Songs Ranked 29-19]

5 Dec

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

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.

Lowest to highest:

29.

Death cab for cutie:  63.64%+23.5 = 87.14 Final

7 out of 11 songs = 63.64%

5 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 2 Good 3

17.5+6 = 23.5

I don’t know how I survive- G-Gr

Roman candles- G-Gr

Here to forever- G-Gr

Pepper- G-Gr 

I miss strangers- G-Gr

Wheat like waves- G

I’ll never give up on you- G

28.

Weezer-Spring: 71.43% + 16.5 = 87.93 Final

5 of 7 total tracks = 71.43%

3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 2 Good 3

10.5+6 = 16.5

Opening night- Shakespeare on the grass. Random topic. Funsy and light but catchy. Electric guitar. Ends with a touch of renfest. G-Gr 

A Little bit- Positivity. Catchy. Sincere. G-Gr 

The sound of drums- catchy. Sing-song. G.

All this love- light. Upbeat. Piano is a nice touch. G

Wild at Heart- drums! G-Gr.

27.

Fletcher:  61.54%+27.5 = 89.04 Final

8 of 13 total songs = 61.54%

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

4+17.5+6 = 27.5

Becky’s so Hot- hate the sentiment. The base is good especially at the end when the melody cuts out. Gr.

Guess We Lied- Fun double meaning of lie. G-Gr 

Better Version- skews country. Smart profound lyrics. G.

Conversations- relatable song about overthinking and ruminating.  G-Gr 

Serial Heartbreaker- Faster 80s beat. Fast verse. Uses slower speed at the end to emphasize the point. G.

Girl of my Dreams- self-love during a breakup. Empowering lyrics. G-Gr 

I love you bitch- like Lizzo-, an empowering song about self-love and acceptance. G-Gr 

For Cari- nice ending. Sounds low-key triumphant. G-Gr 

26.

Arcade Fire: 70%+20 = 90 Final

7 of 10 total songs = 70%

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

4+7+9 = 20

Tracks set up like a movie, a continuation of each chapter of the story.

Age of Anxiety I- quiet start. Kicks up later 3rd of the song. Speaks of current events and how they impact us as individuals. G-Gr

Age of Anxiety Ii- 80s. Dreamy. Female voice changes the vibe a bit. Idk the lyrics but probably profound. G

End of the Empire IV- singing sounds more like their past albums. Nice piano. Modern language – unsubscribe. Chime bell sound at end. G 

The Lightning Ii- upbeat yay finally! I like how they say increments of time. Anticipation. Frenzied backing. G-Gr 

Unconditional I- phonemes always make it song catchy. Empowering lyrics. Motivational. G.

Unconditional II- 80s synthesizer sound to it. Around 4min neat sound. Gr.

25.

Weezer-Autumn:

4 out of 7 total tracks = 57.14% + 15.5 = 72.64 Final

1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 2 Great 4; 1 Good 3

4.5+8+3 = 15.5

Can’t dance don’t ask me- syncopation and speed are nice. G.

Get off on the pain. Buzzing instrumental. Quiet parts of singing. Teeny bit of 80s. Ramps up. Gr

What happens after you- guitar is star. Sounds awesome in the back! Like the harder more edgy sound. Gr-A.

Tastes like pain- samples one of my favorite allegros. Fun mix of classical and rock. Gr.

24.

Amanda Shires: 70% + 23 = 93 Final

7 of 10 total songs = 70%

2 Great 4; 5 Good 3

8+15 = 23

Take it like a Man- sparse, emotional. Desperate. Long. Orchestral finish. Gr.

Empty Cups- voice sounds very Dolly Parton -cant be accidental. G.

Here he comes- catchy.  G

Bad behavior – sultry. Gets stuck in my head. Gr.

Stupid love- there’s nothing I can call out in this song that I don’t like, but .. G.

Lonely at night – good, wide open singing. G.

Everything has its own time- could be on a movie soundtrack. Very thematic. G.

23.

King Princess:  66.67%+ 27 = 93.67 Final

8 of 12 total songs = 66.67%

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

4.5+10.5+12 = 27

I Hate Myself I Want to Party- depressing. Gritty. Depressing. Describes a bleak life. end is 180 faster and more in control empowered. Un-does prior song? G.

Cursed- catchy. More upbeat. Emotive singing. Longing. Regret about an ex. G-Gr. 

Little Brother- 80s backing but more gritty singing. Calling someone out.  G-Gr 

For My Friends- catchy. Just enough 80s and moag but not Ott. G.

Too Bad- bitter song. Personal lyrics. Interesting backing sounds. Angsty. G.

Change the Locks- COVID quarantine made them petty and argumentative. She’s mad they’re over. G-Gr

Dotted Lines- depression. Signing bad contract young. G.

Let Us Die- catchy. Angsty. 2020s Alanis? Gr-A.

22.

Young the Giant: 62.5% + 32 = 94.5 Final (all 4)

10/16 for whole year = 62.5%

9.5 + 6.5 + 9+7 = 32

Despite loving the Weezer seasons concept albums, I didn’t like the Act roll outs because I feel like I’m going to miss something. I like the concept of the albums, and think it is very deep and meaningful theoretically. That said, the songs were not like the rest of the catalog and it was difficult for me to attach to any of them in that same way. I realize the band was on a spiritual and political journey, and think it’s an important story to tell and contribution to society. I just want some hooks or a beat in there somewhere! First songs are real duds. Too soft and slow.

21.

Beyonce 62.5%+35 = 97.5 Final

10 of 16 total songs = 62.5%

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

5+4+14+12 = 35

I liked the backing mostly, and I don’t think Beyonce intended for it to be a lyrical album. That said, I get that it’s sexy, and it’s supposed to get listeners to feel. This is totally a me thing–there were too many explicit straight sex references, and it totally grossed me out and put me off. Most people will not have this issue, so this ranking might be too low.

Alien superstar- like the on the bar. Rest is just ok. G

Cuff it- I like the backing. Catchy. Ties into aliens. 70s. G.

Really smooth transition. 1st listen I thought it was the same song.

Energy- remind me of Justin Timberlake crossed with childish Gambino’s this is America. Lotta interesting phoneme sounds. African flair. G-Gr.

Virgo’s groove- really slow to get interesting. Not good til 5min mark. destiny’s child-esk harmonies and many mariàh singing runs. G-Gr.

Move- I like the move out the way parts. G.

Heated- I think she says, I gotta fend myself off. If so, I like the idea we can be our own harshest critics and worst enemy. The weird talking part is interesting and different. Gr.

All up in your mind – love that moag! I like the backing and recognize but can’t place it. G-Gr

America has a problem – I like the 1st few music lines. Like the fast sing. Those 3 nos get stuck in my head for days. Catchy! A. 

Pure honey- like the backing. Seems like a song designed for a group dance, like cha cha. Turns into Prince sounding. Silly voice at end? G-Gr.

Summer Renaissance – more classic Beyonce. Obvious sample. Appluse speeds it up and makes it catchy. Choral backing fills it out. G.

20.

Carrie Underwood: 66.67% + 32.5 = 99.17 Final

8 of 12 total songs = 66.67%

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

12+5+3.5+12 = 32.5

UGH! Carrie’s voice is just top tier. This gal can siiiiinnng. Her register is expansive and her belting always moves me. However, it seems like she gets lost when picking material or formulating an album (I didn’t look to see if she writes her own songs). I wish she would have more of a theme for each album. The Velvet Heartbreak does tell a story, and it flows… But I think she could do something stronger. Showcase her voice, but have a certain vibe for the entire album.

Velvet Heartbreak- I love the comparisons of clothes to men.  It’s visual and relatable.  God she can always fucking sing! That …ache at the end alone is elite!  Elite awesome.

Ghost Story- A boring song but when she hits those notes it’s magical! G-Gr 

Hate my Heart- catchy and relatable. Not wanting to miss someone, but missing them anyway. G.

Burn- Can’t get over the memory despite being over the ex. Just a good. G.

Pink Champagne-kind of an 80s beat. I like when it slows down. Just a good. G. 

Poor Everybody Else- might be my favorite song of the year. Empowering and exciting. Love the concept. Notes! Similar to some of her other songs but still awesome! Elite awesome.

She Don’t know- I love that it’s not 2 women fighting each other! Carrie is saying you can have my life with that dude (bc it sucks). I love a bitter song! A. 

Garden- this is a good final song. The message that you get what you put out there goes with the rest of the album. G

19.

Skillet: 66.67% + 37 = 103.67 Final

8 of 12 total songs = 66.67%

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

6+10+18+3 = 37

I enjoyed this album so much when I was listening that I thought it might win. I don’t add all the numbers until every contender’s songs are ranked though. I do it that way so my judging is equal and I don’t amp up or lower albums in order to make them fit in a certain spot. It’s a blind ranking to make the final countdown as unbiased by aesthetic, sentimentalism, standbys, etc… As such, I was surprised Skillet ranked this low based on the songs. It was definitely one of the best listens of 2022 (and great treadmill tunes)!

Standing in the storm- catchy. Hard. Bravery despite pressure. Just enough screamy. Gr-A.

Dominion- electric guitar! Fast. Awesome instrumental break! Exciting. Gr-A 

Valley of Death- starts quiet slow emotional. Elite awesome.

Beyond Incredible- hints of electric guitar. Good running beat.

 Gr-A

Destiny- reminds me of Lincoln park with harder/catchy parts interspersed. Triumphant. Gr-A.

Shout your freedom- great running beat. Empowering. A.

Destroyer- such cool guitar. Fast. Reminds me of 1990s alternative. Guitar zipping. Ramps up. Electric on last words adds a lot. A.

Forever or The end-  hard rock ballad. Harmonies rounds. G.