My love/hate relationship with Taylor Swift

First and foremost, I don’t hate Taylor Swift. I never have. Life is far too short to hate anyone. Have I been very annoyed with her at times? Sure. When Taylor Swift’s first album came out I was senior in high school who strongly disliked country music. I appreciated the fact that she played guitar and wrote her own songs…but apart from that she didn’t really do it for me. I started to get annoyed with her when every accolade she received was met with a shocked expression. I wanted her to start accepting the fact that she was a “big deal”. Playing sports I was always told to act like you have been there before, looking shocked doesn’t make you look humble, it makes you look annoying. Your album sold millions of copies and you have multiple number one hits…you can’t be that shocked that you won another award. I could still admit she made some catchy tunes, but not loving her became an identifier for me. My friends loved her and I was indifferent. I was labeled as a music snob who wanted to go against the grain.

I will admit, the part of me that didn’t like her the most was the jealous teenager who attempted to write down my heartbreaks growing up and never quite could. I had notebooks with horrible songs written that were never going to translate into anything real, but she seemed to write a hit in her sleep.

I picked up 1989 recently because I like being informed and I wanted to be current. I don’t like saying I don’t like something if I haven’t even given it a chance. It also helped that I wanted to impress someone who happens to love Ms. Swift. I wasn’t able to really listen to it until this past weekend as I drove home from Nashville, one of Swift’s many hometowns at this point, it seemed right.

1. “Welcome to New York”

Honestly, not a huge fan of this one. I can’t put my finger on it, but it seems like a song that was written to be played during the opening credits of a rom com where Katherine Heigl walks around New York after spending her whole life in Iowa. At the end of the opening credits she trips over her new heels into a surprisingly charming hot dog vendor who turns out to be an undercover cop with a past and the hero of our story.

2. “Blank Space”

Arguably the best song on the album. Swift makes fun of herself and her reputation. I love that bridge at the end so much. This song seems the most complete and best produced in my opinion as well.

3. “Style”

I like this one too. I like the contrast between the quieter verses and the playful, upbeat chorus. Dare we say she is growing up?

4. “Out of the Woods”

According to my most Swift obsessed friends this one screams “Harry Styles and I dated and it didn’t work”. Something about them taking polaroids and getting in a snowmobile accident are the dead giveaways. These are the songs that kind of bother me just because it seems too obvious that she is singing about someone very specific but then she gets mad when everyone is obsessed with who she is dating. Don’t sing about your paper airplane necklaces if you don’t want us all up in your business. That being said, I like this one. I take it from the standpoint of the ‘woods’ being that period of time when you don’t know what someone is yet. Who hasn’t been in the woods hoping to get into a clearing?

5. “All You Had to do Was Stay”

Nitpicky moment: I could really do without the background vocals pitchy “stay” during the chorus. Other than that I like this one too. Simple message…communicate people, everyone is better off.

6. “Shake it Off”

Ah…she is still self aware. She doesn’t care that I don’t like her sometimes and people talk about her all the time. I respect that. That’s not really a “sick beat” though.

7. “I Wish You Would”

Ultimately, this one is a bit forgettable too me, but it’s also very telling of our generation. We connect, disconnect, and reconnect with people constantly. It is most likely because 75% of our communication is through a tiny screen and not face to face.

8. “Bad Blood”

So allegedly this one goes out to Katy Perry. Can we get Ellen to have them on the show at the same time and figure this all out? I feel like Swift almost wrote a Katy Perry song about Katy Perry.

9. “Wildest Dreams”

Very Lana Del Rey meets Lorde. I like it.

10. “How You Get the Girl”

Yet again, we live in a culture of connect, disconnect, reconnect. It seems like a lot of her songs are about this phenomenon. Teenage Kelly wishes she wrote this.

11. “This Love”

Did Taylor watch my favorite movie (Drive) before writing this one? Also again…she let him go…now he’s back…whats a girl to do?

12. “I Know Places”

Another catchy one that I like. I kind of like the Lykke Li song by the same name better…but that’s neither here nor there. I get wanting to keep something to yourselves, do your thang Tay.

13. “Clean”

I used to be super into Imogen Heap so I was kind of excited about them working together. Imogen cowrote this one and I end up liking it more each time I hear it.

No…I didn’t buy the extended version, but apart from “Welcome to New York” I actually like this album. It’s easy for me to forget that Swift is only about 2 years younger than me and maybe I find it annoying when I relate to her songs. Maybe I like feeling misunderstood and then a plucky blonde girl starts singing about a song about how I feel and it frustrates me. Either way…1989 is in my CD player and I won’t deny it any longer.

 

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