Taylor Swift: Sorry not sorry
Taylor Swift covers Rolling Stone. It’s the BEST celebrity magazine profile of the year. No question. And by best I mean the most entertaining. The juiciest. GREAT for gossip. I could not get enough. I had to read it twice, back to back, because I didn’t want it to be over. So, if you haven’t already, set aside 10 minutes today and make sure you’re not interrupted. Because once you start, you’ll be pissed if you have to stop.
When she talks about her Fourth of July party and how she and her friends – which included Emma Stone and Lena Dunham and other famous people – played “Celebrity” and had to act out and describe celebrities? Don’t tell me you wouldn’t have wanted to be there. It’s f-cking delicious. It’s enough to suck you in. It’s not enough to satisfy. And that’s not an easy line to play. But then again, I’m not sure we’ve given Taylor Swift enough credit for how she plays the game. She’s been playing a long time. Finally it sounds like she’s ready to stop pretending that she does.
I’d rather this than the “aw shucks, no, me, really?”
After all, she wasn’t made like Britney Spears. She might actually be closer to Beyonce than Britney. Remember, Taylor Swift had a publishing deal for her music before she became a performer. She’s fully in control of her own corporation. This is not a puppet. Is she, packaged? Oh yeah, totally. But is she packaging herself. Oh yeah, totally.
Right now, she’s packaging herself as a pure pop star. There is no more country Swift. She will no longer be going to country music award shows. She has successfully used up the country format and genre to get to where she’s always wanted to go: Pop.
You can call it that if you want to.
Would you be as offended about it if it were a man though?
Here’s one of the parts that stood out for me:
When she first turned in the record, she says the head of her label, Scott Borchetta, told her, "This is extraordinary – it's the best album you've ever done. Can you just give me three country songs?"
"Love you, mean it," is how Swift characterizes her response. "But this is how it's going to be."
This is how it’s going to be.
That’s the Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. It’s everything in the Lean In. It’s the ideal of the Lean In and, like Lean In, it’s also the myopia. Why have we resisted embracing Taylor Swift, the boss? Why are you reading this, still skeptical about her empowerment?
I wonder if it’s because Taylor’s ascent has never appeared to be accompanied by struggle. It seems to have been so easy. There were no socio-economic challenges. There were no racial challenges. The only challenges we know of are her romantic ones.
"Different phases of your life have different levels of deep, traumatizing heartbreak," Swift says. "And in this period of my life, my heart was not irreparably broken. So it's not as boy-centric of an album, because my life hasn't been boycentric." In fact, she suggests, she hasn't dated at all since breaking up with One Direction singer Harry Styles more than a year and a half ago. "Like, have not gone on a date," she says. "People are going to feel sorry for me when you write that. But it's true."
Um. No. No one is feeling sorry for you. You’re 24 years old. So you’ve been f-cked over by an asshole or two. THIS IS NOT A TRAGEDY.
So is that why we trivialise her influence?
She insists that she does not want her work to be trivialised. It still bites her ass that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler put her on blast at the Golden Globes two years ago. But how can you resist when someone who has so much, who didn’t have to fight on the come-up, doesn’t have a sense of humour? You are Taylor Swift. You have everything without giving up much. The least you can do is laugh, you know?
I laughed at the cat on the head anecdote. Because I don’t believe it.
And I rolled my eyes when she name-checks Karlie Kloss, where she sleeps in her apartment, and all the dresses that she and Lena Dunham wear. We know you are friends with everyone. F-CK OFF. But wait. Can you tell me more?
That’s pretty much this entire article. You cannot turn it off. Not when she and the writer are going through her apartment. The $5 million security apartment across the hall? The rooftop patio? OMG, never end, please never end.
How about when she talks about which girl on Girls she relates to the most…even though NO ONE IN THE WORLD would ever say she’s a Shoshanna?
How about her paranoia about wire-tapping? How about when she gives money to a random fan she meets in the park?
How about her new song called “Style”?
How about the Girl Sh-t?
The angriest song on 1989 is called "Bad Blood," and it's about another female artist Swift declines to name. "For years, I was never sure if we were friends or not," she says. "She would come up to me at awards shows and say something and walk away, and I would think, 'Are we friends, or did she just give me the harshest insult of my life?'" Then last year, the other star crossed a line. "She did something so horrible," Swift says. "I was like, 'Oh, we're just straight-up enemies.' And it wasn't even about a guy! It had to do with business. She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me. And I'm surprisingly non-confrontational – you would not believe how much I hate conflict. So now I have to avoid her. It's awkward, and I don't like it."
(Pressed, Swift admits there might have been a personal element to the conflict. "But I don't think there would be any personal problem if she weren't competitive," she says.)
Katy Perry tweeted this yesterday:
Watch out for the Regina George in sheep's clothing...— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) September 9, 2014
How about her wire-tapping paranoia???
And yet, this interview took place before the big naked photo scandal that broke last week. In hindsight, Taylor Swift seems almost prescient.
How about the story about the sea wall?
“Sorry not sorry.”
Click here to read the full Rolling Stone profile on Taylor Swift.