Tag Archives: Taylor Swift

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

Evermore (December 2020) by Taylor Swift Song Ranking

23 Feb

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

6 Awesome

No Body No Crime

Ivy

Long Story Short

Marjorie

Closure

Evermore

I like this album because TS is showing a lot of gay here. The writing is better than the music for the most part, but it does encourage multiple listens to dig in to the content. Double-meanings are becoming Taylor’s specialty, and I love trying to decode the songs.

6 Good

Willow (ambiguous)

Champagne Problems

Gold Rush

Tis the Damn Season

Tolerate It

Cowboy Like Me

3 OK

Happiness

Dorthea

It’s Time to Go

2 Meh

Coney Island (The National Ruins It)

Right Where You Left Me

Skip

folklore (July 2020) by Taylor Swift Song Ranking

22 Feb

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

5 Awesome

The 1

Exile

Tears Riccochet

Invisible String

Madwoman

Full disclosure–Dream Pop is not the genre for me. And don’t you dare call this “alternative” as it is absolutely not that. Alternative is my favorite genre, and this does not match the characteristics. Nor is it Indie, as the music still has a lot of production. Also, I don’t care for the era with the snaggle-hair, and weird un-matching clothes. I get that it’s quarentine–but even in lock-down is it asking to much to match?! What I can appreciate is the lyrical content. I like the coding, the complexity, the “plausible deniability” that makes up each twisted track. Even though I DO NOT like the vibe, the music does inspire me to analyze and write, which I find really cool.

5 Good

cardigan

The Last Great American Dynasty

Mirrorball

This is Me Trying

Betty

5 OK

August

Seven

Illicit Affairs (depressing)

Peace

Hoax

1 Meh

The Lakes (too pretentious)

1 Skip

Epiphany