Tag Archives: writing

You’re on Your own now, kid-each verse is 3-4 experiences present to past

30 Jan

This song isn’t quite a happy reminiscing. There’s both sadness and determination in the lyrics. The thesis is that Taylor has felt alone in every stage of her life: Her dad was MIA during her childhood either physically or emotionally. She was bullied in school at times. Her country label made her feel inadequate by creating her “perfect” alter-ego and hemming in her creativity. Dating men and being a beard made Taylor feel empty. 1989 Era was fun, but felt inauthentic and lonely and Taylor was secretly struggling. After the Kaylor breakup Taylor feels hopeless that she can ever genuinely love, because she sees it as problematic for her career. Currently Joe (her supposed partner) is absent. But because of all the loneliness and isolation, Taylor has honed her writing and furthered her career. Despite not being able to count on anyone aside from her mother, nobody can take away Taylor’s writing skills.

A lot of it has earmarks of the move to NYC and the 1989 Era, but I do think Taylor looks back further in time within the song. She talks about playing in parking lots when she was trying to get started. She may also be looking at her life as a whole and mentioning how she still feels like she’s on her own.

Theory: I hope I can explain what I’m thinking clearly. Taylor wrote the song in a chronological timeline (A-present day, B-1989 Era, C-Nashville, D-parents). Then, to obscure the timeline and subjects within the song she took the most recent (A) and made each line it’s own verse. Then she took 1989 Era (B) and made that the 2nd line of each verse. Then she broke the Nashville (C) into the 3rd line of each verse. And finally she made her childhood/parents (D) the final line of each verse. It’s possible each verse starts at the present (2022), mentions 1989 Era, goes back to Nashville, and ends with her childhood. Instead of AAAA, BBBB, CCCC, DDDD she mixed it to ABCD, ABCD, ABCD, ABCD.

For example:

A-Smoking with your boys could be her current situation with Joe. She’s in a house, not a home, alone. He’s off living his separate life, high like the night they met (Paper Rings).

B-The face Taylor wishes she could touch is Karlie’s but they’ve broken up.

C-The town Taylor wants to leave (for NYC) is Nashville.

D-The only one that can bring Taylor back to TN over a lifetime is her mom.

That might be loosely the formula Taylor used in the song. Does it hold up? See what you think…

Since the subjects of the song are unclear, and may change, and the timeline is not set in stone, I tried to think of all scenarios that could fit each line. Taylor didn’t call and tell me the specifics so I’m trying to gather the keys I do know about in order to get the gist.

Summer went away

Taylor doesn’t tell us the year she’s singing about, just the season.  Later in the song she talks about moving out of Nashville so I’m guessing most of this song is about 2014.

Taylor also mentions starving her body in the song and she was at her thinnest during the 1989 era:

Still, the yearning stays

Taylor also does not tell us what type of yearning she’s been feeling, or for how long:

A boy?

Her dad?

To be discovered?

Her family after she moved from TN to NY?

Gay love in general (or Dianna, specifically)?

The word can be used several different ways:

I play it cool with the best of them

I wait patiently

We know Taylor doesn’t sit back, waiting around to make music, or for her career to progress.  She takes action and proactively strives for more success.  But what then, is Taylor waiting for?

Her Dad?

Tolerate It:

Jake Gyllenhaal?

I don’t know if Jake was a real relationship or beard to cover for Jake’s sexuality and/or the Dianna Agron romance.  I used to be certain it was bearding, but when Red (TV) drudged up this decade-old relationship, and Taylor insinuated the red scarf did symbolize her virginity as Swifties suspected, I was no longer sure.

Dianna?

Come Back, Be Here (2012):

He’s gonna notice me

After I read this line I wondered if 2012 Taylor was looking back to the beginning of her career.  Is she remembering trying to break into the country music scene?  1989-Era Taylor could be thinking back to her start in country music because she was about to try to fully break into pop music.

Is HE $cott Borchetta or other music execs?

Is HE her dad?

Taylor could be talking about how her dad is always traveling for business, when she’s home, and how he stays home with her brother while she tours.  Her mom is involved in her life, but her dad is absent.

Is HE Jake Gyllenhaal?

Whatever they had together, it was on and off:

We are never ever getting back together:

Dianna Agron?

Of course, if Jake was just a bearding situation all of the above applies to Swiftgron.

Come Back, Be Here (2012):

We are never ever getting back together:

It’s okay, we’re the best of friends

Taylor wasn’t really best friends with studio execs, her dad, Jake, OR Dianna (they were very secret lovers) so I’m not sure this line is directly referencing any of the subjects that are options for the previous line.

If this line IS talking about the subject of “he’s gonna notice me” then I think Taylor is contrasting her parents.  Her dad doesn’t notice her, but that’s OK because her mom is her best friend.

If “I wait patiently he’s gonna notice me” is her dad and the best friend is her mom the song is describing how Taylor feels a hole in her life and goes to great lengths to put a bandaid over it by gathering friends and fans around her, and focusing on her music career.  She is saying because she feels a void in her parental relationships she has spent the time writing and making music which brought her all the friends and fans and fame.

My impression was that this line is doing two things:  Talking about the subject of the previous line and being used as a tool to put the story and the listener back in the correct timeline (1989 Era and The Squad).  For the latter, Taylor says it’s alright that HE doesn’t notice her because she has formed her own friend group that distracts her and makes her feel better.

Anyway

I hear it in your voice

Is Taylor saying this person is more dismissive when they’re with their friends?  

OR

Is she saying the voice literally sounds different when this person is smoking?

Tobacco:

Smoking weed could also change the sound of someone’s voice:

And it’s possible, but not a rule:

You’re smoking with your boys

I couldn’t find any evidence Scott Swift smokes.

I couldn’t find any evidence Scott Borchetta smokes.

I saw Karlie Kloss has NEVER smoked.

Is the smoker a lover/ex?

Jake-

He has smoked for movies, but he also smoked cigars and pipes at some point in time:

Jake G. also has been known to smoke weed:

Dianna-

She has also smoked for roles, and has been seen in public with a box of cigarettes: 

I couldn’t readily find anything about Dianna smoking weed, so if she does it seems she does it on the DL.

Joe-

He is the wrong timeline for this song, but I bring him up because Taylor talks about the beginning of her career in the song, so it’s possible she talks about a more current boyfriend/beard leaving her (emotionally) on her own as well.  

Joe smokes, but I think the Taylor Swift team cleaned up his image scrubbed the internet to be an appropriate partner for her.

Paper Rings could be talking about meeting Joe and his mates who were high.  It would  have to be his friends attending the MET Gala according to the most popular timeline of their relationship:

But also, Joe might be a is a cover for Karlie.  And that brings us back to the correct timeline for this song:  I think Paper Rings is for Karlie, and could allude to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show where Taylor and Karlie [supposedly] met.  Taylor could be talking about how the other models were high at that 2013 show:

I touch my phone as if it’s your face

This gesture seems too romantic in nature to be a studio exec or father.  Taylor could have changed subjects after the “he’s gonna notice me” line.  It also rules out beards, because she wouldn’t long for their attention-it’s a business relationship.  This line, possibly the whole song might be talking about a romantic relationship:

Dianna-

Come Back, Be Here (2012):

Karlie-

It can’t be Karlie because she doesn’t smoke.  She wouldn’t be smoking with her boys.  It would also require this line to be another time jump, because during the 1989 Era Taylor and Karlie were constantly seen together.  It wasn’t until later that Taylor was alone and longing to touch Karlie’s face.

I didn’t choose this town

Nashville?

It was Taylor who wanted to move to Nashville in order to break into the music business.  Her parents say they didn’t want to pressure her to succeed, so they let her think the move was their idea.

London or New York?

This could be interpreted two ways:  Taylor is talking to someone who lives in London in this song and says she didn’t choose this town (London).  

OR 

Taylor could be saying Karlie was the one who chose NYC, but she had wanted to move to London.

I dream of getting out

Taylor dreams of leaving the afore-mentioned town?

She never lived in London so she doesn’t dream of moving away.

Taylor seems to have loved NYC until her and Karlie split and she couldn’t bear to be reminded of Kaylor, so if she’s talking about NYC (not a town) it requires another time jump.

That leaves Nashville.  Though Taylor wanted/needed to move to TN to get a foot in the door to music, she tired of it quickly.  Taylor was bullied in middle school, and she felt constricted in the red state.

There’s just one who could make me stay

A romantic partner/ex?

Dianna-

After 2012, it looks like Dianna was traveling back and forth to Australia, living in CA, and also spending time in the UK.  It looks like “staying” isn’t Dianna’s strong suit, so I don’t think this line is about her.

Karlie in NY?

It’s plausible Taylor is saying that Karlie is the only person who could have kept her in the U.S., but I’m not sure because it’s not like Taylor adamantly didn’t want to live in NYC.  

All my days

This addendum made me think more about a blood relative, than a romance which is not guaranteed to last a lifetime.  Taylor talks about wanting to leave Nashville due to feeling restrained and trapped there.  But the one thing that can pull her back through a protracted timeframe is her mom.

Her mom in TN?

From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes

Sprinkler splashes brings to mind exuberance and warm sunshine fun.  Fireplace ashes alludes to endings.  Taylor talks about things burning down in many songs.  To her, fire and burning are something scary and awful that destroys.  A break-up, panic about being outed, a ruined career:

After this destruction, the ashes are the only remnant of what used to be.  

My Tears Ricochet-

Hoax-

In this line Taylor went from happy, sunny fun to the debris left from a fire [drastic cause of destruction].  She could be talking about a combination of things that tie the song together:  childhood fun with her parents, or the 4th of July parties The Squad attended, to break-ups.

Her dad?

Taylor’s relationship with her father started out admiring, and considering him a protector of her, “My daddy’s gonna show you how sorry you’ll be.”  Later the relationship with her dad was stalled–he was often absent from Taylor’s life.  Then he only tolerated her [sexuality?] and finally when he [maybe] cheated on her mom there was not quite estrangement, as he is heavily involved with Taylor’s career, but a schism formed.

$cott Borchetta/studio?

Taylor could secondly be bringing up her relationship with $cott Borchetta and her label at large.  Getting signed started out a dream come true, hopeful and exhilarating, ended in oppression, then ruins when he sold her masters.

Jake G.?

He could be an option here as well.  Taylor might have gone into it with optimism.  Whether she had comp-het and was trying to make a straight coupling work, or if she was thrust into a bearding situation, she seemed sincere in trying to make it work.  At the end, Taylor was jaded (either toward men or the bearding process).

Dianna?

She could also work here.  Swiftgron was red and passionate, but Dianna was gone all the time, and there may have been cheating on both sides of the relationship, until their romance was obliterated beyond repair.

The Squad?

The time period of this song seems to be mostly the 1989 Era so Taylor could be bringing up The Squad.  I think she hired them to distract from her boy crazy image.  The 4th of July parties looked mostly like photo-shoots to me.  Then after the 1989 Era put friendships in the forefront instead of boys, the group disintegrated and “we’ll never say that word again.”

Karlie?

Lastly, Taylor could be looking at all her relationships throughout her life and evoking how she and Karlie were both made of ashes at the end of Kaylor.

I waited ages to see you there

Taylor describes waiting for whoever she was talking about in the last line over ages.  Career-wise she could be talking about from the time she was a child to before she was a household name.  Taylor waited a long time, and also over many birthdays to be recognized as the musical prodigy that she is.  And the 1989 Era solidified Taylor’s place as a pop star.

Her fans?

Taylor’s father?

He never really came to her shows or awards.  Is she saying she waited ages for him to show up for her:

Jake or Dianna?

This line brings to mind, The Moment I Knew:

If Taylor is talking about Jake it brings up the 21st Birthday mythology that he was a no-show.

Dianna was not there a lot of times, which was a central issue in the Swiftgron relationship.

And if she’s talking throughout her life, Taylor could be telling Karlie that when she’s with Jo$h and not her, it wrecks Kaylor.

I search the party of better bodies

The party of beautiful people could be some sort of music networking thing that Taylor went to in order to get known and break into the industry, or even when she was trying to cross over to pop:

The party might be talking about any event Taylor attended with the models.  Is she talking about The Squad?

The party could be some awards pre or post party where Jake or Dianna attended.  For example Taylor, Dianna, and Lea Michele all went to the 2014 MET Gala:

Just to learn that you never cared

Scott Borchetta/her country label?

The Squad/fake friends/paid PR-

Jake G.?

All Too Well Short Film:

It wasn’t real to him because she was his beard?

But innocent Taylor was not on the same page. She saw a future with Jake, and was shocked when he suddenly broke things off:

You’re on your own, kid

You always have been

I see the great escape

So long, Daisy May

Who is Daisy May, and what characteristics is Taylor trying to highlight?

Daisy Mae Scragg of Lil’ Abner comic strip-

Daisy Mae Dutten of video game Bullworth Academy-

Daisys that aren’t Maes:

Daisy Buchannan of The Great Gatsby-

Like Anti-Hero this may be Taylor’s critical side. She could see herself as these traits when she is in her self-hating mode.

Daisy Kenyon in the film of the same name-

I picked the petals, he loves me not

Or maybe it’s none of those characters, and Taylor (tagged as the daisy) is just referring to herself:

Something different bloomed

https://www.billboard.com/music/pop/taylor-swift-solo-songwriter-list-1235022983/

Writing in my room

I play my songs in the parking lot

I’ll run away

Taylor leaves painful situations to write and to focus on her career ambitions.

From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes

I called a taxi to take me there

She is saying she had nobody to drive her because she was on her own. Taylor had to pay someone to take her.

Where is Taylor at and where is she going?

Probably not TN to NYC-

She’s wealthy, but this seems like a long fare.

Maybe she means figuratively.  Taylor wants to be a household name, and she does this by bringing a personal touch to her listeners.  During the 1989 Era, Taylor called a Taxi company and made an account to pay for all of her fans to get to and from her concert.  Gestures like this make for a loyal fan base, which will help Taylor’s music career succeed.

I search the party of better bodies

Aspiring music writers/singers?

Taylor could be looking back at the start of her career during her juncture between country and pop music. She could also be talking about competing with other women for the crown of pop stardom.

Models and actresses joined the squad to bolster their career?

Just to learn that my dreams aren’t rare

You’re on your own, kid

You always have been

From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes

I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this

blood-

Sweat-

I really wanted to find out how long Taylor rehearses choreography for shows and tours, but this must be top secret information.  Despite trying for hours to Google different key words I couldn’t find anything that specified in any kind of detail how many hours.  I imagine it’s a long time.

A general example of rehearsals (not related specifically to Taylor):

Taylor’s purported 3x weekly workout and treadmill schedule:

Tears-

I hosted parties and starved my body

Taylor divulged she had disordered eating in Miss Americana.  I read in 2014 that she weighed 132lb.  This might not be accurate at all, who knows, but taking that number for an example it puts her BMI at 18.4 (underweight).  Also, I know BMI is a bit antiquated and depends on many variables that are not standardized to everyone.  But I’m trying to show some kind of quantitative example, so just go with it.  At 5’11” Taylor could weigh up to 178lb and be in a healthy weight range, per the BMI calculator.  

This is 1989 compared to Reputation:

Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss

In her country years Taylor had an idealized vision of what love should look like.  She seemed to draw from Disney and other fairytales in her youth.  

Kisses in Taylor’s songs:

As she got older, Taylor started dating and may have held onto some of that naivety.  It seemed like she thought a boyfriend could fix all of her problems.  She trusted these guys and seemed genuinely disappointed when they let her down:

Jonas brother-

Jake-

John Mayer-

Later, the boyfriends looked more fake (Tom Hiddleston) and some/all could have been beards.  To me, it looks like Taylor was pushed into these showmances and bearding situations (JJ, TL, JG, JM), but then she started hiring her own beards in order to “save” her career from her sexuality. Posing for a photo kissing a man would increase buzz around her music, make her more relatable, (and save Taylor from being outed?).

The jokes weren’t funny, I took the money

What money did Taylor take? 

Money from the studio to get started?

Money from fans who believed that Taylor’s genuine stories perfectly matched up with the PR narratives?

Money from celebrities who wanted to hide their sexuality under a beard?

Taylor is tying money to her dating life in this line.  She doesn’t like the boy-crazy jokes, BUT she took the money.  A definite possibility is that Lautner’s people, Jonas’ people, Jake, and even JM could have paid her for bearding services:

The gossip says that Jake is known for hiring beards:

A meme or a perceptive insight?

My friends from home don’t know what to say

Taylor’s friends are surprised that she is doing inauthentic things they know aren’t in her character in order to grow her career.

I looked around in a blood-soaked gown

The only thing that comes to mind is Carrie:

At first I thought this reference was out of left field, but after reading the following I thought it fit Taylor surprisingly well:

And I saw something they can’t take away

THEY can’t take away Taylor’s writing ability.  She honed her skills alone in her bedroom, practiced them in parking lots, and she will always have that.

‘Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned

The pages turned could be moving on to the next chapter of life, for example, the move from Nashville to NYC. This could additionally be talking about leaving relationships.

This is true about her writing/music too. Songs were cut or never added to the album for whatever reason (a lot were too gay).

Everything you lose is a step you take

With every new start something had to end.

Every song in the crypt contributed to the final product of the finished album [writing is editing!]. And those finalized albums are the stepping stones to the great fame Taylor enjoys(?) today.

Is Taylor talking about something specifically here?

Country/Nashville/home roots?

Jake G. (or men in general)?

It wasn’t working out, but that brought Taylor to the Kaylor relationship (women)?

If Jake was a beard, does the above apply to Dianna?

The Squad/fake friends?

So make the friendship bracelets

During the 1989 Era, bracelets were given to the crowd:

A fan gave Taylor a bracelet with pink and blue and purple beads with the word “pride” spelled out. She displayed it prominently in the below photo:

Take the moment and taste it

I don’t know that much about Buddhism, but there is a philosophy within that talks about living in the moment. And it applies a lot to worry and anxiety. The tenants have subjects of the spirituality be aware of their 6 senses (I think heart is the 6th?) in order to be present at this place in time. It relieves worry and regret which focus on present and past.

Less seriously:

You’ve got no reason to be afraid

You’re on your own, kid

Yeah, you can face this

Renegade-

You’re on your own, kid

You always have been

Where does all of this leave us?

I think Taylor is telling us she has a rift between her and her father. But her mom is someone she can trust, and Andrea loves her unconditionally.

Nashville, country music, and her label made Taylor feel constricted and trapped.

Moving to NYC felt like wonderful freedom and breaking into pop catapulted Taylor to the top of the industry. There was a price to pay for that though-starving her body for just one example.

Jake may have hired/(secretly regarded?) Taylor as a beard. Taylor either didn’t know she wasn’t a real GF, or didn’t understand how Jake could remain cold and detached when acting the part made Taylor catch real feelings for him. It’s also a possibility that Taylor already knew she was queer, and the breakup with Jake hit her hard because she was morning the loss of a straight future she would never have.

With Dianna, Taylor knew she needed more. She wanted someone to be present and consistent and loyal, or it left her unhappy. There could also have been the revelation that she could never fight the logistics to be with a woman. Taylor might have been so upset because her career and Dianna (or any woman) could never coexist.

The Squad felt superficial and empty. Even though Taylor was able to have all the friends she wanted as a kid, it wasn’t satisfying and didn’t last.

Kaylor breakup hit Taylor hard and she is still recovering.

Bearding/Joe protects Taylor’s career but she’s living an isolated life, unable to have a true love. That makes Taylor miserable, but she leans on her music to cope.

Kelsea Ballerini and Taylor Swift are Legends

28 Jan

Here’s another song in Kelsea’s catalog where I think she is talking about Taylor, and purposely inserting certain words, themes, and images to reference Taylor. You decide:

Legends

We were golden, we were fire, we were magic

Is Kelsea intentionally using key words from Taylor’s songs?

Taylor modifies how she sees love from passionate, burning red, to golden like daylight. She wants to step out of the woods into the warmth of daylight.

Deep blue, but you painted me golden

The fire is a spark, or a comforting light in the darkness. It’s both warming and dangerous (if not controlled). Taylor also sees fire in a negative light, as being outed, burning the room down. And fire turning to ashes is like a relationship that ends, enkindling both people.

It seems Kelsea is alluding to comforting and warming, as she Wedges “fire” between golden and magic.

Magic is Taylor’s realization of what attraction and love feel like (vs. comp-het). Magic is also the disappearing act her and her sapphic lover are able to pull off thanks to heteronormativity [best friends!].

Yeah and they all knew our names all over town

Taylor and Kelsea are both big names in Nashville.

They have both toured the world and topped the music charts.

Taylor’s description of Nashville:

To Taylor, Nashville has become limiting and artificial, entrapping her in a disingenuous image. Kelsea moved to Nashville as a teen because she had seen Taylor do it. Kelsea wanted to emulate Taylor’s career, and was excited to be in a place where it could happen. So many eager hopefuls travel to Nashville, seat of country music, to make it in the industry.

We had it made in the middle of the madness

A music star has a crazy schedule.

“Celebrity” could be a chaotic life.

Sapphic affairs might cause a stir.

Madness could be rebelling against social norms.

We were neon in a gray cloud

Taylor uses bright color to describe sapphic love (vs. the black and white of straight love):

Taylor is chronically sad and depressed (in part due to being closeted):

Both cheating and sapphic love put Taylor’s relationships in a gray area:

The clouds might signify Taylor pining for Karlie, or trying to get her back:

But Kelsea says they were colorful and gay in the midst of Taylor’s depression, in a confusing situation, and when Taylor’s head is still in the Kaylor clouds.

Yeah, we wrote our own story

They paved their own way because what other two (country) music stars are in a sapphic relationship?

They each literally wrote their story in their songs.

Full of blood sweat and heartbeats

Full of blood?

Is it talking about working toward careers: blood, sweat, and tears? But there were no tears, so the heartbeats are a reprieve from that? The heartbeats signal excitement and passion.

Or is it talking sexy time (pitter patter of the heart then getting sweaty) under a blood moon?

They might have had their affair during the month of a lunar eclipse.

Or the blood moon may signal an infrequent and intermittent affair (twice a year).

Additionally, it could be some October as the full moon that month is called Blood-Moon due to hunting season.

Can we use the moon to pin down the time frame the Taylor and Kelsea might have had a fling?

Months of blood moons:

Based on the Delicate cover and Taylor’s response to it:

and the towels pic:

I think their affair could have happened at least in 2018. March-May 2018 seems more than friends, possibly. Due to the on/off Kelsea’s discography alludes to it could have also been intermittent in years prior or after this too.

Counterfeit:

Taylor wants to resolve Kaylor, but she is anxiously waiting for things to align. While Taylor waits for the perfect timing with Karlie there’s a glitch and she gets with Kelsea.

Beating hearts/heartBEAT:

We didn’t do it for the fame or the glory

Kelsea is contrasting the very public Kaylor to KelSwift. Karlie and the models might have been hired as PR to eliminate the boy-crazy image Taylor hated. Taylor needed a best friend to take away mention of men. Karlie signed on to play the BFF to get more exposure and recognition to bolster her own career.

And Kaylor accidently fell in love.

But Kelsea and Taylor are not together for PR or careers. There was never money exchanged between the two.

They came together more organically.

But we went down in history

Yeah we were legends

That sounds a lot like a closeted sapphic relationship! There are rumors, but no pictures.

It also sounds a lot like the premise of the folklore album.

But notice Kelsea is talking in past tense.

Loving you baby it was Heaven

Another past tense line.

In Cruel Summer, Taylor describes her relationship with (I’m pretty sure) Karlie. The relationship is delicate and fragile for many reasons: Taylor feels conflicted because society taught her that sapphic love is sinful, and she brings up religious figures to show her concern. The relationship is also fickle because Kaylor started out friends with benefits, no strings attached, and Taylor and Karlie caught stronger feelings on antithetical timelines. Thirdly, the Kaylor relationship feels precarious because Karlie can’t commit fully–partially because she had a long-term boyfriend/beard.

During KelSwift, Taylor is still apprehensive about her sexuality, especially in a public forum. Now Taylor treats Kelsea like Karlie treated her at first. She doesn’t want to be serious, and is just looking for a fun fling. Kelsea, however, has strong feelings for Taylor, just like the strong feelings Taylor had/has for Karlie. Taylor has been on both sides of the equation between Kaylor (pining/wanting more) and KelSwift (distracted/non-committal).

What everyone wondered we’d never question/Close our eyes and took on the world together

This line is more strong evidence that this is a different (gay) type of relationship. Why would other people wonder about this couple? Why does the pair need to take on the world?

I think “take on the world” is also talking about their music careers. Kelsea and Taylor and both striving to get their music out to the world.

Do you remember?

We were crazy

Tragic and epic and so amazing

Interesting choice of words…

I’ll always wear the crown that you gave me

The crown. We talked about how Taylor has at least 3 songs that mention a crown specifically in the Homecoming Queen analysis.

Out of Kelsea, her husband, and Taylor who was the first to move to Nashville, and who got signed first?

Kelsea’s husband was signed after she had already been signed for a year.

https://www.seventeen.com/celebrity/music/news/a29259/all-it-took-was-a-tweet-to-make-kelsea-ballerini-an-instant-star/

We will always stay lost in forever

And they’ll remember

We were legends

Like we were written down in permanent marker

KelSwift leaves an indelible mark on Nashville and music. And the couple will always have good memories of their relationship. This line also might be a call back to an early Taylor Swift performance in Nashville:

Kelsea uses “permanent marker” possibly to contrast the word “paint” that Taylor often uses in her own songs. Paint can be RE-painted, or covered up easily. Permanent marker is more difficult to remove or modify.

Not even the brightest sun could ever fade

In Peace, Karlie tells Taylor she is sunshine/fire/friend, and would take away Taylor’s depression and die for her:

To Kelsea, sunshine is Karlie. She is saying even Karlie at her brightest, can’t take away the memories of KelSwift.

Come whichever hell or high water

Taylor thinks fiery hell would be getting outed in a gay relationship:

And the water is Taylor’s team putting out the fire with their damage control:

Kelsea is saying KelSwift could survive despite the closeting (for fear of fire/hell) and the PR damage control (water/flood) that also comes with bearding. Kelsea is also in the industry so she knows how important it is to be descreet. She even wrote a song about keeping secrets, If You Go Down (I’m Going Down Too). Kelsea is commenting that Taylor wouldn’t be outed with her. And Kelsea is saying she already knows the industry and the PR damage control doesn’t bother her.

It was always me and you either way

Hey we wrote our own story

Full of blood sweat and heartbeats

We didn’t do it for the fame or the glory

We just did it for you and me

And that’s why we were legends

I’m not the only one who noticed similarities between Kelsea and Taylor in this song.  Unlike the hater that wrote the following article, I don’t think Kelsea is doing a cheap remake of Taylor’s work. I think Kelsea is intentionally referencing Taylor in order to furtively tell the audience who the subject of this song is–Taylor.

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

27 Jan

Letter to the Past-

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best Moments of 2022

1 Jan

I was really grasping at straws for the most part to make this a list. I had to dig deep to think of the good times.

#21 Best thing:

Pride Parade was neutral. It Rained hard for a long time. We were soaked and chilly.

The police were good sports when the gays decorated them–they didn’t hate it. They DID refuse glitter though 😛

Despite the rain (and Cool’s event anxiety) we looked awesome.

#20 Best thing:

ScarecrowFest was neat. The entire town had sponsered scarecrows, and they were everywhere! We got to vote for our favorite on the website. Though as of yesterday (12/31) they still had not posting the result of the vote…

#19 Best thing:

I was in a totally different market at work:  (Jan-July/Aug) as extra help and that took me away from Jogre and KDouche-Finally! My interim supervisor was the best!!! He was communicative, friendly, and helpful. Good help was available, training was more frequent. They treated me nice, and so did everyone in that market (until I was actually transferred to their team permanently). I had really high confidence and hope that my work problems were over. [I didn’t know at the time it was a bait and switch…]. I was happy at work for half the year. 

#18 Best thing:

Zoo for Cool’s bday was fun.

This is not a zoom lens. You actually get this close to the penguins and the puffins!

It’s not higher because we got lost on the way back to the car, and walked (unplanned) 8 miles around sketchy areas in the heat and humidity.

#17 Best thing:

You-pick farm was low-key and fun. Flowers were beautiful. 

#16 Best thing:

Went permanent for the new market after the Sup said she doesn’t regulate OT. I was relieved and hopeful. 

At the time this was extremely good news. I would be away from Jogre and KDouche forever! Little did I know this sup was an even more aggressive narcissist. But for the time, it was really, really good news and a relief.

#15 Best thing:

Narwahls

They have alcohol slushies, and they do a flight. And also… Adorable!

Don’t I look miserable and tired, P.S.? This was after the moving ambush, packing frenzy, driving across 4 states, and sleeping on concrete. But the slushy was really good.

#14 Best thing:

Got a shamrock shake in the town of Shamrock TX when we were on our moving road trip. The milkshake machine worked!!!

#13 Best thing:

Randalls

#12 Best thing:

Music was pretty good again this year and I was on top of my ranking which felt good. 

Thanks to Taylor Swift for forcing me to finish it by Oct. It actually really helped (though I STILL have to do Weezer’s winter installment.

#11 Best thing:

Loft Landlord offered to let us sign a lease early to lock in same price for the next 19mo. We signed longer in order to move in better weather. 

We started asking about the price for renewal early, not wanting to be taken by surprise again. And I knew I needed to start packing and making reservations for storage and moving trucks by November. . . Having moving PTSD, I was very stressed and unprepared to pack all of our stuff again. And we had not recovered from 500 Move (Glendale, AZ) or our work CoL paycut. So even though there’s been car break-ins, burglary, fights that escalated to brandishing, a car on fire, rapes, and a full-on 12 person gun fight–I was relieved. I couldn’t pack and do all the moving logistics, make all the change of address calls, find a place, etc… so soon. And the money wouldn’t allow it-not in ideal way anyway. So it feels good to be locked into this rental price and to have some stability for the next year and a half.

#10 Best thing:

Halloween movie marathon! 

#9 Best thing:

Cool got her music on Spotify and Apple Music and other platforms!!!

This has been a long term goal and she made it happen this year. I am so PROUD of her. Take a listen to ManiK Fox. Follow on social media, as she is always making music and art. She has two albums up right now with more to come. I got to help name a couple songs on the first album, so that’s pretty neat too. And the second album has a song with the characteristics of each astrological sign, so January is the perfect time to check it out.

#8 Best thing:

After 13 years we ordered rings.

Wedding rings, commitment rings, whatever you want to call it. Cool and I don’t need papers, of licenses, or rings to legitimize what we have together. We could never afford it before, but made it a priority this year.

The rings are made of dinosaur bones/fossils! Cool’s will have stegosaurus and mine has T-rex. And they have actual meteor (is everything else second best after that meteor strike??!) in them. Mine (my planet in the moon) will have lunar meteor in it. And they’ll have beveled edges so they don’t look like a Claire’s ring.

It’s so low on the list because they won’t come for 10 weeks (in late March 2023).

#7 Best thing:

Double pained windows 

It’s toward the top of the list because it allows temperature control. We’ve always had drafty, single pane windows and a sliding glass door which do nothing for the cold or heat. So the double panes allow us to be more comfortable, and also lower the utility, which is a top priority for me. We always wanted double-pane windows, but could never afford that type of rental before! So Yay(?) random (gun) violence for making this loft affordable.

Except for the one drafty one (yup, that’s snow/ice/frost on the INSIDE):

And of course one of the items stolen from our storage was a window plastic kit…

#6 Best thing:

song analysis

well, you’ve seen.

At some points, analyzing songs was the ONLY thing that would stop my ruminations. It was one time I was relatively calm, and thinking about something else. Writing was a bright spot, and I wish I could get some type of income from writing from home.

#5 Best thing:

Finally found Goose a good vet

We have gone through FOUR (5 if you count my last vet job where the vet didn’t GAF) where the vets were too busy to care. Exams were done in the back, blood pressures half-assed or not done at all. Goose was treated like a checklist and I was treated as a nuisance.

But Dr. Ervin LISTENED. He took TIME to do things properly. He was professional and kind. Goose and I love him!

#4 Best thing:

Got $2800 from renters insurance for 500 Move (out of literally $10k paid directly to 500 move, and probably $5000 of damage/lost/stolen items) But it was something! 

It was very easy to complete the claim too (unlike 500 Move). You just select your items from an amazon-like link.

#3 A,B,C Best things:

Brandi in KC-close enough to walk and next door to the zoo!

And at the zoo, you got to go right in with the kangaroos! No fences between us at all. And no staff was even in there watching. It was amazing! This pic is actually how close we got (don’t worry, we stayed on the path, as advised by the signs).

The AirBnB was within walking to the venue. No lateness phobia! No parking! No paying to park! No having to wait to leave or messing around with drunk drivers trying to get out of the venue! We just ate at home, walked through the neighborhood, and walked right up. As a result we were first in our line (which is not usually my luck).

#2 Best thing:

The 4 cats were perfect angels on the car ride and in hotels during the move.

They were almost entirely quiet during the car ride. And we had charcoal liners in their carriers, so when baby Angus had to go at a very inopportune time on the road it wasn’t a big deal. He tried very hard to hold it, then harder to tell us he was about to have an accident. When we coaxed him to just pee nobody smelled it and no one was wet!

And it was the best they’ve ever done in a hotel. Goose gets angsty and stressed out in hotels and won’t sleep-or let us sleep. Once, he was so unhappy about a car ride that he peed on my hotel pillow! And he NEVER inappropriately urinates. And in the past, C.L. yowled the whole car ride and was wandery and unsettled in the hotel.

I was ready for the worst. If two cats made for a bad trip, 4 were going to be miserable! But more cats actually helped. It was like they calmed each other. The sat in pairs in the car and like I said, everyone was just cozy. And they SLEPT in both hotels. It was more than I could expect from 4 babies, and I was so PROUD of them. And relieved to listen to podcasts instead of meows in the car. And very pleased to sleep at night, instead of trying to calm stressed out cats. Oh, and NO meds, ZERO substances. Just more cats than before.

#1 Best thing:

It was bad: I felt hopeless, depressed, anxious, uncertain, and constant dread. I knew there was no way out without upsetting my whole life, probably getting less money, and likely having to go to an office, and I didn’t want that. So I remained in the company, just on edge and paranoid and unhappy. BUT out of nowhere the corporation moved me away from my narcissist supervisor back to the other side of the company! And NOT to Jogre’s team. I did not have to do anything or say anything. Everyone (including, and especially MNarc) was upset about the yanking, and lack of communication, and the timeline (NOW, NOW, NOW!), but it solved all my problems in one swift action! I automatically felt a million times better. I am able to think about things other than work. I don’t have required overtime every weekday, or holiday hours to work. And I don’t have to put up with being abused anymore. It feels good, and I want 2023 to be calm and peaceful!

Question… EYE Theory (Just Kidding, Really I’m Joking) [Part 9]

2 Dec

Taylor wins the pronoun game.  I’m not even going to try to untangle the speaker/recipient/changing characters in this song.  It was written so convoluted that I haven’t even seen a satisfactory answer to this yet.  Instead, I took lyric snippets from other songs featuring the same word, to get a feeling about Taylor’s sentiment and even subject. Don’t get overwhelmed with the length of this post.  The word I’m trying to point-out from Question… lyrics is highlighted. 

It’s just a question

Half-moon eyes, bad surprise, did you realize?

P.S. 

The person with half moon eyes is anxious.

Eyes:

Probably one of the most used words in her catalog.  Extras:  tolerate it, 

Dorthea

cowboy like me

gold rush

Gorgeous

london boy

I think he knows

so it goes

Exile

coney island

Ivy

call it what you want

cruel summer

Happiness

Eyes are used in 4-5 different ways throughout Taylor’s songs: Celebrity, attraction, bearding, uncertainty, sadness.

Fame:  The eyes full of stars phrasing is describing someone with ambition to be famous and wealthy.  Taylor describes Dorthea (which may just be her younger self) this way.  She also mentions it in Cowboy Like Me when she spots someone like her.  They both want higher status, money, and the spotlight and will tell the rich people anything they want to hear in order to get there.  

Attraction:  Gorgeous and Gold Rush speaks to attraction to women.  Taylor is upset she feels such a magnetic pull towards a woman, because it’s problematic for her public image.  She almost jumps into the ocean blue eyes in Gold Rush.  Simultaneously, Taylor has to hide this strong attraction.  It will not go with her good girl persona, and will not help sales.  Thus, the bearding.

Bearding:  London Boy is satirical.  There is no logistical way for Taylor to travel to all those places in a short time.  She mentions things that would be awful, like being there while his mates watch rugby-English gals agree that nobody wants that.  Taylor says she loves a gray sky and cab ride.  No.  Those are not perks, but downsides of the UK.  So the descriptions of this English dude are in that vein.  She uses child and boy, which are not romantic.  Taylor is saying this person is under her, subservient, lessor.  It’s like a mother, not a lover.  An employee? Also, Taylor is playing the pronoun game hard in London Boy.  She contrasts “he” to “you.”  He is the dude from the UK, that she has control of and YOU is her true love interest.  Taylor tells us the rumors are true (she’s gay).  And I fancy or want YOU is preceded by darling.  Taylor never says, I love you.  She speaks to the audience and says you know I love a London Boy.  The listeners have been told that Taylor loves a London Boy and she doubles-down on that again and again in the song.  She TOLD us she loves a London Boy, but she fancies and wants YOU. 

In I Think he Knows, Taylor continues the pronoun game contrasting he and you.  She tells us she sees YOUR lyrical smile and indigo eyes and wants to drive away with YOU, to mean her same-sex love.  HE just knows about it.  She again says he’s boyish, and tells us she’s an architect drawing up (bearding) plans.  So it Goes talks about the success of the bearding which hides Taylor’s true love.  In public, Taylor and her lover are magicians and illusionists, hiding their truth in plain sight.  And when they are alone there is sex and bliss.  But all the hiding and secrets and lies make the couple breakdown.  It’s hurting their love.  But Taylor is torn:  Her back is against the wall in regards to maintaining her public image–she must beard to be seen as straight and make money.  But she can’t let go of this love–she’s a hostage to her feelings.  There is strife about this difficult choice. 

The lover doesn’t care for it.  She stares at Joe like he’s an understudy, knowing that she would fight (Bad Blood) for Taylor.  These lovers have to walk on eggshells to keep their true love a secret, and it causes strife.  A million lies and many chances, are breaking the branches this relationship so carefully balances on.  All the closeting and hiding chips away at the love.  The lover gets tired of being invisible.  She doesn’t like pretending that she’s not the center of Taylor’s world.  But Taylor continues to closet and beard, never making the lover her centerfold, never saying her name from the podium.  And that makes the sun (= Karlie) go down, little by little Karlie tires of the ruse, and it gets colder and more lonely for both, per Coney Island.

Uncertainty:  The lover is promised to another.  It might be contractual.  She might want a “normal” life instead of a queer one.  It might be a choice of more wealth than Taylor can offer.  Between the lure and commitment to the guy and the life he can provide, and the problems and complications constantly caused by bearding and closeting, this lover is a flight risk.  In Ivy, Taylor says the future of this love affair–her fate is tied to what the guy will do.  If the lover doesn’t chose him, will he burn the house down?  This man has a lot of power and money… It’s just one more barrier to the Sapphic love. In Call It What You Want Taylor tells Karlie (I hear her name in the song and can’t hear anything else) they don’t have to name what they are.  It speaks to Karlie being nervous about calling herself Sapphic.  Taylor urges her to just go with it and don’t worry about labels–she just wants this love.  Problem is, Taylor sees a shiny toy, this bad boy with a price, and she bought it.  She is telling us she paid this man to be her beard in Cruel Summer.  But she already knows it’s hurting her lover and putting cracks in her actual relationship to play pretend. Taylor is separated from her lover, and that kills her.  She wishes the lover would show up below her window.

Devil = evil 

roll the dice = take a chance

Angels = good and pure

Roll their eyes = They judge the devil for taking that chance.  It was wrong.

No rules = the relationship is no strings attached, casual, a friends with benefits situation

Breakable = fragile, delicate, if you will.

Heaven = Taylor feels pure joy at being with this person.

I love you ain’t that the worst thing you ever heard = The lover is conflicted.  She could be back at the Speak Now days that Taylor went through where the gayness is a house of cards that if toppled will messily ruin everything.  The lover can’t acknowledge it, fears it, hides it away.  This line might also be saying the lover doesn’t want to be serious with Taylor.  The lover is just having a fun fling, but really wants to live a heteronormative life with her bf/beard.  She is not ready to be in a serious, monogamous relationship with Taylor.

He looks up, grinning like the devil = someone/something is undermining the heaven in this relationship.  It might be Karlie’s bf/beard, Jo$h.  And/or the public scrutiny and judgment about WLW love.

Sadness: Happiness is the sad culmination of all the stressors breaking the love apart.  Taylor chose to continue bearding and closeting for her career.  The lover chose heteronormativity, money, the man.  And Taylor is heartbroken.

The half moon eyes in Question… are the combination of anxieties constantly tugging Kaylor (any sapphic lover) apart. There is the internal homophobia and questioning, the career pressures, political considerations, bearding complications, on and on. How many struggles can one relationship survive? Then, there is just sadness about what will never be. All the anxiety kills the partnership.

Fletcher’s Song, Kelsea Ballerini’s Verse. Taylor Swift is the Ex Kelsea is (actually/additionally) Talking About

19 Nov

Fletcher Better Version (Remix)

[Verse 2: Kelsea Ballerini, Kelsea Ballerini & FLETCHER]

I was there on the side of your stages

I grew up for our difference in ages

Never thought we were subject to changes, yeah

And I did my best to fix it

‘Til death ’cause then I meant it

Your next girl is gonna get you reinvented and not pretendin’

“‘Til death cause I meant it” is a red herring or double-meaning or 2nd person being addressed–whichever you like. 

This post will say why:

[side-note: I have whole other posts planned on why Taylor might be “Becky” and a double meaning for that song could be addressing Kelsea’s dalliance (and Fletcher’s thirst) for Taylor. Also, we need to talk about Snow on the Beach in its entirety.]

Pertinent Taylor lyrics:

Happiness.  Interestingly has parts in the same vein as this song of Fletcher’s about growing from a relationship, and the next person getting the benefit of those lessons.

“I haven’t met the new me yet”  

Your next girl is gonna get you reinvented 

Snow on the Beach.  We will talk about this song, but in it’s own post or this very long post will be too, too long.  But the line that comes into play against Kelsea’s verse in Fletcher’s remix:

“Fake it til you make it”

and not pretendin’

Let’s talk about the timeline referenced in Kelsea’s verse. The beside stages different ages part:

Ages and Years the Players Moved to TN/Nashville and got signed:

Kelsea

Kelsea’s Ex-husband

Suspected dalliance and Kelsea’s recent song-muse

To sum up birthdays and age differences:

Morgan Evans’ b-day is 4/25/85 (8yr difference from Kelesa)

Taylor’s b-day is 12/13/1989 (4yr difference from Kelsea)

Kelsea’s b-day is 9/12/93

Let’s talk about proximity since beside stages puts Kelsea close to the song’s subject:

Moved closer to Nashville and got a foot in the door of the industry:

Taylor was first of these 3, getting there in 2002 at age 13-

Taylor gets signed at a younger age and earlier year than the other two, 17 in 2006-

Morgan got a toe into Nashville in 2007.  He lived in Australia, so it took longer for him to break into TN-

Morgan was born in Australia and lived there until 2015-

Morgan gets signed last of these 3 in 2017-

Kelsea moved to Nashville in 2008, after Taylor was there, but before Morgan moved to the U.S.-

When they got to TN, how old they were compared to Kelsea’s age:

Taylor came to Nashville as a songwriter in 2004 at age 14 (Kelsea was 11)

Morgan flew to Nashville (from Australia where he lived) to record a single in 2007 at age 22 (Kelsea was 14)  

Kelsea moved to Nashville to write songs in 2008 at age 15.

Morgan didn’t move to the U.S./Nashville until 2015 at age 30 (Kelsea was 22)

In the verse, Kelsea is figuratively and literally looking up to the person on the stage. She is younger than them and they are more established in the industry than she is in the timeline of the verse.

Age of getting signed:

Taylor got signed in 2006 at age 17 (Kelsea was 13)

Kelsea was signed in 2012 at age 19.

Morgan was signed in 2017 at age 32. (Kelsea was 24 and had already been signed for 5 years)

So the verse already doesn’t really work with Morgan. He’s actually getting fame in another country when Kelsea is not yet in the business. Then, when he does break into Nashville, it’s after Kelsea.

When did Kelsea meet them:

Kelsea (who had been signed for 4 years already) met Morgan (who would be signed the next year) for the first time when she flew to Morgan’s country, Australia in 2016 

She was 23 when they met (hardly “growing up”).

Was Kelsea beside Morgan’s stages?  It looks like she was in TN and he was in…  Australia.

So we established Kelsea was in the U.S., not Australia.  She got signed prior to Morgan.  They did not meet until she was 23, when he was yet unsigned, and she had already been signed for 4 years.

I was there on the side of your stages

I grew up for our difference in ages

These lines are vague enough that they don’t say exact ages/years/people.  But I interpret the sentiment of those lines as Kelsea looked up to this older, more established and famous person when she was young.  Then she grew into a more personal relationship with that person.

Enter Taylor Swift.

Kelsea “met” Taylor (as a fan) in 2008.  Taylor was 19 and Kelsea was 15.

Taylor mentions Kelsea’s song in a Tweet in 2015.  Taylor was 26 and Kelsea was 22.

That same year (2015)

KELSEA BALLERINI PERFORMS WITH TAYLOR SWIFT IN NASHVILLE OVER THE WEEKEND

By Samantha Dawn Mutschler / September 29, 2015

Taylor Swift performed in Nashville as a part of her 1989 Tour this past weekend and she brought out a very special guest. Kelsea Ballerini performed her number 1 song “Love Me Like You Mean It” with Swift for thousands of screaming fans. It was a huge moment for women in Country music with both women performing the first debut song from a woman to hit number 1 in 9 years!

Ballerini continues to wow audiences of all ages with her music, recently being named one of People’s “One’s to Watch”. It was a special moment for her, stating on her instagram:

Ballerini met Swift about 8 years ago at a meet and greet at one of Swift’s concerts, as time has flown by the success of both of these women have blossomed.

In 2017 Kelsea crossed over from fan to friend.  Taylor was 28 and Kelsea was 24

You see the evolution.  Kelsea looked up to Taylor as a child, even moving to Nashville because she was inspired by Taylor.  Kelsea was a fan.  Then took a very familiar path to music stardom.  Taylor noticed Kelsea as an artist and her Tweet boosted Kelsea’s followers and chart numbers.  Kelsea was invited to perform with Taylor, more equal in status than a fan, but Taylor was still more of a mentor.  Then Taylor invited Kelsea into her personal life.  I think that better matches the lyrics in Fletcher’s song.

Never thought we were subject to changes, yeah

This is maybe the most important line in the verse because it’s a multiple meaning and references other work (Kelsea’s most recent GAY album).

In the context of divorce with Morgan, Kelsea is saying they grew apart (yawn).

Subject to Changes is the title of Kelsea’s most recent album.

Subject to changes in the context of the album is Kelsea realizing she likes women.

Taylor

is not the only one who can write for

plausible deniability.

Midnights Album = Lover Vault Tracks

28 Oct

I guess I should have started the series with this post. But what I forgot is not everyone has this same opinion. Even though it seems fairly obvious to me. So here’s some background thinking that may influence my opinions about the tracks.

Here’s what I think happened:

Taylor is rerecording her masters. Fans were clamoring for the albums. There were trends every Friday on Twitter guessing album drops. And it is in Taylor’s best interest to keep up engagement and interest in her masters project. She needs each one to sell and stream and be successful. If there is a drought people might forget or lose motivation to support it. Except there were snafus: She wants the big finish to be Taylor Swift TV. Reputation isn’t eligible until 2023. Speak Now and 1989 both ran into legal troubles.

It makes sense to me that Taylor’s team decided to throw together a new album real quick as damage control, and a bridge to the next rerecord. Taylor dipped into her diaries, her drafts, and vault songs that didn’t make past albums. She cleaned them up, did a bit of editing, and rushed to construct an album to satiate the general public.

I think the new album sounds like if Reputation and Lover had a baby that was more subtle than both. Taylor said these tracks are from midnights throughout her life so it makes sense to me she might have written most of the songs, portions of the songs, lyrics, taken inspiration from the period of time between Reputation tour and Lover promo.

Looking at Taylor’s catalog as an evolution, it doesn’t seem like Midnights belongs after folklore and Evermore. Yes, those albums were a slightly different genre, but more than that those albums were high-brow and complex with shifting themes. They were decadent in their lyricism and expertly written to mix fantasy and fiction.

Midnights sounds like it belongs prior to the quarantine era albums. It is WILDLY successful, and I wonder how much of that is promo working, how much is due to Taylor’s name bringing high recognition/curiosity no matter what she does, and how much is thirsty fans supporting it. I think it’s probably a variety of factors, but to me Midnights is not the progression of talent post folkmore.

I also think the timelines in the new songs make better sense if they were written in the past. Example:

The Great War bridge

It turned into something bigger
Somewhere in the haze, got a sense I’d been betrayed
Your finger on my hairpin triggers
Soldier down on that icy ground
Looked up at me with honor and truth
Broken and blue, so I called off the troops
That was the night I nearly lost you
I really thought I’d lost you

the nearly lost you confuses me. It implies when this song was written Taylor was still with Karlie. I know the two were on and off many times, but current dresses, music videos, posts, and lyrics show more of a petty-ex energy between the two. Also, the last 3-4 albums wouldn’t be so sad if Taylor was currently together again with Karlie.

I’m interested to see what the 11th album will sound like. Then we’ll know for sure if folkmore was just an anomaly of suddenly having tragedy plus downtime, or if Midnights belongs at 6.5 in the album order.

Writing [Lessons from 2021]

10 Jan

-I get excited to write then lose motivation & traction before I finish the writing piece.

I think it’s bc I get discouraged about the writing phases behind the scenes that don’t get published.

It’s the logistics I don’t care for.  I wanna write the thing I’m enthusiastic about, but you have to lay the groundwork, give all the necessary background info, explain where and who, site sources, edit, and by the time I’ve done all that it’s a slog, and I’m onto some other exciting subject.

I think it’s a matter of training my brain.  Which is what I’m currently doing.  I’m going to try to write daily, just to get into the habit of sitting still, not looking at the television, social media, and reconnecting to the writing process.  Once I am OK with the sitting and attending to writing, I’m going to try to publish a daily post.  Then, it’s in the in-a-row territory that works so well for me.

I still need to finish my TNR series, and I need to finish the Diatlov (however you spell it) Pass theory, and finally, I have a lot of song analyses on the back burner. And I’m excited about all of those. Maybe I need to go back to whatever inspired each writing in the first place to get re-motivated.

I can Google this too, and see what suggestions are out there…

Travelin’ Man: A Trilogy of Related Brandi Carlile Songs

2 Nov

The song, “This Time Tomorrow” on the new album, ‘In These Silent Days’ is quiet and a bit inconspicuous. But I noticed a theme running through Brandi’s catalogue: This song compares well with “Closer to You” and also to “Wherever is Your Heart” off Firewatcher’s Daughter. It’s (all 3, really are) a song from the perspective of a person that travels a lot, and is very busy. But in all three songs, the narrator says their heart is always with their love back at home (GF? wife? the subject may change over time). And that narrator looks forward to physically being with their partner again. I’m going to awkwardly refer to whoever the primary perspective in the song as “narrator” because I’m not certain who this story belongs to. All 3 seem to write a lot of the music, and maybe it’s the combined experience of Brandi, Phil, and Tim. I haven’t seen interviews or other info that tells which one might be talking for sure.

Closer to You (the first written of these 3 similar sentiments):

I’m staring out at endless rows of green
There are miles of hay like I have never seen
Just when you think you’ve had enough and
your dreams come true
I just want to be closer to you

My mind wanders through all that I’ve been hiding from
I tried not to let you down
Now I wonder if I’ve been doin’ something wrong
Help me get my feet back on the ground

Tomorrow I’ll be lying under you
With a heart of gold and arms to fall into
I know that there might come a day
where my life is through
But I just want to be closer to you

My mind wanders through all that I’ve been hiding from
I tried not to let you down
Now I wonder if I’ve been doin’ something wrong
Help me get my feet back on the ground

Someday we might learn to tell the truth
We might even find the fountains of our youth
We all needed something real we all need proof
I just want to be closer to you
I only want to be closer to you

The tone of this song is excited, almost wonderous at these novel sights. And when the narrator gets fatigued of all the travel–all their dreams (of adventure? money? fame? musical growth?) come true. They will press on with the travel over the long term. The writer of this song thinks maybe they’re going about the relationship, career, and/or life wrong, The final verse conveys a searching for something higher-and alludes to a spiritual crises. Even so, the narrator has the tangible in their mate. And knows their loved one will be there to ground them when they get back home. It is indicated that the narrator KNOWS this person with golden heart will be there. There’s no doubt.



In Wherever is Your Heart, written early on in relationships, it’s decidedly upbeat and hopeful:

I think it’s time we found a way back home
You lose so many things you love as you grow
I missed the days when I was just a kid
My fear became my shadow, I swear it did

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

You made me feel like I was always falling
Always falling down without a place to land
Somewhere in the distance I heard you calling
Oh it hurts so bad to let go of your hand

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

Even when you’re high, you can get low
Even with your friends you love, you’re still alone
We always find the darkest place to go
God forgive our minds, we were born to roam

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

Oh God forgive my mind, oh God forgive my mind
When I come home, when I come home
Oh God forgive my mind
There’s a road that’s long and winding, it hollers home
I’m calling home

Oh God forgive my mind, oh God forgive my mind
When I come home, when I come home
Oh God forgive my mind, oh God forgive my mind
When I come home, when I come home

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home



Or, might I say, the song of the song is upbeat and gives an optimistic vibe, and the chorus is true to that sentiment. This 2nd song says no matter how far apart geographically the two partners are, they both take solace in the fact that their hearts are together. They don’t need to be physically together to feel and know the love they share. BUT the verses betray a darkness in the narrator. They lost things/people as they aged, and reminisce about a simpler time of when they were a child. Now, they feel fear nearly always. The falling verse that’s next directly ties back to the plane metaphor in “You and Me on the Rock” and tells of that broken foundation that comprises this person. The narrator tells that even with this beautiful sentiment of loving and spiritually being with your lover, even when separate, their mind still fights. The mind is still lonesome amongst friends, sad during happy times, aberrant from the happy chorus.

Which brings us back to this current song, You and Me on the Rock:

When the fire inside that burns
So bright begins to grow faded
It can be hard to see the ground on which you stand
Though you may not be afraid of walkin’ in the darkness
You will feel like a stranger in this land

You can try to carve a faith out of your own
But a broken spirit may dry out the bone
And the edges of the night may cause you sorrow
You know I may not be around this time tomorrow
But I’ll always be with you
Yeah, I’ll always be with you

When the hope that you hold tightly to has all but vanished
And there are no words of comfort to be found
You will know what it means to be lost and without love
May you fight to kill that deafening sound

But our holy dreams of yesterday aren’t gone
They still haunt us like the ghosts of Babylon
And the breakin’ of the day might bring you sorrow
You know I may not be around this time tomorrow
But I’ll always be with you
I’ll always be with you

Ooh
Ooh
Ooh

repeats

Now the person at home doesn’t have a golden heart, but that bright fire faded. They can’t even find the ground, and aren’t the stable force they were in “Closer to You” anymore. Instead of coming home to comfort, the narrator feels like a stranger. Carving faith is more laborious than how easily it came in the first 2 songs… What is the exact same in all the songs, is the narrator will always be with this other person in spirit when they travel, just as before. The next verse gets at the heart of this entire album again. The lyrics reiterate that love has all but vanished, yet the narrator grasps tightly to whatever is left of it. The person left at home, no longer has words of comfort as mentioned in the prior songs, which makes the narrator feel even more lost than they already felt.

I like the new album, but it’s a bleak story. And this trilogy of songs shows the trajectory of a traveling person with a broken foundation who found, and then lost, love and now lives in a codependent state. ‘In These Silent Days’ tells the same story of the catalogue, just in a more condensed form.

PS- I think I’m going to do a few of these similar song postings, as I heard a lot of pairs and triplet songs while going through the album.

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.