To the Pop Power: Taylor’s songwriting essay for ELLE

Forget UFOs, the most complex conspiracy theories are behind TS7, Taylor Nation.

(Source: Quentin Jones for ELLE UK Magazine)

What we got today is no less valuable. The Mother of Fighting Dragons With You has penned a personal article for ELLE UK magazine describing in essay form, what she sees as the current status of Pop music.

(Source: Quentin Jones for ELLE UK Magazine)

Some years back, actually a lot of years back, someone said of shy and humble T-Swizzle, and I am paraphrasing: “Taylor Swift is the only person that doesn’t know she’s Taylor Swift.” Feel free to let me know who the quote belongs to, although it might be stated differently. Let’s call this my inspired re-phrasing. What that meant, is that Taylor would not be one to take her fame for granted, or even believe the level at which she had achieved it.

It’s an endearing quality, but once you’re going for the top, some self-awareness of the pull of your brand is necessary. You can’t keep going without knowing where you are. Taylor can call herself no less than a professional successful songwriter and even that sounds too little for an artist of her stature. Nowadays, she is fully aware of where she is and she’s willing to acknowledge it. There is no false modesty in her writing, only real modesty because regardless of how much she changes, she stays the same in more ways than one.

(Source: Quentin Jones for ELLE UK Magazine)

“Iā€™m highly biased,” writes the Blonde With The Sparkly Guitar. “But I think that the way music can transport you back to a long forgotten memory is the closest sensation we have to traveling in time.” She’s not alone in that theory. Most of us that have lived a considerable time in Earth have a reverence for nostalgic moments. Flavour, smell and sounds takes us back. Music is one of those magical flux capacitors capable of vividly calling back a moment from an age ago.

She’s also a believer of a common superpower that the Swift fandom attribute to music: the healing power of a particular song. “Iā€™m convinced,” she writes, “that ā€œYou Learnā€ by Alanis Morissette, ā€œPut Your Records Onā€ by Corinne Bailey Rae and ā€œWhyā€ by Annie Lennox have actually healed my heart after bad breakups or let downs.”

(Source: Quentin Jones for ELLE UK Magazine)

I’m sure she’s heard the same of her own craft. So many songs of the Sparkly Dressed have nursed broken hearts back to health. I know, there’s video of fans telling her exactly that. I’ve also heard that countless times said by other fans, both young and old.

“The fun challenge of writing a pop song is squeezing those evocative details into the catchiest melodic cadence you can possibly think of. I thrive on the challenge of sprinkling personal mementos and shreds of reality into a genre of music that is universally known for being, well, universal.”

In that, she is the proper example and the mistress of communication. You can relate to a Taylor Swift song without having the same experience, just because you know the little details that can make it true. It’s like a depiction that you can only bear witness if you’ve been there, but that you can also recognize without being the one who experienced it.

Just for added illustration, let me give you some examples:

  • “There’s somethin’ bout the way the street looks when it’s just rained. There’s a glow off the pavement, walk me to the car” – “Fearless” fromĀ Fearless, 2008. She’s literally describing the floor, and yet she’s evoking a moment in your head with a familiar detail.
  • “See me nervously pulling at my clothes and trying to look busy” – “Story Of Us” fromĀ Speak Now, 2010. Running into an ex after a break up is not fun. You also forget what to do with your hands. She might as well be directing actors on a stage play here. It’s all in the details.
  • “‘Cause there we are again in the middle of the night.Ā We dance around the kitchen in the refrigerator light” – “All Too Well” fromĀ Red, 2012. This should struck a chord if you’ve ever been in a relationship. Even if you haven’t, everyone has a refrigerator and has opened it in the middle of the night. Then we’ve made ourselves a sandwich. Okey, that last part might just be me.
  • “We’re so young but we’re on the road to ruin.Ā We play dumb but we know exactly what we’re doing.” – “New Romantics” fromĀ 1989, 2014. The dynamics of young love and drama are captured almost flawlessly. “Life is just a classroom” indeed.
  • “Dive bar on the east side, where you at? Phone lights up my nightstand in the black” – “Delicate” fromĀ Reputation, 2017. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been in a dive bar on the east side. This framing might as well be the start of a movie scene, or an impromptu night out.

Also, no idea what T’s last instagram post with one heart means ā¤ļø

iheart-awards-2019-tour-of-the-yearComing up in theĀ Calendar:

  • March 14:Ā The sixth annualĀ iHeartRadioĀ Music AwardsĀ returns Thursday, March 14,Ā 2019Ā live on FOX at 8/7C. Taylor Swift will receive theĀ Tour of the Year. Also, theĀ video for ā€œDelicateā€ is nominated forĀ Best Music Video. Swifties are nominated forĀ Best Fan ArmyĀ presented by Taco Bell.

(Source: Taylor Swift via ELLE UK Magazine, Featured photo by Quentin Jones for ELLE UK Magazine)

One thought on “To the Pop Power: Taylor’s songwriting essay for ELLE

  1. This is a great essay! I love how thoughtful Taylor is, too, whether she’s writing lyrics, poetry, or other prose. And I love that you included examples of her lyrics that showcase how much detail she puts it to her music and how that makes it personal to her experiences, but still relatable to her larger audience of listeners. I’m really excited to see what she does on TS7. šŸ™‚

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