Taylor Swift Courts Radio w/ “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”
On Monday (8-12), Taylor Swift had a live press conference via the miracle of YouTube and Google+ where she announced she will be releasing her new album entitled Red on October 22nd, and that it would include a whopping 16 songs. Flanked by glitterfaced girls who made the trek to Nashville from all different parts of the country, the only thing that would have made a mid-30’s male music journalist feel more like a pedophile peering into this press conference was if a pillow fight had broken out.
Whether we like it or not, and no matter how much some people may or may not care, Taylor Swift is the biggest name in country music right now, and how her music goes, so can go the entire genre. 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 it would be a “darker” album. And then she collaborated with The Civil Wars and played a show with James Taylor, and it seemed as if Taylor’s winsome style might disappear like the curls that marked her teenage years.
Maybe Taylor would even do something bold, attempt to lead sonically or set the trends instead of trying to reside safely within them. After all, she does write her own material, produce her own records, can actually play instruments, and is such a great role model for youth. Even the starkness and depth of the “Red” title, and how she talked to her fans in the press conference about how she was happy that words and songwriting were important to them, and just the sheer number of songs the album included set us up for feeling like we were on the verge of something audacious.
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.
“We Are Never Getting Back Together” is as saccharine as any Taylor Swift selection, and rivals any of her songs for being the most pop. From an artist that has shied away from voice enhancements and digital treatments, there’s something automated going on here, though I’m not confident enough to level the charge of Auto-tune. “We Are Never…” is ultra-catchy, I mean I was humming this dumb thing hours after Taylor’s fluffy presser had gone off air; so catchy that any type of redeeming creative content in the song is rendered benign. But again, any expectations lumped on her first new single were probably going to be disappointed unless your goal was to procure new material to lip-sync to with your shampoo bottle in front of a full-length mirror.
And to be fair, this is just one song. There’s 15 more coming, and some bonus tracks. In fact I wonder why Taylor didn’t just release a few more and bump Red up to a full-blown double album. And this leads me to the train of thought I was on about Taylor before her press conference: that she is starving for radio play.
As successful as Taylor Swift and her last album Speak Now have been, the radio play from the album was downright anemic. In fact before the release of “We Are Never…” the Swift material you were likely to hear randomly while at the grocery store or in a friends car was from her first two albums, not Speak Now. Her harshest critics will never admit this, but Speak Now was very mature for a pop album, and for Taylor Swift. The songs were just too long for radio play. There wasn’t a song on Speak Now that clocked under 3 1/2 minutes, 11 of the 14 songs clocked in at or over 4 minutes, 5 of them clocked in at over 5 minutes, and two at over 6 minutes. That’s unheard of in pop/radio play music.
Even though Taylor is/was unarguably the hottest thing in country, none of the first four singles from Speak Now made it to #1, including the notorious “Mean” which won two Grammy’s. It was only the 5th single “Sparks Fly” that hit #1, and only briefly. And for the last few months, country radio has been free of any Swift singles. Compare this to Swift’s closest commercial rival, Jason Aldean, whose My Kinda Party album had 3 #1 singles, and two songs top out at #2, and Aldean immediately began releasing singles from the new album after the old one was singled out. That’s what you can do when nearly every song is under 4 minutes.
So am I surprised when Taylor’s lead single is the most radio-friendly 3-minute pop-eriffic thing she’s done since her second album Fearless? Not at all. I’m also not surprised that Taylor went back to using co-writers as opposed to writing all the material herself like she did with Speak Now. Taylor needed a hit single to keep her music queen status fresh. I do think that Taylor wants to be regarded as creative, authentic, and autonomous. But she also wants to be successful, and that is why “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” won out as the lead single.
As for what Taylor’s Red album will eventually reveal itself as, we’ll have to wait and see, but I wouldn’t be surprised if “We Are Never…” is the album’s most vapid offering, or that it becomes a #1.
1 1/2 of 2 guns down.
August 15, 2012 @ 10:10 am
I applaud the kind spirit and work ethic of Swift but she’s always been a pop star and in no deserves time on your, mine or any other blog about serious music.
August 15, 2012 @ 10:42 am
I can’t speak for Twang Nation, which is a site I love and one of the few I stop at daily, but there is no artist that I will or will not talk about as long as it fits within the “Saving Country Music” concept. My biggest litmus test for articles and subjects is if it is something that I am passionate about, and for whatever reason, Taylor Swift evokes a lot of passion in me and has probably inspired some of my best writing. I was also asked for my opinion on this song in numerous comments and emails, so I felt obliged to give my thoughts, which seem to parallel yours. The theme of this article is that “Taylor Swift is a pop star” and I thought that was an important a relevant point to make in the context of numerous country and Americana folks thinking or hoping that Taylor Swift’s new content would mark a maturing of her career.
As we can see and hear, it was the exact opposite. At least for now.
August 15, 2012 @ 10:21 am
Everyone should check out the full you tube video of the “live chat” here…
Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t the whole 12 minutes just seem painfully awkward?
First, you have Queen Taylor all dolled up looking like royality, sitting in a chair, while the rest of the girls/boys in the room sit on the floor like elementary school students. It’s like they are treating Taylor like a God of some kind.
This video doesn’t help Taylor’s image I don’t think…shes not the cute oh shucks I’m so honored to be here girl anymore…This youtube video, this new single, and just the tone of her voice now make her sound like a complete diva at this point….and maybe it’s just me, but there is alot more arrogance with her that I pick up.
If you can only watch one part of the video, Please tune in around 9:20…..where they play her new single……Anyone else agree how ridiculous and awkward she and everyone in the crowd looks, lip syncing and doing hand motions to the new song? Why didn’t she play it live? The whole thing is just odd….and though she was never really “country”, she definitely is/doesn’t mind getting away from it now it almost appears….
Maybe I’m reading way too much into it….but I hate the vibe I get from this video.
August 15, 2012 @ 10:30 am
I totally agree Brad. I had some thoughts about the awkwardness of the press conference in this article and edited them out for length, but I totally felt that Taylor, whose known for relating to her fans and being savvy with social networking came off as stiff and rehearsed and somewhat diva-ish. She tried to act girly, but you could tell it was an act. No doubt the format was a little strange and may have lent to the awkwardness, but the whole thing did Taylor no favors in trying to be respected by a greater audience, and to lose her “girly pop” image.
But again, the release of this album is going to be a long process. There’s still many other shoes to fall.
August 15, 2012 @ 11:36 am
ive only been a fan for a little under a year so i dunno very much about her public persona before that but its always seemed pretty fake to me. some people can bs you and you know they are doing it but you dont really care cuz they are just that charismatic. but thats all just her image and i dont really care about that so much i just know i enjoyed her last album and im hoping this one will be good too.
i agree both the new single and the youtube thing were a total waste of 30 minutes and i wish i could get a refund somehow
August 15, 2012 @ 10:29 am
Awful. The new sound goes with her new rack. The projection of the rest of her career is pretty clear:
– Date a rapper, maybe Kanye West. The media can fawn over them and write stories about how their controversy brought them together.
– Develop a coke/pill habit and have several well-publicized incidents that are brushed off as “exhaustion.”
– Go to rehab.
– Have a comeback album,
-Maybe make an album of hymns or “Christian” music
– From there, who really cares
August 18, 2012 @ 11:41 am
duhh , from there a Christmas album, then at the waning years of her career she will go country like so many others
August 15, 2012 @ 10:43 am
So, according to the video, there’s two versions. The “pop” version and the “country” version.
Here’s the link to the “country” version:
Not really a fan of either, but the “country” version does sound better.
She definitely knows her fan base of 14 year old “country” girls.
August 15, 2012 @ 10:54 am
Just added the “country” version to the article.
I hate when they do that to songs. If you’re truly trying to craft the best song, there shouldn’t be two different version for two different audiences. That is pretty much admitting the song is too weak for universal appeal.
August 15, 2012 @ 1:02 pm
I don’t know if it’s intentional but I think you can definitively hear an influence of her friend and front woman of Paramore, Hayley Williams. Anyone else hear it ?
August 15, 2012 @ 4:55 pm
Can’t say I am familiar enough with Hayley Williams or Paramore’s music to make that call. I can say a few months ago someone posted some YouTube’s of her covering Loretta Lynn’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)” and thought I wanted to marry her. But I’m better now.
August 27, 2012 @ 10:13 pm
Nope…If anything I think she got her inspiration from Avril Lavigne, since this song sounds what Avril would sing.
August 15, 2012 @ 1:05 pm
Big Machine and Scott Borchetta sure did buy #1 hits for all of the Speak Now singles on Mediabase. The disparity between Mediabase and Billboard with each of those signals: dig deep enough and you’ll find evidence of chart gaming and manipulation by Taylor’s label. More instances of them buying and reinforcing the kind of business practices that have left mainstream country music in the sad state it’s in.
Besides, where does it say that being the biggest thing in country music means every song of yours has to hit #1? It didn’t happen for Garth, it didn’t happen for Shania. Why would it be any different for Taylor? The fact that she got all those top 5 hits by releasing pop tunes other than Mean is a sign country radio treated her just fine. It’s POP radio where her radio play suffered and that’s what she’s scratching and clawing to get back.
Taylor Swift sure does want radio play. She wants radio play so badly that she & her labels Big Machine and Universal Republic negotiated a deal with Clear Channel, the largest owners of radio stations in every format across the country, for hourly spins on pop, country, and even rhythmic radio stations. Link to the Billboard article:
“Big Machine and Universal Republic have teamed with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to help instantly ingrain “Never” among listeners, as the largest radio chain in the U.S. is spotlighting it with top-of-the-hour airplay on many stations until 11 p.m. tonight (14) among its 308 country, mainstream top 40, adult top 40, adult contemporary and rhythmic outlets.”
There’s also lots of funny/depressing comments from country radio people who are acting like the sad sack of a boyfriend/girlfriend who really thinks that guy/gal who’s already hooked up with somebody else but sends a lingering text every now and then is going to come back. It’s pathetic but, that’s the big business mindset in music for ya. Taylor Swift can release a song that’s straight out of the Avril Lavigne/Katy Perry songbook, she can make the main version of her new single (a song that’s dump pop even by the low standards of country radio) the pop version (that’s the only version on sale at Itunes), she can take residence in Hollywood, but as long as Scott Borchetta keeps pouring money into radio and she lets DJs hang out at her tour “T” parties all is forgiven. After all, all the big business people in music (not just country) are desperate to claim her because they think it might save their failing business.
This talk about Taylor being autonomous is becoming more and more laughable. She may be powerful in an industry desperate to be saved, but she is using that power to reinforce the practices of big businesses like Universal and Clear Channel. When does this site start calling her out for that? Bob Lefsetz got the ball rolling:
Oh sure, Taylor will have less vapid material on her album. What’s incredible is that she can make these little gestures that show some promise and that makes some people overlook all the major selling out she’s been doing, all the ways in which she thumbs her nose at country music. all of the dishonorable reinforcement she does of the worst excesses of major label business.
August 15, 2012 @ 5:26 pm
Some great points Elizabeth, but please don’t paint me as one trying to hide Taylor’s (and especially Scott Borchetta’s) dirty laundry under the bed. I reported on the Clear Channel story, have no love for Clear Channel, Scott Borchetta, Mediabase, or any attempts to manipulate markets.
Here’s some links for you:
Let’s not give Mediabase any more credit than it deserves. I honestly don’t even pay attention to it, and nor do many industry insiders outside of the radio world (not that I’m an industry insider per se) because of the manipulations and the perceived manipulations of its system. Of course Scott Borchetta, Mediabase, and Clear Channel are all in bed with each other. I’ve heard the rumors of 250,000 Taylor Swift units sitting in warehouses to drive Soundscan numbers as well. Billboard has been around a long time and has made heroic efforts over the years to keep its integrity and to not be bought (though those accusations are out there as well), and those are the charts I recognize.
My only point is “Speak Now” was filled with songs that traditionally would not work in the radio format because of their length, and I think the length of songs and their chances of radio play is a pretty common and understood dynamic. It was also the first album that Taylor wrote all by herself, and had the dominant role in producing. It also sold about a million less copies than her previous album; not a number to scoff at. And in my opinion, its radio play was tepid. Tepid for most artists? No. But tepid for Taylor’s stature.
I really have no idea what to expect from “Red”, but if the lead single and the fact that most or all the songs are co-writes and collaborations are any indication, you’re right, she could be losing her autonomy, or possibly giving it up willingly for more radio, chart, and financial success. “Speak Now” may have been Taylor’s shining moment as far as autonomy AND substance, we’ll see, but please don’t paint me as a Kool-Aid-drinking Taylor Swift apologist. I have come dramatically around on her in the last year or so, but at the same time, I think she has been making some very curious steps while behind-the-scenes Scott Borchetta’s power has made him wildly arrogant to the point of taking curious chances and doing things that are borderline illegal. The Tim McGraw signing, the Clear Channel deal; these are things that are elevating Borchetta as a power player in music, but things that could also bog down Big Machine with litigation for years to come.
Believe it or not, I always want to expect the best. I want to see Taylor Swift rise above the corporate world and keep her ethics despite her success. But if she doesn’t, then I will have no qualms calling her out as I have done many times before.
From this press conference to her appearance at the ACM Awards, where Taylor once used to be endearing, now she seems hyper image conscious. This is an extremely important time in her career and in country music. I am intrigued to see where it goes.
August 15, 2012 @ 1:45 pm
I’m surprised that you rated this song higher than “Mean”, even though “Mean” had far better music/melody (this song really doesn’t have any melody; it comes off as rap in many places). Even the lyrics in “Mean”, despite their overall immaturity, were at least not as silly or repetitive as the lyrics to this song.
August 15, 2012 @ 4:01 pm
This is a great question, and I meant to elaborate more but this article was getting too long already.
The reason I rated it at 1 1/2 guns down is because even though it is an ultra pop song with very little redeeming values, there’s noting wrong with it, and there’s nothing hypocritical about it. Pop songs have their place it the world whether we like it or not. As pop songs go, it’s pretty lame and innocuous, but it’s not bad. In fact it’s quite catchy, which is the point of pop.
However “Mean” came across as really hypocritical to me. Though it may be the most country song Swift has ever done, or even if its one of her more creative ones, to call someone out for being mean, and then be mean to them back by saying they’re “pathetic and alone in life” I thought was being shallow and unwise, and hypocritical. And so that’s why I gave it two guns down.
Having said all of that, seeing how “Mean” became such a cultural force over its life and continues to be one today, I may look differently at the song now. “Mean” had a HUGE cultural impact, maybe the biggest of any single song last year in country, rivaled only by Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem”. Every day I have students on this website doing research for assigned school papers about the song. I don;t like the song, but I’d be a fool not to recognize it was a huge victory for Taylor, and with the two Grammy’s, may go down as her most important song.
August 15, 2012 @ 4:32 pm
I see your point. I’m actually a long-time Taylor Swift fan, and her songs are what introduced me to country music in the first place. In fact, I discovered this site several months ago while surfing through the Internet to figure out who inspired “Mean”.
For me, at least, Taylor Swift’s appeal has always been that she stands head and shoulders above the vapid, flat music that has such a stranglehold over today’s mainstream pop. Her songs have been among the few songs on pop radio stations that I could actually enjoy hearing without getting the impulse to break my radio.
This song, however, is by far the worst song that she has ever released, in my opinion. Frankly, the songs that she wrote when she was 12 years old were significantly deeper, more heartfelt, and more musically beautiful than this song. This doesn’t even sound like Taylor. When I was watching her webcast, I was so shocked to hear this song that I was wondering whether an alien had possessed Taylor’s brain. My shock turned to anger as I realized how badly she has just sold her musical taste out just in order to get a radio hit. I would actually put WANEGBT at the bottom 30% of what’s currently on pop radio. Just a week ago, I was lambasting Carly Rae Jepsen to my friends and discussing how “Call Me Maybe” symbolizes everything that’s wrong with mainstream pop music today. In my opinion, WANEGBT is at least as bad as, and probably even worse than, “Call Me Maybe”.
I still have high hopes for her new album. For now, though, this song is definitely the worst misfire of her career. The worst part for me is realizing how terrible this song is compared to her other songs. You have mentioned several times on this site that a singer or songwriter should be judged by his or her own general artistic standard. Knowing how strong a songwriter Taylor is and how heartfelt her songs generally are makes this song all the more disappointing and maddening.
August 15, 2012 @ 2:45 pm
Can country radio drop her like they seemed to do with Alan, Reba, and George Strait and many others?
There is something wrong when you buy a 4.9 million house across from an 18 year old boy, who you just met. Plus the fact that she has always wanted to be a Kennedy, now she’s dressing like Jackie O. She is delusional or something is terribly wrong.
I watched her live webcast and found it whacked also. What the hell was she doing? Not looking up, avoiding questions, answering in “uh, well”, not singing live(maybe she realizes she’s not good)? She was playing with her hair..Girl again is messed up or delusional.
This song has “sell-out” all on it. Sorry pop radio can’t take you seriously before, now they eat up the worst pop song of all time.
Someone is paying them some $$$$$….
I hope Taylor fades away or gets some major controversy and gets kicked out of country. In fact there should be a “death penalty” on her career and wipe out her awards and records. She is so fake, and did not EOTY From the CMA Twice.
August 15, 2012 @ 2:55 pm
Pop radio doesn’t need any money to play crappy songs. They’ve been playing worse songs than this for quite a few years now.
August 15, 2012 @ 5:42 pm
I love Taylor, but even I have to admit it’s super creepy she was obsessed with the Kennedys and then started dating one of the kids before he even turned eighteen. And the song is… quite bad, yes.
August 15, 2012 @ 3:01 pm
“Taylor Swift trying to get radio play with her latest effort. In other entertainment news, Lindsey Lohan is in rehab again, Snoop Dogg, ahhem, Lion is really high, and Kim Karshedian is famous for no reason. Now, on to the world of science. A recent study had found that water is wet.”
August 15, 2012 @ 3:37 pm
Another thing is the way Scott manipulates mediabase for her.
Jumping 5 to 1 on mediabase for Back to December, while Back to December failed to reach #1 on billboard country charts.
All of her Speak Now albums went to #1 on mediabase by chart manipulation.
August 15, 2012 @ 3:49 pm
What do you mean by “Speak Now albums”? Speak Now was just one album. And what do you even mean by chart manipulation?
August 15, 2012 @ 4:12 pm
sorry I meant songs.
Yes chart manipulation….mediabase manipulated her numbers. She jumped 5-1 with one of her songs, when it did not reach #1 on Billboard.
BMR pushed and pushed all her speak now songs on mediabase to #1, despite only having 2 on billboard/
August 15, 2012 @ 4:35 pm
Do you have any concrete proof that mediabase has been manipulating her song rankings? That’s a pretty strong accusation against mediabase.
August 15, 2012 @ 5:19 pm
I borrowed this from stephanie:Big Machine and Scott Borchetta sure did buy #1 hits for all of the Speak Now singles on Mediabase. The disparity between Mediabase and Billboard with each of those signals: dig deep enough and you”™ll find evidence of chart gaming and manipulation by Taylor”™s label. More instances of them buying and reinforcing the kind of business practices that have left mainstream country music in the sad state it”™s in.
And like you said your new to country. Mediabase is easy to manipulate. They use to let you request every hour on their links, but swift fans kept requesting taylor songs, they changed it to 24 hours.
How does “Back to December” jump from 5-1 and yet didn’t reach #1 on billboard.
They make a push at the last possible moment, while other labels think they have secured the #1, Big Machine push stations to spin taylors songs during the night and get the spins in.
It happened in 2004 with Live Like You Were Dying and Reba’s “Somebody”..Tim Mcgraw was in his 4th week at #1, when Reba’s label pushed “somebody” over Tim. Tim got the #1 back and stayed there another 3 weeks. But the push by Reba’s label was not smiled upon.
August 15, 2012 @ 5:40 pm
So the difference between Mediabase and Billboard is that Mediabase includes online sales in its song rankings while Billboard does not? If so, the fact that Taylor’s fan base is far more Internet-savvy than the fan base of any other country singer would pretty easily explain why Taylor’s songs overperform on Mediabase.
Please correct me if I’m misunderstanding how Mediabase works. I’ve always used Billboard to check song and album rankings, and so your comment was the first time I’ve ever heard of Mediabase.
August 15, 2012 @ 5:32 pm
As I said as a reply to Elizabeth above, screw Mediabase. Bitching about them only gives them more value than their worth in my opinion. With Clear Channel and Cumulus owning so many stations and standardizing the formats of all their stations nationwide, the idea of using radio plays as some indication of popularity is ridiculous. Those songs are popular because Clear Channel makes them popular. And it doesn’t help that radio is dying as a format to being with.
August 15, 2012 @ 4:30 pm
That last sentence on the first paragraph made me giggle. lol
August 15, 2012 @ 4:45 pm
It makes me sick that Im going to have to hear this on the radio at work. Although most of the music on the radio at work does…. XM OUTLAW RADIO FTW
August 15, 2012 @ 5:33 pm
I am a teenager and in my second year at college and WAS a Taylor fan along with my friends and the girls at school. In the last couple of years we grew up BUT Taylor did not and she is still dissing her ex boyfriends. Why doesn’t she mature and show a little class and get on with her life instead of writing about it. Does her life revolve around boys? Isn’t there any happiness and positive in her life that she can write about or does her life completely suck? My friends and I hate this song and the country version is just SICK!!!!! We have never heard of a COUNTRY ARTIST (as she and others claim she is) remix their songs to their own genre of music. How absurd and disgusting is that? One of our friends told us a long time ago that Taylor was using country music as a stepping stone to pop—and now we totally believe it. She has definitely lost quite a few fans here. We think she is a fake that needs autotune badly (even though we overlooked the fact she could not sing well when we were fans). We have been turning the radio OFF when her song is played. It is disgusting—she is disgusting.
August 15, 2012 @ 5:57 pm
Apparently you haven’t heard her last album at all. Out of the 14 songs on the album, only THREE songs bash ex-boyfriends in any way. In another song on the album, “Back to December”, Taylor actually apologizes to an ex-boyfriend for breaking up with him. Fully 7 songs on the album are outright positive, apologetic, or wistfully nostalgic.
Furthermore, out of the 7 songs from Speak Now and the bonus album that she’s released, the majority are positive songs. Only ONE of these 7 songs, “The Story of Us” is a negative song about an ex-boyfriend, and even in that song she takes much of the responsibility for the failed relationship.
August 15, 2012 @ 6:04 pm
Eric the problem is she releases those boy bashing songs..Picture to burn she got mad cause her boyfriend didn’t let her drive his truck. She called him ‘Gay’ in the song cause of it. (Very mature not)
You belong with me is another song that is creepy. She knows all about the boy, yet he doesn’t know anything about her. Plus “you belong with me” is very possesive. If a girl says “you belong with me” and we weren’t dating more than 6 months and had chemistry, She would be labeled psycho.
After Joe Jonas, Taylor Lautner, and John Mayer the press is eating her up and making sure they keep an eye on whose she’s dating. Hence Jake,Tim Tebow, Harry Style(rumors)…
No one gives a shit about her other songs. The press only cares about whose she’s dating so they know who she will sing about next.
August 15, 2012 @ 6:16 pm
From her Speak Now album, she released only 1 “boy-bashing” song. From Fearless, she released only 2 such songs (one of which was a truly beautiful song that earned her the Best Country Song award in the 2010 Grammy Awards). Even from her debut self-titled album, she released only 2 “boy-bashing” songs. And of course there’s this song. So that makes a grand total of 6 negative songs about ex-boyfriends out of the 21 or more songs that she’s released throughout her career.
August 15, 2012 @ 6:32 pm
True but everyone comments on her boy bashing, and how many relationships she has. Look at the press eating her up with her supposed relationships, and now Conor. The press is going to eat her up like they did Brittany, Lindsay, Paris and Miey Cyrus. Build them up and tear them down. Taylor went Hollywood and is now in a messed up world.
She went from Jake to an 18 year old boy, and moved across from him. No 22 year old girl would date an 18 year old boy. Plus the fact she is known to have their Posters on the wall, tells me she’s deranged to being a Kennedy. Including the fact she is now copying Jackies styles. The girl is going to have a meltdown.
She is not known for her other songs to those who don;’t care for her
August 15, 2012 @ 7:30 pm
You should blame the tabloid media for obsessively covering her love life, not her. And frankly, who she dates is absolutely none of our business.
August 15, 2012 @ 11:26 pm
She didn’t date Tim Tebow or Harry Styles. And you have no idea what posters on her walls. Let’s not pretend that we know anything about her personal life just because gossip blogs report on it.
August 18, 2012 @ 5:12 pm
Can I just pop in for a moment to say it’s really unwise and kind of lame to blast someone for something they wrote like seven years ago. Taylor herself has said in an interview that ‘Picture to Burn’ is a song that she no longer agrees with, and now, as a more mature person, she said she’d channel that emotion differently.
Quote from an MTV interview over a year ago:
“I had this song called ‘Picture to Burn,’ that’s talking about how ‘I hate your truck,’ and ‘I hate that you ignored me,’ ‘I hate you,’ ” she explained. “Now, the way that I would say that and the way that I would feel that kind of pain is a lot different.”
I’m not trying to say you’re completely wrong, but when you make an argument against her, use her most recent material. I wouldn’t want to be judged by the way I acted seven years ago! She’s honestly not ‘boy-bashed’ more than any other artist has. I don’t have a problem with breakup songs, especially since as she gets older, the more complex and interesting they get, but I do have a bit of an issue with this song, because it’s such a transparent attempt to get her back into the ‘mainstream’ eye–and although she’s actually released (mature) music quite recently, i.e. Safe & Sound and Eyes Open, few people paid attention, and when you turned the radio on you would still hear Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.
Taylor Swift can turn into a complete indie artist for all I care–leave her label, and release all music on her own (I think she’s got enough funds…)–actually, I think that’d be cool. But she likes the feeling of being on top and in the headlines, and more importantly, her label likes it. So they’ll opt to release polished, idiotic songs of hers in order to make her more ‘relevant’. Sigh. I guess I’ll go back to listening to my indie records… that are much cooler than hers :/
August 16, 2012 @ 10:18 am
You are totally wrong about me and my friends. We have been huge Taylor fans since we were 11 and 12 years old. We have gone to a lot of her concerts and bought an obscene amount of her merchandise. We have ALL her albums except this last one and we will NOT be buying it . We have grown up and Taylor has not. We were hoping for something more from Taylor but she just did not deliver. She will probably keep her young fans because of her juvenile songs and acting like she is the same age as them ( That made us feel really special too at the time). As I said before, We grew up, matured and want songs that are not like the ones she delivers. She is a fake COUNTRY singer. She is pure POP. Her remix of this song to country is worse than the pop version.
August 16, 2012 @ 11:08 pm
Country Music is dead.Faith Hill and Shania Twain don’t dare to put the album.
August 17, 2012 @ 5:52 pm
If you think her songs are immature, then fine, that’s your opinion. However, please don’t mischaracterize her songs as all (or even mostly) being about “dissing” ex-boyfriends or talking about how “life sucks”.
August 15, 2012 @ 5:55 pm
Triggerman this is for you:
What would Waylon Jennings think of “swifts success”?
Waylon Jennings took Nashville and kicked down the doors, but do you think he could get away what Taylor is getting away with?
Or is Scott Borchetta just that good to promote Taylor and make her look like a genious. I find myself bewildered how Taylor can get away with so much, when other woman can’t?
August 15, 2012 @ 6:02 pm
It’s actually not that hard to understand. Taylor, more than any other major singer today, can emotionally connect with her fan base, both with her songs and her attitude toward her fans. I suggest that you study her biography and go through videos of her interviews, concerts, fan meets, etc. I think you might be just as impressed with her as I was when I originally studied her history several years ago.
August 15, 2012 @ 6:10 pm
I don’t buy that. I really think she oversells herself so others won’t see her flaws.
Who gives the most in the press…Taylor, why is that?
Well look at her track record…Bullied, Bullied, Bullied, got blasted for her singing at the Grammy’s, and she needs to “buy” fans love.
I’m sorry that’s how I see it. Other artists donate quietly, and out of the media’s way, but she annonces it all over the world.
August 15, 2012 @ 6:18 pm
She doesn’t need to even remotely “buy” any fan’s love. Just go to one of her concerts and observe how deeply her fans love her.
August 15, 2012 @ 6:26 pm
nope, never will. Her singing is awful. I listened to eyes open, and she had a deep breathing noise when she was singing, like she was out of breath.
Her fans go cause they know they have the slighest chance with the T parties and hanging with taylor. Plus most of them are teen girls with their mom or dads.
Her new song is taking 3 steps back and is not helping her career, despite the frenzy on I-tunes. She will drop like a rock next week.
August 15, 2012 @ 7:28 pm
“Eyes Open” is not one of her better songs. Take a listen to the songs on her album instead. They’re much better on average.
August 15, 2012 @ 11:28 pm
Donating money alone isn’t enough. Celebrities’ real power is to raise awareness; donating publicly does this.
August 16, 2012 @ 9:33 am
you study things that are difficult to understand and can be meaningful (trigonometry, calculus, shakespeare). Taylor is neither. we criticize things that should be unnessesary, trendy crap (more taxes, gnats). Taylor is both. but good try sir.
August 15, 2012 @ 7:13 pm
I don;t like hypotheticals, and I especially don’t like putting words in Waylon’s mouth. I guess you could assume that since he had a beef with Garth Brooks, he’d have even a bigger beef with Taylor, but who knows? There’s some big name, old-school country folks who’ve said some nice things about Taylor, including Vince Gill and Alan Jackson.
I’ve felt since “Speak Now” that her next album, which is now “Red” would be the defining moment in her career. Would she continue to work towards substance, or would she chase commercial success? Those questions haven’t been answered yet. When they are, it may be easier to assume what Waylon might think of her.
August 16, 2012 @ 4:10 am
“There”™s some big name, old-school country folks who”™ve said some nice things about Taylor, including Vince Gill and Alan Jackson.”
Vince Gill has a great voice and did his best work in Pure Prairie League, but he hasn’t been relevant in 15 years. Alan Jackson is a huge part of this whole pop country mess. He’s released a whole bunch of insulting crap over the years and seems to know know shame. I remember watching a video of Alan Jackson “performing” with Junior Brown. Junior Brown sang and played circles around him. Alan Jackson is the Marlboro Man caricature of country music, plus his music sucks.
August 16, 2012 @ 7:37 am
I’m not necessarily singing the praises of either of those guys. But they’re two dudes that are seen as “traditionalists” these days but still have ties to the mainstream, and they’re two guys who’ve also come out against pop country on numerous occasions. I see both Alan and Vince as a mixed bag.
This is why hypotheticals never get anywhere. Who knows what Waylon would think about Taylor, and I’m not sure it’s fair to either to ask.
August 16, 2012 @ 10:26 am
You certainly don’t need to justify your sentiments to me. I agree with your take 95% of the time and I’ve put “Chattahoochee” on the jukebox a time or two myself, but mostly to keep the girls happy. Drunken foot-stomping to “Rocky Top” and “The Ride” can scare away the fairer sex. So, sometimes you have to turn it down a notch or two.
That being said, I’ve never considered Alan Jackson a “traditionalist.” I haven’t followed his career all that closely, but songs like “www.memory” and “Pop a Top” are just plain embarrassing. Has he really critcized pop country? I always thought of him as being right in the pop country wheelhouse…
August 15, 2012 @ 6:01 pm
Those vocals are artificial and processed big time. The chorus even sounds like a totally different person is singing.
August 15, 2012 @ 6:57 pm
My 5 year old daughter is super excited about Taylor’s new CD.
August 15, 2012 @ 8:24 pm
my friends, on SCM talked, and thier friends talked, and we are never getting together with Taylor, in the first place… like ever.. haha. wow, it sounds like a newly formed girl bands first hit single. i’d call it catchy crap. shes laughing all the way to the bank. ex bf’s and kennedy snapshots next to the odometer in her bently.. lessons learned from this article- life is just not fair & stay in school kids…
August 15, 2012 @ 8:59 pm
“life is just not fair & stay in school kids”¦”
This is what you got out of the article?
August 16, 2012 @ 9:23 am
no, i also got that you as a man (pardon my assumptions eric), seem to be willing to fight for taylor swifts honor & dignity. and after hearing this song, i didn’t think she had any left. so i suppose i shouldve added “… and stay in school kids, or get eric to help boost your career and personal choices to be successful in a scorned world where putting out crap music makes big bucks.” Eric, not only are you the president of TS fan club, your also a client.
August 16, 2012 @ 11:06 pm
I’ve already expressed ample disappointment with this song. If her fame and success had been built on songs like this, then you would have a point. However, that is not the reality at all. Taylor’s career was built on heartfelt songwriting that emotionally connects with her audience. She did not get rich and get to mingle with the Kennedys overnight. She became a professional songwriter in Nashville at the age of 13, before she had any recording deal. She walked away from RCA in order to keep her authenticity and artistic independence intact. Just pause and think of how rare such a courageous move is. She played cafe after cafe in Nashville until she finally got noticed by Scott Borchetta, who agreed to give her full artistic freedom. And she did all of this while going to school full-time (and getting nearly straight A’s in school, I might add).
So if you want to demonstrate how “life is not fair”, Taylor’s story is one of the worst examples you can use. On the contrary, it demonstrates that if you work hard to pursue your passion, you just might fulfill your dreams.
August 17, 2012 @ 7:00 am
At least that’s what her press releases say.
August 17, 2012 @ 1:47 pm
All of this is well-documented fact.
And are you calling Taylor Swift a liar?
August 20, 2012 @ 11:50 am
This new song, is now a well documented fact. Hopefully you can study it and come to the conclusion that she has become a sellout tool; leaving a blatant & malignant mole on the face of “country music”. if this song is an example of “Scott Borchetta, who agreed to give her full artistic freedom” then she has used her freedom to make some pretty horrendous stuff. and i’m certain that you do not understand that this is the reason that life is not fair. Your trying to defend her entire career and body of work, while simultaneously passing this song off as a “dissapointment”. you fail to realize that most of her music (not her effort to to make it big- the only impressive thing she may have done) is a disapointment to people, bands, music that do not want to be considered a part of any genre she appears in. its about the music, not the fame, money, or who you date (more media’s fault but i’m sure she uses it to her advantage when who ever is controling her puppet strings feels its necessary to make more money or sell more records).
August 20, 2012 @ 2:11 pm
So making one bad song makes a singer a sellout? How about this: let’s agree to wait for her album release until we judge weather or not she has become a “sellout”.
August 20, 2012 @ 2:20 pm
August 22, 2012 @ 9:34 am
i am not waiting for anything TS is putting out… never have and never will. her music ranks at about a negative 2 on my give-o-sh**-o-meter. hence why this conversation is so hilararious; that you would question my comment in the first place. i’m not saying her 1 bad song makes her a sellout parse. I’m saying that all her music should never be considered country in first place. good for her for writing her own music (up to now) and all the hard work shes put in so far. but to be considered apart of the beuatifully amazing collection of music we call country…?? with the namesakes and likes of musicians who either built the platform or are still putting in work for themselves and the fans (not on the recieving end of nashvilles’ puppet strings)… not a chance.
August 23, 2012 @ 3:13 am
I actually agree that Taylor’s country credentials are questionable. What I was objecting to was your characterization of her as a “sellout tool” and your idea that her success somehow shows that “life is not fair”.
August 23, 2012 @ 1:18 pm
I get a this blog because she knows someone I know and I don’t have the heart to cancel it, lol, but thought this was funny. Maybe somebody is gittin too big for her britches, as my Grandpa used to say.
August 23, 2012 @ 6:20 am
Okay, I can’t stand it anymore. If Taylor actually had the musical/singing talent that she is proclaimed to have, I could buy into this “story” of hard work, fame etc. She can’t carry a tune. I would bet a lot of money that she couldn’t harmonize with a gun to her head. Her guitar playing is a few chords. Same with the piano. Banjo, lol. They put guitar strings on it. Song writing. Well, to each their own. I think the reason she is so good at hiphop, rap, whatever, is because it only requires a bit of rhythm but no real musical ability. If “success” is based solely on how much money one makes, then by gawd, she is one hell of a success story. Okay, I am ready for the flack.
August 23, 2012 @ 1:56 pm
“If Taylor actually had the musical/singing talent that she is proclaimed to have, I could buy into this “story” of hard work, fame etc.”
There is no “story” in this. This is well-documented fact. Just how many people do you think could get hired as professional songwriters at the age of 13? Just how many artists would have the courage to walk away from a record deal at the age of 15 like Taylor did with RCA? And just how many artists can parlay a spot on a small new record label into worldwide success within 5 years?
“I would bet a lot of money that she couldn”™t harmonize with a gun to her head. Her guitar playing is a few chords.”
Her songs generally contain 4 or 5 chords. Bob Dylan’s song “Like a Rolling Stone” also contained 5 chords. Would you say that Dylan “couldn’t harmonize”?
“I think the reason she is so good at hiphop, rap, whatever, is because it only requires a bit of rhythm but no real musical ability.”
And this comment exposes you as having absolutely no knowledge of Taylor’s music whatsoever. She has NEVER put out a rap or hiphop song (or anything remotely similar) on any of her previous 3 albums. Do you realize that many people (myself included) originally started liking her music specifically because she offered an escape from the hiphop-style garbage that dominates pop radio today? In fact, I actually like her melodies even more than her lyrics.
August 23, 2012 @ 2:14 pm
Well, you are right, she didn’t record it and this is more like a slutty dance than hip hop.
Playing chords on a guitar is not the same thing as harmonizing live with one’s vocal cords.
I shouldn’t have replied, I know that people who think she is a singer/musician good enough to win the top awards, will never understand why she isn’t. Have a good one.
August 23, 2012 @ 3:07 pm
“I know that people who think she is a singer/musician good enough to win the top awards, will never understand why she isn”™t.”
That’s your opinion. And the “people” that you refer to have a different opinion. I think we can agree to leave it at that.
You have a good day too!
August 15, 2012 @ 11:30 pm
I was so optimistic about her new album and am now nervously awaiting October 22. Taylor is capable of much, much better than this rubbish. I don’t mind her going pop, but this is bad, disposable pop.
August 16, 2012 @ 4:01 am
horrible stuff. both versions. i was gone after only a few seconds each. there’s a kennedy joke in here someplace but i guess i’ll take the high road.
August 16, 2012 @ 4:58 am
This is a great pop song in the sense that it’s heroin for your earbuds. I’m sure it will be a big hit. It’s just not country – even with a banjo way down low in the mix.
August 16, 2012 @ 8:35 am
“And in my opinion, its radio play was tepid. Tepid for most artists? No. But tepid for Taylor”™s stature.”
Radio peaks for singles from Fearless (Billboard):
Love Story: #1
White Horse: #2
You Belong With Me: #1
Radio peaks for singles from Speak Now (Billboard):
Back To December: #3
Sparks Fly: #1
That’s not a meaningful difference for airplay between the 2 albums.
Shania’s Come On Over radio peaks (Billboard):
Love Gets Me Every Time: #1
Don’t Be Stupid: #6
You’re Still The One: #1
That Don’t Impress Me Much: #8
Honey I’m Hone: #1
From This Moment On: #6
You Got A Way: #13
Man! I Feel Like A Woman: #4
Rock This Country: #30
I’m Holdin On To Love: #17
Shania’s Up! radio peaks (Billboard):
I’m Gonna Getcha Good: #7
Forever And For Always: #4
She’s Not Just A Pretty Face: #9
It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing: #18
Taylor’s being treated better by country radio than Shania was, and Shania had comparable stature.
With due respect I still think you’ve grossly exaggerated how much of a turning point Speak Now was for Taylor Swift. I appreciate what Dear John was trying to do, would give Last Kiss a big thumbs up as a poignant and good love song, and think Enchanted is a charming, catchy little pop song. Never Grow Up is a sweet little nostalgia piece about childhood innocence (and IMO the album’s only moment of self awareness where Taylor implied regret for what she’s become). But I can’t call an album that (fairly or not, I don’t know) slutshames a fellow female while moralizing about critics being mean ol bullies “mature” or brave. I can’t call an album whose majority is so derivative of tried & true pop hooks and structures mature or brave.
As far as being too long for radio, most acts use radio edits. Lady Antebellum’s Hello World was originally 5:26 but was edited down for radio when it became a single. Kenny Chesney’s about to release Keith Gattis’s El Cerrito Place and Kenny’s studio version is 5:35. I don’t see especial bravery in that especially since I felt like the length was self indulgent on a song like Innocent. Good for her for developing a song fully in the cases that it was appropriate like Dear John.
There are some bold songs on the album, yes, a few moments where maturity peeks out. Credit to her for writing the album by herself and “coproducing” it. But, I suspect the coproduction credit is a vanity mark because there is no signature style to the production that Taylor Swift’s shown. I hear the strong hand of Nathan Chapman from front to back.
I also think you’ve overlooked Taylor Swift’s integral role in marketing herself within the system in a way that reinforces the worst superficiality of celebrity culture. For instance, consider the way she has pandered to the tabloid culture. She was the one braying about Joe Jonas breaking up with her right when her Fearless album came out, and that became a major talking point for the entire Fearless album cycle. When it came time for a major rerelease of Fearless on October 26 2009, Taylor Swift conveniently did photo ops linking her to Twilight’s Taylor Lautner, who just so happened to be promoting a Twilight film that would come out on November 20 2009. If you know anything about Hollywood culture it’s that showmances are a major part of product promotion. And who can forget that magic revelation of Taylor Swift’s new relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal, conveniently timed to come out the very week Speak Now was released. Jake of course was promoting a movie (Love & Other Drugs) that would come out a few weeks later. Jake was supposed to be Taylor’s ticket to a more mature relationship, a sign she’d grown up (and Taylor was supposed to be Jake’s ticket to renew his heartthrob status among younger women).
I don’t know if you knew this at the time but Taylor’s team had worked out a deal with the tabloid US Weekly for a special issue, separate from its weekly issues, on Taylor Swift to coincide with the release of Speak Now (link: http://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/taylor-swift-im-proud-to-sing-about-my-exes-20102110). But there was some product synergy going on because US Weekly conveniently also gotten the 1st paparazzi pictures of the happy couple, which it placed its cover (here: http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/first-photos-jake-and-taylors-romantic-thanksgiving-day-stroll-2010112). These photos were the subject of much ridicule because of how staged they were.
Maybe you’re thinking that Taylor’s not responsible for what the tabloids say. It’s certainly true that the tabloids make things up, but it is just as true that celebrity PR teams, especially the Hollywood oriented ones, feverishly work the tabloids over in exchange for favorable coverage. Considering Taylor’s confirmed deal with US Weekly for a special issue, and the fact that during the short duration of the Swift/Gyllenhaal “relationship” Us Weekly got regular Taylor-friendly leaks about the relationship, though, I think those are some connected dots. Taylor also feeds into the tabloid culture by dropping clues in her album booklet about who the songs are about. She moralizes about how she doesn’t discuss her personal life but she sure does use it to sell albums. And when at least two of those personal relationships look a lot like your typical Hollywood showmances, what does that say about her integrity and autonomy from the mainstream? Are we supposed to consider a coincidence that Taylor revealed yet another relationship on the eve of releasing a new single?
I think Taylor’s proven willing to sell out everything right down to her personal life ever since she realized with Fearless that it can help make her a superstar. It proved to be the case with Speak Now and it’s not a good look for somebody who trades on her supposed authenticity. Contrast that to Adele who’s sold over 9.4 million albums in the US alone without trading on who her songs are about.
With a new level of success manufactured in cooperation with Clear Channel, Taylor Swift is proving to be anything but independent from the machine, she’s allowed herself to become a key cog in sustaining it. I think when a person as successful as she is does these things, it’s a dangerous thing for music and hopefully not a road more musicians will go down thinking it’s what they have to do. If we’re looking at saving (country) music, Taylor Swift is a big part of the problem.
Surprisingly though I think some mainstream acts like Kenny Chesney (You & Tequila, El Cerrito Place), Zac Brown Band (The Wind), Eric Church (Creepin), and even Carrie Underwood (Blown Away) are starting to show little signs of releasing what they want on their own schedule and showing a little independence from the system. Note that I said a little. I’m not getting carried away or holding my breath because Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown Band both teamed with Clear Channel for those manufactured debut weeks (Underwood did not), and all of them with the exception of Zac Brown Band are clearly loyal to the mainstream pop country system.
On a side note, I’m working on getting your site unblocked for me at work. Fingers crossed!
August 16, 2012 @ 6:33 pm
Trust me when I say that I in no way think Taylor is getting a raw deal from radio, or that she hasn’t received even more than her fair share. But I still believe that before or while this record was being made, Taylor, Scott Borchetta, and possibly a few other folks sat down and determined that radio was something they could improve on and the result was this single.
I think that you are having the same disconnect with my history and opinions over time with Taylor Swift as Patrick is, and that is not anybody’s fault and it would be unrealistic for me to assume you could go back and realize the long arch of my Taylor Swift coverage, but trust me, I made it a point to be her harshest and most vocal critic for a long time. Then at some point, I decided that unlike some pop stars, she does have some redeeming values. I also decided that the best way to convince people that there is so much better music out there than Taylor Swift and other pop stars was to not lambast them at every turn, but to be honest about them and give them credit where credit is due.
My eyes are wide open about what Taylor Swift means to corporate American music, but I am always also going to attempt to divest the person from the music, criticize the person in one context, and the music in another. I think when you mix the two, you can lose credibility for both.
I appreciate the time and energy you are putting into your opinons and research, and I think we agree on about 90%, but this article was not written for you per se, it was written for someone who is sitting on the fence about Taylor Swift, or curious of why she put out such an immature song. It is my opinion.
August 17, 2012 @ 6:39 am
The singles from Speak Now did a lot worse than those on Fearless. I’m not sure that “The Story of Us” even charted on the Billboard Hot 100?
Taylor spoke openly about Joe Jonas but she was still very young, he was probably her ‘first love’ and, for an obviously sensitive person, it must have hurt to have been publicly cast aside. She hasn’t opened herself up like that in interviews since. She was photographed on a couple of dates with Taylor Lautner – then a source close to her told the highly reliable, celebrity-friendly People magazine that it wasn’t serious and that she wasn’t that into him.
The Gyllenhaal relationship was definitely real – Us Weekly had the exclusive pictures because there was a bidding war instigated by the agency INF Daily. Maggie Gyllenhaal was photographed with Taylor and her young daughter on Thanksgiving – she protects her privacy fiercely so there’s no way the pictures were set-up. Lots of popstars have done those stand-alone Us Weekly magazines and Us weren’t fed information about the relationship. In fact, People Magazine had the vast majority of the exclusives.
Practically every singer-songwriter in history mines their personal lives for song material. Taylor just gets more criticism for it because she’s very famous and we’re watching her live her life in real time.
August 17, 2012 @ 7:04 am
Someone’s very naive.
August 16, 2012 @ 8:39 am
I think the most telling thing here is that the so-called “country” mix is not the song’s main mix, the “pop” mix is. With the exception of pop-only singles, pretty much every single she has marketed to country radio has been a “country” main version, with a separate “pop” mix for pop radio. Obviously she is going full-out to regain the pop radio presence she lacked on “Speak Now”, as her main singles didn’t even hit the top and “The Story of Us” flat-out flopped.
The only real positive here is that the song won’t debut atop the Hot 100, since Big Machine was evidently forgot to start the radio deal on Wednesday (the start of the radio-tracking week), not Tuesday.
August 17, 2012 @ 9:45 am
You can`t be serious. It debuts nr1 100%. Even if she loses big part of her audience numbers before the deadline she is still outselling the second one 3 to 1 at least. Plus the second one in the is not even very strong on radio yet.
The real question is if she will bet another week on top.
August 16, 2012 @ 8:45 am
Trigger, I find it interesting that you said you were waiting to see what direction this celebrity would take with her new album: Celebrity sellout / growth as an artist.
Then she releases “The Lead Single” from said effort and you still take the safe road (like all critics and reviewers do with this celebrity) and say ” I am still waiting to see what direction she takes” What does that mean?? What are you waitng for again? How can the lead single from an effort “not represent” the intentions of the celebrity. Clearly it does!!
And producing music that sounds like Katy Perry is obviously the direction. Why are we color coating this? I am amused and bewildered by this emporors new clothes that everyone is so affraid to call what it really is. Hilarious.
This song makes very very clear what Taylor Swifts (and her managements) intentions are. Even if she released “Make The World Go Away” next it would still be clear what direction she wants her career to go.
To suggest you will wait and see is to ignore the fact that this decission had very specific intentions in the first place. And instead of weighing in on that, you are hiding in hopes that something better comes around later.
Cause this ain’t good guys, this ain’t good!
August 16, 2012 @ 8:50 am
btw, I am willing to play all my cards up front and admit that I have never thought this celebrity was any better than a Hannah Montana. It is, wether admitted or not, the exact music that is created and designed in the studio to get young girls to feel “understood”. Which of course is for the specific intent to get them to go out and “buy stuff”.
I just wanted to make sure you didn’t think I was hiding.
August 16, 2012 @ 9:41 am
This is a negative review of her song. Are you telling me this review is not negative enough? How fair is it to Taylor, or any artist or “celebrity” to judge their work before they’ve even released it? And if I did, where would that leave my credibility? I will give my opinion about the other songs when I hear the other songs in the context of the full album and give my overall take. Doing any different would be like asking a jury for their decision based solely on character witnesses before any evidence has been presented. I agree I see the intentions of this single and that is why I spelled them out in detail here and made the title of the article what I did. If you think I am trying to sugar coat anything, then clearly you do not know the history of my opinions about Taylor Swift. If Taylor didn’t write “Mean” about me, then she should have. You can make a good case that I have been her harshest critic over the years. But I believe the best way to be effective with criticism is to be fair with it, and to criticize Taylor, or criticize this album based on 1 song seems a little unfair.
Let her release the album. If it sucks, trust me, I will be the first howling, and there won’t be any sugar on top.
August 16, 2012 @ 9:54 am
I am her biggest hater and troll her boards waiting for the blind swifties to wake up…And most have thanks to this single. They hate it and say how juvenille it is.
99% of her songs are juvenille…
Compare Adele to taylor at age 21…Compare rolling in the deep to this song….
adele kills her in all aspects
August 16, 2012 @ 4:34 pm
“Rolling in the Deep”, of course, is the ultimate “boy-bashing” song (using your own phrase). In fact, Adele’s entire album is about breaking up with her ex-boyfriend. So according to you, it’s great if Adele makes an entire album about a breakup, but it’s an artistic sin if Taylor makes a few breakup songs?
August 16, 2012 @ 5:39 pm
one boyfriend…taylor has gone through so many crushes/boy friends it’s making her look bad.
When you write about every crush and boyfriend something is wrong with you.
August 16, 2012 @ 10:46 pm
I am Biggest Hater of Adele.Adele is so bitchy and ugly.Adele has so many boyfriends,because she has so much money.
August 27, 2012 @ 10:35 pm
Actually Adele wrote that whole album about her ONE ex-boyfriend. The whole entire album was dedicated to one man. Now that takes a lot more balls to dedicate your entire album concept on just one relationship breakup, whereas Taylor needed a whole gaggle of exes of past breakups to write ONE song.
August 16, 2012 @ 10:02 am
Ok, in fairness, I don’t know your site very well and I am not familiar with previous discussions about Miss Swift.
It does make sense that if one were to take into context all you have said in the past that it does not bare repeating and yo ae waiting for the whole album to come out to talk about the whole album. I meant to talk specifcally about the single itself and that it had a great deal of intention all by itself about where Taylor and her handlers would like to go. We don’t need 16 songs to have it made clear. This one “lead” makes it clear enough.
But of course to discuss the album makes no sense until it comes out.
But I just feel like this single was such a leap in an obvious direction that to say “I am gonna wait till the album comes out to decide how I feel” is kind of ignoring the elephant in the room.
I am a musician myself and I don’t wish to knock musicians who are putting their work out there. Its all good. But I don’t feel like there has ever been a very clear line between Taylor Swift the singer/songwriter and Taylor Swift the Marketing tool.
So I try really hard to listen to what is in front of me and ignore the “who is she dating thing”, and for me, aside from some attractive melodies (which I am not convinced are always hers) and some clever lyrics (which many girls pen in JrHi) I am overwhelmed by the amount of consideration her artistic output is given when you consider songs of her start with lines like “Today was a fairytale I wore a dress, you wore a dark grey t-shirt, Today wa a fairytale.”
Paint it anyway you want but that is not art to a musician.
August 16, 2012 @ 4:27 pm
I suggest you go listen to “Dear John”, “Never Grow Up”, “Last Kiss”, “Back to December”, “Ours”, “Come in with the Rain”, “White Horse”, “Fifteen”, “Breathe”, “The Best Day”, “Crazier”, “Cold as You”, “A Place in this World”, or “Tim McGraw”. While you’re at it, take a listen to two songs Taylor wrote when she was just 13: “The Outside” and “Tied Together with a Smile”. “Today was a Fairytale” wasn’t even on any album of hers.
And for the record, Taylor wrote all of the songs (including all of the melodies) by herself, without any co-writers. Even in the past when she has co-written, her co-writers have primarily served as editors, with Taylor doing the bulk of both the lyrical and melodic work, according to the co-writers themselves. Taylor has always been primarily a songwriter. In fact, she was a professional songwriter at the age of 13, before she even had a recording deal.
The fact that you ignore all of this and focus instead on “who she is dating” reflects poorly on you, not on Taylor.
August 16, 2012 @ 4:40 pm
There’s a sucker born every minute.
September 14, 2012 @ 9:51 pm
Just want to make a quick correction to this post to preempt future readers who might wish to correct me. I meant that Taylor Swift wrote all the songs on the Speak Now album (including lyrics, melodies, harmonies, etc.) by herself, without any co-writers. On her debut album and on Fearless, she had co-writers on many of the songs.
August 17, 2012 @ 10:03 am
Oh, please! Cut the crap! Triggerman is right- this song is not that great but it is still too early to say that this is what her her album will be. Franky that take of yours is ignorant as hell. I see it as a good marketing strategy. Yeah…song is not up to the usual high standard of Taylor but releasing this obviously serves a purpose. To get pop-radio back in her corner and get more international success. Looks like she is succeeding in both fields. Pop-radio updates are huge even now after the Clear Channel deal is over+ she is topping Itunes in staggering 29 countries!!!!
Sure she loses artistic credibility and country support with this move, but they obviously feel like this was a risk worth taking (maybe because the other material is just so in-your-face good). When she comes back with a great second single she has an audience twice as big as now or even bigger because of the international exposure. Second song hits hard showing incredible maturity and having country sound- critics/country format jumps back onboard in a second.
Taylor get wins all around.
Just my theory. Lets see how it goes.
August 16, 2012 @ 10:42 am
Shania can sing, taylor cannot. Shania was in a league of her own and still am.
She could of sold 20 million records plus sold millions of her songs on I-tunes had it existed.
I hate the fact that I-tunes was not around when so many other singers could be holding the records instead of Rihanna, Black Eye Peas, Taylor, and others…
But the physical sales of white christmas will never be touched.
August 16, 2012 @ 1:20 pm
are you related to Shania or something?
August 16, 2012 @ 11:01 pm
Jason Aldean’s new single is also so pop.Country Music’s Commerce is getting worse and worse.It is the real reason
August 17, 2012 @ 12:03 am
By the way, your review has made it into the Wikipedia page for the song:
I think this is the first time that your review of a mainstream song has appeared on Wikipedia.
August 17, 2012 @ 10:08 am
lol…its not an achievement. Any fool can edit Wikipedia articles. 🙂
Probably some Carrie fan felt like it was needed to gather some negativity there as they are so insecure with their own stars success.
August 20, 2012 @ 8:14 am
i take exception to your comment abou” some Carrie Fan must have left”. You are right about only one thing. Most Carrie fans appreciate an artist that gas real vocal abilities. I was curious enough after hearing just how awful Taylir’s new song is that I was searching out other opinions. Unlike the Swift trolls who delight in posting nasty comments on every Carrie video to the point where there are some that have multiple accounts for that reason. I have seen enough hatred from Ricky Benson, Ricky Beeson and a whole lotmore that are the same person to last me a lifetime. I am not a kid. I love music and at 63 grew up with the Beatles and moved through every genre except disco…could not do that. My only criteria for an artist is that they be able to sing. I know us faithful Carrie fans follow her, but trust me, we are not for the most part kids that go around leaving negative comments like it will matter. It can be hurtful to fans when some knucklehead that is obsessed with all things Taylor, Kelly or whoever will just not allow that there is room in the industry for more than one talent. I admit to giving Taylor a chance as a kid ad even went so far as buying my grandadaughter her album for Teardrops on my Guitar. She is now 18 and unlike Taylor has matured so she moved on to various other country and pop artists and turns the radio off when Taylor comes on. I do not like the idea that you are on here saying that any time a negative comment is made, it is a Carrie fan. Trust me, Taylor has as many detractors as those that love her. I have heard nothing good about her on mainstream country in quite some time. Just watch wgere you throw your barbs. Noticeother than saying I don’t care for it, I am not critiquing it. I will leave that to those of you that are “studying her” . I am just an average listener that has been buying music for 50years, I do not pretend to know music, just know that I like my vocalists to ave real talent.
August 17, 2012 @ 6:55 am
There is nothing wrong with the melody of the chorus; it does its job well, and could be used in a number of appealing ways.
But the production as a whole reaks of Tween Drama Queen, and may explain the awkward interview. Taylor obviously just did what she was told on this, and may be fearing it a big mistake in a number of ways.
Although probably a hit in the short term, the longer term may prove harmful to her perceived and calculated “growth,” maturity, and relevance as she ages. Carly Rae Jepson is 26 with her “Call Me Maybe,” which is another cute Pop, but still more mature than Taylor’s.
This brings back the saying, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
August 17, 2012 @ 10:52 am
Some clever person changed the explanation of her album title on the Wikipedia:
During the webchat, Swift revealed the meaning behind her album’s title: “I have this thing called the Red Plague, that’s where the album title came from. Now I don’t want to scare anyone by saying I have this, but it’s true and a big part of my life so I had to name the fourth album after it. The Red Plague was the reason for most of my breakups. To those of you who don’t know much about this plague, I am actually the one who started it along with a fellow girl named Mist (I will leave her last name unsaid.) Basically this album is about my feelings on why I got the Red Plague and how I started it and destroyed my life and boyfriends around me.”
August 17, 2012 @ 1:16 pm
I appreciate the time and energy you are putting into your opinons and research, and I think we agree on about 90%, but this article was not written for you per se, it was written for someone who is sitting on the fence about Taylor Swift, or curious of why she put out such an immature song. It is my opinion.
I understand there’s been an arc, I’ve just been surprised that having moved on to fake outlaws like Jason Aldean and Justin Moore who RICHLY deserve all the shots you’ve taken at them for the harm they’re doing to the world of country music, it felt like Taylor was getting excused. But, the above quote made me understand where you’re coming from. Thank you for your patience.
That being said, Taylor wrote Mean about Bob Lefsetz. Sorry. It’s spelled out in her little lyric clue (“I thought you got me” or something like that) – Bob Lefsetz was an early ally, she won him over with a phone call (maybe more) in which she explained she doesn’t sing with live autotune despite what he had heard, then he ripped her for her awful Grammy performance with Stevie Nicks, calling it a career ender. It was not, but it sure has sealed her reputation as a vocalist, even today.
The singles from Speak Now did a lot worse than those on Fearless. I”™m not sure that “The Story of Us” even charted on the Billboard Hot 100?
Grace, you actually made my point for me there. You’re talking about their Hot 100 performance which is heavily influenced by the performance of Taylor’s singles on pop radio, much more than mainstream country radio. It’s absolutely true that the Speak Now singles fared worse than Fearless singles at pop, as in CHR, Hot AC, and AC, and that is why she has released a pop song in a desperate bid to get back into the top 5 of the pop formats and get higher Hot 100 position. The statistics that I provided were of her single peaks at mainstream country radio, which she knows she can take for granted.
I also agree with Jacklantern that Taylor’ll be back with something more country with the next single and people are going to be expected to be oh so relieved that the 2nd biggest female pop star in the world deigned to release a country song to country radio.
In fact, People Magazine had the vast majority of the exclusives.
No, US Weekly got the exclusive very Taylor-friendly take on the break up.
Of course Maggie Gyllanhaal wouldn’t farm out her children for a photo op. She’s not the one who arranged that one. The US Weekly cover pictures were very much staged, and were widely called out as such. It doesn’t seem like you understand the way showmances are supposed to work. They involve selective tip offs to the paparazzi, “sources” leaking exclusive key details about the relationship’s seriousness to the tabloid of choice, and setting the story in motion. US Weekly got the tip off on what the narrative was supposed to be: Jake was supposed to be Taylor growing into a more mature relationship, unlike those teenage boys she’d previously dated. Not People. Of course People covered that “relationship” too. But make no mistake about which tabloid was given the key role in promoting it.
Practically every singer-songwriter in history mines their personal lives for song material. Taylor just gets more criticism for it because she”™s very famous and we”™re watching her live her life in real time.
No, Taylor gets more criticism for it because she handles it in a very hypocritical way. She insists all her writing is personal and very authentic, plays coy about who the songs are about while leaving fairly obvious clues in her lyric booklets, and therefore eagerly feeds into the tabloid culture by encouraging interest and speculation about which famous person her songs are about. Like I said, notice that Adele managed to way connect to a MUCH wider audience of music fans without sparking any interest in who she was writing about? Taylor is either incapable or unwilling to do that.
Meanwhile 2 of those “relationships” she was or is writing about were conveniently timed showmances complete with photo ops that involved tip offs to the paparazzi, designed to promote album/movie releases. Where’s the authenticity in that?
It doesn’t make her a bad pop songwriter. I don’t find there to be anything wrong in writing about a fantasy love life as long as you’re not going around claiming you’re oh so authentic.
August 17, 2012 @ 1:55 pm
You are making some very far-out assumptions without any evidence to back them up.
First of all, her love life is absolutely none of our business. Second, how in the world would you know if a relationship is a “showmance”?
August 17, 2012 @ 4:28 pm
You’re very naive.
August 17, 2012 @ 5:07 pm
Can’t think beyond one-liners, can you?
August 17, 2012 @ 5:24 pm
Alright folks, let’s agree to disagree. Nobody wants to see the back and forths! Thanks!
August 18, 2012 @ 1:43 am
No, you’re wrong. Go back through the news archives. People broke the break-up story (as well as their initial date, their weekend to Santa Barbara and Jake’s visit to Nashville). Us Weekly did get the first paparazzi pictures (although there had been camera phone pics previously) but paid handsomely for them. Of course ‘sources’ were speaking to the tabloid media. That’s just the way things work in 2012, unfortunately, for all stars of all levels of respectability. No celebrity publicist doesn’t try to shape the story.
You argument about the codes in her lyric booklets is flawed because Taylor used them on her very first album when, as she later admitted, she hadn’t yet had a serious relationship and certainly hadn’t dated any celebrities. She has always maintained that the codes encourage fans to buy a physical copy of her albums and to pay attention to lyrics. And the codes are cryptic – “Loved you from the very first day” etc.
August 17, 2012 @ 6:13 pm
Just one last comment, I read back what I said and realized this part “Bob Lefsetz was an early ally, she won him over with a phone call (maybe more)” might be read the wrong way. I meant maybe more than one phone call, because I think Lefsetz may have alluded to more than one phone call but don’t remember and was too lazy to look it up. I did not mean to imply anything more than a phone call had happened and I hope nobody took it that way.
August 18, 2012 @ 1:46 am
You’re right, they had several phone calls, which Bob documented on his blog. He seemed quite won over by her (at the time!).
August 17, 2012 @ 9:35 pm
this sounds just like Bob Log III’s Boob Scotch song…weak.
August 18, 2012 @ 10:22 pm
Goodness gracious. Lets spend less time hashing and re-hashing a lame release by a pop-country pop-tart and more time focusing on the business at hand. Corb Lund just released a fantastic album. I gave it a first spin tonight and I like what I heard.
More Corb Lund. Less Kardashians.
August 18, 2012 @ 10:24 pm
Been working all day on my Corb Lund review. Will hopefully have it posted tomorrow.
August 20, 2012 @ 11:56 am
Well, I’ve never been a Taylor fan, but I also understand where she fits in the scheme so, with that, I’m not supposed to be a Taylor fan. I, like Trigger said in the blog, find myself humming a Taylor tune in my head sometimes, that is what pop music does.
However, I did start to think that Taylor was going to mature and maybe, just maybe, start to bend the trend back to traditional country. However, this song is not only two steps back, but 5 or 6 steps back in her career. Although, I’m not going to crush her for making a tune that gets some nice radio play. After all, she is in the top 40 music class, so something needs to make the radio or else she is worthless to a record company. And we have seen some of our favorite artists cut songs that are “radio safe” to get by.
Then, Taylor is getting old by music industry standards, but she is only 20ish. So we might be a good 5 years from her actually getting beyond the bubble gum break up song. She is no Tanya Tucker out of the gate to sing about relationships well beyond her years, so we will just have to listen to more bubble gum, but it won’t last forever…ever.
August 20, 2012 @ 11:59 am
Oh, please realize when I said ” And we have seen some of our favorite artists cut songs that are “radio safe” to get by.” what I meant by “get by” was not financially, but the fact Taylor has to cut some songs that make radio play so her record company can rake in the cash, and by doing that deed, she may get a little more freedom with her other songs.
August 20, 2012 @ 4:42 pm
Holy cow, all this for that! ( I had to go elsewhere to hear the big deal new song because all the links are gone). I admit I could not listen to all of it. It sounded fake and seemed like the only time it was her was the talkie singie stuff.
I am as tired of hearing about her as I am of the current political situation. BUT, am always willing to give the benefit of doubt. There is no doubt, she still can’t sing.
August 29, 2012 @ 4:39 pm
Not surprisingly, this song dropped from No. 13 to No. 18 on the country chart (according to Billboard) because Clear Channel stopped giving it the hourly plays that it got in its first week. Kenny Chesney had the same problem with “Feel Like A Rock Star”, which started out just as high and peaked at No. 11. This one, I don’t see it going much higher because she ignored her so-called ‘base’ format and released the ‘pop’ mix as the main mix rather than the so-called ‘country’ mix. This could end up being her “Cry”, frankly.
September 9, 2012 @ 11:46 am
This guy has done a cover of it: http://youtu.be/WqhONkgxYx4 This kid covers everyone from Maroon 5 to Chris Brown, and now Taylor Swift.
When someone who can actually sing does it, it actually becomes kind of a fun and catchy pop song…
I’d never want to hear it on country radio, but Pop, Rock, or Top-40? Why not?
September 9, 2012 @ 7:39 pm
It shows just how simple, monotone-ish and sing songy her stuff is when someone who could actually sing does it. I always hear her as a chanter not a singer.
I appreciate what you are saying and agree.
September 9, 2012 @ 9:22 pm
Actually, one of the great things about Taylor’s work is that her songs have real music and melody, unlike the vast majority of pop singers today who specialize in catchy, monotonous “music”. WANEGBT is a real anomaly for her in that sense, which is why I believe that it is by far the worst song that she’s ever released. The following songs provide a much better representation of her work (you can check these on YouTube):
Never Grow Up
Come in with the Rain
Forever and Always (piano version)
Untouchable (this is originally a monotonous hard-rock song that she turned into beautiful acoustic music)
Fearless (acoustic version)
Teardrops on My Guitar
Cold as You
Tied Together with a Smile (she originally wrote this at the age of 13 or 14)
A Place in this World
Unfortunately, Taylor’s label has failed to fully showcase her musical ability as the label has focused on releasing her catchiest songs to radio instead of her truly best songs. However, even her radio singles, with the glaring exception of WANEGBT, are better than at least 90% of the songs on pop radio today.
September 9, 2012 @ 9:27 pm
Eric, I wish you hadn’t worked so hard on your post. If I am in a store or anywhere her music starts to play, I have to leave. It’s like nails on a chalk board to me.
September 9, 2012 @ 9:38 pm
I didn’t have to work hard at all! I know the songs from all of her albums off the top of my head.
As I said, her radio singles are not reflective of her best music. If you listen to some of the songs that I listed (especially Dear John, Never Grow Up, Cold as You, and Come in with the Rain), you’ll be surprised at how good the music in those songs are compared to the music in her radio singles.
September 9, 2012 @ 11:19 pm
While what you say is plausible, I’ll either have to take your word for it, argue against it, or actually listen to Taylor Swift and form an educated opinion.
That last option is unacceptable, and not because I have anything against education.
From that list you posted though, I’ve heard the following:
Fearless (I hate this song in particular with a passion, might be because it was my ex-girlfriend’s ringtone though, lol)
Teardrops on My Guitar (though I’ll admit it was well-written, and might be her most “country” song to date)
The only Taylor songs I’ve heard that I remotely liked were “Mean” and her doing a live, acoustic cover of “Lose Yourself” by Eminem at one of her concerts, simply because I cracked up every time she said “YO!” and she actually carried a tune for once (I was shocked). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLWpyRAaybU (Not kidding, it actually was entertaining.
September 10, 2012 @ 1:22 pm
Yeah, that Eminem cover has got to rank as one of her most hilarious concert moments!