Commentary: The Reinvention. Rolling Stone’s in depth interview

(Photo: Theo Wenner / Rolling Stone)
(Photo: Theo Wenner / Rolling Stone)

This one’s worth several reads, Taylor Nation.

Taylor Swift will appear in newsstands on the cover of Rolling Stone for September 2014, but the real goods are inside.  has managed to get an interview that reveals so much inside info into Taylor, her new album 1989 and even the names and the backstory on a ton of new songs that I’m forced to give you a gigantic SPOILER warning here. This is going to be extremely insightful.

By the way, from now on I’m going to start marking articles that comment on other people’s work as commentary to make it clear where the information comes from. This only applies when I’m alluding to a whole article, not to editorials that have one quote.

First of all, we learn every time that Taylor has a project that involves a location or people like fans showing up at a secret location there’s secrecy and logistics involved. And codenames. Project Sparrow was the code for “Shake It Off” (I would have gone for Black Swan). Project Cardinal was the code for the whole fans getting invited to participate in “Shake It Off”. We even learned what happened if you get one of those chances and decided to post the invitation online (No surprise here: you get uninvited).

There’s a very intimate description of the stuff around Taylor’s New York City apartment, including some insider details about at least two of the friends that use the guest rooms. Expect even some insider info about her adventures and misadventures on Rhode Island. I’m not here to reprint the whole article, but just to call your attention to the highlights. Which I’m getting to right now.

(Photo: Theo Wenner / Rolling Stone)
(Photo: Theo Wenner / Rolling Stone)

Here’s what we learned about 1989. It has influences from Phil Collins, Annie Lennox and Madonna’s late 80’s music discography. It’s not finished yet production-wise, but all 13 tracks are there. Max Martin may still be tinkering with the sound.

We already knew T-Swizzle eschews any Country music inclination for pure pop music. Now we get some inside into why with Taylor’s own words: “If you chase two rabbits, you lose them both.” A colorful allegory. The exchange between the star and her label president, Scott Borchetta, is golden. Scott praised the album but asked for three Country songs. Taylor didn’t budge. “Love you, mean it,” she told Scott, “but this is how it’s going to be.”

There’s a bit of a heart-breaker revelation too: she doesn’t plan on attending Country award shows, or promote her album in Country radio. I understand why. She’s dealing with too much hate and vitriol already. It’s time for focus. Like I said in a previous editorial, Pop might not be a bad thing.

Regarding dating, I’m just going to comment on one strong quote from Taylor here.  “I feel like watching my dating life has become a bit of a national pastime,” Taylor tells Rolling Stone. “And I’m just not comfortable providing that kind of entertainment anymore. I don’t like seeing slide shows of guys I’ve apparently dated. I don’t like giving comedians the opportunity to make jokes about me at awards shows. I don’t like it when headlines read ‘Careful, Bro, She’ll Write a Song About You,’ because it trivializes my work. And most of all, I don’t like how all these factors add up to build the pressure so high in a new relationship that it gets snuffed out before it even has a chance to start. And so,” she says, “I just don’t date.” For a moment you can almost feel the pressure and the intensity of the media glare she lives under. I know she’ll be alright, she has lots of friends now, but there’s some hurt there.

Believe it or not, I’m actually skipping over a lot of the article. There is, once again, a mention to her newly discovered stance on feminism. To quote the article from Rolling Stone, all feminism means is wanting women to have the same opportunities as men. Taylor also adds, “I don’t see how you could oppose that.” Dunham actually recaps the whole thing even better: “She runs her own company, she’s creating music that connects to other women instead of creating a sexual persona for the male gaze, and no one is in control of her. If that’s not feminism, what is?”

Another bomb is dropped once Taylor starts talking about specific tracks. Again, remember that spoiler warning? Well, you should’ve known. Here goes:

(Photo: Theo Wenner / Rolling Stone)
(Photo: Theo Wenner / Rolling Stone)
  • I Wish You Would: Apparently it’s about a past fling that bought a house close to hers. So, there are some heartbreak songs in the album after all.
  • All You Had to Do Was Stay: A boyfriend that couldn’t commit. The article makes the assumption it’s about the same person than the previous one.
  • Style: Gee, I wonder who this one is about (sarcasm, people!). The article describes this song as Miami Vice-sounding.
  • Out of the Woods: Another one that seems to be about the same person. There’s an intriguing lyric quote here: “Remember when you hit the brakes too soon/Twenty stitches in a hospital room.” The song was inspired by a snowmobile ride that ended up in the ER. Taylor was “not as hurt.” The incident was kept so top secret that we didn’t know about it until now.
  • Bad Blood: It’s described as Taylor’s angriest song in the album. It’s about another female artist.”She did something so horrible,” Swift says. “I was like, ‘Oh, we’re just straight-up enemies.’ And it wasn’t even about a guy! It had to do with business. She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me. And I’m surprisingly non-confrontational – you would not believe how much I hate conflict. So now I have to avoid her. It’s awkward, and I don’t like it.”

Anybody else think “Bad Blood” may become 1989’s new “Better Than Revenge”?

This subject alone almost merits a whole editorial. The circumstances are different, but still was it wise to go after a fellow artist here regardless of the crime? To tell you the truth, I would’ve have preferred if she didn’t. A lot of people have already made the connection to the singer (I’m not posting her name).

A huge warning here: I don’t allow mean statements about anybody in the comments. No exceptions.

Please go read the original article at Rolling Stone, because despite all my quotes there’s a lot more over there including the retelling of the story of the girl that approach her in a boat during the segment of the interview that happens on a gazebo in Central Park. Also don’t forget to watch Theo Wenner’s photoshoot for Rolling Stone. The official clip is right here:

Watch on YouTube

Here’s the back story from Contributing Editor  regarding his experience just following Taylor Swift throughout the day during her interview:

Watch on YouTube

And now I’m a bit torn here. Do we still report on Country music awards? I know I eventually have to touch on the line-up changes specially in what The Agency is concerned. I’m delaying that as much as I can. At least, I will wait until we see what happens at the iHeartRadio Music Festival. To use an old quote from Taylor, “It’s important that you know that I will never change, but I will never stay the same either.”

(Photo: Theo Wenner / Rolling Stone)
(Photo: Theo Wenner / Rolling Stone)

Coming up in the Calendar!

  • September 19: Taylor Swift performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • September 22: Taylor Swift will be one of the advisors on the new season of NBC’s The Voice according to US Weekly.
  • October 27: Taylor Swift’s 1989 is released.
  • November 5: The 48th CMA Awards.

(Sources: Rolling Stone)