Taylor Swift announced this weekend that New Romantics will be the next single off 1989. I’ve written several times about New Romantics. It’s a really good song. Taylor, however, as we all know, has already won Album of the Year for 1989 which, as we also all know, was what she wanted all along. If she’s continuing to release new singles then, I wonder if she’s aiming for a new benchmark, like charting the most songs from one album, or something. And therefore another accomplishment to add to an already long list. This will hold her over until the next album, that will, presumably, challenge Adele’s sales record. Competition is a good thing.
In addition to confirming New Romantics, Taylor was at her best friend Britany Maack’s wedding as bridesmaid.
And, oh yeah, she donated $250,000 to Kesha with her publicist explaining that, “In a show of support, Taylor Swift has donated $250,000 to Kesha to help with any of her financial needs during this trying time”.
Kesha is suing Dr Luke for sexual assault and battery. He’s countersuing and Sony is refusing to release her from her contract during litigation so she hasn’t been able to release any new music. This, you can imagine, is devastating for her career. Many artists have been vocal in their support of Kesha – from Kelly Clarkson, to Lady Gaga, to Lorde, and Demi Lovato, who spent Saturday night tweeting her frustration about Kesha’s situation. Here are a few of her messages:
Someone tell me why anyone would ever feel brave enough to come forward if they are most likely to be ignored or called a liar?— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) February 21, 2016
I'm also ready for self-proclaimed feminists to start speaking out or taking action for women's rights.— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) February 21, 2016
Women empowerment is taking action now, not when it's convenient.— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) February 21, 2016
There’s more, but you get the idea. And right away, people were wondering whether or not Demi was subtweeting Taylor Swift. Then, just hours later, Taylor writes a cheque for a quarter of a million dollars. And Demi is back on Twitter, with this:
Take something to Capitol Hill or actually speak out about something and then I'll be impressed.— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) February 22, 2016
Taylor’s fans immediately started pissing on Demi on social media. Demi responded to them:
Demi addressing the backlash. She has a point. 👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/ZIM1fD15O3— Shady Music Facts (@musicnews_shade) February 22, 2016
She went on to write that:
"There's no 'rivalry. I just give more f-cks than other people and would rather start a dialogue ABOUT WOMEN COMING FORWARD ABOUT BEING RAPED than throw money at one person.”
And also this clarification:
"Didn't shade Taylor. If you take it that way than fine. I'm just tired of seeing women use 'women empowerment' and 'feminism' to further brands without actually being the ones that have the uncomfortable conversations. I get shade and I don't give a f-ck because someone has to be the one to take it. At least I'm getting my hands dirty.”
She’s totally shading Taylor though, right? But does she have a point? I don’t think that anyone can say that Taylor Swift doesn’t mean well, because she does. That’s a lot of money. Her generosity is, no doubt, well-intended. At the same time, her generosity, given her profile, has now become the story. She may not have intended it to unfold exactly the way it’s unfolded but her critics – Demi Lovato – are implying that the gift makes her look really, really good. And, therefore, by a certain interpretation, kinda self-serving. This is what Demi is getting at here. It’s like Rose Byrne in Bridesmaids. There’s always that girl who will come to the party while the rest of you bring a bottle of wine she’ll throw down a trip to France to drink champagne straight from the vineyards. Sure, she wants everyone to have a good time but, in the process, she makes everyone else feel like they’re inadequate. And she, whether on purpose or inadvertently, becomes the centre of attention. But also unimpeachable. You can’t criticise that girl. The minute you do, you become the dick. Demi Lovato has now assumed that title.
Kesha needs money in order to keep fighting. Taylor’s gesture then, of course, is practical and it’s obviously appreciated by Kesha’s family. But we’ve also, previously, seen in motion the power of Taylor’s words. Last year she wrote a letter to Apple that eventually resulted in a revision of their music policy. At the time, she was advocating on behalf of other artists who didn’t have her profile. And she was uncompromising in her language about why she was choosing to make it an issue. In this case, Taylor chose to speak through her money instead of with her voice. This, presumably, is why she didn’t make her contribution anonymous.
Attached - Taylor Swift out for dinner with Lena Dunham last night in New York.