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.

A healthy mind. An Editorial.

TS1989_STYLE10This one is going to be a little personal, Taylor Nation.

Note: I meant to post this on January, when Bell did their mental health awareness campaign, but I wasn’t sure it was ready. At this point, I don’t think it will ever be ready. I’m just going to post it as it is and hope for the best.

First of all, let me do a disclaimer. I’m not a healthcare professional in any capacity. I’m a blogger in the internet with his own mental health baggage. I am not claiming to know everyone’s case and scenario. I just want to talk about it because I believe that it affects a lot of people. It will be different for you, so I can only speak from my point of view. I can tell you the one thing that everyone has in common: it’s not going to go away just by ignoring it.

There are many people that suffer from mental illness. They’re not cured by just chilling out, they are not cured by snapping out of it, they are not cured by just willingness to stop being worried or sad. They need treatment and support. They also need elements in their life that bring them joy.

You can easily make the mistake of just living for your favourite thing in life and neglect the rest. It’s not always obvious. I’m still a person that would attend class, do assignments, go to family meetings, see friends, go to social events. But I learned how to squeeze through. I learned what was the minimum effort require to get the borderline acceptable results while applying the less amount of attention. It’s amazing how a lot of people think of you as an excellent student because you once were and don’t notice that you’re doing marginally good enough to still be considered good with a slight dip. It’s a downwards slope that you won’t even notice you’re on.

Anxiety is a constant struggle. You worry about things you shouldn’t. That usually means you have things that really need your attention while stress consumes you about some inane choice you may have taken a decade ago. I often revisit my life, find a point in time in which I went zig instead of zag and endlessly debate of how I could be so stupid. Ever imagine the worst case scenario? I do that, then I imagine the fallout and then I can’t stop stressing about a fictional scenario for two days. A completely imagined issue and I’m worrying about consequences that I’ll never face.

Depression is related but different… For me it kinda simmers in the background, a layer underneath all layers. It’s like your life and your hopes and your dreams walk on this layer of ice that could make you slip at any moment. It’s like a background noise. You learn to control the volume to the point where you can barely hear it and then drive your attention to something else. I know it’s still there, but I focus elsewhere.

You’ve heard that saying that goes “you can fool some people some of the time, but not everyone all of the time”. Without knowing, you are an expert in fooling yourself most of the time so make sure you’re ever vigilant. Listen to other people, and have people that will listen to you. Make good friends that are part of your life, and I mean the part of your life that happens offline. Your support group should not be comprised of people that you only see through a screen, it should be people you see in real life.

And if ever it gets too much for you or you don’t know how to start, please make sure you get help.

Related links:

 

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!

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(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.

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(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.

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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.