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Taylor’s GQ Interview Commentary: Accidents happen. But careers take hard work.

October 18, 2015
(Photo: Michael Thompson for GQ)

(Photo: Michael Thompson for GQ)

If you don’t get the joke, you don’t deserve the joke, Taylor Nation.

The Forever and Always Fearless One (because there’s no chance of me retiring that nickname ever) talked to GQ magazine in one of those interviews that has it all: ground-breaking, revealing, provoking, sassy, smart and quirky. How exactly does one remain cute and adorable but at the same time strong and innovating is a mystery. Realize I’m not even talking about the pictures yet.

She once again discussed how 1989 did not initially had a lot of support from her label. “But to me,” said the former Princess in Red, “the safest thing I could do was take the biggest risk. I know how to write a song. I’m not confident about a lot of other aspects of my life, but I know how to write a song.” I will give credit to GQ, they do stress her autonomy as the major disclaimer against the usual pre-manufactured mainstream stereotype that prevails upon young acts. To quote GQ’s Chuck Klusterman, “She is in total control of her own constructed reality.” In my opinion, I do feel there’s a constrictive pressure upon Taylor that is Taylor herself on putting out the best image possible.

(Photo: Michael Thompson for GQ)

(Photo: Michael Thompson for GQ)

The article does point out Taylor has two ways of speaking. When she’s preparing the interview, “optimistic, animated, and seemingly rehearsed (even when that’s impossible)” which she uses when she’s on TV, and when she cares more about the message than the words, “chin slightly down, brow slightly furrowed, timbre slightly deeper”. I also have two ways of speaking, one is when I’m answering the phone at work and the other is when I’m talking to friends. I also can bet you have two ways of speaking, because we all do. One is professional (or when you’re answering the teacher at school) and the other is personal. And I bet the professional may sound rehearsed because it’s routinely used while the personal one sounds more… personal.

To quote the author, “she oscillates between the two styles fluidly, because either (a) this dissonance is less intentional than it appears or (b) she can tell I’m considerably more interested in anything delivered in the second style.” I’m going to add (c) because she can see right through you and is testing to see if you are just doing your work or are truly interested in what she has to say. Taylor might be very modest, but she’s usually smarter than the person interviewing her. To GQ’s Chuck Klusterman credit, she’s very revealing and candid in the interview and the article does pay her a lot of justice.

There’s a moment in the interview in which Taylor gets flustered (peeved, perhaps a bit annoyed) at one word that a third party (not named) used to describe her: calculating. The author stresses her voice remained in the “second mode” throughout the rebuttal. She doesn’t like this word at all. Here’s a brilliant quote.

“Am I shooting from the hip?” she asks rhetorically. “Would any of this have happened if I was? In that sense, I do think about things before they happen. But here was someone taking a positive thing—the fact that I think about things and that I care about my work—and trying to make that into an insinuation about my personal life. Highly offensive. You can be accidentally successful for three or four years. Accidents happen. But careers take hard work.”

-Taylor Swift, GQ

(Photo: Michael Thompson for GQ)

(Photo: Michael Thompson for GQ)

You can harbour an illusion that Taylor’s career is prefabricated after that, but I wouldn’t. She is sharp as a freaking laser. She rehearses her moves. Would you call a dancer or a martial arts fighter fake? I would call them prepared. How can you nail a particular move or a jump or a kick without rehearsing? The article’s conclusion is along the same lines of my line of thinking: “So is it unfair to categorize Swift as calculating? Maybe, and particularly if you view that term as exclusively pejorative. But calling her guileless would be even crazier.”

Her guile shows strong when she talks about her infamous explanation for Bad Blood back in that Rolling Stone interview from last year. Taylor knew that the song would be assigned to a person. The “easiest mark” she calls him. And the song was not about heartbreak, but about losing a friend. As GQ points out, nobody thinks the song is about a guy.

But they would have. So I don’t necessarily care who people think it’s about. I just needed to divert them away from the easiest target. Listen to the song. It doesn’t point to any one person or any one situation. But if you’d listened to my previous four albums, you would think this was about a guy who broke my heart. And nothing could be further from the truth. It was important to show that losing friendships can be just as damaging to a person as losing a romantic relationship.

-Taylor Swift, GQ

GQ does point out here that Taylor went on to mention the business aspects of that incident. The dancers that left her tour. The details that will allow people to hone onto one name (yeah, we all thought Katy Perry, but now…) so this could be a historic rewrite. Unless…

Did Taylor Swift troll the entire mainstream media with a false trail of clues?

Or to quote GQ again: “Yet consider the strategy’s larger brilliance: In order to abort the possibility of a rumor she did not want, she propagated the existence of a different rumor that offered the added value of making the song more interesting.”

Why reveal it now? Because it’s too late. Regardless of what she says now about it, the idea behind Bad Blood is already ingrained onto people’s consciousness. Mainstream media will never let it go. People who already formed an opinion are incredibly resistant to change it. Remember, Taylor did not say it by accident. She knew where that would go.

The article has a brilliant ending: “Taylor Swift is 25. But she’s older than you.” And smarter. Way smarter than she will ever be given credit for.

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You can read the full article at GQ magazine. And for the people saying that she should put on some damn clothes on, that is clothes. She is covered.

(Photo: Michael Thompson for GQ)

(Photo: Michael Thompson for GQ)

Coming up in the Calendar!

(Sources: GQ Magazine)


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