Tag Archives: song

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.

Keeping Score is Losing (even if you’re morally superior)

27 Jan

Letter to the Past-

I think this song pairs well with the story in the first song. The narrator [Brandi?] says it’s [love? life?] is a game. And admits the partner is right. BUT even so, nobody is winning when everyone is negative and holding grudges.

In this song, our troubled main character puts it all out there. Brandi sings she is usually losing, but wins sometimes. Our narrator asks her lover to look at the bigger picture, open up their mind and also be more authentic instead of always trying to show a tough face. Because loving someone while keeping score is still kind of losing, even if you’re morally right. We all die one day, and nobody looks at the score. So the narrator asks the partner to stop trying to keep score, as it’s actually hurting themself in the end, they are becoming fatigued and sore.

This song is beautiful, with soulful singing and lots of emotion.

The chorus really bothers me though! The following comparison, in my opinion, is bad writing: The narrator is saying the partner is like a Stone wall (intentional call-back to start of gay-movement location? but stable, grounded, always there, strong). But it’s not a good comparison to rubber-bands (flexible? Stretched too thin?). It’s just two random objects being compared. I think the writing could have been better.

Anyway, the last line, “you’re built to last” I’m almost certain that’s the slogan of a car manufacturer-Ford? I cannot take the song seriously when it ends in a commercial jingle!

This song is not my favorite, but continues to peek into this couple’s psyche to see what is wrong, why they got there, and if there is a desire on both parts to repair it.

Question… The Last Post of the Series and Explanation of Who and What the Song is About [Part 20]

22 Jan

We finished the end of Dancing with our Hands Tied! Parts A-T if you missed it. Do you agree that Taylor is agonizing over an event that almost outed her? And she is regretful that she choose the closet over her lover? With that foundation, let’s look at Question…:

Here’s the lyrics as written so you can get a sense of the story Taylor is telling:

Can I ask you a question?
Did you ever have someone kiss you in a crowded room
And every single one of your friends was
Making fun of you
But fifteen seconds later they were clapping too?
Then what did you do?
Did you leave her house in the middle of the night?
Did you wish you put up more of a fight?
When she said it was too much?
Do you wish you could still touch …her?
It’s just a question

Now I’ll try to analyze them line by line, using what we learned from Dancing with our Hands Tied plus the consensus of word meanings gleaned from other songs in the catalog:

Can I ask you a question?

To me, it seems like both Dancing with our Hands Tied and Question…  Are less about one event or person, and more about Taylor’s overall mentality and what that leads to.  Taylor is acknowledging that her gay-panic and straight-washing sucks.  BUT this song (we’re back at Question…) is a justification of her actions.  

She is asking the listener (her ex-girlfriends, fans, critics, etc…) to empathize with her very specific situation.  In these lyrics, Taylor is calling for us to stand in her shoes (on your tiptoes) and see why she does these seemingly callous things repeatedly.  Question… is a song about Taylor’s phobia of being unabashedly queer and her habitual dread of being outed. 

As I said, I think this applies to every one of Taylor’s sapphic relationships.  For ease of writing and for specificity, I’ll use the muse I’m most familiar with, the most recent known girlfriend, Karlie.   

Did you ever have someone kiss you in a crowded room

The first question Taylor asks (exes, fans, critics) is did you ever find yourself in a situation where you were doing a controversial action in front of everybody?

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

And every single one of your friends was

Making fun of you

Taylor adds details to her first question.  She wants to know if you’ve done something controversial AND if everyone was disdainful towards you about it?

Taylor wants us to know that, yes, she acted ugly as a result of each of these public events that revealed her true nature.  Cruel Summer shows Taylor’s hidden feelings:

Cruel Summer

She hated all the secrets.  She snuck around for love despite the dangerous consequences. And it made her sad that her love wasn’t celebrated.  But she had to. Because everyone was judging her harshly, ready to out her to the world.

But fifteen seconds later they were clapping too?

Then what did you do?

Taylor wants to know what the listener would have done when the rules changed.  She says, turns out, you adjusted in order to tame the controversy, but society evolved.  Instead of jeering this formerly controversial pairing, the majority were cheering.  But what if you  (her ex, the fans, any critics) were still locked in cages of maintaining your status quo?  How would you handle the situation then?

She asks the listeners what they would do in that very specific situation.  Knowing it’s impossible to handle smoothly, Taylor then implies that nobody can judge her harshly for her reactions and behavior.  She says anyone would act just as cagey under her circumstances.

The specific event of Kissgate hurt Kaylor because Taylor defaulted to brand damage control instead of just coming out.  Taylor, the individual, long ago lost her autonomy to Taylor Swift, the brand.  All the anxiety about negative societal reactions kills the sapphic partnership.  And when time passes and the general public is more accepting of queerness, Taylor was already locked into her marketed image.  She has to remain super-straight, or her fans will know she lied a lot of times.  They will feel betrayed by their friend.  The half moon eyes in Question… are the combination of these anxieties constantly tugging Taylor and any sapphic lover apart.  

Taylor talks to a few different subjects in the next lines.  Taylor is asking herself these questions.  She’s asking her girlfriend if any of these outcomes would have changed if either of them had taken different actions.  And she asks the listener to empathize.  

Did you leave your secret love in the middle of the night?  In that situation, do you think you could put up more of a fight?  And what about if your girlfriend was also anxious about it?  Would you press her to continue?  Taylor is saying she had all bad choices here, and anyone would have finished with the same bad outcome as she did.

Did you leave her house in the middle of the night?

According to her catalog, it’s Taylor who blew things out of proportion, and it was Taylor who burned the relationship down. It’s Taylor who pushes Karlie (any girlfriend applies) to run, and to take the last train.  It’s Taylor who jumps off the train and rides off alone.  

Did you wish you put up more of a fight?

Taylor is asking this question to herself and her exes.  She’s also showing her listeners how difficult it was to even do the little pushing back she did. She was marketed not only as boy-crazy, but as everyone’s personal friend, so the news would cause a stir.

The Taylor Swift brand is huge.  There is a lot of money and power behind it.  Look at one example of a business move that conveys the incredible power of TSTM:

Taylor (as face of the brand) had spoken and a Fortune 500 company immediately complied.  In this damage-control situation, after trying and faltering against all that brand-leverage, Taylor asks how would YOU proceed? 

Coming out as any kind of gay would cause backlash, and the employees of TSTM might be subjected to hardship. There is strong motivation to put out fires on behalf of the brand. Their damage control is quick and decisive.  The water of them putting out this fire became a flood that engulfed and overwhelmed everything.  In Clean, Taylor said she screamed so loud when all this water filled her lungs.  This damage control negatively impacts her despite being the face of the brand.

Remembering how the butterflies crumble to dust and Taylor is unhappy and alone in the closet, she had momentary bravery and pushed back against her team’s damage control.  Part of Taylor wants to choose authentic love, and the woman. So she started fighting for her (real) relationship, arguing with her team about downplaying the event that outed her.  She protested against going back into the closet, and tried to stop the torrent, “…but no one heard a thing.”  

Nobody on Taylor’s team listened to Taylor [remember her crying at the table in Miss Americana?] and she submitted, “Hung my head as I lost the war.” The war is Taylor’s conflict with her sexuality (this is bigger than her team).  She momentarily wanted to come out, but TSTM executives thought it would be bad for the brand.  It was just enough friction to trigger the conflict within herself.  As much as Taylor wants to come out and be free to love her soulmate, her fears of losing everything are stronger.  “So I punched a hole in the roof, Let the flood carry away all my pictures of you.”  Taylor’s fear took over in the end.  Clearing the air, she breathed in the smoke, and helped with the cover-up at the expense of her sapphic love.

When she said it was too much?

Here Taylor is telling the listener that the split wasn’t just one-sided.  The partner felt exhausted by the complications and couldn’t deal with it anymore.  

She is asking the listeners/critics what you would do if you lived through this complicated event, and had to deal with the pressure of a whole brand. 

Furthermore, what if the girl you were trying to fight for had a lot of doubts? The girlfriend wasn’t sure that she even wanted to go through more just to make things work–what would you have done?  Taylor is making it evident that she (as individual vs. brand) didn’t have a lot of pull in the matter.  And even if she did, her girlfriend was beaten down by the experience and ready to leave.

Again, the music belies Taylor’s internal struggle.  In Death by a Thousand cuts, Taylor tells how heartbroken she was with the final result:

Do you wish you could still touch …her?

Taylor’s last question shows that she wishes it wasn’t this way.  She still covets the touch of her lover.  Despite her impossible situation, and inability to rectify it in a satisfying way (for all parties involved) Taylor says she truly loved the girl.

Taylor’s most important relationships couldn’t overcome so many stumbling blocks despite both loving each other (Question…  [Part 10]).  There is internal homophobia, career pressures, political considerations, bearding complications, on and on. How many struggles can one relationship survive?   

When Taylor’s default action is covering up her queerness, it causes her to suppress her secret relationship as well. Karlie politely lived with being stifled, her love tamped down (Question…  [Part 10]).  But eventually left the smothering deprivation of the closet.  Karlie “married” the guy or more suitably–commissioned her new heteronormative life (Question…  [Part 9]).  

The break-up kills Taylor.  And Karlie is dead to Taylor now that she has a child and a (diabolical) husband.  Both Taylor and Karlie (this could apply to any and all of Taylor’s sapphic lovers) are dead inside, cold lifeless hands reaching out grieving for the living (“do you wish you could still touch her?”).  Yet, Taylor still prioritizes building a legacy despite repeatedly losing the lover because of it (Question…  [Part 11]).  It’s a pattern she’s repeated over and over.  

It’s just a question

This is a cheeky ending where Taylor feels like the listener agreed with her logic.  She wanted us to know the details of her situation so we could see how she couldn’t do things any other way.  And now that we’ve seen her side of things, she knows we’re on the same page as her.  She was entombed in a lot of ways and that justified her behavior.  It’s the same as Dancing with our Hands Tied: Taylor is broken because her sapphic relationship ended. She’s regretful and wished things would have been different. But she reminds herself, her ex, and her audience in the song how her unique circumstances are to blame. And she ends both songs saying I regret this, but… Taylor has rationalized all her choices which have led to these disheartening outcomes.

Taylor will remain shrouded in the lavender haze because she has more challenging circumstances than many.  But she’s still going to be sad, and share her feelings about it in song.

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.

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

12 Jan

Logistical Info:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then we’ll get back to the end of Question

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

Swaying as the room burned down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heartfirst: Kelsea Ballerini wants us to know she and Taylor Swift were together in some capacity

10 Jan

I decided to not do a huge long write up and just let the work speak for itself.  I think Kelsea is purposefully referencing Taylor’s work.  Not to get clout, but because they had some kind of fling.  My best guess based on Kelsea’s lyrics is sometime between 2017 and 2020.  And it was an off and on situation.  

Met him at a party, accidentally brushed his body

This is the only male pronoun in the song. 

The rest is you, we, and baby.

On the way to get a drink at the bar

I couldn’t wait ’til later, talking in the elevator

Then we’re kissing in the back of the car

We know that Taylor often sings about two people:  He and YOU.  You, being a woman she’s secretly dating. 

Is Kelsea doing the same thing here?  

That voice in my head says to slow down

But it can’t see the way you’re looking at me right now

It may not be next week, what I need

Then again, maybe it might be

Could be forever or we might break

That’s just the kind of risk that we take

My head is yelling that I could get hurt

But I’m gonna jump right in

Baby, with my heart first

I gotta have ya, gotta see if this works

I gotta have ya, wake up in your t-shirt

Kelsea’s shirt says “He was sunshine I was Midnight rain”

and I don’t know if she just woke up, but the eye mask seems like a first thing in the day type of thing…

Who knows what’ll happen, ain’t that always kinda magic

When you don’t know who’s holding the cards

Could be a wish I never knew ya or permanently tattoo ya

Kelsea has at least 3 tattoos:  One with lyrics from Amazing Grace the first song she learned and her first solo. 

The second is taken from a letter from her parents after her first single came out with “love” in each of their hand writing. 

The 3rd is for the song Square Pegs:

Only the moon knows what’s in the stars (what’s in the stars)

Mm, that voice in my head says to slow down

But it can’t feel your hands on my hips right now

It may not be next year, what I need

Then again, maybe it might be

Could be forever or we might break

That’s just the kind of risk that we take

My head is yelling that I could get hurt

But I’m gonna jump right in

Baby, with my heart first

I gotta have ya, gotta see if this works

(I gotta have ya)

I gotta have ya, wake up in your t-shirt

I gotta have ya, diving in heart first

(Heart first)

I gotta have ya

Ooh, I gotta have ya

Taylor’s song 22 ends with that phrase repeated twice.

And also include 

And I can’t even stop myself anymore

(Ooh, I gotta have ya)

Oh, we couldn’t end the perfect night outside my front door

Could be forever or we might break

That’s just the kind of risk that we take

My head is yelling that I could get hurt

But I’m gonna jump right in

Baby, with my heart first

I gotta have ya, gotta see if this works

(I gotta have ya)

I gotta have ya, wake up in your t-shirt

(Wake up in your t-shirt, yeah)

Pairing the 22 lyrics with wake up in your shirt ties it to Taylor Swift.

I gotta have ya, diving in heart first

(Diving in heart first)

I gotta have ya

Yeah, I gotta have ya

She ends the song the exact same way Tayor ended 22!

Maybe that’s not strong enough to convince you. 

But look at Kelsea’s music video. 

The commonalities with Taylor’s imagery seems intentional.

Heartfirst Video

Sunglasses and earrings:

Traveling downward in a rainbow sky:

Clouds and rainbow in the sky:

Pastel tie dye shirt:

Sparkle eye:

I mean, Kelsea can’t do a full heart, that would be really obvious.

Groom knocked over:

Sitting on the ground in a desert with a big cat:

Tulle, layered, blue dress:

(these tulle and layered and blue dresses are all worn in the Me! video)

Sneakers under dress:

Falling from clouds:

Rainbow on buildings:

Are you convinced? Because I am!

Dancing with our Hands Tied-Love in Secret [Part A]

24 Dec

Logistical Info:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then we’ll get back to the end of Question

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

I, I loved you in secret

In public, Taylor and her lover are magicians and illusionists, hiding their truth in plain sight.  And when they are alone there is sex and bliss  (Question… [Part 9]).  Secret moments in a crowd convey the closeted aspect of the relationship.  These two are in plain sight, but protected in a magical cloak of friendship thanks to heteronormativity (Question…  [Part 4]).  Taylor says this couple are starting on a fresh page and writing as they go in Cornelia Street (Question…  [Part 16]).  There is no precedent for this new type of relationship.  Even without a gameplan, this love is making Taylor drunk with happiness and a type of enthrallment she’s never felt before.  It’s stronger than anything they order at the bar.  

But Taylor’s back is against the wall. In order to maintain Taylor’s public image–these lovers have to walk on breaking branches to keep their true love a secret.  Each of them must beard and tell the rich people what they want to hear.  Still, neither person can let go of this love–Taylor especially is a hostage to her feelings  (Question… [Part 9]).

Question… Dancing with our Hands Tied Connection- who is 25 years old? [Part 18]

23 Dec

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then we’ll get back to the end of Question

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

I tried to exhaust the possibilities of who Taylor might be talking about and on what timeline here:

10/16/02 John Mayer turned 25.

2/9/06 Tom Hiddleston turned 25.

2006 Emily Poe (21yo) and Taylor (16yo) met.

Dec 2006 Liz Huett (19yo) and Taylor (17yo) met.

2008 Julianna Hough (20yo) and Taylor (18yo) met.

Jan 2009 Calvin Harris turned 25yo

March 2009 John Mayer (32yo) and Taylor (19yo) met.

Emily was 25 in 2010.

Oct 2010 Jake Gyllenhaal (29yo) and Taylor (20yo) met.

Dianna was 25 in April 2011.

*9/5/11 Taylor (22yo) and Dianna (25yo) met.

Lilly Donaldson turned 25 in Jan 2012

*4/23/12 Swiftgron Anniversary(?) Dianna is still 25yo for 7 more days and Taylor is 22yo.

Liz Huett turned 25 in May 2012.

Julianna Hough turned 25 in 2013.

2013 Taylor (23yo) and Lilly D. (26yo) met.

3/6/14 the Karlie (21yo) and Taylor (24yo) Big Sur trip, and possibly their anniversary.  

*12/4/14 Kissgate occurred.  Taylor was turning 25 years old 9 days later.

Taylor was mostly 25 years old in 2015:

*Feb 2015 Calvin Harris (31yo) and Taylor (25yo) met.

2/13/15, best friends video.

*Feb-Mar 2015, Kaylor Vogue cover. Karlie is 22yo and Taylor is 25yo.

In response to the honeymoon cover-

2/16/15 Dianna (28yo) and Karlie (22yo) are in the same room.

May 2015, Karlie (22yo) is featured boxing in the Bad Blood video.

June 2015, Karlie (22yo) is featured on stage as part of the Squad for Reputation tour in London.

Aug 2015, Karlie (23yo) was invited as part of the Squad to the VMAs

Nov 2015, Karlie (23yo) is prominent at VSFS with Taylor (25yo) singing Style both wearing pink.

Joe Alwyn turned 25 in Feb 2016.

5/1/16 Tom Hiddleston (35yo) and Taylor (26yo) met.

Oct 2016 Reputation recording begins.

March 2017 Reputation recording is finished.

Karlie was 25 in Aug 2017.

Nov 2017 the song was released when Taylor was 27yo.

I think there is a plausible deniability cover story and 4 likely possibilities of who this line is about (in chronological order):

4/23/12:

At age 25 Dianna “first” met Taylor (publicly).  She was still 25yo on the suspected Swiftgron Anniversary.  

P.S. I don’t know that much about Swiftgron, but that random Shirley McClane birthday party (SMBP) is confusing to me (if that’s the real event).  Why?!!  So they had a party for some older actress they don’t know, and that’s not in attendance?  And the dress code was random glamour-jammies and flower crowns?  Is Shirley McClane into that stuff–I don’t get it :-/ 

BUT in the context of a super-secret wedding (or similar event) the outfits and party make a lot more sense to me.  Maybe this is already known down in the rabbit-hole…  But I think the SMBP was cover for the actual event–a wedding-type event.

12/4/14:

Some slight rounding of 9 days to Taylor’s 25th birthday when Kissgate occurred. 

2015:

Taylor could be talking about the whole year this person was 25 years old. The year Taylor was mostly (25yo) was a really loud Kaylor time:  Best friends video, Vogue honeymoon cover, boxing in the Bad Blood video, featured on the Reputation tour stage and at the VMAs as part of the squad, and the VSFS Style rose flush performance, +++. 

March 2015:

March 6 is the suspected Kaylor anniversary (Big Sur trip 3/6/14). This would be their one year anniversary, and it’s significant, because very couply, wedding-looking, sexy bedroom pics were shared with the world. That March that very honeymoon Vogue cover and spread came out. It’s a big deal for Taylor to look fruity on main.

Oct 2016:

Joe Alwyn happened to be 25 years old when Taylor started recording the Reputation album that this song from.  Seems like a possible cover for the subject of the song.

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.