Tour Talk: Camila Cabello and Charli XCX are the opening acts for the reputation Stadium Tour

This is a reputation stadium tour update, Taylor Nation 🙂

The Blonde With The Sparkly Snake Microphone broke her media silence to announce the opening acts (or two of them at least) for the reputation Stadium Tour. They are pop artists Camila Cabello and Charli XCX.

They’ve got a tough ‘act’ to follow.

The Sparkly Dressed had Kellie Pickler and Gloriana as her openers back in the Fearless Tour (2009-2010). Christian rock band NeedToBreathe opened during The Speak Now Tour (2011-2012). Ed Sheeran was her opener during the Red Tour (2013-2014). Finally the 1989 World Tour (2015) had Vance Joy as the opening act. And here’s an update about what they’re all up to today.

Kellie Pickler joined Dancing With The Stars and won back in 2013 with partner Derek Hough. Kellie started to host a daytime show called Pickler & Ben with comedian Ben Aaron in November 2017.

Gloriana disbanded. They lost band member Cheyenne Kimball in July 2011. Rachel Reinert departed in January 2016. Tom Gossin started touring solo in 2017.

NeedToBreathe still tour, they opened for Faith Hill and Tim McGraw’s Soul2Soul World Tour 2017. They had their song “Multiplied” nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song in 2015.

Ed Sheeran has 13 Grammy nominations and four Grammy wins. He’s still putting out music and of course, cooperated with Taylor Swift as recently as the “End Game” song and music video.

Vance Joy recently released his second studio album in February 23, 2018. He won the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) award for best male singer back in 2015.

Coming up on the Calendar!

  • May 8: Taylor Swift’s reputation Stadium Tour begins in Glendale, AZ.

(Sources: Taylor Swift via Twitter)

The reputation prologue: Enjoy the Silence. An Editorial.

I’ve never heard silence quite this loud, Taylor Nation 🙂

The Story Of Us
(Source: Big Machine Records)

Yeah, you knew I was going to use that quote. I’m glad to be back firmly on Taylor Swift subjects. The last two posts were either very personal or rather uncomfortable to write. Now we’re putting the Sparkly Dressed back in the spotlight with a subject that might seem related to the last post, but actually it’s broader than that.

Simply put, Taylor Swift is keeping to herself lately. She’s been economizing her appearances to a few. Yes, she did the Christmas concerts on December last year, but she’s done zero interviews. Before we start with the opinions, let’s have the Blonde With The Sparkly Snake Microphone gives us some insight via the most telling of sources: the introduction/prologue printed in the album sleeve of reputation. At least this gives you a place to look it up online if you ever need to 😉

Here’s something I’ve learned about people.

We think we know someone, but the truth is that we only know the version of them they have chosen to show us. We know our friend in a certain light, but we don’t know them the way their lover does. Just the way their lover will never know them the same way that you do as their friend. Their mother knows them differently than their roommate, who knows them differently than their colleague. Their secret admirer looks at them and sees an elaborate sunset of brilliant color and dimension and spirit and pricelessness. And yet, a stranger will pass that person and see a faceless member of the crowd, nothing more. We may hear rumors about a person and believe those things to be true. We may one day meet that person and feel foolish for believing baseless gossip.

This is the first generation that will be able to look back on their entire life story documented in pictures on the internet, and together we will all discover the after-effects of that. Ultimately, we post photos online to curate what strangers think of us. But then we wake up, look in the mirror at our faces and see the cracks and scars and blemishes, and cringe. We hope someday we’ll meet someone who will see that same morning face and instead see their future, their partner, their forever. Someone who will still choose us even when they see all of the sides of the story, all the angles of the kaleidoscope that is you.

The point being, despite our need to simplify and generalize absolutely everyone and everything in this life, humans are intrinsically impossible to simplify. We are never just good or just bad. We are mosaics of our worst selves and our best selves, our deepest secrets and our favorite stories to tell at a dinner party, existing somewhere between our well-lit profile photo and our drivers license shot. We are all a mixture of our selfishness and generosity, loyalty and self-preservation, pragmatism and impulsiveness. I’ve been in the public eye since I was 15 years old.On the beautiful, lovely side of that, I’ve been so lucky to make music for living and look out into crowds of loving, vibrant people. On the other side of the coin, my mistakes have been used against me, my heartbreaks have been used as entertainment, and my songwriting has been trivialized as ‘oversharing’.

When this album comes out, gossip blogs will scour the lyrics for the men they can attribute to each song, as if the inspiration for music is as simple and basic as a paternity test. There will be slideshows of photos backing up each incorrect theory, because it’s 2017 and if you didn’t see a picture of it, it couldn’t have happened right?

Let me say it again, louder for those in the back…

We think we know someone, but the truth is that we only know the version of them that they have chosen to show us.

There will be no further explanation.
There will be just reputation.

Taylor Swift, reputation

Yeah, the Enchantress sounds kinda fed up with the misinformation around her name. So much so she’s put the world on a diet of her words, her responses and her reactions.This also means no Taylor dancing in the front row of the award show, unfortunately! 😦

She does however appear here and there because she’s usually booked four years in advance, a factoid I learned some years back (if you must know, I legitimately tried to get an interview with the Sparkly Dressed and obviously failed).

Hence, Taylor has some commitments she has to honor such as her British Vogue cover photoshoot and her appearances in AT&T’s Taylor Swift NOW. Other than that she’s done only performances. She really won’t mind meeting fans, but the closest thing that she has had to a late night appearance was on the Tonight Show. I think that was a personal favour for Jimmy Fallon who was coming back after a leave of absence due to his mother’s death. Even then, Taylor only did a low key performance of “New Year’s Day”.

Take this with a grain of salt, but I do expect Taylor to ease up on the hush-hush policy as her tour starts. If you want to talk character, Taylor might be the only artist capable of pulling a move so financially risky as limiting her exposure during an album release and a tour ticket sale and still have the fans remember her name.

(Now resisting to quote “Long Live” here…)

I do still expect certain mainstays in the reputation Tour. She should still have her meets and greets as well as some new incarnation of the T-Party / Club Red / Loft ’89 from tours past. The Rep Crib. Rep Station. Rep City. Who knows…

The point I am trying to make, and I do have one, is that although Taylor doesn’t seem to be talking to radio stations, late night shows, daytime shows, magazines or any media hubs, she will not stop talking to her fans. And hopefully she gets to meet a whole new batch this tour.

Coming up on the Calendar!

  • May 8: Taylor Swift’s reputation Stadium Tour begins in Glendale, AZ.

(Sources: Taylor Swift via her reputation album)

Review Corner: Liz Huett covers You Don’t Know How It Feels

Liz actually knows how it feels.

Hello Lizettes and Lizards! Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who’s got some delayed posts still being written, we’ve been made aware that ninjas don’t write. They’re still good at disappearing when there’s work to do and eating up all the cake, but as it turns out these are not things that are particularly useful to maintaining a blog.

But let’s get to why we’re all here, shall we? Take it away, Liz!

liz-huett-you-dont-know-how-it-feels
(Source: LizHuett.com)

The inimitable Liz Huett has just released a new song, a cover version of “You Don’t Know How It Feels” made famous by Tom Petty. The song is recognizable, albeit the lyrics of the first verse have differences, but there’s something about the way it sounds that gives it a different edge, a compromise with the song that makes it personal. This could be just Liz’s talented voice but the I also believe it’s a shift in tone. You truly believe both lyrics and melody as intentional and as driven as it she had written them herself.

Liz Huett’s version of “You Don’t Know How It Feels” is available here.

Coming up in the Calendar:

  • January 28: The 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Taylor Swift is nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media with Zayn for “I Don’t Want To Live Forever” and Best Country Song for “Better Man” as performed by Little Big Town.

End Game: The music video drops

I have my buried hatchets bookmarked in Google Maps, Taylor Nation.

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who gets up in the middle of the night to write rants and music video releases apparently, we think Taylor could’ve included more cities. Then again, Montreal is expecting heavy snow this weekend so perhaps it’s better Tay kept to the big city names.

end-game-still
(Source: Taylor Swift via VEVO)

“End Game” features appearances and talent by Future and Ed Sheeran. The video is directed by Joseph Kahn. It’s really nice to see her and Ed collaborate again and based on the interaction between them you could tell some friendly banter was going on. The video has scenes filmed in Miami, Tokyo and London and feels the need to announce all those cities because… I’m not sure. It’s basically Taylor partying it up yet keeping it cozy with a group of friends. New York City is not included.

Watch on YouTube

Did you notice all the snake references on the video? The straws on the glasses are snake straws. She rides a motorcycle at some point dressed in a bodysuit that has a snakeskin print. At around the 3 minute mark she’s on top of a bar playing the old snake video game.

Does it look good? Yes. Does it tell a story? No, but let’s be honest neither did the song. It’s literally about big reputation – or simply put, fame. I will say this, she seems to be having fun and it never seems like she’s trying to stand out. She’s always just part of a group of friends, and I hope that mirrors her real life (although my big theory for this album is she’s no longer trying to share her life with the public).

Coming soon! The 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Taylor Swift is nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media with Zayn for “I Don’t Want To Live Forever”. She also gets a nod for writing the Best Country Song for “Better Man” as performed by Little Big Town.

Coming up in the Calendar:

  • January 28: The 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Taylor Swift is nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media with Zayn for “I Don’t Want To Live Forever” and Best Country Song for “Better Man” as performed by Little Big Town.

(Source: Taylor Swift VEVO via YouTube)

The Weekly Rant: Why I dread the album’s first singles

This wasn’t the post that I was writing, Taylor Nation.

Taylor-Swift-Official-20171212
(Source: TaylorSwift.com)

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who always have his mind a little too busy with thoughts, I often will start writing something and get stuck. The solution usually ends up being writing something else which hopefully I can write all the way to a conclusion. In case this was not evident, this one’s the latter.

I have a complicated relationship with Taylor’s singles. More often than not the first singles released from her albums didn’t turn into favourites. I wasn’t a big fan of “You Belong With Me” from Fearless (*). I didn’t like “Mine” from Speak Now. I could barely stand “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”. I first hated “Shake It Off” from 1989. I still cringe when I hear “Look What You Made Me Do” from reputation.

(*) Update: My mistake. “You Belong With Me” wasn’t the first single from Fearless. “Love Story” and “White Horse” came out first.

Now for the casual listener, that sounds like I don’t really like Taylor Swift’s music, doesn’t it? Those are not the songs that make a fan out of me, though. Some have grown on me, some I’d rather skip.

All those are the first singles that came out from each album. The only exception remains “Tim McGraw” from her self-titled album (that song is a timeless favourite). Every other first released single was made for radio play, and more than likely has a bit of an earworm quality to it. That doesn’t necessarily make them the best that Taylor has to offer.

And that’s for me the unfortunate truth. Casual listeners will listen to the first single and tune off. How many casual listeners have listened to Fearless’ excellent “White Horse” winner of two of Taylor’s first Grammies? What about Speak Now with amazing tracks like “Dear John”, “Last Kiss” and the anthem of anthems “Long Live”? What hardcore fan doesn’t know Red‘s fan favourite “All Too Well”? 1989 literally is full of hits.

Thankfully, nothing else in reputation sounds like “Look What You Made Me Do”. Sorry, I do know that sounds harsh! But for me it was a welcome relief when I started to listen to the album and the tracks kept getting better and better.

So, why I’m not a fan of her first singles? Is it the earworm quality? Is it the radio-friendly pop melodies? I’m not sure. It’s very frustrating to me since I can empathize with the casual listener who believes they have a firm grip on what Taylor “sounds like” but have never heard a deep cut like “All Too Well”. I really hope one day you’ll give them a listen.

Coming up next year! The 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Taylor Swift has two nominations. No, no, no, chill! Taylor’s reputation is not eligible yet. It will be eligible for 2019’s (wow that is a long time to wait). She is nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media with Zayn for “I Don’t Want To Live Forever”. She also gets a nod for writing the Best Country Song for “Better Man” as performed by Little Big Town.

Coming up in the Calendar:

  • January 28: The 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Taylor Swift is nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media with Zayn for “I Don’t Want To Live Forever” and Best Country Song for “Better Man” as performed by Little Big Town.