Tag Archives: Taylor Swift

Reputation Re-listen: 3rd Lens

23 Jan

1st lense: Public persona. Straight. Thought it was bad. The BF stuff was OTT. As such, the rest of this analysis is from the perspective that Oat Milk is a beard (Grammygate).
2nd lense: Kaylor. Eyes opened, everything made better sense. It’s a WLW love story.
3rd lense: in light of Karlie baby. Post FolkMore.
It’s all of those. Taylor was layering meanings into songs (for plausible deniability) before she admitted it in folklore.

I included lyrical analysis in this, but not quotes from Taylor outside of her songs. When marketing an album to the general public she tends to be an unreliable narrator, and cherry-picking takes away from the credibility of these conclusions. The truth is (buried) in her lyrics.

Call It What You Want (pertinent lines and [brackets show my words]):

My castle crumbled overnight I brought a knife to a gunfight They took the crown, but it’s alright [Snakegate] All the liars are calling me one [KimYe] Nobody’s heard from me for months [Reputation black-out] I’m doing better than I ever was, ’cause My baby’s fit like a daydream [Victoria’s Secret Angel, Karlie] High above the whole scene [tall, and also out of the KimYe drama] Windows boarded up after the storm [during reputation black-out, Kaylor went underground together] He built a fire [Karlie] just to keep me warm All the drama queens taking swings [Karda$hians] All the jokers dressin’ up as kings [Kanye] They fade to nothing when I look at him I’m laughing with my lover, making forts under covers

Taylor is in love with Karlie. She says they don’t have to label it if that doesn’t work for Karlie:

(Call it what you want, call it what you want, call it) So call it what you want, yeah, call it what you want to Call it what you want, yeah Call it what you want To [said fast it even sounds like Karlie’s name in here]

Taylor writes a lot about the sexual chemistry of Kaylor:

Don’t Blame Me

I’ve been breakin’ hearts a long time, and [Taylor’s serial-dater reputation] Toyin’ with them older guys [Jake G, John M, Tom H…] Just to play things for me to use [beards]

Something happened for the first time, in The darkest little paradise Shakin, pacin’, I just need you I get so high, oh Every time, yeah every time you’re lovin’ me You’re lovin’ me Oh, Lord, save me, my drug is my baby I’d be usin’ for the rest of my life [Lesbian sex.]

My name is whatever you decide [Karlie misspells Taylor’s name in the sand during the Big Sur trip] And I’m just gonna call you mine Halo, hiding my obsession [VS Angel and also Taylor Swift the wholesome/straight brand] I once was poison ivy, but now I’m your daisy [a daisy on the dashboard identical to the pic on the liner notes; also Ivy from Evermore calls back to this]

I rearranged the lyrics of So It Goes:

Met you in a bar [Delicate? or the 2014 Met Gala?] All eyes on me, your illusionist [Taylor is not what she seems] All eyes on us [Guests, media, the public?] See you in the dark All eyes on you, my magician [magical but twists the truth does tricks to obscure] All eyes on us You make everyone disappear, and [Taylor only has eyes for Karlie]

Cut me into pieces Gold cage, hostage to my feelings

[Taylor is in love, yet still in her metaphorical cage. She has to hide this love from the public for the sake of her career. She’s also in the cage because her love, Karlie, is committed to someone else (Jo$h).]

Back against the wall [no options] Trippin’, trip-trippin’ when you’re gone [Karlie goes back to Jo$h] ‘Cause we breakdown a little I’m so chill, but you make me jealous [Taylor doesn’t want to share Karlie] But I got your heart Skippin’, skip-skippin’ when I’m gone [Both of them feel love, not just Taylor]

[There’s a lot of outside factors standing between Taylor and Karlie, and making their relationship complicated and messy.]

But when you get me alone, it’s so simple ‘Cause baby, I know what you know We can feel it And all the pieces fall Right into place Getting caught up in a moment Lipstick on your face So it goes I make all your gray days clear and Wear you like a necklace [lesbian sex graphic reference] But when I get you alone, it’s so simple ‘Cause baby, I know what you know We can feel it You know I’m not a bad girl [Commenting on public stigma of gays] But I do bad things with you [Sexually-speaking] So it goes Come here, dressed in black now So, so, so it goes Scratches down your back now So, so, so it goes

[sex, sex, sex is so passionate and great and makes all the public image and commitments to others momentarily disappear]

I’m yours to keep [Karlie could choose Taylor] And I’m yours to lose [will Karlie choose Jo$h?] You did a number on me [Staying committed to Jo$h while seeing Taylor] But honestly, baby, who’s counting? I did a number on you [bearding, anxious about their relationship] But honestly, baby, who’s counting? [Proceeds to count. Maybe saying resentments are building up on both sides]

End game through this 3rd lens seems less like couple goals as I had previously interpreted it, and more like begging Karlie to choose her (over Jo$h):

Big reputation, big reputation Ooh you and me we got big reputations [obv Taylor and Karlie individually and together]

I don’t wanna touch you (I don’t wanna be) Just anther ex-love (you don’t wanna see) I don’t wanna miss you (I don’t wanna miss you) [When Karlie goes back to Jo$h] Like the other girls do I don’t wanna hurt you (I just wanna be) Drinkin’ on a beach with (you all over me And I can’t let you go, your hand print’s on my soul [Taylor is deeply in love with Karlie] It’s like your eyes are liquor, it’s like your body is gold [Karlie] You’ve been calling my bluff on all my usual tricks So here’s the truth from my red lips I wanna be your end game I wanna be your first string I wanna be your A Team I wanna be your endgame, endgame

[This screams, please pick me overJo$h]

Delicate under the 3rd lens seems less like a nervous 1st date and more like anxiety that Karlie is a flight risk.

We can’t make any promises Now can we, babe Is it cool that I said all that? Is it chill that you’re in my head? ‘Cause I know that it’s delicate (Delicate) Is it cool that I said all that? Is it too soon to do this yet? ‘Cause I know that it’s delicate

[Taylor is full of anxiety, not wanting to scare Karlie away, not wanting to push boundaries.]

Third floor on the West Side, me and you [Kaylor sex] Handsome, you’re a mansion with a view [Karlie] Do the girls back home touch you like I do? Long night with your hands up in my hair Echoes of your footsteps on the stairs Stay here, honey, I don't want to share [with Jo$h] 'Cause I like you Sometimes I wonder; when you sleep Are you ever dreaming of me? [vs. Jo$h] Sometimes when I look into your eyes I pretend you're mine, all the damn time 'Cause I like you

Dress is the Met Gala (2014 or 2016?). Things were sexy, there was attraction, they had undeniable chemistry.

Wildest Dreams is looking backward at the Big Sur trip Kaylor took after they met. So looking about here in the timeline. They were in love.

I believe Taylor was writing songs that went on the Lover album and was interrupted by KimYe/Snakegate. That's why some of the Lover tracks fit chronologically between Reputation tracks.

A stressor to Kaylor is election season ramping up. Miss Americana and the Heartbreak King [Taylor doesn't want her brand associated with Ku$hners/Trump. Thus she could not be open that her and Karlie are in a romantic/sexual relationship (even though she feels so much for Karlie).]

Getaway car

1st lens: Leaving Calvin (Tom?!) for Joe. Makes no sense. Too many people and an inconsistent timeline.
2nd lens: leaving beards for true love Karlie. Occasional lines don't make sense- did Taylor switch perspectives within the lyrics?
3rd lens: ditching Jo$h to have Kaylor sex. And lines like:

No, nothing good starts in a getaway car [Kaylor is doomed]
He [not Calvin, not beards. Jo$h] poisoned the well, [Jo$h was working against Kaylor, he was doing his best to thwart Taylor and persuade Karlie to stay with him] I was lying to myself [That she was hetero/bi (she's not), that she could handle a casual relationship, and that Karlie would leave Jo$h forever to be with her]. I knew it from the first Old Fashioned, we were cursed
We were flyin', but we'd never get far
There were sirens in the beat of your heart [this trist is exciting but problematic. Both for the public finding out about WLW. But also bc TS is seriously in love and that will cause problems.]

*This stanza:

It was the great escape, the prison break

Both from the Met gala (a bit confusing bc Kaylor went at least twice-2014 and 2016 I think) but also Taylor from comp-het. Now she realizes she's lesbian. I say that because Taylor already knew she liked women. She dated Diana. And I'm assuming it wasn't just a Kaylor sex, 'I am sexually attracted to women' epiphany, because Swiftgron lasted awhile and I'm assuming they were sexual. But there is some sort of revelation Taylor has in this part of the song. A change has taken place, and something is different about Taylor compared to before.

The light of freedom on my face

A change has taken place within Taylor, and it's evident to observers. Even though Taylor previously dated Diana, she has this "prison break" moment where she realizes she wasn't bisexual after all. I wonder if Taylor had previously felt like her dalliances with women were just about sex. She may not have taken them as seriously, and still thought she would end up with a guy (compulsory heterosexuality). But in this Getaway Car prison break, she sees in her negative reaction to Karlie's commitment to Jo$h (and perceived indifference to Kaylor) that her (Taylor's) love is different. She realizes she is serious about wanting a relationship, not just having funsy sex.

But you weren't thinking [Karlie wasn't thinking of more then sex, and especially not considering the long term implications of a lesbian relationship] And I was just drinking Well, he [Not any beard, Jo$h] was running after us, I was screaming, "Go, go, go!" But with three of us, honey, it's a sideshow And a circus ain't a love story [There are Jo$h, Karlie, and Taylor involved.]

I knew it from the first Old Fashioned, we [Kaylor] were cursed It hit you [Karlie]  like a shotgun [not romantic, deadly]  shot to the heart We were jet-set, Bonnie and Clyde (oh, oh) [the sneaking and sexing was fun and exciting]

Until I switched to the other side, [Taylor tells again of a revelation. She has the realization that she is not bisexual just wanting a friends w/benefits, or casually playing, but that she's actually full-lesbian with serious feelings] to the other si-i-i-i-ide [She emphasizes there is a change.]

There were sirens in the beat of your [Karlie- it's all fun and games until Taylor falls in love]  heart (should've known) [that Karlie didn't want that lesbian life] Should've known I'd be the first to leave

Taylor tells us that she broke up with Karlie. She thought Karlie wasn't taking Kaylor seriously because she remained committed to Jo$h. Taylor tells us she was angry that her conveying a true love was received with anxiety by Karlie. And also, Taylor couldn't be outed by the relationship for her public image. And thirdly, she didn't want to be associated with Ku$hners and Trump.


Cruel Summer cements this.
Shape of your body is new. [Taylor with a woman. Taylor's lesbian status is new to her.] Blue. [Taylor is depressed about the implications of being gay. But also...] It's cool, that's what I tell 'em No rules in breakable heaven [She's also depressed that it's a casual sex thing with Karlie despite agreeing to those terms .] I'm drunk in the back of the car [getaway car?] And I cried like a baby coming home from the bar (oh) Said I'm fine, but it wasn't true [what this song is about] I don't wanna keep secrets just to keep you And I snuck in through the garden gate [but Taylor can't get enough of Karlie] Every night that summer just to seal my fate (oh) [sex] And I screamed for whatever it's worth "I love you, " ain't that the worst thing you ever heard? [Because this isn't what Karlie wants (remember the shotgun to the heart)] He looks up grinning like a devil [kissgate, or Jo$h wins bc if they're outed Kaylor falls apart]

After this realization of being a lesbian, Taylor shuts Kaylor down bc of internalized homophobia, fear, and all the outside factors making Kaylor overly complicated.

Tolerate It [(song on folklore that could be looking back) parent and industry homophobia]

The Archer [worried about losing fans and career if she comes out]

Even though Daylight is the last track of the next album (Lover) I think it belongs here in the sequence of events. In the song, Taylor comes to terms with her sexuality.  I'm about to trade Daylight lyrics in what I believe to be a Chronological way:

Clearing the air, I breathed in the smoke [kissgate] I've been sleeping so long in a 20-year dark night [realization she knew she liked girls since she was 7, but was in the closet and also comp-het and bearding. Now she knows she's a lesbian.] My love was as cruel as the cities I lived in [internalized homophobia]

[Taylor comes to accept her sexuality] Like daylight It's golden like daylight You gotta step into the daylight and let it go Just let it go, let it go [Let fear and homophobia go] Maybe you ran with the wolves [Ku$hners] and refused to settle down [with Taylor under the condition that they could never have a public family bc of Taylor's image] Maybe I've stormed out of every single room in this town [Taylor is upset her and Karlie can't have real Love]

[Despite all the outside factors, Taylor cannot just leave Karlie]
I don't wanna look at anything else now that I saw you (I can never look away) I don't wanna think of anything else now that I thought of you And now I see daylight, I only see daylight And I can still see it all (In my mind) All of you, all of me (Intertwined) I once believed love would be (Black and white) [Male female love] But it's golden (Golden) And I can still see it all (In my head) Back and forth from New York (Singing in your bed) I once believed love would be (Burning red) [Passionate, sex/fighting, bisexual?] But it's golden Like daylight, like daylight

This Love Happened around this point but looking back to the Wildest Dreams times. Folkmore has call-backs to this song.

Death by a Thousand Cuts is the next part of the Kaylor story.

Trying to find a part of me that you didn't touch [so much sex, but also touched heart] Gave up on me like I was a bad drug [Karlie wants a public family and didn't want some covert hidden closeted one] Now I'm searching for signs in a haunted club Our songs, our films, united we stand Our country, guess it was a lawless land [call back to Miss Americana and the Heartbreak King where she describes GOP winning the 2016 election. This also explains 1 reason why in the Getaway Car Taylor was unwilling to publicly be out with Karlie. Taylor didn't want to be associated with Ku$hners/Trump.] Quiet my fears with the touch of your hand [Fears of a public family with Karlie are gone.]

Taylor is regretful and heartbroken she left Karlie:

get drunk but it's not enough 'Cause you're not my baby I look through the windows of this love Even though we boarded them up [Kaylor broke up] Chandelier's still flickering here [Taylor still loves Karlie] 'Cause I can't pretend it's ok when it's not [being without Karlie] No, it's not It's death by a thousand cuts Trying to find a part of me that you didn't touch My body, my love My trust But it [The sex. Taylor's trust.] wasn't enough, it wasn't enough, no,

Taylor is very depressed without Karlie. And she's re-thinking her reasons for breaking up with her.

Then is Cornelia Street:
Back when we were card sharks, playing games I thought you were leading me on [Taylor broke-up with Karlie after Getaway car because she thought Karlie wasn't taking their WLW thing more seriously. Karlie kept going back to Jo$h] I packed my bags, left Cornelia Street Before you even knew I was gone [getaway car]

But then you [Karlie] called, showed your hand [told Taylor Jo$h and her weren't real. Just a cover and means to have a public family] I turned around before I hit the tunnel Sat on the roof, you and I [Kaylor]

[Kaylor is back on]

I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends [but Taylor's afraid it's tenuous] I'd never walk Cornelia Street again That's the kind of heartbreak time could never mend [folkmore confirms this] I'd never walk Cornelia Street again


In paper Rings (through the 3rd lens)
The wine is cold Like the shoulder that I gave you in the street Cat and mouse for a month or two or three [after the 1st break-up there was still an attraction between Kaylor] Now I wake up in the night and watch you breathe [Cornelia Street told us Kaylor got back together after Karlie told Taylor Jo$h is not a real relationship. Then they sat on the roof together. Taylor looks back to Getaway car where she couldn't give Karlie that family life. But 2-3 months later here Taylor is watching Karlie sleep.] I want to drive away with you [Big Sur and also living happily ever after] I want your complications too [Jo$h situation. So Taylor says she'll accept Kaylor as it is. Karlie will still be entangled with the Ku$hners, but Taylor would rather accept that then not have Karlie at all.]

And Taylor suggests a solution that would work for Kaylor. She suggests:

I like shiny things, but I'd marry you with paper [Kaylor marriage is not socially legitimate but paper rings is Karlie's "marriage" to Jo$h (you showed your hand)] rings Uh huh, that's right Darling, [Karlie] you're the one I want, and I hate accidents except when we went from friends to this Uh huh, that's right Darling, you're the one I want In paper rings, in picture frames [Polaroid], in dirty dreams You're the one I want


Lover song:

Ladies and gentlemen, will you please stand? With every guitar string scar on my hand I take this magnetic force of a man [Karlie] to be my lover [committed lesbian partner, but socially illegitimate] My heart's been borrowed [beards] and yours has been blue [Taylor hurt her with the 1st break-up] All's well that ends well to end up with you Swear to be overdramatic and true to my lover And you'll save all your dirtiest jokes for me And at every table, I'll save you a seat, lover

Yet there's still some uncertainty and instability:

Have I known you 20 seconds or 20 years? [Mercurial soulmate] Can I go where you go? Can we always be this close forever and ever? [Taylor is still not sure that Karlie won't up and leave her permanently for Jo$h (and it's almost a self-fulfilling prophecy given what we learn in folkmore). And ah, take me out, and take me home

In Afterglow Taylor says:
This ultraviolet morning light below [Karlie marrying Jo$h while Taylor was in Australia. When Karlie got "married"  Taylor flips out  But it's not real.  She got jealous and forgot paper rings. Jo$h and Karlie have some sort of agreement on paper, a fake marriage. And in Paper Rings Taylor said she accepted that.]

Taylor broke up with Karlie a second time.

But in this song she takes responsibility for their demise, and is regretful for her blow-up. Taylor wants Karlie back.

Fighting with a true love is boxing with no gloves [Bad Blood] Chemistry 'til it blows up, 'til there's no us Why'd I have to break what I love so much? It's on your [Karlie's] face, and I'm [Taylor for thinking the marriage was real] to blame, I need to say Hey It's all me in my head [jealousy for the Jo$h situation] I'm the one who burned us down But it's not what I meant I'm [Taylor] sorry that I hurt you [Karlie] I don't wanna do, I don't wanna do this to you I don't wanna lose, I don't wanna lose this with you I need to say, hey It's all me, just don't go Meet me in the afterglow Tell me that you're still mine Tell me that we'll be just fine Even when I lose my mind I need to say Tell me that it's not my fault Tell me that I'm all you want Even when I break your heart

So that is what I think Taylor is telling us through her music. I've just rearranged it in a way I think is more linear to the actual Kaylor timeline. Also, this is not supposed to be all-inclusive. It does not include every song, nor every bit of the Kaylor relationship (I mean, this is already too long). I largely omitted a lot of their happy times, and other things. But this chunk includes some Kaylor happy times, sexy times, strife, and 2 break ups.

After this part I do think Karlie gave Taylor another chance after the paper rings break-up. The first part of the Lover era was all rainbows and butterflies and a possible coming out. But the latter half was dark and depressing. So they might have broken up in the middle of the era? I think the masters heist caused Taylor to delay a coming out publicly another time. It was just another blow and let down to Karlie in a series of promises (Coney Island) and probably Karlie thought time was running out for her to have a child. She couldn't delay a family life much longer.

After that even Kaylor had to be 'on' for a bit because prior to the surprise drop folklore, Karlie was in a cardigan and amongst trees. Karlie HAD to know. And nobody else did, and there was a bit of hope in folklore. So I don't know what occurred between sad-Lover era and folklore, but something gave Taylor hope. I think it ended for good (4th? break-up was final) because Evermore was all super-sad.

Re-rank Evermore

15 Jan

Last time I ranked the album, it had only been out a short time. The songs are mostly lyrically-based so it takes longer to appreciate them. I decided to rank them again now that I’ve listened a lot more.

Willow- Gr-G (it’s very catchy, but way too much “…man” repeats)

Champagne Problems- Gr (lyrically dense)

Gold Rush- A-Gr (Track 3?! Very visual of a song)

Tis the Damn Season- G-N

Tolerate It- A (Captures that gay feeling accurately)

No Body No Crime- A-Gr (What a fun song)

Happiness- G

Dorthea- G-N

Coney Island- G-S (Lots of repetition, and I think his singing is bad)

Ivy- A-Gr (super-gay!)

Cowboy Like Me-A

Long Story Short- A (Catchy AF)

Margorie- A (So sentimental for me)

Closure- A

Evermore- G (Too depressing)

Right Where You Left Me- N

It’s Time to Go- G-N

(A)wesome 5; A-Gr cusp 4.5; (Gr)eat 4; Gr-G cusp 3.5; (G)ood 3; Good-Neutral cusp 1; (N)eutral -1; Good to Skip cusp -1.5; (Meh) -3; (S)kip -6

5 A25; 2 A-Gr9; 1 GR4; 1 Gr-G3.5; 2 G6; 3 G-N3; 1 N-1; 1 G-S-1.5; 0M; 0S

48

Taylor Swift is Peter Pan

7 Aug

First a very quick lesson in (internalized) misogyny:

We live in a patriarchy, a sociopolitical and cultural system that values masculinity over femininity (Ferguson).  Misogyny is perpetuated by our surroundings even in subconscious ways, so we are saturated by the confines of gender. Since we are indoctrinated by underrepresentation & sexist representation, misogyny becomes an ingrained cultural norm.  Double standards are so embedded in our culture we often don’t recognize when we’re reinforcing them. A “boys will be boys” attitude and judging a women’s appearance more harshly than a man’s are two examples. “Even when we may be aware of the gender roles and stereotypes at play, we still can internalize some deeply-rooted misogyny from what we’ve been taught. We must make a conscious effort to reconsider these thought processes and undo the damage, ” (Gudenau).

In 2014, Taylor Swift made a conscious choice to become a feminist:

Swift told the magazine over her avoidance of the issue [of feminism] earlier in her career. “I think that when I used to say, ‘Oh, feminism’s not really on my radar,’ it was because when I was just seen as a kid, I wasn’t as threatening. I didn’t see myself being held back until I was a woman.”  She continued, “Misogyny is ingrained in people from the time they are born. So to me, feminism is probably the most important movement that you could embrace, because it’s just basically another word for equality” (https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/taylor-swift-talks-feminism-misogyny-in-maxim-38970/)

Let’s Talk “Infantilization” in the context of sociology & women, in particular:

Infantilization starts, really at the beginning of history.  We won’t go into that here, or the Greeks and their “boy love” but I suggest reading up on it, as it’s very compelling history.  For the purpose of this post, we will start at World War II (1941-1945 for U.S. involvement).  When large numbers of men were sent to fight, it became common for women to take over what were considered to be male jobs so that the economy would remain stable and production would continue. Although this was framed as a patriotic duty, many women enjoyed the autonomy and independence that employment afforded them and were disappointed when they had to give them up after the war ended. 

Having proven that they were fully capable of independence during the war years, women presented a threat to male authority and were potential competition for employment. Treating women like children strengthened and perpetuated the notion that women could not care for themselves without a man.  It was a way of reigning in independent women and infantilization was in large part a means by which men could regain control of women.  

Television at the time (which often reinforces the social norms) portrayed the acceptable station of women by telling simple stories that portray idealized families in a safe and comfortable world. These shows produce a sense of nostalgia and a certain level of enjoyment, but look deeper and feel stunned by the ways in which the female characters are treated like children by the men around them.  The Adventures of Ozzie and HarrietLeave it to Beaver, and Father Knows Best all capture this sentiment well. . .  In the case of I Love Lucy, the series’ main character was often treated like a child by her husband, which included demeaning language and, in some cases, spanking.  For Lucy, and many other women during this era, infantalization was a means of controlling women and perpetuating the myth that without men (a father figure), they were incapable of caring for themselves or exercising autonomy.

(https://study.com/academy/lesson/infantilization-of-women-definition-significance.html)

Let’s move on to the song at hand:

We discussed how we’re overwhelmed with misogyny, even subconsciously, by living in a world that values the masculine over feminine.  We have internalized those ideas, and perpetuate them, even unknowingly.  We discussed how infantilization was used in the 1950s to convince women to leave the workplace because they needed a man to survive.  And we went over how, in 2014, around the 1989 era, Taylor Swift said she had previously unaware feminism impacted her, but she felt the pressures of it more and more as she aged [and achieved more power].

My assessment is that infantilization, which still acts upon girls and women in current times, was deep-seated in Taylor’s psyche.  Just as that social tool has been internalized by most all of us, women, and men.  She wrote a song about her life at the time.  It’s a nice little story, with a sentimental bent:

Your little hand’s wrapped around my finger
And it’s so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter ’cause you’re dreamin’
So I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light  

Taylor emphasizes how comfortable and loved this child is.  They are tucked in and made to feel safe and peaceful.  This is a very idealized version of kids, and what it’s like to be one, with no tantrums or messes, no imperfect family life.  Only the good parts are mentioned here.  It relates to the 1950s television shows conveying a secure, comfortable home where men go to work, women keep house, and children are well-mannered.  Perfect.  

To you, everything’s funny
You got nothing to regret  

Taylor gives us examples of how children are carefree and innocent, with an obvious wistfulness.  Taylor wishes she could rewind time for herself.  These lines tell the listener that she has experienced the more serious side of life as she’s aged.  She has made mistakes she may regret.  It would be a lot more cozy and happy if she could go back to that comfy bed in the first verse.  The lines also convey that life gets more difficult as we gain awareness and make more social connections. 

I’d give all I have honey
If you could stay like that

Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
I won’t let nobody hurt you
Won’t let no one break your heart
And no one will desert you
Just try to never grow up
Never grow up  

This chorus.  It’s the most obvious example of what I’m trying to say, infantilization is at play here.  The ‘never grow ups’ relate to the Peter Pan references later written in cardigan.  In the music video, Taylor follows magical golden glitter from scene to scene. It looks just like the pixie dust Peter uses to help Wendy fly off to Neverland, and conveys how beautiful remaining a child is is both Peter’s story and Taylor’s mind. And in Miss Americana, Taylor tells the audience that there is a saying that people get frozen in the age they got famous and she felt that applied to her, confirming her choice/circumstance.  

You’re in the car on the way to the movies
And you’re mortified your mom’s droppin’ you off
At fourteen, there’s just so much you can’t do
And you can’t wait to move out someday and call your own shots
But don’t make her drop you off around the block
Remember that she’s gettin’ older too  

In this verse, Taylor addresses an older child, maybe even herself as a teen.  She indicates adolescents want independence and freedom.  They begin to push away from caring parents.  But she reminds the teen that parents have feelings too, so have empathy.  She finishes the verse:


And don’t lose the way that you dance
Around in your PJs getting ready for school  

Taylor continues, to show the difference between youthful innocence and the shame that comes with being an adult.  She uses the dancing example after the ’embarrassed to get dropped off’ lines, to show that teenagers are beginning to be influenced by society’s perception of them.  They become aware of social norms and may repress their natural behavior to abide by the rules set for them.  Taylor is glorifying the freedom of childhood here just as she did in seven, “Before I learned civility/I used to scream ferociously/Any time I wanted.”  In both instances, Taylor misses the times when she was free to be herself and not have to abide by a patriarchal society’s conditioning.  

Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
It could stay this simple  

Taylor is insistent in the chorus, growing up is worse.  And the lyrics, “when you are young they assume you know nothing,” could also tie back into the Peter Pan cardigan references.  It might refer to how, although Peter Pan and the Lost Boys could never grow up or fall in love, they still knew the magic of Neverland and its fairies, talking crocodiles, pirates, and all sorts of things that adults never could.   

And no one’s ever burned you
Nothing’s ever left you scarred And even though you want to
Just try to never grow up  

These lines are drawing on personal experience.  Taylor, herself, has been burned and scarred, now that she’s older.  As a child, she was protected from the outside world, kind of like the wives and children in the 1950s shows.  Father was the one who braved the mean, outside world and the family lived in a protective (if not restrictive) cocoon.  Taylor says as she gained the freedom of adulthood, she had to pay the price of being exposed to pain.  

Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother’s favorite songs
I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone  

This part is very sentimental.  It shows how young adults feel when they are leaving the comfort and familiarity of their childhood home and family.  It’s a very common feeling of fear of the unknown and reluctance to take the leap to independence.  This bridge is a reason many people gravitate to this song.  It’s their same experience as Seniors in high school, and Taylor captures the hesitancy perfectly.  It’s exactly these uncertainties exploited by infantilization.    

So here I am in my new apartment
In a big city, they just dropped me off
It’s so much colder than I thought it would be
So I tuck myself in and turn my nightlight on  

Now, Taylor brings the song to the first person and talks about her own situation directly.  She has finally gained the independence she had been longing for as a teen, but it’s lonely, and she has to soothe and comfort herself.  Nobody is there to tuck her in.  It’s not the freedom she had imagined as a teen, and she wants to reverse her aging process to feel that comfort again. She has fully embraced patriarchy’s teachings that women need someone to care for them.    

Wish I’d never grown up
I wish I’d never grown up Oh, I don’t wanna grow up
Wish I’d never grown up
Could still be little
Oh, I don’t wanna grow up
Wish I’d never grown up
It could still be simple
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
I won’t let nobody hurt you
Won’t let no one break your heart
And even though you want to
Please try to never grow up
Oh, oh
Don’t you ever grow up
Oh (never grow up)
Just never grow up

This song is a cautionary tale about being careful what you wish for.  Taylor took for granted how comfortable and free she was as a child when she pushed for more independence as a teen.  As she got more freedoms, Taylor was concurrently hurt like never before.  And when independence was realized it felt like a letdown, cold and empty.  The beginning of the song is warm and lovely, the end is cold and regretful.  Never grow up, she cautions, or you might feel this bad also.

Misogyny is internalized when women or men subconsciously absorb sexist beliefs through socialization.  Women, in this case, Taylor Swift, can also hold an unconscious bias toward their own gender.  Just as the 1950s television shows contributed to the belief (by both men and women themselves) that women were a generally inferior gender, this song shows aging and becoming independent is a perilous, unhappy event.  Internalized misogyny is projected onto oneself and others by all of us (Gudenau).  And I believe an overemphasis on the happiness and comfort of childhood combined with the doubt that Taylor Swift can be happy tucking herself in, is an example of another women succumbing to infantilization.  Society tells women they need a man to be comfortable and happy, thus we believe that. And knowing Taylor’s lyrical story, we know there were consequences for her getting stuck at the age that she got famous.  The line, “Peter losing Wendy,” in cardigan, evokes the song’s theme of losing someone because you can’t grow up.   Just as Peter had to lose Wendy since he couldn’t really love her, and she went to grow up without him, Taylor lost someone because she didn’t want to grow up, either.  Internalized infantilization had her stuck.

Luckily, as I have already alluded, Taylor saw the truth.  Society tries to convince women they’re more happy being taken care of as a way to reign in female power.  And now she sings The Man, a song about how her life would be different if she was treated like a man.

Taylor Swift’s Catalogue Ranked by Kit10Phish (final)

14 Mar

I ranked all album songs from least favorite to my very most delightful favorite of all the songs!

How I made this list:

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=11721&action=edit

and check out the many (not final) lists for more description

(numbers) are the album/era

(C)atchy, (D)etailed story, (G)aylor references, (I)nstrumentals, (L)yrical complexity, very high/low (N)otes, (P)roduction stands out in a good way, (S)entimental

Skips
Last Place Song:
Superman (3)

Soon You’ll Get Better (7)
(best skip) Epiphany (8)

Mehs
3 boring:
A Perfectly Good Heart (1): I, N
(best boring-meh) The Archer (7): G, L

Mehs
2 Personally Dislike:
The Lakes (8): G, L, N, P
End Game (6): C, G, L, P (terrible feat!)
(best disliked meh) Coney Island (9): G, L, N (terrible feat!)

Mehs
1 Exactly Meh:
It’s Nice to Have a Friend (7); D, G, L (Ambiguity bothers me; weird production)
The Other Side of the Door (2): I, L, N
A Place in This World (1): I, N
Right Where You Left Me (9): C, G, L, N (repetitive)
(best exactly meh) The Outside (1): I, N (weak)

OK3 = nearly meh (final)
OK-3B BOTTOM OF LIST:
Tell Me Why (2): C, I, N = 3b (thin voice & a bit generic lyrically)
Sad, Beautiful, Tragic (4): C = 3B (both blah and bummer)
Superstar (2); D = 3B (zzzzzz)
I Almost Do (4); C = 3 (too needy/pathetic/un-feminist. Yet catchy)
(best OK-bottom of nearly meh) Jump Than Fall (2): C, I = 3B

OK3 = nearly meh (final)
OK-3A = TOP OF LIST:
The Other Side of the Door (2); C, I, L, N = 3A
Innocent (3): C, I, N = 3A
Last Kiss (3): C, D, N = 3A
The Best Day (2): C, D, = 3A
(best nearly meh) Fearless (2); C, I, N = 3a

OK2 = exactly neutral
OK-2B = BOTTOM OF LIST:
Peace (8): C, D, G, L = 2b (hate pulsing; lyrics condescending(?))
Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince (7); C, D, G, L, N = 2b (don’t care for HS/politics mixing & end chant is too much. But lots of good one-liners)
I Wish You Would (5): C, G = 2A
It’s Time to Go (9): C, D, G, L, N = 2B
Illicit Affairs (8); C, D, G, L = 2B
August (8); C, G, L = 2B
(best OK-bottom of exactly neutral) A Place in the World (1): C, I, N = 2B

OK2 = exactly neutral
OK-2A = TOP OF LIST:
The Way I Loved You (2): C, D, I, N = 2A
False God (7): C, G, L = 2A
Breathe (2): C, G(?), L = 2A
Dorthea (9): C, D, G, L, N = 2A
Happiness (9): C, D, L = 2A
Seven (8); C, D, G, L, N = 2a
(best of OK-exactly neutral) Long Live (3): C, D, I, N = 2A

OK1 = almost good
OK-1B= BOTTOM OF LIST:
Mary’s Song (oh my my) (1): C, D, I, N = 1B
This Love (5): C, G, L, N, P = 1b
I Think He Knows (7): C, G, L, P = 1b
(best OK-bottom of almost good) London Boy; C, D, L, P = 1b

OK1 = almost good
OK-1A= TOP OF LIST:
New Romantics (5): C, D, G, L, N, P = 1A
Hey Stephen (2): C, D = C2
Call It What You Want (6); C, G, L, P = 1A
Tied Together w/a Smile (1): C, D, I, N = C2 (less repetition, some more notes & instrumentals
Gorgeous (6): C, D, L, N, P = 1A
King of My Heart (6): C, L, N, P = 1A (ENDING)
Change (2); C, I (@ END!), N = 1A
Back to December-acoustic (3): C, D, I, N, S = 1A
(best OK-almost good) Cornelia Street (7); C, D, G, L, N = 1A

Good c = almost OK
Gc2 = bottom of category:
State of Grace-acoustic (4): C, L = C2
Begin Again (4): D, I, L = C2
The Last Time (4): C, I = C2 (weird collaboration)
(best Good-bottom of almost OK) Cold as You (1): I, N = C2

Good c = almost OK
Gc1 = top of category:
22 (4): C = c1
Untouchable (2): C, I, N = C1
Come in w/the Rain (2): C, I = C1
All Too Well (4): D, I, L, N = C1 (almost a powwow beat; and yup I did rank it this low)
Starlight (4); C, I = C1
(best Good-almost OK) Sparks Fly (3); C, I = C1

Good b= exactly good
Gb2 = bottom of category:
If this was a Movie (3): C, D, I, N = B2
Never Grow Up (3): C, D, I, N = B2 (problematic sentiment)
’tis the damn Season (9): C, D, L, B2
You are in Love (5): C, N = B2
Stay Beautiful (1): C, I, N = B2
Treacherous-demo (4): C, G(!), L = B2
Cardigan (8): C, D, G, L = B2
Red-demo (4): C = B2
The Last Great American Dynasty (8): C, D = B2
How You Get the Girl (5): C, D, G = B2
(best Good-bottom of exactly good) White Horse (2): D, I, N = B2

Good b= exactly good
Gb1 = top of category:
Everything has Changed (4); C, N = B1
Holy Ground (4): C, D, G, L = B1
This is Me Trying (8): C, I, L(!) = B1
Afterglow (7): C, P = B1
Treacherous (4): C, G(!), L =B1
Daylight (7): C, G, L, N = b1
Come Back…Be Here (4): C, N = B1
Mirrorball (8): C, G, L = B1
I’m Only Me When I’m w/You (1): C, I(!) = b1
Forever & Always-piano (2): C, I, N = B1
The Lucky One (4): C, D, N, = B1
(best Good-exactly good) Fifteen (2): C, D, I = B1

Good a= almost awesome
Ga2 = bottom of category:
This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things (6): a2
Welcome to New York (5): C, D, G, N, P = A2
Me! (7): C, G, I, N = A2 (yup, I ranked it this high–it grew on me)
Wildest Dreams (5): C, N, S = A2 (sexy)
Delicate (6): C, D, G, L, P = A2
So It Goes…(6): C, G, P, L, N = A2 (sexy lines)
Mine-pop (3): D, I, N = A2
Clean (5): C, G, L, P = A2
Tim McGraw (1): C, D, G, I, N = A2
Champagne Problems (9): C (bridge), D, G, L = A2a
(best Good-bottom of almost awesome) Betty (8): C, D, I, G, L = A2a (catchy, & swelling instrumentals)

Good a= almost awesome
Ga1 = top of category:
Mine (3): C, D, I, N = A1
Haunted-acoustic (3): C, I, N, P = A1
Getaway Car (6): C, D, G, P = A1
Death by a Thousand Cuts (7): C, D, G, L, = A1b
Gold Rush (9): C, G, L = A1b
tolerate it (9): G, I, L = A1
Cruel Summer (7): C, G, L, N = A1b
Red (4): C, I, L, P = A1
New Year’s Day (6): C, D, I, N =A1
Cowboy Like Me (9): C, D, G, I, L = A1
willow (9): C, G, L, N = A1 (so effing catchy!)
Dress (6): C, G, L = A1 (SEXY)
Haunted (3): C, I (!), N, P = A1a
Teardrops On My Guitar-RADIO (1): C, I, L, N = A1 (sounds almost the same to me)
(best Good-almost awesome) Teardrops On My Guitar-POP (1): C, I, L, N = A1 (more beat & echo)

Awesome- 3 BETTER THAN GOOD:
All You had to do was Stay (5): C, N = 3
Evermore (9): C, L, N = 3
Stay, Stay, Stay (4): C, D, S = 3
Bad Blood (6): C, N = 3
The Moment I Knew (4): D, N = 3
(best Awesome-better than good) Ours (3); C, L, N = 3

Awesome-2 SOLID AWESOME
2b = bottom of list:
You Belong w/Me (2); C, D, I, N, S = 2b
I Forgot that You Existed (7); C = 2b
Girl at Home (4): C, N = 2b
Our Song (1): C, D, I =2b
Paper Rings (7): C, D, G, P = 2b
No Body, No Crime (9): C, D, L (pronoun/subject) = 2a
Closure (9); C, G, L, P = 2b
The 1 (8): C, D, G, L = 2b
Wonderland (5); C, G, L, N, P = 2b
(best Awesome-bottom of solid awesome) Ivy (9); C, G, L = 2b

Awesome-2 SOLID AWESOME
2a = top of list:
my tears ricochet (8): D, L, P = 2a
Mad Women (8): C, L, N = 2a
Out of the Woods (5): D (bridge), G, L = 2a (is this car crash real? who and when? major gay closet vibes)
The Man (7): C, G, L = 2a
Invisible String (8); C, D, L = 2A
You Need to Calm Down (7): C, G, S = 2a (the 3 things being compared aren’t related? enthusiastic!)
Back to December (3): C, D, S(!) = 2a
Blank Space (5): C, G, L, N = 2a
(best of Awesome-solid awesome) I Knew You Were Trouble (4); C, N, P = 2a (subtle-moag)

Awesome-1 ELITE
1b= bottom of list:
Love Story (2-TV): C, D, I, N = 1a (same except staccato reme-o & fa-ding)
Love Story (2): C, D, I, N = 1a (her 1st crowd favorite, but rom-com effect w/princess stuff & severe heteronormativity)
Dear John (3); C, D, L, N = 2a
Enchanted (3): C, D(!), I, N, S = 1b
Better Than Revenge (3): C, D, I(!), N, S = 1B (sounds like Paramore; problematic mean-girl stuff, but it was a time)
Exile (8): C, G, I, L, N = 1b
Dancing with Our Hands Tied (6): C, G, L, N, P = 1b
Marjorie (9); C, G, L, P, S = 1b (I love the sentiment more than the song. Intense memories of my Grandma, thanks Taylor, for that)
(best of awesome- bottom of elite) Long Story Short (9): C, G, L, P = 1b

Awesome-1 ELITE
1a = top of list:
Style (5): C, G, I, L, N, P = 1a (who is she talking about, what car crash is referenced, is it real?)
Lover (7): C, G, L, S = 1a
Shake It Off (5): C, N = 1a (love the sentiment, & catchiest of ever!)
I Did Something Bad (6): C, N, P = 1a (moag is the star here)
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (4): C, I, P = 1a
Look What You Made Me Do (6): C, P = 1a (exciting like several songs w/in 1 song, I don’t trust nobody bridge)
The Story of Us (3): C, I, S = 1a ( like the next chapter, the end)
Picture to Burn (1): C, I, S = 1a
Shoulda Said No (1): C, I, N, S(!) = 1a
…Ready for It? (6); C, G, N, P = 1a (sexy sounds & moag)
(4th best song) I Know Places (5): C, G, L, N, P = 1a

–and the top 3 songs in the entire catalogue (in my opinion):
*Don’t Blame Me (6): C, G, L, N(!), P = 1a (that moag! She sings her ASS off! Probably the best, barring sentimental favorites)

You’re Not Sorry (2): C, I, N, S(!) = 1a

(My #1 song) Mean (3): C, L, S(!) =1a (after all the listening I learned sentimental really does trump every other characteristic.)

Taylor Swift Album & Song Ranking Procedure (science behind the catalogue ranked last to first)

10 Mar

This is the result of ranking each album by song. What I mean is I ranked each song on the album awesome, good, OK, meh, or skip. The ranking is what I like! It’s not technical, it’s not based on song complexity or singing–just my opinion. But my consistent opinion. I listened and checked each of these lists until my opinion didn’t change, and the songs were locked into their ranking. For the album ranking, I counted up the number of songs in each group. The albums with the highest amount of awesome songs were ranked the highest.                 

awesome       good to ok             meh              skip

1989                      7                     5                           4                    0

speak now            7                      5                           4                    1

red                        5                      13                         0                    0

folklore                  6                      9                            1                   1

Evermore 6 8 0 1

reputation            5                       8                           2                   0

fearless                  5                       8                         4                   1

self-titled               5                       6                           3                    1

lover                       4                       7                           4                   3

P.S. I think the above chart might have changed a little after I ranked each individual song. I’ll have to update it after the catalogue ranking is posted.

Then I took it further. I wanted to rank every song in Taylor’s catalogue (album songs only). I started with the awesome, good, OK, meh, skip playlists from the album ranking, then narrowed those groups into smaller groups.

For example, I took the awesome list and ranked those songs into 3 groups within awesome: Elite, exactly awesome, and almost good.

I did this with all 5 of the original playlists.

At the same time, I marked the song characteristics.

(C)atchy

(D)etailed story

(G)aylor references

(I)nstrumentals

(L)yrical complexity

very high/low (N)otes

(P)roduction stands out in a good way

(S)entimental

Some of the lists were still overwhelmingly large, so I split them in half

like top of the elite-awesomes and bottom of elite-awesomes.

There’s more. Once the lists were manageable, I tried to put the songs in order on each list. This required a lot of listens. I would put the songs on each different group in order, then listen to each different section to make sure the list was accurate. If there was any changes on a section (at least one song moved), I’d mark the list to double-check.

I listened from the bottom to the top, each different group from skip all the way up to awesome, marking any sections with song changes.

If there was a change I would listen to that section again later. I listened over and over until no songs needed to be moved.

Well, I finally finished today! After the holiday music, I started this project so it’s been a long time coming. As soon as I format the lists, I’ll post it up. Hope you enjoy!

Taylor Swift: AWESOMEs (not final)

7 Mar

1 = awesome elite
2 = awesome solid
3 = awesome better than good
a = top of list
b = bottom of list

Awesome-1 ELITE
a = top of list
Don’t Blame Me (6): C, G, L, N, P = 1a
I Did Something Bad (6): C, N, P = 1a
I Know Places (5): C, G, L, N, P = 1a
Look What You Made Me Do (6): C, P = 1a
Lover (7): C, G, L, S = 1a
Mean (3): C, L, S =1a
Picture to Burn (1): C, I, S = 1a
…Ready for It? (6); C, G, N, P = 1a (sexy sounds)
Shake It Off (5): C, N = 1a (not much substance, but catchiest of ever!)
Shoulda Said No (1): C, I, N, S = 1a
The Story of Us (3): C, I, S = 1a
Style (5): C, G, I, L, N, P = 1a
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (4): C, I, P = 1a
You’re Not Sorry (2): C, N, S = 1a

Awesome-1 ELITE
b= bottom of list
Better Than Revenge (3): C, D, I, N, S = 1B
Dancing with Our Hands Tied (6): C, G, L, N, P = 1b
Enchanted (3): C, D, I, N, S = 1b
Exile (8): C, G, I, L, N = 1b
Long Story Short (9): C, G, L, P = 1b
Love Story (2): C, D, I, N = 1a
Love Story (2-TV): C, D, I, N = 1a (same except staccato reme-o & fa-ding
Marjorie (9); C, G, L, P, S = 1b (I love the sentiment more than the song)

Awesome-2 SOLID AWESOME
a = top of list
Back to December (3): C, D, S = 2a
Blank Space (5): C, G, L, N = 2a
Dear John (3); C, D, L, N = 2a
I Knew You Were Trouble (4); C, N, P = 2a
Invisible String (8); C, D, L = 2A
Mad Women (8): C, L, N = 2a
The Man (7): C, G, L = 2a
my tears riccochet (8): D, L, P = 2a
No Body, No Crime (9): C, D, L (pronoun/subject) = 2a
Out of the Woods (5): D (bridge), G, L = 2a
Speak Now (3); C, D, N, S = 2a
You Need to Calm Down (7): C, G, S = 2a

Awesome-2 SOLID AWESOME
b = bottom of list
The 1 (8): C, D, G, L = 2b
Closure (9); C, G, L, P = 2b
Girl at Home (4): C, N = 2b
I Forgot that You Existed (7); C = 2b
Ivy (9); C, G, L = 2b
Our Song (1): C, D, I =2b
Paper Rings (7): C, D, G, P = 2b
Wonderland (5); C, G, L, N, P = 2b
You Belong w/Me (2); C, D, I, N, S = 2b

Awesome- 3 BETTER THAN GOOD
All You had to do was Stay (5): C, N = 3
Bad Blood (6): C, N = 3
Evermore (9): C, L, N = 3
The Moment I Knew (4): D, N = 3
Ours (3); C, L, N = 3
Stay, Stay, Stay (4): C, D, S = 3

Taylor Swift GOODs (not final)

5 Mar

a= almost awesome
b= exactly good
c= almost OK
1 = top of category
2 = bottom of category

a= almost awesome
1 = top of category

Cruel Summer (7): C, G, L, N = A1b
Cowboy Like Me (9): C, D, G, I, L = A1
Death by a Thousand Cuts (7): C, D, G, L, = A1b
Dress (6): C, G, L = A1 (SEXY)
Getaway Car (6): C, D, G, P = A1
Gold Rush (9): C, G, L = A1b
Haunted (3): C, I (!), N, P = A1a
Haunted-acoustic (3): C, I, N, P = A1
Mine (3): C, D, I, N = A1
New Year’s Day (6): C, D, I, N =A1
Red (4): C, I, L, P = A1
Teardrops On My Guitar-POP (1): C, I, L, N = A1
Teardrops On My Guitar-RADIO (1): C, I, L, N = A1
tolerate it (9): G, I, L = A1
willow (9): C, G, L, N = A1

a= almost awesome
2 = bottom of category

Betty (8): C, D, I, G, L = A2a
Champagne Problems (9): C (bridge), D, G, L = A2a
Clean (5): C, G, L, P = A2
Delicate (6): C, D, G, L, P = A2
Me! (7): C, G, I, N = A2
Mine-pop (3): D, I, N = A2
So It Goes…(6): C, G, P, L, N = A2
This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things (6): a2
Tim McGraw (1): C, D, G, I, N = A2
Welcome to New York (5): C, D, G, N, P = A2
Wildest Dreams (5): C, N, S = A2

The story and detailed writing really puts many of these this high on the list.

b= exactly good
1 = top of category

Afterglow (7): C, P = B1
Come Back…Be Here (4): C, N = B1
Daylight (7): C, G, L, N = b1
Everything has Changed (4); C, N = B1
Fifteen (2): C, D, I = B1
Forever & Always-piano (2): C, I, N = B1
Holy Ground (4): C, D, G, L = B1
I’m Only Me When I’m w/You (1): C, I(!) = b1
The Lucky One (4): C, D, N, = B1
P Mirrorball (8): C, G, L = B1
This is Me Trying (8): C, I, L(!) = B1
Treacherous (4): C, G(!), L =B1

b= exactly good
2 = bottom of category

Cardigan (8): C, D, G, L = B2
How You Get the Girl (5): C, D, G = B2
If this was a Movie (3): C, D, I, N = B2
The Last Great American Dynasty (8): C, D = B2
Never Grow Up (3): C, D, I, N = B2 (problematic sentiment)
Red-demo (4): C = B2
Stay Beautiful (1): C, I, N = B2
’tis the damn Season (9): C, D, L, B2
Treacherous-demo (4): C, G(!), L = B2
White Horse (2): D, I, N = B2
You are in Love (5): C, N = B2

All of these are so catchy!

c= almost OK
1 = top of category

22 (4): C = c1
All Too Well (4): D, I, L, N = C1 (almost a powwow beat)
Come in w/the Rain (2): C, I = C1
Sparks Fly (3); C, I = C1
Starlight (4); C, I = C1
Untouchable (2): C, I, N = C1

c= almost OK
2 = bottom of category

Begin Again (4): D, I, L = C2
Cold as You (1): I, N = C2
Hey Stephen (2): C, D = C2
The Last Time (4): C, I = C2 (weird collaboration)
State of Grace-acoustic (4): C, L = C2
Tied Together w/a Smile (1): C, D, I, N = C2

Taylor Swift MEHs (early draft)

1 Mar

This list is not final, and it’s not really in order either.  I made it after the 3rd listen of each song, so there’s been a lot of jostling since then.  But it’s a snapshot in time for the songs that weren’t quite a skip, but were below neutral/OK.

I think I published the skips list without indicating the key:

(numbers) are the album/era

(C)atchy, (D)etailed story, (G)aylor references, (I)nstrumentals, (L)yrical complexity, very high/low (N)otes, (P)roduction stands out in a good way, (S)entimental

Dancing w/Our Hands Tied (6): C, G, L, N, P (Ambiguity bothers me)

Maybe it’s not quite a meh after all, but I am mad at this song.  I want this song to directly say who the subject is, and what is happening.  I find it unfulfilling when the interpretations can be 180 degrees apart.

Tis the Damn Season (9): C, D, G
King of My Heart (6): C, G, N, P
The Outside (1): I, N (weak)

I’m ranking both Taylor Swift’s catalogue and the Indigo Girls simultaneously. And after so many listens to both I noticed something about a few of Taylor Swift’s songs (b/c she wrote them second). I have this theory that young Taylor listened to the Indigo Girls at some point, and a few of their themes might have inspired her:

Fugitive: Song by Indigo Girls (Amy Elizabeth Ray, specifically)

I’m harboring a fugitive, a defector of a kind / And she lives in my soul and drinks of my wine / And I’d give my last breath to keep us alive / Are they coming for us with cameras or guns? / We don’t know which but we gotta run / And you say, “This is not what I bargained for” So hide yourself / For me / All for me / We swore to ourselves we’d go to the end of the world / But I got caught up in the whirl and the twirl of it all / A day in the sun dancing alone / Baby, I’m so sorry / Now it’s coming to you the lessons I’ve learned / Won’t do you any good you’ve got to get burned / Well the curse and the blessing they’re one in the same / Baby, it’s all such a treacherous gain / Hide yourself from me / I said hide yourself from me / All for meOoh! / Ooh! I stood without clothes danced in the sand / I was aching with freedom kissing the damned / I said remember this as how it should be / Oh baby, I said it’s all in our hands / Got to learn to respect what we don’t understand / We are fortunate ones, fortunate ones, I swear / Hide yourself for me / I will hide myself for you / All for you / All for you / I will myself for you / All for you / I stood without clothes I danced in the sand / I was aching with freedom kissing the damned / I said remember this as how it should be

This song brings to mind pretty much Taylor’s whole M.O. of writing about secret love and love that society won’t like. Specific songs I thought of are Out of the Woods, I Know Places and the next meh song on my list:

Treacherous (4): G, L

I like the anxiety and definite closeted vibes going on in the song.  I like the hints that something LGBT is happening here.  But I wish there was more of a hook or something so latch on to.  This one is usually over before I know it.


Right Where You Left Me (9): C, G, L, N (repetitive)
State of Grace (5): C, G, N (weak)
Call It What You Want (6): C, G, L, P (Ambiguity bothers me)
A Place in This World (1): I, N


The Other Side of the Door (2): I, L, N

I think this song has potential.  And I’d love to hear an updated twist on it, or see a newer song that evolves from this, but is better.


It’s Nice to Have a Friend (7); D, G, L (Ambiguity bothers me; weird production)

What. the. fuck is going on in the production of this song?  It’s Englishy, it’s like hunting brass, it is weird.  Just like this friendship-love going on and then there is hand holding.  Which I find non-platonic, but it’s pretty subtle so it just makes the song weird instead of gay…

–Personally Dislike:
Coney Island (9): G, L, N (terrible feat!)
End Game (6): C, G, L, P (terrible feat!)

God dammit!  Why does Taylor always work with these men who bring their own style rather than blending with hers?  It totally ruins songs!  It sounds baaad, and odd within even a very diverse catalogue such as Taylor’s.  Actually, there’s one exception–I do really like the “Lover” remix, but that douche is (internally?) homophobic, so I will not give that streaming clicks to support him in any way.

The Lakes (8): G, L, N, P

This song is pretentious with the analog distortion and it sounds old and kinda British in a ‘high school forcing you to slog through Chaucer’ kind of way.  It evokes poetry analysis nightmares, and I don’t like the forced association to Oat Milk.

–Boring:
The Archer (7): G, L
A Perfectly Good Heart (1): I, N

These aren’t quite skips, but I don’t really like them all that much.  Archer would be better if something more was going on.  Don’t kill the vibe, but do make it punchier.  It’s just zzzzzzzz.

Taylor Swift Skips

26 Feb

Let’s be real:  Taylor Swifts skips are still OK songs.  Nothing she does is bad.  OK, maybe that lazy, repetitive voting song, but she had good intentions with it, like maybe some people voted when they heard her encouraging it.  But the following songs would be OK to other artists.  It’s just that Taylor has set the bar so high that these are the couple weaker ones.  PS–I normally don’t care for Christmas music, as it’s nothing but stale covers, so I did not bother listening to that early cookie-cutter Christmas album.  Maybe if she does an original holiday album, I’ll add it to the rankings later.

Epiphany (8)

As you’ve heard me say before, I think this song was thrown on the album at the last minute to speak to current events.  And I think it’s bad writing, from a normally genius-level song-writer.  It especially bothers me that Taylor didn’t delve into one topic, or cover three subjects more superficially.  There is a rule of threes for a reason.  So it doesn’t make it on to my playlists.

Soon You’ll Get Better (7)

This song is a totally different story.  It’s a good, good song, and has backing from one of my favorite groups-The Chicks!  The lyrics are relatable, and personal, and universal.  What a brave topic to cover, than can resonate with every single person at some point.  But it’s a bummer.  A FUCKING bummer to listen to.  I don’t wanna be bee-bopping around to Shake it Off then have this mood-killer come up.  So it’s a skip.  Until I need it, that is…

Superman (3)

I never look at song credits, but did Taylor even write this one?  It’s not on-brand at all.  It’s too light and superficial, and meh.  I think it’s really weak, and it seems like it was curated to be radio-friendly more than written to evoke feelings, or convey a story, or symbolize anything.  Not my fave.

Taylor Swift Album Ranking Based On Song Ranking

24 Feb

1989

50% Awesome; 31.3% Good; 18.8% OK; Meh; Skip out of 16

Speak Now

40% Awesome; 35% Good; 20% OK; Meh; 5% Skip out of 20

Evermore

35.3% Awesome; 35.3% Good; 17.6% OK; 11.8% Meh; Skip out of 17

Reputation

33.3% Awesome; 40% Good; 20% OK; 6.7% Meh; Skip out of 15

folklore

29.4% Awesome; 29.4% Good; 29.4% OK; 5.9% Meh; 5.9% Skip out of 17

Lover

27.8% Awesome; 27.8% Good; 27.8% OK; 11.1% Meh; 5.6% Skip out of 18

Red

20.8% Awesome; 58.3% Good; 8.3% OK; 4.2% Meh; Skip out of 24

self-titled

20% Awesome; 46.7% Good; 20% OK; 13.3% Meh; Skip out of 15

Fearless

16.7% Awesome; 33.3% Good; 50% OK; Meh; Skip out of 18