Tonight (11-6) Taylor Swift will be the host and musical guest of Saturday Night Live. Insert your favorite vomit joke here. If I desired, I could operate a daily blog on how Taylor is either not country, or how her handlers exemplify greed beyond all.
Just this week a controversy brewed about how the new “Platinum” edition of her album Fearless is just a loosely guised marketing scheme. The new edition includes a few new songs, but to get them, Taylor’s glitter-faced pubescent fans have to buy all the songs from the first edition that they already have. The Platinum edition also includes, and I quote, “her video collaboration with T-Pain on ‘Thug Story’.” I can’t make this stuff up people, this is what is being done with “country” music.
But what I want to focus on here is Taylor Swift the songwriter. Taylor Swift apologists love to tell us how she writes her own songs, and I don’t want to take anything away from that. This fact is exemplary in the modern pop country landscape. As Nix just pointed on the message board, out of the 128 songs Tim McGraw has recorded, he “co-wrote” two of them. Carrie Underwood’s new album Play On is getting mixed to bad reviews, with the Star Telegram saying: “Although she makes noise in the press about pushing herself and trying new things, the only variable between albums is who helps write songs. “
But Taylor Swift writing her own songs is where my fascination for her music ends, because Taylor writes soul-less, adolescent frap with rehashed themes stolen from Disneyania, that wouldn’t pass at an open mic night at a student union in freshmen dorms. How anyone with a full compliment of pubic hair, let alone some redneck driving around in a truck could enjoy or even stomach this nonsense is beyond me. Taylor Swift is nursery rhyme Hanna Montana bullshit. But let’s not dwell with generalities here, let me name names. For example, Taylor Swift’s song “Love Story,” seen here in an overproduced setting at last year’s CMA Awards:
Please God someone assure me that I am not the first to point out that the play Romeo & Juliet was a TRAGEDY, and not a love story. The period costumes and the fairy tale themes reek to prattling to Disney-induced mindsets that addle our county’s youth, and is a sad and scary testament to the state and adolescent-minded focus of our culture. How this heartless, nubile slush can even pass as popular music beyond the Nickelodeon demographic is bewildering, and disturbing. The rotation on Lite FM doesn’t even stoop this low, of course, unless they play this song. In a word, it is garbage.
Here’s another example. Hold your nose and take a peek:
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that Taylor Swift has built her empire solely on the backs of 15-year-olds. There are millions of others that listen to this, some as a guilty pleasure, and some as flag-waving fans. No wonder the American youth gestation period is now tickling 30. This isn’t inspiring, it is insipid. It is an example of how the American culture is obsessed with youth, so as not to face the ruinous nature of the present day, and how High School is the beginning and end of life in the unhealthy suburban sprawl mindset. If you’re fifteen and you like this, rock on. If you’re older and like it, for the love of God grow up.
Will Taylor Swift’s songwriting mature as she gets older? We’ll see. But in the meantime I have to conclude that there is not one redeeming aspect that I can take from her music, and no, I will not at least say that she is a prodigy for her age, because there is much more stuff out there written by younger people that has soul, depth of lyrics, and hits on eternal themes of the human condition that inspire or awake an understanding in all of us, instead of weaving us into some sort of past-tense nostalgic reminiscence of better forgotten times.
Youth has always dominated the pop scene, and there is nothing wrong with that, and certainly I have no problem with younger people getting into country music. But how about the rest of us? I know it’s not reasonable to think that all kids should be listening to Hank Williams III, but it is just as unreasonable to think that 30-somethings and beyond can get anything from Taylor Swift more that just a unhealthy nostalgic sugar high.
I just wish there was some way to communicate to the masses, that even though you might like pop country, there is so much more stuff out there that you would enjoy more if you just gave it a chance, and your life would be better for it.