Fandomites, I did took a little too long to get to this one.
The truth is, I have very little to add to Brian Hiatt’s interview of the Enchantress for Rolling Stone, the October 2019 issue. It’s a solid piece, although I did read his past entry in 2012, Taylor Swift in Wonderland. I think the writer was more involved in the past one and puts a little more distance here. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just obvious that he relates to Taylor a little less. It’s still as in-depth as you would expect.
Unfortunately, in-depth interviews have a byproduct. They’re often sources where quotes can be taken either in context or out of it to create Taylor Swift Think Pieces. These are articles done by a third publication that use a quote or an answer from Taylor and elaborate on it. Case and point, don’t be surprised to find posts about how Taylor won’t forgive Kanye (talking about the phone call thing…). Taylor really opens about it in the article, but it’s really old news to us. Let’s move on to happier things, please…
The transition from 1989 to Reputation to Lover is particularly interesting. The article even calls it a trilogy at some point. Lover does feel like a redemption arc.
In some ways, on a musical level, Lover feels like the most indie-ish of your albums.
That’s amazing, thank you. It’s definitely a quirky record. With this album, I felt like I sort of gave myself permission to revisit older themes that I used to write about, maybe look at them with fresh eyes. And to revisit older instruments — older in terms of when I used to use them. Because when I was making 1989, I was so obsessed with it being this concept of Eighties big pop, whether it was Eighties in its production or Eighties in its nature, just having these big choruses — being unapologetically big. And then Reputation, there was a reason why I had it all in lowercase. I felt like it wasn’t unapologetically commercial. It’s weird, because that is the album that took the most amount of explanation, and yet it’s the one I didn’t talk about. In the Reputation secret sessions I kind of had to explain to my fans, “I know we’re doing a new thing here that I’d never done before.” I’d never played with characters before. For a lot of pop stars, that’s a really fun trick, where they’re like, “This is my alter ego.” I had never played with that before. It’s really fun. And it was just so fun to play with on tour — the darkness and the bombast and the bitterness and the love and the ups and the downs of an emotional-turmoil record.
She also discusses the thing with Scott Borchetta… That still hurts. Remember we fans also trusted him. It’s obvious to me that Taylor reserves most of her resentment for Scooter Braun. Still, Borchetta she trusted, Braun she did not. So Borchetta’s betrayal does hurt the most. I’d rather not quote that here.
The Blonde With The Pastel (Fuchsia, Amber, Lavender… take your pick) Guitar also has put some political protest in Lover after all. And it’s in one of my favorite songs.
How did you come to use high school metaphors to touch on politics with “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince”?
There are so many influences that go into that particular song. I wrote it a couple of months after midterm elections, and I wanted to take the idea of politics and pick a metaphorical place for that to exist. And so I was thinking about a traditional American high school, where there’s all these kinds of social events that could make someone feel completely alienated. And I think a lot of people in our political landscape are just feeling like we need to huddle up under the bleachers and figure out a plan to make things better.
And of course she discusses the heat she took for not getting involved. To be honest, I know how much it would mean to people if she had but I’m kinda relieved she didn’t… Because I think she’s right, some people just hate her so much that they would’ve dragged her name even more.
Were you just convinced that it would backfire?
That’s literally what it was. Yeah. It’s a very powerful thing when you legitimately feel like numbers have proven that pretty much everyone hates you. Like, quantifiably. That’s not me being dramatic. And you know that.
There were a lot of people in those stadiums.
It’s true. But that was two years later. . . . I do think, as a party, we need to be more of a team. With Republicans, if you’re wearing that red hat, you’re one of them. And if we’re going to do anything to change what’s happening, we need to stick together. We need to stop dissecting why someone’s on our side or if they’re on our side in the right way or if they phrased it correctly. We need to not have the right kind of Democrat and the wrong kind of Democrat. We need to just be like, “You’re a Democrat? Sick. Get in the car. We’re going to the mall.
There’s some light banter on Taylor being a fan of Game of Thrones but I like the fact that she took the role of Daenerys as a woman in a position of power so dear to her heart. She obviously identifies with that – to the point of referencing as a business woman.
You’ve been masterminding your business since you were a teenager.
Yeah, but I’ve also tried very hard — and this is one thing I regret — to convince people that I wasn’t the one holding the puppet strings of my marketing existence, or the fact that I sit in a conference room several times a week and come up with these ideas. I felt for a very long time that people don’t want to think of a woman in music who isn’t just a happy, talented accident. We’re all forced to kind of be like, “Aw, shucks, this happened again! We’re still doing well! Aw, that’s so great.” Alex Morgan celebrating scoring a goal at the World Cup and getting shit for it is a perfect example of why we’re not allowed to flaunt or celebrate, or reveal that, like, “Oh, yeah, it was me. I came up with this stuff.” I think it’s really unfair. People love new female artists so much because they’re able to explain that woman’s success. There’s an easy trajectory. Look at the Game of Thrones finale. I specifically really related to Daenerys’ storyline because for me it portrayed that it is a lot easier for a woman to attain power than to maintain it.
Even after skirting the banter about Daenerys going to the dark side in the end, she feel obliged to re-clarify on an obvious joke. To be honest, that was Taylor’s right. The banter and the jokes around woman becoming unhinged with power are really over in today’s age. So I’m glad she didn’t play along here.
Well, I guess we should be glad you didn’t have a dragon in 2016. . . .
[Fiercely] I told you I don’t like that she did that! But, I mean, watching the show, though, maybe this is a reflection on how we treat women in power, how we are totally going to conspire against them and tear at them until they feel this — this insane shift, where you wonder, like, “What changed?” And I’ve had that happen, like, 60 times in my career where I’m like, “OK, you liked me last year, what changed? I guess I’ll change so I can keep entertaining you guys.”
You can read the entire interview here.
Coming up in the Calendar!
- October 3: Taylor Swift appears on NBC’s The Tonight Show.
- October 5: Taylor Swift is the musical host on Saturday Night Live. Phoebe Waller-Bridge will be hosting.
- October 19: Taylor Swift performs at We Can Survive 2019 at the Hollywood Bowl.
- November 10: E! People’s Choice Awards. Taylor Swift is nominated for four awards.
(Source: Rolling Stone. Featured Images: Erik Madigan Heck for Rolling Stone)