Tag Archives: writing

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.

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

1989 (2014) by Taylor Swift Song Ranking

19 Feb

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

8 Awesome

Blank Space

Style

Out of the Woods

Shake It Off

I Know Places

Stay

Bad Blood

Wonderland

These songs are amped up and theatrical. You can ‘picture’ each one as a movie, and the music videos are practically block-buster films. Also, I hear a lot of Kaylor vibes, and it’s fun to translate the obscure lyrics and figure out signs and hints. I wish I had been engaged during this era!

5 Good

Wildest Dreams

Welcome to New York

How You Get the Girl

Clean

You are in Love

3 OK

I Wish You Would

New Romantics

This Love

Meh

Skip

Medieval Holocaust: A Story of Plague and Greed [Anti-Valentine’s #15]

12 Feb

I was really struggling to come up with another reason to shun and not celebrate Valentine’s Day. But I had written the annual blog post17 years in a row now (I think?), so I was not going to give up easily. I had to think outside of the box. I wish I could say 2020 hit me on the head–or Covid-19. Because disease is important in our history and to our development as a society. It routinely kills more than war, so disease is a primary factor in shaping nations and their populations. Disease drives science, improves medical tactics, and shapes societal norms. Here is a historical event, that was intentionally carried out on Valentine’s Day, that speaks of disease, the ugliness of human-greed, and kinda sums of the sentiment and lessons of 2020. But also, provides a 17th reason why Valentine’s Day can, and should be abolished.

Many religions don’t honor Valentine’s Day as a legitimate holiday, because of it’s shaky origin story. I heard even the Catholic church removed Valentine’s Day from its calendar because Saint Valentine couldn’t be substantiated. And I know, many religions frown upon Valentine’s Day as too “Pagan” just like like they dislike Halloween. Hinduism, India’s major religion (80% of their population) doesn’t love the day of love (1). Traditionally, Asia’s most popular religion discourages public displays of affection between the sexes, including handholding, which Valentine’s Day encourages (1). I couldn’t find a religion that explicitly bans Valentine’s Day, though now that I’m thinking about it I’ll bet Jehovah Witnesses don’t acknowledge it because they don’t believe in anything that’s not actually written in the Bible (that’s my understanding, anyway). But they probably don’t single out that one holiday as more problematic than any other holiday either. They just across the board don’t celebrate things not in the pages of the Bible.

I was reading that Valentine’s Day is a touchy subject in Jewish eyes because of anti-Semitic rumors about the origin of the plague. In 1349 the Bubonic Plague aka “Black Death” was sweeping across Europe, with estimates that 60% of Europeans died from the disease (2).  Though we know now that Bubonic Plague is caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis and is most commonly spread by fleas that live on rodents like rats and mice, they had no idea what was causing millions of people to die back in those times. Currently, Bubonic Plague is treatable with modern medicines. In the Middle Ages, of course, no medical treatment existed to mitigate the Plague’s devastating effects (2). 

So fear took over. Terrified people (who didn’t have the benefits of science) were looking for someone to blame. And many Jews worked in the financial sector, acting as creditors. This vocation, contributed to anti-Jewish sentiment among the less privileged, so Jews were a natural choice to blame. Christians turned on the Jews in their midst, accusing them of spreading the Plague by poisoning Christian people’s wells (2).

*Trigger Warning*

*But it wasn’t just accusations, according to Dr. Yvette Alt Miller, there were horrifically violent attacks:

In Cologne, Jews were locked into a synagogue which was then set on fire.

In Mainz, the entire town’s sizeable Jewish community was murdered in just one day.

Across Europe, in Spain, Italy, France, the Low Countries, and the Germanic Lands Jews were massacred and tortured (2).

In 1349, a group of feudal lords in France’s Alsace region attempted to make the spontaneous attacks on Jews official. It was decreed that the property of Jews (murdered for supposedly spreading the Plague) could be seized by their Christian neighbors with impunity. With this financial incentive to kill Jews, the attacks only intensified (2). The feudal lords of the Alsace formally blamed Jews for the Black Death and adopted the “Benfeld Decree” which targeted Jews, singling them out for murder and calling for their expulsion from towns. This had an immediate effect as Jews in thirty communities were attacked (2).

The one hold-out to all the massacring was the city of Strasbourg. Strasbourg’s patrician class understood that Jews were important to their town’s economy–as they paid high taxes. So they had a financial interest in protecting their city’s Jews (2). But the citizens of the city had a desire to kill the Jews and see their own debts cancelled, or even to expropriate their property (3). The members of the city’s butchers and tanners guilds accused the three sympathetic patrician leaders, who would not round up the city’s Jews, of having been bribed by the Jews in return for protecting them. The citizens drove them from office (3).

Using these rumors that Jews had dreamed up the plague in order to poison Christians, the citizen-mob in Strasbourg, planned to full-on exterminate local Jews (to whom they owed massive debts). They designated February 14, St. Valentine’s Day, as the date on which they would execute Strasbourg’s entire Jewish population (1). The city’s Jews were given a choice of undergoing baptism or being killed. About half of them accepted conversion or left the city; the remainder were barricaded in the Jewish cemetery (3).  A number of about 2,000 Jews were burned alive on a platform in the local Jewish cemetery (1). Their murder took hours. Afterwards, eager townspeople combed through the smoldering ashes, not searching for survivors, but looking for valuables. There was primarily a financial motive for this enormous massacre.

A quote from von Konigshofen:

“…everything (all debt) that was owed to the Jews was cancelled… The council…took the cash that the Jews possessed and divided it among the working-men proportionately. The money was indeed the thing that killed the Jews. If they had been poor and if the feudal lords had not been in debt, they would not have been burnt” (2).

Strasbourg’s mob government and citizens faced no criticism. A few months later, they were officially pardoned for the killing of their town’s Jews and for stealing their money (2).

How do you close out a historical account of something so tragic and horrible? I can’t believe I had never heard of this massacre (genocide?) before. I will end just by reminding us to study our history, and remember that it repeats. People need to learn from mistakes of the past. Take proper precautions to prevent the spread of disease (and Covid-19!) even if it is inconvenient for you. Don’t fear, prepare. Accept all people, even if especially if they are different from you. Don’t hate, learn. See that money is not everything, and greed only causes ugliness. Don’t covet, volunteer. And also, just be decent human beings. Which you don’t need a holiday to tell you. Love every day, and don’t save affection for Valentine’s Day. You don’t need a reminder to love, nor should you remember to love on only one day of the year.

(1) https://www.southerndigest.com/article_3bcfe8ad-7fbf-5c6c-a400-46cde8907d8e.html#:~:text=Valentine’s%20Day%20is%20the%20traditional,the%20need%20to%20shun%20it.

(2) https://www.aish.com/jw/s/Horrific-Valentines-Day-Massacre-of-Jews.html

(3) https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/.premium-1349-a-valentine-s-day-massacre-1.5229805

nomads, Indians, and saints (1990) Song Ranking

20 Jan

(45.5% awesome, 54.5% good, OK, meh, skip out of 11 

and an interview and 2 live bonus tracks)

5 AWESOME

hammer and a nail

1,2,3

watershed

hand me downs

pushing the needle too far

This was the first IG album I ever heard, and it really hit me hard. I didn’t know I was gay at the time I heard this, but it impacted me hugely anyway. When I say I didn’t know–I truly had NO inkling. And when I did come out to myself, this album was right there for me, helping me process what was happening. Helping me remember there were bigger things than myself and my sexuality. I love the lyrics, and I appreciate where this album took me.

6 GOOD

welcome me

WORLD FALLS

SOUTHLAND IN THE SPRINGTIME

keeper of my heart

YOU AND ME OF THE 10,000 WARS

girl with the weight of the world in her hands

Indigo Girls

OK/NEUTRAL

MEH

SKIP

…Ready for it? Lyrical Analysis & Bearding Plan

11 Jan

Sidenote:  I apologize for the shitty formatting.  I don’t know who WordPress cators to, but their platform is not user-friendly, not intuitive, and I HATE IT.  But I wouldn’t know how to get these million blog posts moved to a different platform quickly, so I remain…

Reputation was released 2017

I think this is Taylor’s song spelling out her bearding plan, code-phrase:  That’s My Man.

Knew he was a killer first time that I saw him

la·dy·kill·er/ˈlādēˌkilər a charming man who is very attractive to women.

Attractive to women. Doesn’t say this man likes women, or has many affairs with women. The definition specifically says this man is the recipiant of women’s attraction. And he’s charming/polite.


Wonder how many girls he had loved and left haunted

Taylor Swift explained the meaning… “‘Haunted’ is about the moment that you realize the person you’re in love with is drifting and fading fast…captured the intense, chaotic feeling of confusion I was looking for.”


But if he’s a ghost, then I can be a phantom

  1. phan·tom/ˈfan(t)əm a ghost
    • a figment of the imagination.
    • denoting a financial arrangement or transaction that has been invented for fraudulent purposes but that does not really exist.
      • “he diverted an estimated $1,500,000 into “phantom” bank accounts”

Interesting. Especially that last definition. If Joe is a ghost (he confused many girls), then it allows Taylor to have a financial arrangement for something that does not actually exist (love). Hmmm.

Holdin’ him for ransom

ransom ran-suhm ] noun

the redemption of a prisoner or kidnapped person, of captured goods, etc., for a price.

the sum or price paid or demanded.

a means of deliverance or rescue from punishment for sin, especially the payment of a redemptive fine.

Taylor takes Joe and keeps him for a price. Alternate definition is Taylor rescues Joe from sin for a redemptive fee.

Some, some boys are tryin’ too hard
He don’t try at all, though

Taylor reminds us some of her beards were not believable bc it was too much (Tom Hiddleston in that shirt). But this man doesn’t do anything to arouse suspicion. He’s more lowkey, and all the “privacy” he/they require means he’s a blank slate for the media and public.


Younger than my exes but he act like such a man, so
I see nothing better, I keep him forever
Like a vendetta-taI-I-I see how this is gon’ go

Taylor, who has been criticized for being a man-eater, but who also doesn’t want to ruin her career coming out as LGBT doesn’t see an alternative to keeping this beard around forever. If she has a long-term beard, she can keep her secret, but the media and public might lay off about her dating life.

A vendetta begins when one family correctly or incorrectly believes itself to have been attacked, insulted or wronged by another. Intense feelings of resentment result in the initial retaliation, which leads to the other family feeling equally resentful, angry and vengeful . Ultimately there is a long-running cycle of retaliatory violence. This continual cycle of provocation and retaliation makes it almost impossible to end the vendetta peacefully. Vendettas frequently involve the entire family members, all the relatives and associates, and can last for generations.

NDAS, anyone?

Touch me and you’ll never be alone
I-Island breeze and lights down low

No one has to know In the middle of the night, in my dreams
You should see the things we do, baby
In the middle of the night, in my dreams
I know I’m gonna be with you
So I take my time

The music changes in this part of the song, as does Taylor’s mood. Here, she’s softer, and sings, no one has to know (b/c this is a secret) in her [sexy, apparently, based on the noises] dreams she thinks of “you” someone different than the person in the rest of the song.

Are you ready for it? Me, I was a robber first time that he saw me
Stealing hearts and running off and never saying sorry

This is getting at what I was saying earlier about the man-eater stuff. Robber talks about her stealing something (hearts of boys) that aren’t hers to take. The love of a man is not Taylor’s b/c it’s not real and she’s not actually into these guys she “dated.” Running off and never saying sorry implies that after the “relationships” Taylor left and felt no remorse (bc it’s a business transaction). Short-term bearding contracts were hiding her LGBT truth but also making Taylor look too man-hungry.
But if I’m a thief, then he can join the heist

Cowbody Like Me. Taylor does the bearding contracts, but now she’s saying she found a like-minded beard, who also has the same goals as she does.
And we’ll move to an island-and
And he can be my jailer,

Taylor is trying to put out her own cutesy ship name. But she already “dated” a J, so instead of Joe-Taylor fans went Taylor-Joe, and the result is a very un-cute (in my opinion) Toe.

Burton to this Taylor

I looked Burton up in the most basic of searches and read that there were, indeed, rumors of homosexuality linked to him. He even talked about it himself in an interview:

In a February 1975 interview with his friend David Lewin he said he “tried” homosexuality. He also suggested that perhaps all actors were latent homosexuals, and “we cover it up with drink“.[24] In 2000, Ellis Amburn’s biography of Elizabeth Taylor suggested that Burton had an affair with Laurence Olivier and tried to seduce Eddie Fisher[page needed], although this was strongly denied by Burton’s younger brother Graham Jenkins.[25]

It’s no secret that Liz Taylor had more than a few gay fans, or that she had more than a few gay friends…and possibly husbands.

http://ryan-field.blogspot.com/2012/11/was-richard-burton-gay.html 

Given this information, what an interesting comparison for Taylor to make! She says Joe is like Burton (gay?) to this Taylor (in a lavender marriage?) but the public will see it as a great romance.

Every lover known in comparison is a failure

I forget their names now, I’m so very tame now

All the short-term beards could be easily debunked as fake by the media, general public, and fans. It was a failure b/c these boyfriends did not help Taylor’s public image. But a “private” long-term beard, would make Taylor look more stable (tame), and as a bonus, straight.

Never be the same now, nowI-I-I see how this is gon’ go
Touch me and you’ll never be alone

I-Island breeze and lights down low
No one has to know
(No one has to know) In the middle of the night, in my dreams

It’s important that the “no one has to know” is on the same line as the description of Taylor’s dirty dreams. She is saying no one has to know who she actually dreams about (a female?). These dreams are about someone else/not the subject of the song/not Joe.
You should see the things we do, baby
In the middle of the night in my dreams
I know I’m gonna be with you
So I take my time

This person in Taylor’s dreams, who no one has to know about, b/c it’s not the subject of this song, Joe, is the one she wants to be with. And she takes her time (in both this sex-dream, and also with this long-term bearding plan).
Are you ready for it?
Ooh, are you ready for it? Baby, let the games begin
Let the games begin
Let the games begin
Baby, let the games begin
Let the games begin
Let the games begin

If Toe is real and true love, why does Taylor refer to games many times at the end of this song? True love should not have games. Taylor just set out her long-term bearding plan in this song, so she can obscure LGBT rumors, not look like a man-eater with all the shorter boyfriend relationships, but eventually be happy with this 2nd song subject.

I-I-I see how this is gon’ go
Touch me and you’ll never be alone
I-Island breeze and lights down low
No one has to know In the middle of the night, in my dreams
You should see the things we do, baby
In the middle of the night, in my dreams
I know I’m gonna be with you
So I take my time In the middle of the night
Baby, let the games begin
Let the games begin
Let the games begin
Are you ready for it? Baby, let the games begin
Let the games begin
Let the games begin
Are you ready for it?

Taylor Swift’s Evermore as Amalgamation: Willow Analysis

30 Dec

I am immediately relieved to hear the instruments.  It’s automatically more alive and warm than folklore.  I also like when she sings at a higher octave, and the faster cadence of the chorus.

I didn’t really want to write an analysis of this song, because after seeing the video it seemed like Taylor really doubled-down on the boyfriend narrative.  And I honestly don’t think that’s her truth, so the whole thing didn’t interest me.  But I was listening to the song for a different reason today (I’m trying to rank every song in her catalogue) and noticed something about the scars line.  And when I looked at the written lyrics I noticed something…

[Verse 1]

I’m like the water when your ship rolled in that night

Rough on the surface, but you cut through like a knife

Taylor Songs with “knife” in the lyrics:

You, with your words like knives/And swords and weapons that you use against me (Mean)

My castle crumbled overnight/I brought a knife to a gunfight/They took the crown but it’s alright/All the liars are calling me one (Call it What You Want)

So cut the headlights, summer’s a knife/I’m always waiting for you just to cut to the bone (Cruel Summer)

Like the war of words I shouted in my sleep/And you passed right by/I was in the alley, surrounded on all sides/The knife cuts both ways (Long Story Short)

My only one/My smoking gun/My eclipsed sun/This has broken me down/My twisted knife/My sleepless night/My win-less fight (Hoax)

Taylor/the water in this metaphor is rough on the surface.  She’s emotional, and has all this inner turmoil about being who she is vs. keeping up the brand.  But the person she’s talking to in the song cuts through all that and gets to the inner Taylor.  

And I think the Long Story Short lyrics describe how this person passes her by but Taylor’s in this figurative alley surrounded on all sides (by her team, audience, demands, PR–all the people Taylor tries to appease all the time according to “Mirrorball” (folklore)).  The knife cuts both ways tells us listeners that yeah, Taylor’s feelings are hurt (alla Hoax) but also, Taylor is doing her own share of hurting the other person by constantly trying to please all these outside forces that surround her.  

Hoax shares that this person is Taylor’s true love.  But also Taylor’s true love is simultaneously her smoking gun, bc being with HER makes evident Taylor’s sexuality.  Being with “the only one” outs Taylor.  The following line says eclipsed sun.  So Karlie (all things gold and sunshiny) is (temporarily) hidden and gone, bc Taylor chose to appease those surrounding her by continuing to hide who she really is.  But this fight has made Taylor sleepless and ultimately unhappy.  It’s a win-less fight.  Both bc Taylor lost the sun (Karlie) to Jo$h, and because nobody is winning when they’re closeted–even if people believe the straight-boyfriend-narrative.

And if it was an open-shut case

Open-and-shut:  Easily decided or solved because the facts are very clear. 

I never would’ve known from that look on your face

The face Taylor is talking to in the song is full of ambiguity.  If the facts are clear, the look on this person’s face obscures that.  The situation is complicated and confusing.

Lost in your current like a priceless wine

[Chorus]

The more that you say, the less I know

This person is a fancy-talker, using double-speak, or obfuscating what they say.

Wherever you stray, I follow

Definition of stray intransitive verb

: WANDER: such as

A : to wander from company, restraint, or proper limits

B : to roam about without fixed direction or purpose

C : to move in a winding course : MEANDER

D : to move without conscious or intentional effort

E : to become distracted from an argument or train of thought

F : to wander accidentally from a fixed or chosen route

G : ERR, SIN

Stray is deviating from norms.  So Taylor uses a negative word to mean either this person is being intentionally evil (cheating on a husband?) or this person is flaky and wandering away from the target.  But whichever is the case, Taylor wants to go with this person off the beaten path (norms of straight marriage?), away from the target (she’s also rejecting heteronormativity).

I’m begging for you to take my hand

In marriage?

Wreck my plans, that’s my man

When I heard this line before seeing it, I took it as, there’s my man, he’s my man, I love my man kind of stuff.  When I saw how it was written I noticed it’s on the same line.  She doesn’t say, “wreck my plans/that’s my man” as separate thoughts.  She says, “wreck my plans, that’s my man” as in further describing the plans.  I feel the distinction is wreck my plans, [which are] ‘that’s my man’.  Another way of saying it is: Code name “That’s my man” are the plans being described, and the person Taylor is talking to in the song is wrecking the “that’s my man” plan. 

Like the plan is:  Here’s my long term straight relationship, I’m in love with a man.  That narrative is what’s wrecked by this person Taylor is addressing in the song.  She’s not talking to her man or about her man in the song.  [It’s really confusing to write out, I hope you get what I’m trying to put out there, dear reader]

The amalgamation of this song is the “that’s my man” line, which is easily misrepresented as an I love my boyfriend!

[Verse 2]

Life was a willow and it bent right to your wind

Head on the pillow, I could feel you sneakin’ in

Sneaking [ snee-king ]adjective

acting in a furtive or underhand way.

deceitfully underhand, as actions; contemptible.

secret; not generally avowed, as a feeling, notion, suspicion, etc.

“Sneaking isn’t a positive word either.  Taylor is already in bed and this person enters after her.  Why would Joe come in after Taylor has gone to bed?  Is he up to something?  Cheating on her?  I think this part is similar to the story of “Illicit Affairs” (folklore) where the person Taylor wants to be with (Karlie?) is cheating on her husband.  It could mean Karlie is surreptitiously seeing Taylor even though she’s supposed to be in a committed relationship with Jo$h.

As if you were a mythical thing

And it seems like this sneaking person is mythical because they are here, then they disappear.  Also, it’s like a dream (in the sense it’s what Taylor wishes for, and also in a ‘wake up and this person is gone’ way) whenever this person comes around.

Like you were a trophy or a champion ring

This line talks about competition.  Taylor is competing with Jo$h to “win” Karlie.  She talks about trophy, ring, then prize to compare the outcome of beating someone to get something shiny.

And there was one prize I’d cheat to win

And again “cheat” references Illicit Affairs.  Taylor will play dirty and be ‘the other woman’ to beat the competition (Jo$h) and win this prize (Karlie).

[Chorus]

The more that you say, the less I know

Wherever you stray, I follow

I’m begging for you to take my hand

Wreck my plans, that’s my man

You know that my train could take you home

I wonder if Taylor is talking to the same person she was talking to in the “Champagne Problems” song?  The one who “booked the night train for a reason” (I think Karlie, but could be Joe).  

One for the money, two for the show/I never was ready so I watch you go/Sometimes you just don’t know the answer/’Til someone’s on their knees and asks you/“She would’ve made such a lovely bride/What a shame she’s fucked in the head,” they said/But you’ll find the real thing instead

Those lyrics talk about Karlie’s two weddings.  And say Taylor was never ready to come out of the closet, so she watched Karlie go back to Jo$h.  Karlie didn’t know who to pick between Jo$h and Taylor, so she was ambivalent about future marriage plans with him.  The person proposing on their knees is jo$h proposing to Karlie!  “But she WOULD have made such a lovely bride” shows neither wedding was legitimate.  And she’s fucked in the head says why–Karlie isn’t into it  bc she loves Taylor.  And now this song confirms, you’ll find the REAL thing instead.  Taylor says MY train could take you HOME.  We know how important home has been to Taylor.  She wants Karlie to come with her.

Anywhere else is hollow

Karlie’s existence with Jo$h is shallow and for all the wrong reasons.  Taylor is offering Karlie substance.

I’m begging for you to take my hand

Wreck my plans, that’s my man

Taylor sings to Karlie, I’m begging you to be with ME, wreck my plans [OF] that’s my man [bearding charade].  

[Bridge]

Life was a willow and it bent right to your wind

They count me out time and time again

All the haters hate, no matter what Taylor Swift does.

Life was a willow and it bent right to your wind

A theory is that the word “willow” is derived from a Celtic language, sal meaning ‘near’ and lis meaning ‘water’.  They are used for streambank stabilisation (bioengineering), slope stabilisation, soil erosion control, shelterbelt and windbreak, and wildlife habitat. And Willows are often planted on the borders of streams so their interlacing roots may protect the bank against the action of the water. Frequently, the roots are much larger than the stem which grows from them (Wikipedia).

But I come back stronger than a ’90s trend

Taylor is persistent and proves the haters wrong with her successes every time. And also she will be persistent in trying to win Karlie back from Jo$h.

[Verse 3]

Wait for the signal, and I’ll meet you after dark

Show me the places where the others gave you scars

Who has the scars?  You drew stars around my scars says Taylor in “Cardigan” (folklore).  And in “Hoax” (folklore) she sings, “You knew it still hurts underneath my scars/From when they pulled me apart.”  Taylor is the one with the scars.  This other person in the song tells Taylor to wait for the signal and they can meet at night.  And asks Taylor to see where OTHERS gave her scars.

Now this is an open-shut case

I guess I should’ve known from the look on your face

This person (Karlie) looks at Taylor’s face and sees something definitive, there’s no mystery. Taylor is now resolute about being with Karlie despite it being the smoking gun of her sexuality.

Every bait-and-switch was a work of art

“Bait and switch” isn’t a matter of making a mistake or having a change of heart.  It’s intentional manipulation.  Someone makes a promise to do something in order get what s/he wants at that point in time–knowing all the while that s/he will never honor that promise (http://psychotherapist-nyc.blogspot.com/2018/03/bait-and-switch-as-form-of-manipulation.html).  

Sounds to me like Karlie “marrying” Jo$h.  But she really didn’t, or she didn’t do it intending to stay and be faithful to him, bc “she’s fucked in the head” and in love with Taylor.  The work of art will be when Karlie leaves Jo$h and Kaylor is happily together.

[Chorus]

The more that you say, the less I know

Wherever you stray, I follow

I’m begging for you to take my hand

Wreck my plans, that’s my man

You know that my train could take you home

Anywhere else is hollow

I’m begging for you to take my hand

Wreck my plans, that’s my man

The more that you say, the less I know

Wherever you stray, I follow

I’m begging for you to take my hand

Wreck my plans, that’s my man

You know that my train could take you home

Anywhere else is hollow

I’m begging for you to take my hand

Wreck my plans, that’s my man

It’s a happy Kaylor ending.  Karlie left Jo$h on the Taylor train, because it was a marriage for shallow reasons.  And Taylor asks Karlie to be with her, wreck her plan of bearding.  Kaylor shaves the beards and ends up together-yay!

Taylor Swift’s Evermore as Amalgamation: Dorthea Analysis

26 Dec

Who is Dorothea?  Firstly, remember each song on the album is an amalgamation.  Taylor has blended several people in each song.  So I’m pretty sure Dorothea is representative of a person Taylor knows in real life.  And from the sound of this song, it seems like during high school, in TN.  But I know some historical figure or story is probably also mixed in so I found some possible candidates online:

Lesbian of the Day, Dorthea from fire emblem 3 houses.  I saw this line in a search, and as far as I can deduce, Fire Emblem is a video game?  I didn’t get into it that much b/c I am disinterested in gaming.  But of interest,  I noticed that the female version of Byleth can romance other female characters like Edelgard and Dorothea.

Of even more interest to me was a slang term on Wikipedia.  In gay slang, a “friend of Dorothy” (FOD) is a gay man and more broadly, any LGBTQ person.  Which is kind of exactly what this song is talking about!

Thirdly I found a piece of media, that had connections to lyrics in Evermore:

Rebecca Shoptaw is at the helm of Middlemarch, but she creates LGBTQ+ short films on YouTube.  Many of her films have been featured at film festivals such as the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and the MiFo LGBT Festival.  Shoptaw is known for putting queer narratives on screen [and this] has translated to “Middlemarch: The Series,” where several of the characters are LGBTQ+ and gender-bent (http://fourteeneastmag.com/index.php/2017/08/06/middlemarch-the-series/).

One character in Middlemarch is, Dorothea stubborn and strong-willed, going against common advice to wed Casaubon, a much older man. Her marriage to him is driven by her desire to be taught by him, and she devotes herself to him entirely. Unfortunately, Casaubon doesn’t trust her unmitigated devotion.  She feels betrayed by his insinuation that she was unfaithful. In response, Dorothea refuses to finish Casaubon’s work, an indication that she is returning to her independent, pre-marriage self (https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/middlemarch/character/dorothea-brooke/). 

It could be any of those, or it could be none.

[Verse 1]

Hey, Dorothea, do you ever stop and think about me?

When we were younger down in the park

Another time Taylor spoke of a park in song was “You Belong with Me” {Fearless):

Walk in the streets with you in your worn-out jeans/I can’t help thinking this is how it ought to be/Laughing on a park bench thinking to myself/Hey, isn’t this easy?

This song gets mentioned again later too.

Honey, making a lark of the misery

Often unplanned, a lark can happen when you are feeling adventurous. The act of trying something new like this can also be called larking. A lark is also a kind of songbird. Using lark to describe carefree fun might come from 1800s sailors’ slang, skylark, to describe playing in the rigging of the ship, up high like a lark.

You got shiny friends since you left town

These “shiny” friends could be new, rich, important, famous…  Whatever shiny means, it distinguishes these friends from the small town people.

A tiny screen’s the only place I see you now

And I got nothing but well wishes for ya

Taylor indicates there has been a split between them, they don’t see each other on park benches anymore, but Taylor doesn’t harbor any ill-will about it.  It’s another song that tells a detailed story, without being straightforward about who the subjects of the song are..  Someone in Tupelo?  An old friend?  It doesn’t seem to be about Karlie, but there are some similarities in the way Taylor describes Dorthea, and in how she regards her.. 

[Pre-Chorus]

Ooh, this place is the same as it ever was

Ooh, but you won’t like it that way

The subject of the song is restless, she longs for more than a small town life.

[Chorus]

It’s never too late to come back to my side

The stars in your eyes shined brighter in Tupelo

“Stars in your eyes.”  I think Taylor uses this line several times on this album to convey someone thirsty for fame or money or status.  And I think that’s why a song about an old relationship pops up here.  This girl’s hunger to get out of town and be famous, makes Taylor think of Karlie, who is always chasing a bigger, greater life–more fame, more money.

And if you’re ever tired of bеing known for who you know

You know that you’ll always know me, Dorothea (Uh-uh)

Dorothea (Ah-ah)

Again, Taylor emphasizes that if Dorothea wants to resume a more down to Earth existence again, Taylor is open to being there for her.  Taylor is not mad at Dorthea chasing something bigger (and maybe Taylor is conveying she’s not mad at Karlie for doing that same thing?).

[Post-Chorus]

Ooh, you’rе a queen sellin’ dreams, sellin’ makeup and magazines

Ooh, from you, I’d buy anything

Perhaps like a model?  A real life supermodel?  Who else has makeup campaigns and owns and poses in magazines?  Karlie has been called a Capitalist Queen.

[Verse 2]

Hey, Dorothea, do you ever stop and think about me?

When it was calmer, skipping the prom just to piss off your mom and her pageant schemes

This line is about rebelling against norms.  Dorothea, skipped a very traditional high school milestone.  She also didn’t want to conform to a feminine standard by participating in pageants.

And damn, Dorothea, they all wanna be ya

Taylor is still jealous of everyone wanting her subject.  Just like in “Gorgeous,” and similar to the sentiment of “Gold Rush.”  Both songs seem to be about how Taylor thinks Karlie is beautiful and doesn’t like to think about all the other people that want Karlie.  It’s a (gay) pattern that started in her home town with Dorothea.

But are you still the same soul I met under the bleachers? Well

This question bleeds over to the pre-chorus:

[Pre-Chorus]

Ooh, I guess I’ll never know

Here’s where “You Belong with Me” comes back into play:

She’s Cheer Captain, and I’m on the bleachers/Dreaming about the day when you wake up and find/That what you’re looking for has been here the whole time

Ooh, and you’ll go on with the show

Taylor can’t decide if Dorothea is still the same person she knew before she was known for the wealthy/famous people she hangs around.  This “You’ll go on with the show” line insinuates Dorothea is putting on a front, living a lie, acting fake to keep up appearances, and hold on to this new, more recognized life.  Remind you of anyone?!

[Chorus]

But it’s never too late to come back to my side

The stars in your eyes shined brighter in Tupelo

Honestly, I think Taylor used a random MS town just to rhyme nicely to “who you know.”

And if you’re ever tired of being known for who you know

You know, you’ll always know me, Dorothea (Uh-uh)

Dorothea (Ah-ah)

This isn’t an angry verse.  Taylor hopes this person might get tired to living off her associations with wealthy/famous friends and offers to be there after Dorothea (or whoever is represented by Dorothea–Karlie?) gets tired of fronting.

[Outro]

Ooh, ooh

Ooh-woo-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh

Ooh, ooh

Ooh-woo-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh

Dorothea (Ah-ah-ah)

Ah-ah

Ooh

Taylor Swift’s Evermore as Amalgamation: Marjorie Analysis

17 Dec

There’s a sadness to Taylor’s voice.  Her Grandmother Marjorie is not dead to Taylor, because her advice can still be heard.  She sings, “I still feel you all around.”  This song means a lot to me personally, because I had/have a very close relationship with my grandma.  And I believe the sentiment that someone can live in your heart, and mind.  “What died didn’t stay dead, you’re alive in my mind” is the primary purpose of the song. 

But it’s still an amalgamation like the rest of the songs on Evermore.  The same sentiment of keeping a person within yourself, after they’ve passed away, applies to career endings (and break ups too).  I think a teeny work sentiment is in the lyrics, a little bit of Taylor needing to remember her grandmothers advice, b/c she’s taking advantage of Joe too much, and the secondary subject of the song is Karlie.

 

[Verse 1]

Never be so kind

You forget to be clever

Never be so clever

You forget to be kind

These lyrics could address Taylor’s music career.  She needs to balance being nice with being business savvy.

 

What does Marjorie mean?  Greek, Persian, Hebrew, Irish, Latin: [one of the meanings is] Child of light.

Light = sun = Karlie.  What a konvenient and apt koincidence!

[Verse 3]

The autumn chill that wakes me up

You loved the amber skies so much

Amber is a yellow, even golden color.  And you know who that represents.  Karlie.

Long limbs and frozen swims

Long, tall limbs like Karlie might have?  Frozen like the ground in Hoax.

You’d always go past where our feet could touch 

Symbolic for risk-taking?

“I’d hold you as the water rushes in” [Dancing with our Hands Tied, aka the Kissgate song]

And I complained the whole way there 

Taylor is always afraid and hanging back.  Maybe she’s refusing to come out of the closet.

The car ride back and up the stairs

I should’ve asked you questions

I should’ve asked you how to be

Asked you to write it down for me

Should’ve kept every grocery store receipt

‘Cause every scrap of you would be taken from me

I get that this is a little story of a memory Taylor has with her grandmother.  But the verse does double-duty here, invoking some Kaylor symbolism.  

Tall, sunshiny Karlie and Taylor were in love.  Karlie had dated women more publicly before Taylor.  And Taylor was reluctant to come out or seem gay.  Car rides are a feature of many songs about Karlie, and going up to their secret place with boarded up windows for privacy.  And now that it’s over, Taylor wishes she had been a bit more skeptical, and cynically kept some receipts of their relationship transgressions.  But this is in the song, because she can hold the good Kaylor times in her heart too.

 

The song quickly addresses her boyfriend/beard as well.

[Verse 2]

Never be so politе

You forget your power

Nevеr wield such power

You forget to be polite

Well He is English and they’re known for their manners.  She may be walking over him and stepping on his feelings by using him for publicity when she needs to, but neglecting to mention him in any real way otherwise.  So both Joe and Taylor need to balance their power dynamic with agreeability.  Nobody should be a tyrant, nobody should be a doormat.

[Outro]

And if I didn’t know better

I’d think you were singing to me now

If I didn’t know better

I’d think you were still around

I know better

But I still feel you all around

I know better

But you’re still around

The outro applies to everyone in the song.  Taylor’s grandmother is the primary subject of the song, whos voice is literally in the song.  Taylor still remembers her advice, and holds her in her heart.  But she also holds her memories of BMR good-times, and Kaylor-love in her heart.  Those good memories will always be with her.  Even though she knows better.