Nashville’s and country music’s most influential record label is reportedly getting ready to be put up for sale according to a new report, and Taylor Swift’s 1989 album release and pending contract situation could have a big impact on it. Despite being a big label with many famous artist and significant subsidiaries, the Big Machine Label Group remains independently owned, operating through distribution deals.
Welp, that’s that. Gauging from the comments made in Rolling Stone’s current country music special edition by the CEO of Big Machine Records aka the Country Music Antichrist Scott Borchetta, we can now put a period at the end of Taylor Swift’s pop country career. Finito. Done. End of story. Taylor Swift’s country run is in the books, and she’s now a pop star exclusively.
The objective of the joint venture is “to allow the two companies to co-publish songwriters with the goal of bringing country and pop writers into each other’s realm.” In other words, the deal will likely mean even more pop on country radio, as pop songwriters and producers collaborate more intimately with Big Machine’s growing roster of country talent.
For years as a reactionary Taylor Swift hater, one of the main arguments that was made against my stance was that Taylor Swift was a good role model. My rebuttal was that being a role model was not a sonic element, so it could in no way refract the fact that Taylor Swift wasn’t country, and couldn’t sing. Is it too much to ask that our role models at least be able to fulfill their roles to even some average level of competency?
The first thing that needs to be pointed out is Red is not country. Red is really the tale of two albums: A gorgeous evocation of human emotions set to enchanting music and delivered in elevated modes, and awful pop shit that leaves you almost embarrassed for Taylor from the sheer obviousness of the ploy. To Taylor’s credit, it is the good stuff that makes up the majority of this album.
So here are some specific thoughts on the songs of Taylor Swift’s album Red. This is meant to be an addendum to the more broad album review posted, so please read that first or in addition to this for the context of these reviews. As a general thought on the songs overall, I thought there were too many of them. If you are going to release an album of 16 tracks, they need to be solid. Instead, Red has some fat.
22, All Too Well, Begin Again, Everything Has Changed, Gary Lightbody, Holy Ground, I Almost Do, I Knew You Were Trouble, Jason Aldean, Max Martin, Red, Sad Beautiful Tragic, Shellback, Snow Patrol, song review, Starlight, State of Grace, Stay Stay Stay, Taylor Swift, The Last Time, The Lucky One, Tim McGraw, Treacherous, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
When Billboard announced new rules on how the songs on their “Hot 100” country chart would be tabulated, it caused a tizzy amongst folks who pay attention to these sorts of things. But the average Joe fans out there may have a little trouble understanding why the issue is something they should care about, and how it could negatively effect the music they enjoy.
Alan Jackson, Babel, Big Machine Records, Billboard, Brantley Gilbert, Charts, Country Charts, Eli Young Band, George Strait, Jason Aldean, Justin Moore, Kanye West, Mumford and Sons, new rules, Red, Rihanna, Scott Borchetta, Taylor Swift, Toby Keith, Will Hoge
I’m not sure how I came to this point in my writing career, but if I don’t post a review of a new Taylor Swift single post-haste, a clamor arises. Maybe it is because whether I am giving her credit for the death of country music or proclaiming she’s the last bastion of real music in popular culture, Taylor Swift is accountable for my most inspired writing. I’m still not sure how I feel about that.
The hints of what Taylor Swift had in store for her new album were subtle, but seemed to be leaning towards a maturing of her music. She talked openly about how her next album would be a “darker” album. And then she premiered the first single from the album “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and even the most devout Taylor Swift apologists were reminded very starkly that Taylor Swift is just a pop star.