Okay, so, Taylor Swift. I talked about her in a previous post but honestly I’m not ashamed I’m talking about her again. Why? Because she deserves it. And she’s been making me proud since 1989 dropped.
So I guess first is the album. I’m actually really happy with the way it turned out. I’m especially happy with the longer tracklist of this album, making it definitely worth the wait and a lot more accessible. Not a big fan of the opening track “Welcome to New York”, or you don’t really wanna “Shake It Off”? Well, good news for you, there’s 17 more for you to choose from. I haven’t listened to it enough to give a definite ruling on it yet, but I’m satisfied at the moment, though I’ll always maintain Red is her best record to date.
But really though, I have to admit, half the reason I’m satisfied as much as I am is because of “Blank Space.”
You’ve heard of “Blank Space,” right? Because it’s pretty dang good. Like…really good.
First, there’s the song. It’s midtempo, which is a rarity for casual Swift fans, but hardcore ones will know how well she can pull off a midtempo track (think “State of Grace,” “Tell Me Why,” “Long Live,” etc.). And “Blank Space” is no exception. Her lyrics are also on point as usual, being easy enough to remember to constitute a good pop hook, but also clever enough to surpass one-hit wonder status.
And not just the lyrics are clever, but the whole premise. It’s a dark-humor parody of herself, which actually doesn’t surprise me coming from Taylor – she’s not stupid and she does know everything people say about her – and she’s using her favorite medium to get back at everyone in a really clever and tasteful way.
But man, them lyrics.
Screaming, crying, perfect storms
I can make all the tables turn
Rose garden filled with thorns
I like this verse especially because of the rose garden image, which goes perfectly to my next point, which is the video.
This video guys. This video is it. And it’s why I’m not ashamed to talk about her after one post about her. Because she deserves it.
Now, okay, maybe she doesn’t deserve all the credit since she didn’t actually direct the video. But its no secret that she’s heavily involved in her creative process. And even if she didn’t have any say in how this video went, she wrote the song. The song is a parody of herself. But it also applies to every girl like Taylor, every girl who gets beaten down and ridiculed for being “boy-crazy” or “too clingy” or “too emotional” or any of the thousand ridiculous things girls get ridiculed for.
So, the video. In case you’ve been living under a pile of homework (which, okay, I’ll admit, is very plausible), a quick synopsis: boy comes to Mansion di Taylor, Taylor’s chilling with her cat when ding dong, she meets boy and smiles creepily, boy and Taylor do that dating thing in this abandoned castle thing. Boy texts some other girl, Taylor gets jealous and a little violent, cries a lot if her mascara is any indication, stands on a horse at some point, and scares away the boy because of her “emotions.”
Why I love this video is because the parody goes even further than a parody – it becomes a satire, akin to Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.” Taylor isn’t just making fun of her haters, she’s doing exactly what they say she does and exaggerates it to show how ridiculous it is.
Which leads me back to rose garden filled with thorns. Okay, I’m gonna show off my English major skills a bit here and talk about why this line is so brilliant, especially in context of the video. So, if a girl’s a rose, right, she’s pretty, she smells nice, delicate, yada yada stereotypes. But then she has thorns…but she’s not supposed to. She’s supposed to be pretty, perfect. Pretty, perfect things aren’t supposed to have bad things like thorns. But roses are made with thorns…there’s no way to make a rose without thorns, unless you cut them off. They can’ come thornless. So it’s ridiculous to expect a rose to come without thorns.
Now, if you get the metaphor and go WAIT BUT I’M A GIRL AND I’M NOT EMOTIONAL I’M COOL WHATEVER HAHA I DON’T GET EMOTIONAL DON’T STEREOTYPE ME please don’t jump down my throat. I’m not saying all girls identify with this problem, or all girls are like Taylor. You don’t have to be emotional if you’re a girl, just like you don’t have to be emotionless if you’re a boy. But for those of us that are on the emotional side of the spectrum and do get criticized for it, well, this song comes as a much needed relief.
Because calling girls crazy for having emotions, for being normally jealous and sad and possibly even angry…well that’s not cool. And Taylor got it right.
Now, besides all that, I loved this video because of how absolutely gorgeous it is. From her outfits to the setting, the video is so artsy without being like “oh this is artsy because art.” I mean, there is that apple part that I get but not really, but other than that, it’s treated like a piece of art, with the colors and the set and saturation and I love that. Overall, it’s well made, and quality in music videos is something I’ve actually forgotten over the years, since Internet killed the Video Star.
So, there you go. My praise-rant on Taylor’s awesome video/song combo. You go for that 2-1 punch, Tay. I’m proud of you. You’ve grown and gotten complex and you tell those haters. And after, go Shake it Off. You deserve it.