Weekly News Update: November 19, 2017

Is it cool that I said all that, Taylor Nation?

Here at the Swift Agency, just another guy who lives in the North Pole Canada, we’re still reeling from the begging of the Rep Era. So, what did we get this week?

  • Update! Taylor’s sixth studio album, reputation (which all promos keep in lowercase) sold 1.216 million copies in the first week! Debuting at the top stop of the Billboard 200, it’s the best selling album of 2017 according to Billboard.
  • The album came out on November 10, 2017 meaning it’s not going to be eligible for the award season just starting right now. Perhaps some nominations might befall the first singles of the album, but we’ll have to wait a year for the album to be eligible.
  • The tour has been announced. It’s officially called Taylor Swift’s reputation Stadium Tour. I’ve already ranted about the possibility this might be a stadium-only tour.
  • If you are interested in pre-sales, you should make an account on Taylor Swift Tix if you haven’t already. You have until November 28. If you do, your pre-sale dates are scheduled between December 5 and December 8. Remember all this information is subject to change, so keep checking TaylorSwift.com and Ticketmaster.
  • The American Music Awards are happening right now. Taylor didn’t have any nominations, but she made a brief video appearance as part of a salute to Diana Ross.
  • Our favorite Partner in Crime, the inimitable Liz Huett, has a released a new music video for h8u. I promise you’ll love it.

Coming up in the Calendar:

  • November 28: The account creation for Taylor Swift Tix closes at 12pm Eastern Time.

(Sources: Billboard, TaylorSwift.com, Ticketmaster, YouTube, Vevo)

h8u: Liz Huett releases new music video!

I think it’s pretty obvious that I need drink right now.

Lizettes and Lizards, the inimitable Liz Huett, your Loveliest Partner in Crime, is killing it. Liz released a new music video yesterday for her latest single “h8u” and if you think she was the Bonnie to your Clyde for “STFU and Hold Me” she’s going all in for this one.

Watch on YouTube

I’ve said it before, but there’s a lot of love for Tom Petty in the track and I feel a vibe for his style on the video with those glasses 😉

I know some are tempted to draw comparisons to the “Speak Now” wedding theme, but there’s a major difference. “Speak Now” was about a wedding being interrupted. Liz’ takeover is more of an invasion. She’s not here to steal the groom. She’s here to wreck the place. And you know you love it.

On other news, Caitlin Evanson is touring with Shakira!!?!! They’re going places, I tell you. We’re overdue for an Agency update soon.

h8u_mv
(Source: Liz Huett via Twitter)

Coming up in the Calendar:

  • November 28: The account creation for Taylor Swift Tix closes at 12pm Eastern Time.
  • December 2, 2017: 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 stadium tours from Ticketmaster.
  • December 7, 2017: Taylor Swift plays at B96’s Jingle Bash at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois.

(Sources: Liz Huett via Vevo)

The Weekly Rant: Is this a stadium-only tour?

I see how this is gon’ go, Taylor Nation.

Or rather I don’t. Are we just going to get stadiums in this tour? Exhibit A:

reputation-stadium-tour

Looks like it. Even on Ticketmaster, the name of the tour includes the word “stadium” and that is a bit concerning to me… If the Queen of Your Heart is willing, I’m hoping for a first round of full stadium concerts and later on smaller venues, just like the previous tours.

But T. S. has already broken old patterns. This is the first album in which there are no secret messages. All bets are off.

She might just go for stadiums only this time. One thing that I feel inclined to remind you about is that Taylor Swift is also a very savvy business woman. In past tours, the stadiums have always gone out first. It’s taken a while to get the arenas and smaller venues right after.

Like I’ve been discussing with a lot of people, I will push for the idea of a second leg but odds are Taylor is not going to cover the same region again. The trucks rarely go back to the same area where they’ve already been (some exceptions stand, where she has had to cancel and reschedule, of course).

Myself, I can’t pile on costs and travel to another city. So when I say that I’m willing to risk it and wait, I really mean that I can’t really afford it unless she’s playing a local venue. The decision is really taken for me.

A lot of people grew up with Taylor. They’re now pursuing higher education, have gotten married, have a kid, lease a car, have a mortgage or whatever. Simply put, life happened. Things can’t happen at the drop of a hat. There’s a lot of things to balance and… Sorry, “Mine”, you’re literally the only song that says this accurately so I have to use you again: We got bills to pay. Sacrifices and compromises have to be made, but we’ll manage something. We hope.

Taylor Swift is not only the person and the artist. The name also represents a very lucrative business and a big machine (pun intented) of sorts. It’s an entertainment company as well. As such, it also seeks financial gain to keep running and maintain its people. That includes not only T-Swizzle herself but her management, PR, agents, representatives and various employees. A tour also requires a lot more people seasonally hired like The Agency.

Note: The Agency is Taylor’s touring band. She often uses them for other engagements but contrary to what you might think, they are not the ones that play in the studio albums (although they have in a few). Some of the fans (including yours truly) have been lucky to meet them over the years. As Taylor’s fame has grown, meeting them also happens less often. Now back to your regularly scheduled rant.

Let me state this: When you go to see Taylor in concert, you are on your free time. She’s at work. She will have more fun if you’re having fun, so she makes sure you will be entertained. It’s still an investment that must have a high ratio of revenue. For that reason, you must also be wise and not necessarily go for complete broke. For you, it must be enjoyable without breaking the bank.

So, smaller venues…? We can only hope. But don’t expect her to cover as much international locales as she did in previous tours. I don’t dare to hope she will consider visiting new countries this tour (a visit to South America would be nice, but seems to never be in the cards).

Ok, rant over. Best of luck to everyone hoping to grab some tickets in your neighborhood.

Remember all this information is subject to change, so keep checking TaylorSwift.com and Ticketmaster.

Coming up in the Calendar:

  • November 28: The account creation for Taylor Swift Tix closes at 12pm Eastern Time.
  • December 2, 2017: 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 stadium tours from Ticketmaster.
  • December 7, 2017: Taylor Swift plays at B96’s Jingle Bash at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois.

(Sources: Ticketmaster, TaylorSwift.com)

The Reputation Era: Let the games begin

Don’t blame me, Taylor Nation. Spoilers up ahead.

Reputation is out now.  It is a razor-sharp crafted product with the drive of a sledgehammer. For some fans this could mean a crossroad. This is also the most distant album sonically speaking from her country roots, there’s no way she’s leaving pop when she’s literally defining it.

reputation
(Source: Big Machine Records)

Here’s where I think this album can make or break you as a fan. There’s a bit of a joyous sense of letting go, as if Taylor had been tasked with the heavy burden of carrying her own image and realizing this is not her anymore. Yes, the old Taylor is dead, but more important she has grown up and so has her songwriting.

Heavy production? Yes. Well spent? Incredibly so, even further more than 1989 and I dare say much more wisely than Red. You can see the emphasis on the rumble for Martin & Shellback and the symphony of feels for when Jack Antonoff brings it. Yet the transitions are almost seamless. I don’t know how I can explain it but once one song is over, the next track just comes in and links you back into the train.

There’s something a little wilder, a little more potent this time around. In both melody and lyrics, the album wants to be played loud. The material is also far more adult, not just because there’s a swear word in there, but because her references are rather varied. Don’t worry, I’m going to explain it further as we go into the track list. Here we go…

“…Ready For It” is the opening anthem. It’s bombastic, it’s got the party vibes flowing, it’s the band playing before the big game. But it’s an opening salvo. It’s tasty but it’s not the main dish. Still, it does pump you up for what’s coming. Notable lines: He can be my jailor. Burton to this Taylor.

“End Game” will please many fans as having a lot more bite. It also brings the talents of Ed Sheeran and Future, which makes it a rarety as the only collab of the album is put in second place. It fits and it doesn’t. It’s more heavy that it is sharp. Lyrically it also talks about reputation, big and bad. It’s good, great even, but if it becomes a favorite that’s because you haven’t heard the rest of the track list. Notable lines here: I swear I don’t love the drama – it loves me.

“I Did Something Bad” is really when we start getting serious. Hitting the chorus here is a revelation, it’s so freakin’ good and seductive that you can’t help but sing and dance by the second time it hits. THIS is when Reputation really starts cutting into flesh. The lyrics here have an edge, they have agency and bad intentions (and yeah, this is the one where Taylor says “shit” for the first time in a song). Notable lines here: They’re burning all the witches even if you aren’t one, so light me up. FAVORITE.

“Don’t Blame Me” has some amazing sounds and some amazing lyrics never before sang on a Taylor Swift song. That includes… Okey, you’re not going to believe this one. Let me start with the notable lines first: Don’t blame me love made me crazy if it doesn’t you ain’t doing it right. Lord save me, my drug is my baby. I’ll be using for the rest of my life. In case you missed that, that’s T-Swizzle using a drug reference in the freakin’ chorus. Now that will make some people’s heads turns, but here’s the bottom line. This song is downright amazing and blows most pop songs you’re hearing on the radio right now out of the water. It has a distinctive raw power that almost has a hint of gospel. Yes, I know that sounds like it makes no sense but hear it first and judge me later. FAVORITE.

“Delicate” has to take it easy. But it’s echo-y whispery voice is deceiving. There’s some edge that lends itself to a very percussion heavy performance. There’s a vibration effect that I’m sure will make naysayers scream auto-tune. However, almost in response you can also hear the next line being sung without any backing and almost muted instrumentation. I would like a little less production used on this one, but it doesn’t deter from the experience. I still like to listen to it. Notable lines: Do the girls back home touch you like I do.

“Look What You Made Me Do” comes right after, and the one thing I can say is that it starts really neatly after the previous one. The transitions between tracks feel seamless. Returning back to this track, well… It’s not my favorite and I often skip it. Sometimes I do let it play but it really doesn’t do a lot for me. Notable lines: Maybe I got mine, but you’ll all get yours.

“So It Goes…” is one of those songs that starts without telling you where it’s going and suddenly it’s sweeping off your feet. There’s a lot of lyrics here, and a little reverb effect that sometimes I love and sometimes would work better being more subtle. Although the chorus is identifiable the moment it hits, it has mini-chorus like in between the verses. Notable lines: I’m not a bad girl but I do bad things with you. Extra notable lines: You did a number on me but honestly baby who’s counting. FAVORITE

“Gorgeous” is a bit more dry. With a little less production, I should like this song more but it has this thing about starting and stopping the melody on every line. It kinda works better on some places better than others. I like the lines that prelude the chorus, but the chorus itself feels just the start of the next verse. Perhaps I need some sleep. Notable lines: I guess I’ll just stumble back home to my cats… Alone… Unless you want to come along…

“Getaway Car” feels like it’s going to be similar than previous song then suddenly the chorus hits and takes you away. I like how the lines right before the chorus feel like a runaway sentence. This is another lyrically rich song that it’s going to take a while to learn and master. Notable lines: It’s no surprise I turned you in cuz us traitors never win. FAVORITE.

“King of My Heart” goes once again heavy with production and almost rap-like verse that I’m willing to forgive because there’s another power chorus hidden inside. Still, it’s a little bit buried in production and heavy effects. I would love a little more words, less reverberation. It’s still pleasing to the ear but feels a little too repetitive.

“Dancing With Our Hands Tied” shares some of the flaws of “King of My Heart” but I’m not as willing to let it off easy because the chorus is not particularly remarkable. It’s a little more of a slow song. I don’t see this one as becoming a particular favorite in concerts unless Taylor can rework it into something more.

“Dress” is a rarity. Taylor almost goes into rap mode during verses and then has to go into her higher registers for the chorus. It’s not her usual trade, but she seems fine with it. This is also another song with references to drinking, which are sprinkled (pun intended) around the album’s track list. Notable lines: Say my name and everything just stops. I don’t want you like a best friend. Only bought this dress so you can take it off. FAVORITE.

“This Is Why Can’t Have Nice Things” is really when we hit the album’s highest and happiest note. This is a song is an anthem that will turn into a mass sing-along anyplace it plays. I really want a super long-version of this song. Notable lines: And here’s to you cuz forgiveness is a nice thing to do… HAHAHA I can’t even say it with a straight face! FAVORITE.

“Call It What You Want” turned out to be a very representative baseline of the album. It’s really more solid both sonically and lyrically. It’s not a party song, it’s not sassy, it’s a lot more grounded. This is really Taylor Swift in love and grown up in a professional sense. Notable lines: I want to wear his initial on a chain around my neck, chain around my neck. Not because he owns me. But cuz he really knows me. FAVORITE

“New Year’s Day” goes acoustic and takes a stab for your heart. It’s pure nostalgia and it’s a little gift from the old style Taylor in both lyric and style. It’s the song being played at closing time, and it’s the album goodbye. Notable lines: Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you. And I will hold on to you. FAVORITE

Sonically cohesive, lyrically evolved and impeccably sounding the album is a masterpiece. Any flaws? Well, I could do without “Look What You Made Me Do”. There’s a couple of tracks where less production would’ve made them shine a little more. But that’s just nitpicking a 15-track album where most of the songs are on a different level. I wholeheartedly would recommend this album to people, but then I remember not everyone is interested or open to listening to it because it’s Taylor Swift.

The truth is that Taylor Swift’s name has become so polarizing a figure that for some of fans she can’t do no wrong while for haters she can’t do nothing right. That means that some people will love this album before hearing it and some will hate it before hearing a single note. It’s too bad, because all they will hear then is probably the single that will play in the radio.

Just like the real thing, reputation has the Taylor you think you see from other people’s careless opinions and the Taylor you get when you listen for yourself. It’s the most honest and personal album, musically crafted with the utmost attention to detail and if you are a fan you owe it to yourself to experience it.

Coming up in the Calendar:

  • November 10: reputation, the new album by Taylor Swift is out now.
  • November 11: Taylor Swift will be the musical guest on Saturday Night Live.
  • November 12: Taylor’s nominated for the MTV EMA 2017. You can vote for Taylor Swift for Best Artist, Best Look, Best Pop, Biggest Fans, Best Video, and Best US Act.

Weekly News Update: November 5, 2017

I’m doing better than I ever was, Taylor Nation.

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who’s still learning the lyrics to “Call It What You Want“, we’re still in awe of the amazing lyrics of this song. Let’s see what happened this past week and, let’s be real here, what’s going to happen THIS week.

  • The new single Call It What You Want is now out.
  • Reputation drops in five days. FIVE. DAYS. This Friday, November 10, the Reputation Era officially begins.
  • On November 3, Scott Borchetta commemorated 13 years of discovering young talent Taylor Swift.
  • On October 30, The CW’s show Supergirl featured Liz Huett’s STFU & Hold Me single during the Girl’s Night scene at Kara’s. It’s playing on the background. No, it never gets to the chorus 😉
  • Mallary Hope‘s self-titled EP is out now. She is now leaning more for inspirational gospel. I wish her the best, even if it’s not my kind of music.
  • The Taylor Swift Store is now offering Rep’ merch.
  • Taylor Swift will be the musical guest on Saturday Night Live on November 11.

Coming up in the Calendar:

  • November 10: Reputation, the new album by Taylor Swift is released!
  • November 11: Taylor Swift will be the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. Yes, I know I just added it as an update right above, but it’s the Calendar. I gotta write it again.
  • November 12: Taylor’s nominated for the MTV EMA 2017. You can vote for Taylor Swift for Best Artist, Best Look, Best Pop, Biggest Fans, Best Video, and Best US Act.

(Sources: Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube)