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)

The Weekly Rant: The one about politics

You probably guessed this was coming, Taylor Nation.

style-video-woods
(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.

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.

Update: I came up with a conclusion after writing an editorial on Taylor’s silence. I’d rather Taylor be wrong about a decision she took on her own volition than she caving in to peer pressure. Therefore, I am no longer on the fence. Regardless on who finds it problematic, I’d rather she does as she believes.

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.

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.

 

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.

tay-meredith-by-lily-aldridge
(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.

Taylor-Swift-Official-20171212

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…