The Weekly Rant: The one about politics

You probably guessed this was coming, Taylor Nation.

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(Source: Big Machine Records)

The Sparkly Dressed is not a political figure. She does her civic duty, such as showing up for jury duty. She registers to vote, votes and encourages you to go vote on social media. She’s never disclosed her personal preference… In other words, she’s never hinted at favouring the Democrat or the Republican party. I’m also going to add she’s also not a supporter of the Nazi party either because… someone thought it was ok to accuse her of being a Nazi? Seriously?

Right after the 2008 presidential elections resulted in Barack Obama being elected, Taylor Swift seemed pleased with the result according to an interview with Rolling Stone published in March 5, 2009. “I’ve never seen this country so happy about a political decision in my entire time of being alive,” she told Rolling Stone. “I’m so glad this was my first election.” That was close as she ever got to endorsing a candidate, although you could argue she was just celebrating the electoral process.

But then we get to the 2016 elections and for some reason, a lot of people that do not identify themselves as fans of the singer-songwriter took issue with the fact that Taylor Swift never disclosed who she voted for. They also took issue when Taylor tweeted about the Woman’s Day march on January 21st, 2017: “So much love, pride, and respect for those who marched. I’m proud to be a woman today, and every day. #WomensMarch

She didn’t attend the march herself. I know she was chastised by some people (no, her fans didn’t turn against her) because of that. However, I wonder if those same people would have thought ill of her attending thinking she’d make it all about herself. You know what happens when Taylor Swift shows up in a crowd? Don’t tell me you don’t think that would be exactly what would happen here. People would freak, and a lot of critics would chastise her for making that day about herself. Taylor is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t.

It’s no secret that Taylor remains politically neutral. Back in an interview with TIME magazine published on October 19, 2012 she said about politics:” I follow it, and I try to keep myself as educated and informed as possible. But I don’t talk about politics because it might influence other people. And I don’t think that I know enough yet in life to be telling people who to vote for.”

Taylor’s political silence has been taken in all the wrong ways by the internet. Websites have floated theories of Nazi affiliation or being secretly a Trump supporter by isolating lyrics or imagery from Taylor’s music videos.

I guess we’re in an era where the truth has taken a back seat to ‘I can totally get away with it’. Listen… I am both Canadian (that country up north with the ham and the maple syrup) and Ecuadorian (very small country that you could drive through in less than a day) so I don’t have anything to do with the U.S. of A, but to give you the full disclosure I am not a fan of Trump. I don’t really push that in this blog because that’s not its focus, I am making a brief exception today.

I want to give people the benefit of the doubt, not everyone fits the mold – specially when it’s the other side of the aisle setting the stereotype. I will say that lately there are really bad people that the president should distance himself from. I do condemn him for that (and a few other things). It’s problematic enough to hear other people praising him.

Taylor can attach her name to commercial enterprises and garner publicity and a boost in sales, which is the reason her name is carefully managed by her team. That’s because she’s attained a status of an icon, which means what she says carries weight. That weight can be positive or negative but most of the times it is both. Anything that Taylor says is taken negatively even when it’s meant to be positive. You can’t even use allegories, sarcasm or irony these days because everything needs to be dumbed down.

Note: By the way, I reserve the right to use allegory, sarcasm, irony, parody, mockery, wit and refuse to dumb down to anybody’s level because I have this crazy delusion to think of myself a writer and the luxury not to be a public person.

To add more to this fire, Taylor has decided to do something new for the reputation Era. She’s keeping silent. I am writing another blog on that one to spare you a longer rant, but other than scheduled appearances or a few performances, she’s not doing interviews. Not the best timing for this approach.

With a politically charged climate, this feels problematic. Taylor could straighten a lot of things with a statement, or even a tweet. This is where I am on the fence, because although I respect her right to silence, it’s just being interpreted by other people as lending credence to the baseless statements said about her. I know if Taylor made a statement they’d still hold it against her even harder than before. I know it all too well.

Silence will follow.

Coming soon on the Calendar:

  • May 8: The reputation Stadium Tour kicks off at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Glendale, AZ.

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

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

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(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.

 

Happy 28th Birthday, Taylor Swift!

She’s 28, Taylor Nation.

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who’s getting too old to use the same excuse, we were no spring chicken when we started. The fandom has grown older with the Sparkly Dressed. Or perhaps we have stayed young because of her.

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(Source: Lily Aldridge via Instagram)

I can’t resist posting this picture of Taylor, Lily Aldridge’s daughter Dixie and… Meredith?? That cat can be very temperamental. Sometimes not even Tay can hold her. Guess Mer makes exceptions.

Back in the day, she was a young role model for young girls and they knew it. Nowadays, she’s still an artist followed by the young and not-so-young. Some of those fans have graduated, some have gotten married, a few have kids. Even the ones of us that started older have had our lives changed in one way or another. Now after some health issues and a mortgage, we’re not that lively or that financially free to follow along but we’re still there in some shape or form.

I have to say one of the best realizations that I’ve had is that you’re never a fan alone, and you shouldn’t. It takes one event, one concert, one coincidence for you to meet another fan and connect. It happens a lot faster if you go into social media.

And then there’s the lot of us who use her for inspiration. Mine is writing. Hence, exhibit A… Err… You’re looking at it. It’s this blog.

Keep reading. I’ll keep writing.

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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.

Z100 Jingle Ball, Capital FM Jingle Bell BallComing up in the Calendar:

  • December 13: Jumping to the pool from the balcony…
  • 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.

(Sources: Instagram)

Behind the Blog: Eight years and still writing…

And so it goes, Taylor Nation.

Taylor Swift’s critically acclaimed sixth album reputation was released on November 10. Starting tomorrow (December 1st), it will be available on all streaming services.

Something else happened on November 10th, but back in 2009. That’s the first day I started writing about Taylor Swift and The Agency.  Back then it was the Fearless Era and Taylor Swift had hosted & been the musical guest on SNL for the first time.If you ever want to read how bad was my writing when I first started, you can follow this link here.

Quick trivia: Taylor has appeared in SNL three times to date. She was a musical guest first back in January 10, 2009 with host Neil Patrick Harris (she also participated in her first sketch: She played Annie from the musical of the same name). Her second appearance was she playing host and musical guest in November 7, 2009 (this is her most famous one). The last time was this year in November 11, 2017 as a musical guest.

I used to update that first post when the members of the band changed, but I stopped doing that after Speak Now since I created the Profiles page.

After eight years of writing this blog, I’m still surprised by Taylor Swift. I’m still also annoyed at how wrong some people write about her, which is my motivation to keep writing. Someone has to tell the truth. I’m going to stop here before I start ranting (or perhaps I should say, continue ranting).

Coming up in the Calendar:

  • December 1: Taylor Swift plays the KIIS FM Jingle Ball 2017 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
  • December 2: Taylor Swift is one of the acts for 997NOW’s POPTOPIA 2017 at the SAP Center in San Jose, California.
  • December 5-8: The pre-sale starts for the first US Stadium Tours from Ticketmaster.
  • December 7, 2017: Taylor Swift plays at B96’s Jingle Bash at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
  • December 13: Jumping to the pool from the balcony…

News Update: The Sparkly Dressed and the AT&T Deal

Hopefully in your not-so-wildest dreams, Taylor Nation.

(Source: ATT.com)
(Source: ATT.com)

The Blonde With The Sparkly 1989 Microphone is a little too quiet. Without a new album, new music and no tour coming up, we figure out that T-Swizzle needs to let Sparks Fly somewhere. She’s recently signed a deal with AT&T for several feature performances and content. Described only as multi-facet and multi-year, the first thing in the deal is Taylor Swift headlining the 12th annual DIRECTV Super Saturday Night concert in Houston on February 4th, 2017. The event precedes the Super Bowl the very next day.

According to the press release, “Fans will have access to tickets through a series of exclusive AT&T promotions and campaigns.” Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who might just be a little too paranoid and judgemental about the way people write things, we are quite cautious about the way the word exclusive feels in that sentence. You can’t buy tickets to that event. they will be offered only through promotions, contests and so forth. I’m counting on the Taylor Nation getting some fan offers/codes to get access.

I am glad she will still be able to perform for a crowd, but with limited access to this event getting to be part of that audience is not going to be a walk in the park. Of course, I expect AT&T to film the performance but it would nicer if they could stream it (although chances are that stream will also be exclusive). Okey, sorry to be a negative Old-Man-Swift. I’m cautiously happy about the deal. I’ll call off the ninjas for now.

Coming up next in the Calendar:

(Sources: AT&T)