The Weekly Rant: The fifth album and the quote that wasn’t

(Photo: TAS/Getty Images for TAS)
(Photo: TAS/Getty Images for TAS)

I hope it’s nice where you are, Taylor Nation.

I haven’t done a rant in a while, so let me inform you what this is about. There’s a lot of things that sometimes happen during the week… or the last month. I don’t post it about because they’re not news, they’re not enough of an item to fill a post. My intention is to just group them up and then write a lengthy post fill with just my random thoughts. So this will be a very, very long post.

Lately¬†most of the news are pictures of the Sparkly Dressed by the paparazzi when she’s just going about her day. I don’t condemn or judge the sites who posts those pictures, I’m glad to see her too. I’ve posted those¬†in the past. Nowadays, I prefer to have a news item associated to the picture I’m posting. The paps’ pictures feel a bit too intrusive sometimes. Taylor will Instagram often anyways.

Instagram has become a beehive of activity lately (cool segue, eh). The Queen of Sparks has been liking and commenting on fans’ pictures which has prompted a lot of denizens of the Taylor Nation to post and tag her incessantly. I can’t blame them for trying to get her attention. I also¬†understand if you’d rather put a filter on your Twitter client (Twitterbot for Mac has a good filter feature) to prevent getting spammed by¬†the Instagram postings on your feed. No offense ūüôā

T-Swizzle has been seen with a bunch of friends lately, models, actresses, singers and other close friends. She has been wary of been seen with any boys whatsoever. You’d think that would stop the tabloids from coming up with incredibly ludicrous rumors. Nope. She has a new ally though. After years of working with Paula Erickson as her public relations representative or publicist, she is now working with Tree Paine. Tree has been swift¬†to tweet and discard false rumors when they appear. This is hopefully the beginning of a beautiful PR career. We wish the best to Paula and her future projects.

And speaking of future projects… The biggest one coming up is the fifth album of the Princess in Red. So far in albums we’ve had her debut album Taylor Swift¬†with her name, a state of mind with Fearless, a personal advice with Speak Now, and a color wrapped up in emotion with Red. So obviously the next one is… no idea. If we go back to December (which we do all the time – ok ok I will stop) last year, people started seeing a lot of flowers in her pictures from Australia and I saw more than a few tweets saying that it would have something to do with roses. Just remember anything you hear has no basis and it’s wild speculation.

However one tweet a few weeks ago send everyone in a fit of emotion. Mainly because it came from Brian Mansfield, Nashville correspondent for USA Today:

There are two things about the quote in this tweet that I want to highlight: 1. It’s a brilliant quote and compliment on Taylor’s fifth album. 2. He didn’t say it. Yes, it’s an amazing quote but it was said by someone else who had listened to the songs, not Brian. It’s a great quote that I wish I’d written (yes, I just called myself a writer – deal with it) and props to whoever said it.

It would have a great impact if it had come from Brian because he’s written a lot of music reviews professionally. It doesn’t, which minimizes the effect. This quote does not constitute his¬†opinion on the new album because:

He has not listened to any of it. This is not a rant against the album or Brian. He was clear enough in his statement. I just want to point out we just have the opinion of an unknown third party.

For the record, I do want to hear Brian Mansfield’s opinion and read his review after¬†he hears the album. Because obviously I can’t do¬†it before he does. That should be obvious to everyone, but sometimes it isn’t.

Now that we’ve cleared the air, the quote itself is great. It implies a progression in the Enchantress’ craft, so if we take the word of this person we can only guess this is a new evolution in Taylor Swift’s music. I don’t expect a departure at all. For me the strongest experimental album from Taylor was¬†Speak Now. She took many chances with that one. From¬†Speak Now to¬†Red¬†the progression is a bit more linear, with more emphasis on the sound production.¬†Red also solidified her pop sound with Max Martin and Shellback collaborating as producers.

If this is a progression rather than a departure, I’m a bit wary on the sound production having too many thick layers. I’m talking about sound effects – bells and whistles. In pop songs, some are so saturated with them that the artist¬†needs a background track during a live performance. I’m not talking about auto-tuning, I’m talking about the band.

The Agency is not the band that plays on Taylor’s albums although a lot of times they’re invited to participate for certain songs.¬†Red has Amos Heller’s bass and Elizabeth Huett background vocals for a couple of songs.

I really don’t want the sound behind Taylor to be so manufactured that recorded effects become necessary. Live performances are basically one-takes and their imperfections add the¬†spice that makes a live performance memorable. I’ve always enjoyed the little moments in the live concerts when The Agency gets their time to shine. You will never get to hear David Cook’s piano intros for¬†Treacherous¬†in the album.

That’s why sometimes I love live albums a lot more… but I wouldn’t if I had not heard the studio¬†album. I’ve praised every studio album, with the genius of Nathan Chapman to back them up. I’m a bit more reluctant to accept Max Martin and Shellback, but I trust the Blonde With The Sparkly Guitar. After all, she knows a lot more than any of us do about how to be her very best.

I’ve been writing this blog for a while. One of my New Year’s resolutions as a blogger is to be more selective about what I¬†write. Believe it or not, this also means award shows.

Taylor’s tally for the iHeartRadio Awards (you could vote for her nomination in several categories) resulted in two indirect nominations. She is a featured artist with Tim McGraw on the ¬†Best Country Song nomination for “Highway Don’t Care” and her fandom, us, the Swifties (I still prefer to call us the Taylor Nation since I feel it covers all fans both old school and recent). I’ll report any wins, but all the same I’m not going to be able to watch the show and she’s not scheduled to perform or appear.

The Enchantress has an large number of nominations for the World Music Awards. Sounds impressive but… this award¬†basically nominates¬†everyone in the world¬†for¬†everything. Their whole schtick is basically nominating every single possible artist. Don’t believe me? Go vote for Best Female Artist. There are more than 200 nominations. You will have to scroll several pages to find Tay even if¬†you use the continent filter (no, I’m not kidding). It kinda dilutes the value of the award. There was no ceremony held the last three years. I will give them this: they do nominate artists from all over the world.

Since at this point we’re doing a bit of a news update, Taylor has won two Radio Disney Music Awards. Well, one really. She won for Best Musical Mashup for “Everything Has Changed” featuring Ed Sheeran and the Swifties (Taylor Nation!) won for Fiercest Fans. Good for her (and us) but again, not an award show I keep bookmarked. No offense.

Ok, I’m out of breath now. Congratulations on getting¬†this far. I’d send you a T-shirt but I don’t have any. I can only hope the sun shines and it’s a beautiful day.

Coming up on the Calendar!

  • May 18:¬†The¬†2014 Billboard Music Awards¬†air live ¬†on May 18 on ABC at 8pm ET.
  • May 30:¬†The RED Tour in Shanghai, China at Mercedes-Benz Arena.¬†More information.
  • June 1:¬†The RED Tour in Tokyo, Japan at Saitama Super Arena. Tickets on sale¬†March 29.¬†More Information.
  • June 4:¬†The 2014¬†CMT¬†Music Awards.
  • June 4:¬†The RED Tour in Jakarta, Indonesia at MEIS (Mata Elang International Stadium). Tickets on sale¬†February 24.¬†More Information.

(Sources: The Swift Agency, Brian Mansfield via Twitter)


2 thoughts on “The Weekly Rant: The fifth album and the quote that wasn’t

  1. So I used to read this blog peripherally but now I’m doing it religiously. I love that you, by your nature, counter the image of the fan site webmaster with no life. Also I totally agree with your hopes for album five. It’s also why I love live albums and wish BM would just release the RED TOUR CD/DVD ALREADY.

    1. Honestly, this is one of the best comments I have ever received. Thank you!

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