Tag Archives: sun

Kelsea Ballerini is Taylor’s 2nd Choice

10 Oct

Nobody can be a Karlie. But being a backup plan is tenuous and unfulfilling.

Alone, these might be considered “reaches” but compiled all together, it’s a LOT of coincidences.

I CAN’T HELP MYSELF

[Chorus] When the sun starts falling, the girls start calling

Taylor called Karlie the sun.  Compared her to sunshine.  Used gold to denote her in songs.  Here, Kelsea says the sun starts falling, which can mean more than the obvious day to night.  A layered meaning could mean Karlie is falling out of Taylor’s life.  The sun set on Kaylor. Karlie is not considered gold anymore, but more of a veneer.  It speaks to a rift and breakup between Taylor and Karlie.  

And I think in this context, girls start calling, is just a covert way of disguising a love song into a friends partying song.  Girls plural could have easily been girl.  I think Kelsea is saying when Karlie, the sun, falls away from Taylor, that girl (Taylor) starts calling her.

The wine comes off of the shelf

Again, Taylor doesn’t own wine, but if you were alluding to her, or talking about hanging out with her, that might be the beverage you’d mention.  Taylor has mentioned wine in at least 11 lyrics (not to mention champagne):

Then the drums start to kick in and all my inhibitions

Kelsea could just be using this line to show action.  She might be bringing her going out on the town back to a subject she knows well–music.

But I looked up “drum” in Taylor’s lyrics and the two songs that contained the word were interesting:  Better than Revenge and Hoax.  In the first, Taylor is talking about a girl who “stole” a boy she liked P.S. boys cannot be stolen, they are people with their own free will and should be the recipient of anger if they choose to cheat/leave.  Anyway, Taylor says, “She had to know my pain was beating on me like a drum.” 

So stay with me.  To analyze Kelsea’s use of “drum” in this song, we need to look at Hoax, but to give context to all the pain of that song, we need to look at a happier time in Taylor’s discography, King of My Heart:  Which has a lot of clues and references to Karlie and the Kaylor relationship.

King of My Heart

I’m perfectly fine, I live on my own/I made up my mind, I’m better off bein’ alone

Taylor lives alone, and is comfortable being single.

We met a few weeks ago/Now you try on callin’ me, baby, like tryin’ on clothes

This line is hinting that the “you” in this song is a model.

The line also indicates this model is tryin’ on calling Taylor baby.  It’s a new relationship, and possibly a new sexuality too (WLW) and Karlie is feeling it out.

Salute to me, I’m your American Queen

And you move to me like I’m a Motown beat

There is this Motown dance party.

But more than that check out my last post about the music video that Karlie was in. In it she watches Motown and dances suggestively. It looks almost masturbatory, honestly. Taylor is saying in this line Karlie moves to her like that (sex).

Jesus, that’s explicit.

And we rule the kingdom inside my room

Taylor and Karlie can only be a couple when they’re hidden and protected.  They have to be together only in Taylor’s room, away from prying eyes.

‘Cause all the boys and their expensive cars/With their Range Rovers and their Jaguars/Never took me quite where you do

No matter the expensive, fancy things that the boys bring with them, no matter the ease of a relationship with a man–they could never compare to what Taylor has with Karlie.  

And all at once, you are the one I have been waiting for/King of my heart, body and soul, ooh whoa/And all at once, you’re all I want, I’ll never let you go/King of my heart, body and soul, ooh whoa/And all at once, I’ve been waiting, waiting/Ooh whoa, ooh whoa/And all at once, you are the one, I have been waiting, waiting/Body and soul, ooh whoa/And all at once

This is a pretty sexy interlude with all the ooh whoas and repetition of body and soul.  Taylor is saying she likes when Karlie sexes her up, but also it’s a romantic soul connection, not just a fu(k-fling.

Late in the night, the city’s asleep/Your love is a secret I’m hoping, dreaming, dying to keep

Taylor again, emphasizes that this love is secret and she has anxiety about keeping the relationship AND the secret of the relationship.

Change my priorities/The taste of your lips is my idea of luxury

Again, referencing the fact the boys have money and cars and stuff, but Taylor would forgo all those physical items for Karlie’s physical touch.

…Is this the end of all the endings?/My broken bones are mending

It’s not the last time Taylor will mention bones when she talks about the pain of this relationship:

With all these nights we’re spending/Up on the roof with a school girl crush

Drinking beer out of plastic cups

Say you fancy me, not fancy stuff

Taylor told us she cares more about love with Karlie than items boys can give her, and that lifestyle she could lead with men.  Now she asks Karlie to say the same:

Back to Hoax:

The second song containing the word “drum” is Hoax, possibly the most painful song in Taylor’s catalog, in my opinion. 

My only one/my kingdom come undone/my broken drum/you have beaten my heart

is a bleak, sad line.  Taylor says Karlie is the only one she ever really loved.  And Karlie going with Jo$h (picking the expensive things over love with Taylor in the private ) has burned down the kingdom inside Taylor’s room she spoke about in King of my Heart.  

Taylor could be likening her heart to a drum since they both beat.  She’s telling the subject of the song they have broken her heart.  Beaten has a few meanings:  It could be talking about a heart pumping, but in the past tense.  It could indicate winning a competition (Jo$h won the trophy or champion ring, Karlie).  It could be a physical beating (let’s hope not, but we have several knife and sword fights in Taylor’s catalog).  

So back to Kelsea, she says:

Then the drums start to kick in and all my inhibitions

So.  The drums are a signal Taylor is heartbroken and Karlie is out of her life.  When Karlie is out, that’s Kelsea’s chance to be in.  Broken drum is when Kaylor is off-again, but when that happens Taylor calls up Kelsea.  The drum hurts Taylor, but the drum brings Taylor to Kelsea. It’s a reason why Kelsea might be reluctant to go out.  This relationship is somewhat one-sided, fickle, fleeting, uneven.  But…

Are gone by a quarter to twelve

This plays into my theory about the stars and moon possibly being in Taylor’s Midnights album.  The clock.  Taylor’s clock of albums has different colors for each number.

You can easily see Red (Dianna) went from the latter part of Speak Now to the early part of the Reputation era.  Then the numbers turn gold for sunshine Karlie.  And the gold numbers match up with the albums that reference Karlie (Reputation, Lover, folklore, and Evermore).  

But look at 9 (quarter to 12).  Halfway through it goes from gold to aqua/green/blue.  Is this the time Kelsea is referring to in the song?  The sun goes down at 9 (Karlie goes away) then Taylor calls Kelsea up and that’s Kelsea’s cue to throw out her inhibitions and worries and go have fun with Taylor?  Are these green/blues for Kelsea?  Or signifying Taylor is blue/depressed/closeted/single so rebounding (with Kelsea)?

Yeah, I try to be an angel, then the whole thing goes to hell

Lord, help me, I just, I can’t help myself/(She can’t help it, thе girl can’t help it)/(She can’t help it, thе girl can’t help it)

Kelsea knows it’s not a good idea to get with someone who is back and fourth, still not over her ex, and that may take their relationship as seriously–but she can’t help it.

[Verse 2] And I could go for a walk and maybe eat a salad

Kelsea is comparing herself to Karlie, because Taylor is still not over Karlie.  Kelsea (from the midwestern/southern state of TN) said what she eats in a day and fast food was high on the list:

Karlie said what she eats in a day, and her menu was drastically different than Kelsea’s.  

Models can’t eat very much.  Their very income depends on keeping their body lean (underweight) so they notoriously eat very little.  If Kelsea is trying to be like Karlie, the former Victoria’s Secret Angel, she might try to exercise and limit calories.

I could pick up my guitar and write another ballad

Kelsea could write another song like one of these that wish Taylor were more focused on her. Or a love song of their good times. It’s something she probably finds cathartic, and it’s something she has in common with Taylor.

I could even meditate to live with less distraction

All that pick me up at eight, I’m tryna kick the habit, but

Basically, this song talks about how when Taylor is not with Karlie, she goes to Kelsea.  And Kelsea naturally compares herself to the gal that Taylor is pining over because Kelsea wants something more than to be a backup plan.  Yet, even though Kelsea knows her relationship with Taylor is problematic and unfulfilling she is trying to be like Karlie herself (eat salads meditate) so Taylor will regard her in the same way and stay.  Kelsea’s head knows it’s trouble, but her heart can’t say no and leave it alone.

[Pre-Chorus] Oh-oh, here I go again/Oh-oh, I can’t say no

The Lighthouse Analysis: VIII. Mythology- Odysseus

27 Aug

There are many references to mythology in The Lighthouse movie. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re themes of the movie, because none of them are carried out in an entire story arc.

The Lighthouse does not follow or retell the Odyssey. There are, however, many references to that text that I will highlight below:

Homer portrayed Odysseus as a man of outstanding wisdom and shrewdness, eloquence, resourcefulnesscourage, and endurance.  In the Odyssey Odysseus has many opportunities to display his talent for ruses and deceptions, but at the same time his courage, loyalty, and magnanimity are constantly attested (3). 

Younger fancies himself hard-working and resourceful. Actually, it’s more than fancies, that’s how he sees himself (though others do not). Younger can’t take this unfair (in his mind) criticism of his work, which clashes with his own self image, and allows the logging foreman to die without intervening. Then he steals his logging foreman’s identity to get a job, which is deceptive. More central to the story, is the fact the whole premise is that Younger is deceiving himself. The fact that Younger is the only one in the lighthouse, yet the audience sees a story of two men, is the primary ruse. Younger, in an effort to evade responsibility for his murderous behavior, separates the side of himself he blames for impulsive, immoral behavior–his Id, or as the audience comes to know him–Older.

Odysseus was deeply involved in the war of Troy since he was one of the commanders of the forces. With his skills in oratory and his smart ideas, he was a critical figure in the victory of the Greeks (4).

This speaks to Younger’s mindset as well. The movie references this characteristic of oratory skills in the dialogue throughout. Older talks in a poetic manner. This is because of Younger’s dreamy, unrealistic, fanciful notions of what a lighthouse wiki is supposed to be like. Since Older is a figment of Younger’s mind, he embodies all those storybook characteristics to a T.

Bear with me on the following formatting here, the mythology description tells each stop of the journey one after another, but I want to make my comparisons to the Lighthouse film after each:

Books VI–XIII describe Odysseus’ wanderings between Troy and Ithaca:

The call-backs to the Odyssy in this movie are not a direct relation to the story, like I said, but there are little things that are similar in Homer’s story and in this film. The fact that Younger has drifted from job to job is similar to Odysseus wandering all around having adventures.

He first comes to the land of the Lotus-Eaters and only with difficulty rescues some of his companions from their lōtos-induced lethargy;

Odysseus’ first stop at the Lotus-eaters talks of lethargy. This is shown in the movie as Younger getting barked at during his logging job for going slowly, and also when he first came to the lighthouse. The bad notes in the logbook about Younger’s lazy work ethic are why he murdered the senior wiki.

he encounters and blinds Polyphemus the Cyclops, a son of Poseidon, escaping from his cave by clinging to the belly of a ram;

Cyclops comes up in the movie with the one-eyed bird and one-eyed decapitated head–possibly a call-back to cyclops with the one eye.

Among other things Poseidon controls the sea and carries a sort of fish spear called a trident (which is an extension of God’s own power (7)). Obviously, the power of the sea is symbolized throughout the Lighthouse movie with the isolation and the waves and the storm. God or ultimate knowledge is also referenced with Older’s dominance of the lighthouse light and the ending where Younger looks into the light and whatever he sees is enthralling, but also too much to handle.

he loses 11 of his 12 ships to the cannibalistic Laistrygones and reaches the island of the enchantress Circe, where he has to rescue some of his companions whom she had turned into swine.

Older destroys the boat toward the end when Younger wants to chance getting struck across rocks in the storm sort of like Odysseus’ larger loss of ships to the cannibals. The Lighthouse does not show cannibalism, but it does show a similar, desperate rationing of food, and last resort consumption of alcohol, than pure ethanol for lack of clean drinking water.

Lastly, swine could also be pictured between Odysseus’ adventure and the Lighthouse looking at the interior condition of the lighthouse deteriorate-they are living like pigs.

Next Odysseus visits the Land of Departed Spirits, where he speaks to the spirit of Agamemnon and learns from the Theban seer Tiresias how he can expiate Poseidon’s wrath.

At first, Younger tries to escape accountability (which can be seen loosely as atonement) for his hand in killing two people. His delusional mind separates the impulsive, more animalistic, Id side of his personality. While he is acting the hypervigilant super-ego side that is overly concerned with social norms. Failing this, and with reality knocking ever louder as the movie progresses, Younger looks to the lighthouse light for divine intervention and knowledge.

The next stop of Odysseus and his crew was the island of the cyclops, Polyphemus. Polyphemus was the son of Poseidon and the nymph Thoosa. He was a one-eyed giant. In Homer’s Odyssey, Polyphemus traps the voyagers in his cave and closes the entrance with a gigantic boulder. To escape from the cave, Odysseus made his men sharpen a spike so that they could attack the cyclops in his single eye. When Polyphemus returned, Odysseus used his superb oratory skills and talked to Polyphemus for long hours while the cyclops drank wine. Polyphemus ended up drunk, and Odysseus’ men used this chance to attack his eye with the spike, thus blinding him (4).

The theme of being trapped is, throughout the movie, emphasized. The first scene showing just how far, and how endless the water is around the lighthouse let’s the audience know any people on the lighthouse are truly alone. And when their relief crew does not show up, it shows the wikis are trapped-there is no way off the island. The storm just emphasizes what we already knew–the men are stuck. Not even the small boat can help them off the island, as it would be crushed on the rocks nearly immediately.

Another similarity to Odysseus, strongly alluded to throughout the movie is the speech. Like Odysseus’ superb speaking skills, Older speaks in poetry. The language is like an old English novel, not a modern day blue collar worker.

Further similarities to this part of Odysseus’ journey are brought up in the movie. The one-eyed bird/one-eyed decapitated head references cyclops pretty directly in The Lighthouse. Some scholars theorize that the cyclopes also symbolizes the sun and solar power. The cyclops Polyphemus was the son of Zeus. And for the ancient Greeks, the sun was the eye of Zeus. Thus the cyclops embodied the power of the sun and the aspect of their god Zeus that was fire and light (9). Now we’re heating up! The Lighthouse itself with it’s bright light (an eye, maybe?) that allows people to live, or if the light goes off-die at sea. It’s very similar to the God Zeus having the power to help people live (with light and fire) or kill people off. Aside from showing the power and divinity in the light both stories are talking about divinity.

Their next stop was the island of Aeolus, the god of the winds (4). AIOLOS (Aeolus) was the divine keeper of the winds and king of the mythical, floating island of Aiolia (Aeolia). He kept the violent Storm-Winds locked safely away inside the cavernous interior of his isle, releasing them only at the command of greatest gods to wreak devastation upon the world (10). Aeolus, master of the winds, wanted to help Odysseus on his journey and gave him a bag which contained all the winds except the West Wind. In other words, only the wind he needed was allowed to blow, while all the winds that would hinder his journey were bagged up. Odysseus’ men did not know what was inside the bag and thought that the god had given Odysseus a great treasure that the king was keeping to himself. They departed the island of the god and sailed until they were in sight of Ithaca. When Odysseus was asleep, his men looked for the bag and opened it just as they were nearing Ithaca’s shores. Unfortunately, the winds were unleashed and took the ships far away from their home. With this, they arrived in the land of the Lastregonyan, a race of cannibal giants that destroyed all their ships but one and killed almost all Odysseus’ men. Only Odysseus’ ship and its crew survived this attack (4).

Aeolus, who is son of Poseidon (God of the sea), gifts Odysseus friendly wind. Due to ignorance and greed, Odysseus’ crew open the bag containing all the unfavorable winds and the ships are taken further from home instead. Then, the group faces cannibal giants that destroy their ships, condemning them to death and further time out at sea for Odysseus. Similarly, in the Lighthouse, Younger kills the senior wiki and hides him in the water tank instead of just listening to his criticisms and tightening up his work ethic. Then, checking the water tank Younger sees the dead, but his delusional mind makes it a bird, rather than the man. When another gull flies toward this scene, threatening to ruin Younger’s delusion with reality, Younger kills the bird violently. It’s an ignorant move because the truth and reality are inevitable–the drinking water is tarnished. In the movie, the same shift in winds that Odysseus and his men go through is spotlighted after an ignorant act. The arrow points North and the isolation on the lighthouse island becomes more sinister. Younger and Older will not be going home any time soon. The giant cannibal in the Lighthouse is Younger’s delusional mind itself, because he is more and more hedonistic and dangerous the longer he is out there.

Odysseus and his remaining men next stopped at the island of the enchantress Circe, who would cause more trouble for the voyagers. Circe offered a feast for the voyagers, but the food and drink she gave them had drugs and turned them into animals. Odysseus was not among the group who attended the feast, and one of the men who escaped, found him and told him what had happened (4).

This part of Odysseus’ journey is shown in the Lighthouse with the drinking, loss of food, and the ethanol. As a direct consequence of Younger’s murder, the food and beverage literally turn the situation untenable. Drinking alcohol, then ethanol turn the men at the lighthouse into animals-their behavior increasingly debaucherous.

As a sidenote, Younger’s delusion turns man into bird so Odysseus is referenced in that way also.

Odysseus then encounters the SirensScylla and Charybdis, [we already talked about sirens, don’t forget] and the Cattle of the Sun. One of Tiresias’ instructions to Odysseus and his men had been to avoid eating eat the sacred cattle of Helios, the sun god. However, after spending a month in Thrinacia due to bad weather and running out of food, his men could not bear it anymore and hunted down the cattle. When the weather cleared, they left the land but Helios was angry at their actions. In revenge for killing his cattle, Helios asks Zeus to punish or he would no longer shine the sun over the world. Zeus complies and makes the ship capsize. Odysseus loses all his men, becoming the only survivor (4).

see source (8).

The Lighthouse strongly asserts the story of the sun-cattle through the plot. Running out of food because Younger didn’t listen. He didn’t listen to the logging foreman before. He didn’t listen to the senior wiki. And he didn’t listen to Older about rationing. Younger refuses to listen and change his behavior like Odysseus’ crew do not listen or mind about eating the sun cattle. And in both stories rules of honor and piety are alluded to. The Gods/divine power are displeased with the hedonistic acts, and both Younger and Odysseus’ crew are doomed afterwards. In both stories divine power takes away the sun/light as punishment. In both stories boats are lost and the sea is harsh.

After the ship capsized, the tides washed Odysseus ashore onto the island of the nymph Calypso. The nymph fell in love with Odysseus and kept him captive for seven years. She offered him immortality and eternal youth, but the king refused her because he wanted to return to Penelope in Ithaca. Years later, Calypso decided to let Odysseus go with a raft. However, the king once again suffered the wrath of Poseidon, who sent a storm that destroyed the raft and left Odysseus in the middle of the sea (4).

Women and sexuality feature strongly in The Lighthouse film. The men both hunger for sexual attention from women, and fear it’s power over them. Older speaks with sadness of a wife at home who couldn’t stand his long absences. The two masturbate, but also can’t conquer the siren/mermaid or the fishy entity around the light of the lighthouse. Even the figurine fails to get Younger off toward the end of the movie. To the men, women are desirable and chaotic, sexy but wild. In that way, women are also compared to nature, which cannot be tamed or mastered. In this setting of powerlessness over the wildness of nature (or on a smaller scale, women) Younger gives himself a type of immortality. As long as his mind separates out the scapegoat Id, he is innocent of any crimes. He may be captive on the lighthouse with his victim, but his mind walled off his action and he is free to pursue power of knowledge through mermaids and the light.

After almost nine years, Odysseus finally leaves Calypso and at last arrives in Ithaca. Odysseus proves his identity—with the aid of Athena—by accomplishing Penelope’s test of stringing and shooting with his old bow. He then, with the help of Telemachus and two slaves, slays Penelope’s suitors. Penelope still does not believe him and gives him one further test. But at last she knows it is he and accepts him as her long-lost husband and the king of Ithaca (3).

Though The Lighthouse does not mirror this plot point in Odysseus’ travels, the movie does center on identity. Through the film there are many questions that are (subliminally) brought up that need considering: Whose perspective are we viewing the plot through? What is identity? Is identity only the sum of all parts (Id + ego+ super-ego) or does each part individually hold up when separated? Is one portion of our identity fully responsible for transgressions while another is completely innocent and pure? Which part of identity has the most power? Knowledge? Divinity? What is real and what is a delusion? And does that matter to the story?

More directly, The Lighthouse has Younger assuming his boss’ identity and using that name. Older goes by a nickname. Toward the end secrets and identities are revealed, which also spells out the fact that these are actually the same person. Tommy and Thomas Wake-both are named Tom. This is the movie taking pains to show the audience what has happened. So we don’t have tests of identity per say, but the whole movie IS the test.

Sources:

1) https://www.britannica.com/topic/Siren-Greek-mythology

2) https://symbolsage.com/sirens-greek-mythology/

3) https://www.britannica.com/topic/Odysseus

4) https://symbolsage.com/odysseus-trojan-war-hero/

5) https://www.britannica.com/topic/Prometheus-Greek-god

6) https://symbolsage.com/prometheus-greek-mythology/

7) https://dc.fandom.com/wiki/Trident_of_Poseidon

8) https://www.litcharts.com/lit/the-odyssey/book-12

9) https://www.uniguide.com/cyclopes

10) https://www.theoi.com/Titan/Aiolos.html#:~:text=AIOLOS%20(Aeolus)%20was%

20the%20divine,wreak%20devastation%20upon%20the%20world.