Taylor Swift’s Blank Space
I’m telling you, I keep telling you, Taylor Swift’s 1989 is GOOOOOOOD. And it gets better on repeat. That’s all I had on repeat last week on holiday. Like I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Taylor’s still pissed and bitter. But it’s a lot less precious now. A lot less sulky. A lot more…fun?
It’s a fine balance – to be angry and still have a good time, to be a “bitch” and to enjoy herself that way. She shows us all of this in her new video for Blank Space which is a song that didn’t need a provocative video because it’s so listenable on its own but now that we have one, this is the one you’ll want to talk about. This is the one where she tells you, yeah, I know what you think of me, I know you think I’m pathetic, that I pine, and I’ll feed that to you, extra, since you’re not going to change your mind anyway. Oh, and by the way, how timely. She’s Amy Dunne from Gone Girl too, “Cool Girl” with a catchy hook”:
You're the king baby I'm your queen
Find out what you want
Be that girl for a month
But the worst is yet to come
F-cking love that line, “Be that girl for a month”. EXACTLY. I was there, then. Were you? When I was 19 I told a guy I grew up camping, all outdoors and building fires and putting up tents and sh-t…WITH MY CHINESE FAMILY. Jesus, who is this Taylor Swift and…how is she speaking to me now?
One minor fight to pick with her though – in an interview last week with Yahoo, Taylor talked about why she prefers writing full albums instead of just releasing singles. She compared it to novels and short stories:
"I'd really much rather write a novel than a bunch of short stories. I'd rather be known for a collection of songs that go together and live together and belong together. These are essentially installments of my life, two years at a time, and I work really hard to make sure that those installments are good enough to also apply to other people's lives in two-year periods of time. Albums defined my childhood, and they've defined my life."
I understand what she’s getting at. I understand about looking for that thread, that creative connection, the bond that weaves through a narrative. But it’s a poor analogy. And she’d know that if she read more short stories. She’d know that if she read Alice Munro, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013, the grand dame of the story. I’d recommend Lives Of Girls And Women and then Friend Of My Youth, both short story collections, as taut and cohesive as any novel. She’d know that if she’d read anything by Dorothy Parker. Parker may have never written a novel but her short stories were as comprehensive as any full length effort. You might argue that it takes even more talent to say what you want to say so sparingly.
She could figure it out though, Taylor Swift. She’s been figuring a lot of sh-t out along the way. And that has a lot to do with why she’s successfully transitioned her career from adolescence to young adulthood, why she hasn’t confined herself like Avril Lavigne. But she’s such a big f-cking deal now, and she got it so right this time that it’s not unusual for those in her position to develop a certain myopia, to stagnate, to stop asking. When no one pushes back – and I promise you, no one is pushing back on Taylor Swift right now – how would you know to push forward?
Here’s Taylor at Good Morning America today. Too much foundation. And that f-cking hair!
PS. I keep hearing “I gotta lotta Starbucks lovers” when she’s obviously not singing about Starbucks lovers!