May
15

Who Is Taylor Swift’s Song “Mean” About?

May 15, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  44 Comments

To say the song “Mean” by Taylor Swift has legs is a the grossest of all understatements.

Tonight the double Grammy Award-winning song will be featured in the series finale of “Glee” on Fox. In 2011, and over the last 18 month period, more people have come to Saving Country Music trying to find out who Taylor Swift’s “Mean” is about than have come here for any other topic, partly because of the outside chance the song is about me, The Triggerman, writer for Saving Country Music, and partly because some are dissatisfied with the answer of Bob Lefsetz, the far and away frontrunner in pop culture for the subject of “Mean”.

Since the song has become an international anti-bullying rallying cry, thousands of students have come here looking to research the song on mandatory school assignments. College students have written theses on the song. It has created its own cultural phenomenon and environment and mythos intermixed with our society’s most intimate struggles with criticism and bullying, as the almost daily stories of suicides and assaults remind us the significance and seriousness of the issue.

Since Saving Country Music’s coverage of the song has been limited to the context of criticism and conjecture, I though I would lay out all the facts about the song once and for all to see if we can discern who “Mean” is about. Please feel free to leave your feelings on how this is a fruitless, egotistical endeavor below, punctuated by your best Carly Simon jokes.

The Two Top Candidates:

Bob Lefsetz:

This music lawyer turned critic/guru is by far the most recognized inspiration for “Mean” by popular culture. Bob was a big proponent of Taylor Swift over the years, specifically for her savvyness with social media, and her ability to connect with her fans, and her willingness to give free songs away to entice new fans and created loyalty throughout her fan base. Bob Lefsetz has been around for many years, and is most famous for publishing The Lefsetz Letter, an industry periodical that talks about the music business and trends. He came into more notable, public prominence for being on the right side of the issue dealing with the digitization of music and MP3′s. For years he warned the industry that digitization was the direction music was going, and the industry’s slow response and subsequent revenue losses made him look like a genius.

In February of 2010, after Taylor Swift famously bombed a performance on The Grammy’s with Steve Nicks, Bob Lefsetz came out against Taylor, saying:

…did Taylor Swift kill her career overnight? I’ll argue she did…In one fell swoop, Taylor Swift consigned herself to the dustbin of teen phenoms.

In many ways, Bob Lefsetz took the point for the post-2010 Grammy criticism of Taylor. When confronted with whether “Mean” was about him, Lefsetz seemed dismissive and not committal when analyzing the lyrics:

Doesn’t sound like me. Then again, didn’t I ultimately lead the charge about her vocal flaws after her Grammy appearance? …Well “Mean” isn’t quite “You’re So Vain” and I’m not quite Warren Beatty, not by a long shot…  And only insiders would know who I am.

The Triggerman of Saving Country Music:

(And yes, admittedly it’s dumb I’m writing this about myself. Get over it.)

The very distant runner up to Bob Lefsetz in the public consciousness, the sole proprietor of Saving Country Music has challenged Taylor Swift very hard over the years, writing many negative reviews about the up and-coming country star for not being country, and not being able to sing. After the CMA Awards in 2009, he declared that country music was dead at the hands of Taylor Swift, and that “She won Female Vocalist of the Year, and she can’t even sing.”

This opinion was backed up after Taylor’s 2010 Grammy performance with Stevie Nicks in an article entitled “I Told You Taylor Swift Can’t Sing”.

In November of 2011, right before the CMA Awards, The Triggerman publicly reversed course on Taylor Swift, saying “We Were Wrong About Taylor Swift” partially from the success of “Mean” and her resiliency for taking criticism:

We were wrong about Taylor Swift. I was wrong about Taylor Swift. We were blinded by our prejudices. When Taylor Swift first came on to the scene, she sang cheesy teenage pop songs, and we chastised her for it, when in truth, she was doing what all the great songwriters did over the years: write what they knew about, what inspired them.

He continues to assert that Taylor Swift is not country and continues to have pitch issues, but recognizes her impact on music, and her role as a positive role model.

What We Know:

The Lyrics:

The lyrics to “Mean” seem to leave one very inconclusive on whom the song might be about. At times it seems to be about me, at other times about Bob Lefsetz, but as Bob Lefsetz points out, the lyrics seem to jump all over the place, to possibly talk about high school bullies or love interests. The same could be said for the “Mean” video (see bottom). In all likelihood, though the song may have a singular inspiration, it was written to touch on the bullying and criticism issue in general, and like many songs, may have lyrics written to flow with the pentameter and rhyming of the song instead of to be hints to its target.

READ THE COMPLETE LYRICS TO “MEAN”

Interviews:

The two most in-depth interviews with Taylor about the song dispel many of the rumors and urban myths that “Mean” is about a high school bully, a friend or family member, or some other close associate of Taylor’s, or Kanye West who famously interrupted her MTV Awards speech. In the EPK preview for the song, she clearly lays out that it is about a critic, and specifically a male critic, and specifically one that “crossed the line over and over again.”

…there is a line that you cross when you start to attack everything about a person. And there’s one guy man, who just crossed the line over and over again, and just being mean, and just saying things that would ruin my day.

In an interview with Jay Leno in January, she re-iterated these points, and went on further to make the very important point that she came in contact with this critic through “Google Alerts.”

A lot of people think that I wrote it about being bullied in high school, and when the song went out in the world it kind of became that. But I actually wrote the song about a critic that kept giving me really bad reviews…And then there’s like the scathing review, that’s kind of past constructive criticism and is more into “I hate you” territory.

…and I don’t read any of my Google alerts any more.

For those that may not know, Google Alerts emails users when a certain list of keywords comes up on the internet. For example, many artists and their publicists will tag their names in Google Alerts to monitor for new reviews and news. Taylor is notorious for being a tech savvy, socially engaged artist.

From its inception, Saving Country Music has been dedicated, if not obsessed with optimizing its Google exposure as a way to find new readers. We don’t know for sure if the negative reviews Saving Country Music was publishing were the ones crossing the line “over and over again”, but make no mistake, if Taylor had Google Alerts activated, SCM’s Taylor Swift articles would have shown up prominently in her inbox. And up to this date, no other critic has been found that consistently criticized Taylor enough to be characterized as “over and over”, or one that behaved in a manner to be characterized as “crossing the line” consistently.

The information in these interviews seems to significantly discredit Bob Lefsetz as the inspiration for “Mean”. First, Bob did not criticize Taylor Swift over and over. He only criticized her heavily once after the 2010 Grammy’s and in subsequent follow up, and then it is questionable to characterized that he “crossed the line” at any point. Also, since Bob Lefsetz lets his thoughts be known through an email mailing list (though now there is a WordPress outlet as well), and since Taylor and Bob did have somewhat of a professional relationship beforehand, it is very difficult to see how Taylor would be alerted to Bob’s criticism through Google Alerts.

“I Thought You Got Me”

Supposedly most or all of Taylor Swift’s songs are about somebody, and in the liner notes of her album Speak Now she highlighted certain letters in the song lyrics to gives clues about who her songs were about. The hint for “Mean” spells out “I Thought You Got Me.” This, along with the line “with your switching sides” from the song itself seem to point squarely at Bob Lefsetz as the “Mean” muse with little or now wiggle room, and contrary to the information Taylor has conveyed in interviews.

Since Bob Lefsetz had been a big proponent of Taylor Swift for years and then switched to a harsh critic after the Grammy debacle, only he is in the unique position to “switch sides.” The “switch sides” lyric could be explained away as simply word play to put together a rhyming lyric, but “I thought you got me” is pretty definitive.

“But the cycle ends right now.”

When Taylor Swift bombed her vocal performances on the 2010 Grammys, I wrote the article“I Told You Taylor Swift Can’t Sing”. If any one SCM article inspired “Mean”, it was this one, but instead of just being outright mean, the intention of the article was to humanize Taylor and offer sympathy. The article was about what I characterized as the “vicious pop cycle,” where average talents are built up by the pop industry, only to be torn down:

People across the board are now tearing down Taylor because she can’t sing, but this is the same public that made her the biggest artist in country this year, and now in ALL of music with her “Album of the Year” Grammy win. This is the vicious pop cycle, and sorry, but FUCK YOU, I won’t participate.

…the mass public overly glorifies an otherwise average talent to make themselves feel “inspired,” and then when the fall starts for their starlet, it is meteoric, and fueled by the jealous, narcissistic hunger of the pop public, tearing that person down with all their spite, sinking their nails into their flesh and feeding like animals off their destruction to fill their vacuous egos. It is a sick, pathetic, and all too predictable cycle that I will not participate in.

Well the pop cycle has started, and soon the words “Taylor Swift” will be a punch line to jokes, uttered by those same “fans,” while Taylor the person is onset with personal demons.

The line in “Mean” that goes “But the cycle ends right now” sticks out in the thematic pentameter of the song, and seems to fit more as an answer to my post-Grammy article.

About Both Bob Lefsetz and The Triggerman?

In the end, both Bob Lefsetz and I were wrong about Taylor Swift. Bob opined that Taylor Swift’s career was over after the 2010 Grammy’s, and after reading Bob Lefsetz’s prognosis, I concurred. Since then Taylor has gone to become one of the biggest things in music in the last decade.

As for “Mean”, in my heart of hearts, after stepping back and looking at all the evidence, I truly believe it is about both Bob Lefsetz and I. That is the only way the conflicting evidence can be resolved. It is Bob’s “switching sides” and my “crossing the line over and over again” that combined to inspire the song.

Of course, since Carly Simon once wrote a song about how thinking a song was written about you is being vain, (whether doing this is truly vain or not, especially if it is true), it is always a difficult slope to walk when trying to convince yourself or others that a song is or is not about you. I will admit, there is a little egotistical part of me that is somewhat proud that something I did potentially went to inspire a song that has made a massive cultural impact and won two Grammys.

However that is countered in great measure by the realization that if it is true, I am a de-facto poster boy for the modern American bully, am blamed by proxy whenever bully incidents and suicides get brought up in the news, am a cultural pariah for being an antagonistic asshole, and the asshole millions of little girls envision when they sing “Mean”into their shampoo bottles in front of their full-length mirrors in the morning. These are things no right-minded person who be proud of or willing to embrace.

It is especially unnerving since I feel my take on Taylor Swift was completely mischaracterized. I never called Taylor Swift a “bitch”, I never crossed a line of calling her out on a personal level, though admittedly, everybody’s lines are in a different place. And specific to my post 2010 Grammy blog, I was invoking the very first principle of Saving Country Music, “People First, Then Music,” in an honest concern for Taylor Swift as a person, anticipating a downward cycle that never occurred.

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This all speaks to the greater dialogue in society about bullies. Laws are being passed, schools are being put on lock down, children are killing themselves and each other because of the perceived actions of bullies in modern culture. However the lesson from Taylor Swift’s “Mean” is how criticism, pain, bullying, bad days and bad feelings can be the inspiration for some of mankind’s greatest achievements. Criticism and bulling can motivate us, and make us better people. It may not be the bullying that is causing the problems, but how we are willing for that bullying to be perceived. Can anyone truly say a world without bullying would be a better place?

If you are being criticized or bullied, take that criticism and learn from it, be inspired from it and make something good out of it. That is the lesson of Taylor Swift’s “Mean”, regardless of whom it is about.

44 Comments to “Who Is Taylor Swift’s Song “Mean” About?”

  • Too long, didn’t read. But I did notice at the end you said “if you are being criticism”. I thought it was cute.

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  • Damn dude. You really broke that stuff down. How much time do you have on your hands? Hahahaha! Good learning lesson at the end. Hopefully outside readers can take something from that.

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  • who cares

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  • Obviously you care or you wouldn’t have clicked on an article entitled “Who Is Taylor Swift’s Song “Mean” About?”

    I do appreciate you spelling it out for us.. Although I think in truth if you didn’t think the song was about you, you wouldn’t have written it in the first place.

    It was nice to see that you can admit when you are wrong. When Taylor Swifts Tim McGraw song first came out I thought it was ok, but I definitely thought it was just another one hit wonder. I was wrong. And yeah, she definitely can’t sign like Martina McBride, but what she can do is write amazing anthems. That can’t be underestimated in the world of country music right now.. Just saying

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  • Who gives a shit? Really who…?

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    • I do. And this is my website, and that’s all that really matters.

      I love how your first time to ever comment on the site is to bitch. Who wants to read this? Everybody does. I work my ass of every day, spending on average 4-5 hours each on some of the most in-depth album reviews you will find on the web, to post them and have maybe 100-150 people read them the first day. And then I belch something like this out in a couple of hours and it gets 3000 hits in two hours. And I didn’t even promote this on Twitter or Facebook. At all. I’m not shoving it down anyone’s throat. I thought it was an interesting topic to an important dialogue in our culture at the moment, and since I happen to be accused as an intimate part of it, I felt the need to comment.

      If you don’t want to read it, DON’T READ IT! There’s some great articles about Roger Wallace, The Alabama Shakes, Justin Townes Earle, all kinds of stuff to read here. I posted a review earlier today I put a lot of heart into about the Turnpike Troubadours new album. Did you feel inclined to comment on that one? I’m doing the best I can to serve as many people as possible. But like a mother bird with one small worm and a dozen mouths to feed, I’m never going to be able to please everyone.

      Trust me, I won’t be offended if you don’t read this. But don’t ask who gives a shit because EVERYONE gives a shit, this is ALL they give a shit about. This, rumors, lies, infighting, gossip, Shooter and I fighting back and forth, bullshit, that’s what draws the crowd, and that is what motivated you to comment on the site for the first time.

      Everybody says they want substance, but they’re lying, they want drama. What I tried to do here was take drama and draw some substance and learning from it.

      If it’s not your or anyone elses speed, I apologize. Hopefully my next article will be something you find more interesting.

      Thanks for reading.

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  • I’m handing this one to you Trig, I totally reckon it’s about you! I suppose the biggest surprise (probably to you and all of us) is in light of recent events you have actually become quite the Swift cheerleader, and I mean that in a good and respectful way ;)

    I’m with you. Even though her music will never be …. erm, music to our ears, I think quite a few of us here really have no beef with her. Her music is played on Top 40 pop stations (which none of us listen to anyway) but it seems like she is a genuinely nice, wholesome girl and probably a very good role model for her target demo – being young girls.

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  • If Taylor Swift can’t take the bad with the good, she’s in the wrong business.

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    • You hit the nail on the head. All artists get negative reviews. Most take them in stride and use it a learning experience and move on.
      Toby Keith wrote a song called “The Critic” a few years back. but that’s a whole other ball of wax. I don’t think she wrote it about one person but all of her critics.

      Heck Trig maybe she did mean you (no pun intended)

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  • When I look at the number of talentless douchebags that make money off nothing but stupidity and trash (I’m looking at you Kim Kardashian), I grow to tolerate Taylor Swift more and more. While I find her voice about as strong as dental floss, she’s writing songs that appeal to her fan base, which just happens to be young girls. Having had a child of my own recently, I realized that the world could use more Taylor Swift’s and less of the classless, tactless morons that are force-fed down the gullets of the public.

    Trig – I’ve never commented on here before, but have read bunches of your articles, and I have to commend you for always coming up with compelling reads. I love music (even a lot of the shit that you hate), but I appreciate opinions of the contrary and have opened my eyes to new bands thanks to you and others. Keep up the good work, bud.

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  • I’m torn re: Ms. Swift. Part of me hates her music, but part of me accepts that she is making something and trying to do something with her life (more than most people). Its so easy to criticize somebody else, much harder to make something. I think the internet has fueled this desire to tear people down and hide behind an IP Address, rather than just ignoring it if you don’t like it. But then again, her music does suck, so …

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  • I don’t listen to her music and do my best to stay well away from where the current state of FM country is at , but I read the article out of curiosity and feel no worse for having done so:)
    Keep up the good work

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  • the last two sentences are very true. nicely put. who’s the song about? carly simon and warren beatty.

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  • Small correction: The secret message was actually “I thought you GOT me.”

    I’m the opposite of everyone else because I like her music, but it’s the things she does in her personal life that sometimes bother me. I understand why people feel she’s a good role model; I just don’t agree with everything she does.

    I doubt she’ll ever say who it’s about, and I’m not sure it matters (though it clearly matters to you more than it does to me, since you’re involved). The song is about more than the person who inspired it. It’s taken on a life of its own.

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    • I have been in a horrible, horrible streak of typos and missteps in my writing. These things seem to come in waves. I’ll go months without a miscue, and then I can’t get out of my own way like now, even though I devote twice the time to editing when I know I’m in one of these funks. I appreciate everyone fighting through it.

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  • I’d love to read a real interview of Taylor by Triggerman. Not based on attack of who she is as a person or artist, but an interview trying to understand her as those two important inclusive-yet-separate entities. I’ve been a longtime follower and fan of Taylors, and don’t always agree with everything Triggerman writes about her, but am interested to read his perspective and reaction to her anyway. It’s good to try to understand those who are different than us; that’s not saying we need to always accept, approve or promote them, but understanding is always good.

    Triggerman, you should try to get in touch with her people and get an interview. I’m sure you could think of some great questions, if only she could dump her agents and assistants long enough to go 100% 1-on-1 and really open up. I don’t think the public and the fans have really seen the real Taylor for a couple years, ever since she got so big in the industry.

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    • I’d be up for it, but the list of folks who can land a Taylor Swift interview these days is pretty short. You never know though.

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      • Trig, you should try to email her. Would love to hear the interview with her. Not impossible to be honest, since she answered a blogger out of the blue before she started touring the US last year. – http://www.theuselesscritic.com/2011/04/q-and-taylor-swift.html

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        • haha this is the random blogger she’s a sweetie (lifelong fan now)

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      • yes, and if you do land that interview, please ask her why a song, in which she writes about her first hand knowledge of this socially unavoidable topic, and its negative effect on the reciever, she would incorporate such lyrics through a rebutal as:
        “All you are is mean
        And a liar
        And pathetic
        And alone in life
        And mean (x4)”
        …sounds mean to me!!?
        Hopefully you could end the interview with something to the effect of..
        Ms. Swift, why do YOU have to be so mean??
        I think that after reading this article, all the comments thus far, and finally listening to the song in its entirety w/o changing the channel- this would be one of the most most seemingly ironic and obvious points about this whole topic.
        And more in general terms, that a large majority of people are identifying with these hypocryitcal (taylor swift-”mean”), pop/rap infaltrating (“shake it for me”, “dirt road”), zero heart/thought/soul/pride&just to make big bucks (“feel like a rock star”, “red solo cup”)… its such a scary world the good country music fans are living in (traditional, red dirt, americana, texas country, etc.)… ” i weep for the future”- ferris bueller”s day off…
        Nashville, and really the mega machine of mainstream fans, are interbreeding a lazy, inconsiderate, trendy loving race of humans.
        Hopefully everyone has thier doomsday bunkers stocked when “Swift for Congress”, “Keith for Senate”, “B.Gilbert for Mayor”, or… well you get the point.. i hope!
        Triggerman, whether its you or it’s Lefsetz, one things for sure. Taylor’s making the big bucks either way… it’s unbelievable, we are all disoriented that thats the way the world works (i.e football, basketball, baseball, and david beckham making multi million dollars / good teachers scrape on 30K yr. most times). But i think its pretty cool that your able to link a chain- that someone like yourself could’ve personally affected a mega star such as swift (as i’m sure you do too!) to write a hypocritical song like “mean”. Kinda like me thinking i spit out some gum that brad pitt stepped on 10 minutes later!
        If it means anything, as a loyal reader, i wouldn’t dislike you if we all found out she did write it because of you; and you were responsible for her making even more money & fame than she already had! Your effect on the people who actually give a crap and listen to what we think is great music that deserves recognition & timelessness, commend you!!

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  • When I was a kid, I liked the Monkees. They opened the world of modern pop/rock music to my little kid ears that were too young for a lot of the heavier stuff. My music tastes matured and expanded, but the introduction to all that wonderful new music came from four guys hired by TV execs to pretend to be the American Beatles.

    If our daughters aspire to be like TS, or are inspired to take up music/poetry because of being her fan, I can live with that. Better to emulate her than a lot of garbage out there. It’s an introduction to country music on their level that my lead them to explore and discover the really good stuff later.

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  • I actually enjoy Taylor Swifts albums. For the music that she performs she is one of the best at it. Very few artists in any genre write songs with more heart in them than her. Trig, I havent done any search on it, but I cant imagine that you are the only person to write a blog that constantly blasts her when an album or song or performance came out. Surely there must be more who would pop up on her google list as well. Perhaps it is a third person who went constantly over the line personally attacking her. Perhaps it is you, but I dont think we will ever know the answer. Keep up the good work, always enjoy reading your site.

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    • I don’t think we’ll ever know the answer until it somehow behooves Taylor to tell. Right now it behooves her to not tell because it can only help the intrigue and interest into the song.

      I do think there are other possibilities out there, but just as Taylor Swift had signed up her name for Google alerts, so had I. At one point I believe in 2009, right before the CMA’s when I first declared she couldn’t sing, I apologized to my readers for not taking the force that was Taylor Swift serious enough. That’s when I began to follow her more intimately. I’ll take artists on and off Google alerts to try and stay in touch with news. She was only the second artist I did this for after Hank III. Most of the other criticism I saw for Taylor was mostly one-off articles, and for a while, for almost two years, SCM would come up first if anyone went to Google and typed in “Taylor Swift Can’t Sing” or “Taylor Swift Is Not Country” and it still comes up near the top, though now Google customizes searches so it is much harder to tell what other people are seeing.

      When I first wondered aloud who the song was about, (http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/is-taylor-swifts-song-mean-about-me) the other real possibility I thought was they guy that started taylorswiftcantsing.com. The problem with that site is he mostly just reposted negative Taylor Swift articles other people wrote, and I’m not sure if the site ever got big enough that it would have triggered Google alerts, or if Taylor would read them anyway from a site like that. Not every blog is big enough, or optimized to work with Google alerts. The Google alerts quotient I think is very insightful.

      The only other article I’ve ever seen that would rise to the possibly of inspiring the song came out after it was already released, and again was only a one-time article on Deadspin. But he definitely crossed the line, way farther than I ever did. I find it pretty offensive, but I must say, it’s very well written.

      http://deadspin.com/5701312/the-haters-guide-to-taylor-swift

      Without question, it could be someone else, or it could be Bob Lefsetz only.

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      • I just noticed too that when you go to taylorswiftcantsing.com now, it redirects to Taylor Swift’s website. It hadn’t been updated in years. My guess is the dude let it expire.

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  • There is a facebook page called
    Taylor Swift can’t sing. I applauded the guy for having the balls to create a page that will have the wrath of her fan base.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Taylor-Swift-Cant-Sing/287236826503

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  • I love the article Triggerman. Hilarouis. I do somewhat respect Taylor Swift for atleast attempting to be somewhat wholesome role model for little girls to aspire too. Not like their drugged up whore ex beauty queen Miley Cyrus leading all our daughters to next decade to total whoredom.

    I think the problem is when grown adults confuse kiddy buble gum music to legitimate music.Thats why I like it when you come in and tell everyone how it is.

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  • ….and all this time I thought it was about Kanye West…………

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  • Taylor-related: In an interview for W magazine, Miranda Lambert called Taylor Swift a pop singer, but credits her for getting people’s attention to country music. Agree? Disagree?

    http://www.wmagazine.com/celebrities/2012/06/miranda-lambert-country-singer?currentPage=1

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    • classic backhanded compliment

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    • Backhanded compliment, and I’m not sure what effect Taylor Swift has had on country music yet. It may be years before we know.

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      • When her first song came out “Tim Mcgraw” I thought it was just a novelty song and she’d be gone. I sure didn’t think she would become a pop icon.

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    • After hearing Carrie Underwood’s new song on the radio, and songs from some of the other mainstream country artists…I wonder why Miranda singled out Taylor? It seems to me CU and Lady A. and a few others are every bit as pop as Taylor. It seems a bit odd Miranda sort of throwing out this knife (to use a line from “Mean”) especially after Blake’s heavy-handed and pointed jokes directed at Taylor at the ACM’s. Is it jealousy by these other big lights in the music industry or what, that provokes these sorts of crude, back-handed compliments and jabs.

      As for the person suggesting Trig ask Taylor about the chorus lines in the song..I read a very intelligent break-down of the song somewhere not long after it came out. It analyzed the meaning of the word “mean” and was one of the most thought-provoking review’s I’d read about any song lately. I wish I could find it, if I do I’ll come back and link it.

      Also Triggerman, I know you’ve given some praise to the CM Hall of Fame in the past. What do you think of Taylor’s association and donations to it; the recent 4 million one and her performances in the past which raised money for the Hall? And did you ever watch the acoustic “All for the Hall” show which was comprised of Taylor, Vince Gill, Kris K. and Emmylou harris? (trying to forget Lionel Ritchie was there too) I know both Vince Gill and Kris K. have spoken very highly of Taylor in the past, which of course is their own words and opinion, but it’s interesting to me what they say, because of their own history in music.

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      • Her singling out Taylor is what baffles me, that and that she deemed it necessary to mention Taylor is a pop singer. So many artists delve into pop country now, you mention Underwood and Lady Antebellum among those. aIf all Miranda wanted was to commend her for bringing interest into country music she did not have to utter the pop part. Backhanded compliment, you guys are right.

        Miranda makes good music I do not question that. But lately I’m not enamored with her argumentative ways. She complained through twitter the Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj Grammy performances, started that whole Ashton Kutcher thing, and of course that Eric Church and his Rolling Stone interview thing. And this baffling little comment on Taylor. Are all these to project that she’s one tough chick?

        I find myself comparing her to Taylor’s way of facing intrigues. I’m not yet sold on her as a singer, vocals not what I like my favorite artists to have lol, but that young lady sure has composure and dignity in facing criticisms about her.

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      • I’d appreciate that Sinn!! I do know that you shouldn’t send the message, that running people down, being a harsh critic, or name calling is “mean”; while simultaneously regurgitating the same retoric that you claim is so offensive and cruel…
        I feel like its not that bad of a song (i say that with a mini grimmace and a chill), with a valid message for impressionable minds- until she interjects her hypocracy!
        I must agree with anyone who has commented on taylors attributes as a positive role model in and outside of her music as well. Cant say you’d be able to track down any photos of a cooter shot of her stepping out of a bently, or a doctors note coupled with a court date that she went on a cocaine induced, cop chasing, pedestrian bumping bender either! which is more than you can say about most quasi famous 22 year old with as much money as she has. We should all commend her on the “other” important things in the end. at least she has class in this department.

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  • Trig, your posts on Taylor Swift are terrific. It’s fun to be able to follow your evolution on her and your ongoing respect for the person if not the music. I’m a recent convert to TS, drawn initially by the music and then by the apparently genuine and quite interesting journey that she’s taken. No question she’s talented and has managed to find a very appealing combination of story telling, catchy hooks and a compelling backstory. It all looks very manufactured (did someone mention the Monkees?), but it’s not, which forms part of my fascination in this day and age. Taylor’s story gives one some hope for the music industry.

    There are so many talented people around who deserve much more recognition than they’re getting. One who sings and writes rings around TS is Sahara Smith from Austin. Check out her album Myth of the Heart (no, I am not affiliated in any way). It was another T-Bone Burnett production, and they screwed up with distortion in the kick on most systems, but Sahara’s voice is spectacular and she writes poetry.

    I’m looking forward to watching Taylor’s growth. She’s only 22! Your column of advice to her was spot-on: find your roots, and lead your fans there. One intriguing possibility has been raised: TS may play Joni Mitchell in an upcoming movie treatment of Mitchell, Carole King and Carly Simon. Bringing Taylor’s fans to Joni’s music (I’m a huge fan) would be a start to her next couple of decades of leading the industry to better places. I’m less sure about the hip/hop flirtation. But she’s got the ability to lead; hope she uses her power for good.

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  • I’m not a Taylor Swift fan, but I dated a girl who was.

    I’ve leveled several of the same criticisms at her over the years as Triggerman, but the one thing I’ve never been able to say anything bad about is her songwriting, the girl can write some amazing songs that hit right at their targets, be they her audience, her critics, her friends, or her enemies.

    Are they country?

    Not always, in fact, not often.

    Is her voice as talented as her songwriting ability?

    Definitely not, there are far worse singers out there who are also successful though.

    I hadn’t heard anything she’s released in over a year though, and suddenly found this article on this song, and listened to the song…

    Either her voice is getting better as she ages (and she wouldn’t be the first, listen to early Waylon and later Waylon for an example, Tanya Tucker is another), or the studio technicians are getting better at making up for her shortcomings, I’d love to know which, as I actually (DON’T SHOOT!) liked this song, the first of hers I’ve EVER liked.

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  • I’m still confused why she would wait until “someday” to live in a big old city. Isn’t she rich? Couldn’t she live in a big old city like…Today if she wanted?

    I liked the song, I like that it speaks to/for other people. The only thing I criticize is that it was written about herself/her own experiences and she’s still dreaming of moving to a big city. Um, you’re rich, honey. If you wanted to, you could probably move your whole house from one city to another within 24-48 hrs. Money is a powerful motivator. Unsure why you would opt to keep dreaming of “someday” when that someday could have very easily been done yesterday and changed to “Today, I am, living in a big old city, and all you’re ever gonna’ be is mean.”

    Also…what does living in a big old city have to do with anything? You can be just as alone surrounded by a million people as you can out in no man’s land. There is no better revenge than living well. Why not gather up and collect friends?

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  • I like your blog! I read a few comments about how Taylor’s target demo is young girls. I happen to like both her pop and country songs. I think any age can relate to her songs and to the songs subjects. I am 53 years old, but I have been there and done that and then some! I think she’s here to stay! Just saying!

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  • Actually, I really liked this article. I honestly went into it, thinking, “oh great. Another critic that hates virtually everything, attacks the person instead of the music, and only likes the ‘older stuff’.” But, you totally proved me wrong! And I loved it. Just simply saying, “hey, I was wrong about something…” is pretty awesome dude.

    Personally, music is fucking music. Music should be categorized in order for efficiency, like when browsing a music station that advertises the type of music you want to listen to (say country). However, artists should never be criticized by the genre of music they are in and to stay true to it; true artists make music to make music… not to just sound within the context of a genre. Most albums from most artists have songs that sound like they belong in different categories.

    When someone says to me, “Dixie Chicks (or Taylor Swift) aren’t *real* country though,” What does that even mean, and why does anyone care? Who defines these categories? “Oh, well, Taylor doesn’t use twang vocals enough in her lyrics, and she doesn’t sing about God and her dog dying, so she’s not country.” Ok… even if she isn’t “country”, that changes nothing. Her songs still sound the same way before and after she is categorized. The only thing this does, is mark the person making the criticism.

    Every generation criticizes the generation after it, and claims “where did good music go.” I’m sure our parents parents would say “nothing today is real country,” and so on and so on till there was no music to categorize.

    Lastly, I don’t think Taylor Swift of the Dixie Chicks or whomever would give a rats ass if they are defined as country or not, if they are “real country” or not. They make music to make music… not to appease the ones who must categorize them.

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  • Ok first of all why in her song would she say cause all your going to be mean and a lier and pethetik and lonley lived and mean about a person in a song i know she rights alot of songs about boys but REALLY!!!!!! (:” and she would have a bunch of many mean conmmets on her viedo!!!!!!!!!!! AND I LOVE TAYLOR SWIFT AND I LIKE TAYLOR LAUTNER AS A ACTOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so leave it alone

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  • Why is it that those who quickest to commit their lives to tearing down other’s achievements are always the ones who never put to bricks together to build anything artistic themselves. Evidently their life goal and crowning achievement is to create a pile of rubble of someone else’s actual creative works. I guess its true. Those who can do, those who can’t trash those who do. Sad

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  • Taylor Swift writes her own music. And that’s one thing that is very rare now with music so everyone should commend her on that even if you don’t like the way it sounds.

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  • People are too jealous of the great talent of Taylor Swift.

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