The Silence Breaks: Taylor Swift supports Hayley Kiyoko’s romantic narrative

Okey, I might have seen silence quite this loud before, Taylor Nation.

Yes, it was very silent in my Spotify here in Canada as the vertical version of Delicate failed to play! Okey, no… That’s not what I’m on about. I better have a drink of water to wash away this salt. Give me a moment. Ok, I’m good.

Back on March 24th, Taylor broke her silence and made a statement and a donation in support of the March For Our Lives campaign. Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who was thinking what to rant about next, we were not expecting her to go on record and make a second political statement.

Well, sorta on record. It was Tumblr, but there’s little chance that fans were going to miss this one. Singer Hayley Kiyoko had made a statement in which she mentioned how execs gave her grief on casting women in romantic roles in her videos, when she made a comparison to Taylor Swift’s writing about men romantically.

For clarity, here’s Hayley Kiyoko’s full quote via Refinery29:

“I’ve had several music industry execs say ‘You’re doing another music video about girls?’ I literally looked at them and was like, um, yea…Taylor Swift sings about men in every single song and video, and no one complains that she’s unoriginal,” Kiyoko says. “I’m not over-sexualizing my music. I make out with women because I love women, not because I’m trying to be sexy. That’s not to turn heads — that’s my life.”

It doesn’t help that the quote that was picked by a lot of media hubs starts at the name drop and ends right at the “no one complains” while cutting the trailing “…that she’s unoriginal” and the follow up. It was just quoted out of context (I don’t think it was a coincidence and the whole deal seems meant to create clickbait news, but whatever).

Anyhow, some fans saw it as a start of feud and/or criticism. Some fans were quick to see the confusion and so did the Sparkly Dressed. T-Swizzle had the good mind to reply with a rebuttal herself. Taylor did her own rumor control this time.

This might seem redundant, but I’ll transcribe T’s quote here just in case that Tumblr link stops working:

“Exactly. We should applaud artists who are brave enough to tell their honest romantic narrative through their art, and the fact is that I’ve never encountered homophobia and she has. It’s her right to call out anyone who has double standards about gay vs straight love interest.”

Taylor Swift, via Tumblr

She’s supporting the right to make art out of the artist’s own experience, something she’s done herself and that was Hayley’s point. Hayley’s difference is her preference, so why should it be ok for Taylor and not Hayley? I think that is as clear as we can make it.

Now everyone knows Taylor has been silent about most issues (if you expect me to write “political” you’re forgetting almost everything has gone political now) which means that even a little mention on Tumblr is going to blow up. Hopefully for the better, but people will criticize the timing and try to overanalyze an angle where there is none to be found.

Update! Hayley Kiyoko’s reaction on Twitter.

On other news, there’s a new version of Delicate known as the vertical version on Spotify. Some fans, including myself, have not managed to see it except through video captures from other fans but it looks nice. Far more simple, although I suspect a camera crane is involved. Apparently you don’t need to have a premium account, but it doesn’t work on certain locations.

 

Coming up on the Calendar!

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

(Sources: Tumblr, Refinery29, Spotify)

Taylor makes a donation to March For Our Lives campaign

Hello Taylor Nation,

The Blonde With The Sparkly Snake Microphone broke a few rules last Saturday, March 24th. She broke her silence and she also took a political stand. As she announced on Instagram, she made a donation to the March For Our Lives campaign on the day that several students, teachers and parents demonstrated for stricter gun control.

I know this can be a controversial issue for many. I do think there is political middle ground that can be reached. I don’t believe that the current measures in place are enough to prevent violent events from happening in the future. You believe in gun reform? That is great, support it! You believe it should be more about the criminal system and mental health? That is also great, support it! You believe in a measure of both? Also amazing, you know what to do.

I am also glad that Taylor exercised her right to free speech and took a stand in something she believes in. I also know people will judge her for this decision. They’ll want to know why this moment and not before. They’ll want to know how much money was donated just to criticize the amount. They’ll want to tag her into a political affiliation, or say she’s just doing it for publicity. They’ll ask why she didn’t go the march, when you know that if she had shown up she’d be judged for trying to make the day about herself. This time at least, she ignored all that and posted her opinion.

Coming up on the Calendar!

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

(Sources: Taylor Swift via Instagram)

Weekly News Update & Tour Talk: March 18, 2018

Not a lot going on at the moment, Taylor Nation.

The Blonde With The Sparkly Snake Microphone, has kept mostly to media silence except with some necessary appearances. Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who’s steer clear of news based on rumors, we’ve already commented on the possible reasons for Taylor’s silence. At least we did get an update on what she’s been up to in her acceptance speech at the 2018 iHeartradio Music Awards when she won Female of the Year. She is, indeed, on rehearsals for her upcoming reputation Stadium Tour.

Watch on YouTube

And yes, it’s a large-venue-big-cities-only tour. She’s been getting some flak for the stadium venue and ticket price upgrade. Taylor has adopted Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan program where fan club members boosted their place in line via… shopping. I’m sorry, I don’t think this is/was a good plan.

Positively, a lot of scalping was cut down. This has a predictable side effect when combined with the ticket rise: shows are not sold out on the first day. This has been heaven to detractors of the Swift brand which immediately claimed failure. The outcome that both Ticketmaster and Taylor Swift are hedging their bets on is that the shows will sell out at a slower rate, but more seats will be taken by actual fans that otherwise would’ve been sold at ticket reseller sites. It’s a bit of a gamble.

The bigger gamble for fans like me, is the lack of smaller venues. I’m not crazy about large stadiums. However, I recently got a peek at the VIP invite via Just Jared and the stage’s general shape is revealed. You also got to see this if you hunted for tickets through Ticketmaster (although I’m not sure it showed up for all city shows).

Watch on YouTube

Based on that shape of crossed catwalks reaching into the audience from the corners, I have to guess that is a rather large stage. It could potentially give Taylor the ability to walk further and be seen up close by more of her attending fans. This could explain why this is a large venue only tour… She might need the extra space.

That also means, that the amount of fans getting a close up are multiplied and might make it worthwhile. I’m rather optimistic about this. Plus, Taylor usually adds some sort of more-than-meets-the-eye feature (the catwalks for RED and 1989 had some sort of transformation). I’m guessing that it’s her way to compensate since the walking-into-the-crowd segment and the B stage performances are getting really hard to pull. You can’t rise to fame without getting stalkers and security concerns are not just for the star – they’re for the audience as well.

Currently I don’t have tickets or plans, but chances are that I will buy into the hype… A bit unsure to be honest. Like so many other fans, I don’t feel like a good fan for skipping it. As I usually do when I feel conflicted, I listen to a lot of music and see how much gravitational pull the new album has for me. Perhaps I will wait until news start leaking out when the first tour concerts comes along. We’ll see. No, I will not be going for that VIP ticket. That must cost an arm and a leg.

The Sparkly Dressed gave us two clips of her rehearsals for the Delicate video this past week. Have a look. Yes, I’ve heard the comparisons to an ad from Kenzo.  My reference is a lot older: Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice video with Christopher Walken.

Watch on YouTube

Watch on YouTube

Coming up on the Calendar!

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

(Sources: Taylor Swift via YouTube, Just Jared)

The Delicate Music Video: It’s cool she said all that. Commentary.

Dive bar on the East Side, where you at Taylor Nation?

Taylor Swift won the iHeartradio Music Award for Female Artist of the Year. She not only accepted on the spot via video but of course introduced the music video for “Delicate” herself. I think it was the best choice, this was a very, truly personal video. Even a little too vulnerable for an artist of her stature. See for yourself.

Watch on YouTube

The video starts with a closeup of Taylor’s face, a happy but almost contented one. Then it takes us into a typical Taylor Swift day getting back to a hotel (the Biltmore hotel in Los Angeles) and with a lot of fans waiting outside. She receives a foreboding note that seems to sparkle. Although flanked by her impressive bodyguards, Taylor does take the time to take a quick snap with some young fans. That seems to cost her dearly as a crazed page lunges at her only to be tackled by her security.

At this point, this can’t help but remind me of the lyrics of “Lucky One”, but this is one is actually, specifically about Taylor. As she sits inside the hotel’s massive ladies room, Taylor makes faces in front of the mirror. They’re not dramatic, they’re goofy, they’re unappealing, there’s rather bluntness about Taylor in this video. She’s not playing a role, she’s… It’s Taylor herself. And then, the magical note seems to grant her one thing she has not had in an age.

Taylor becomes invisible to everyone but the camera. No, it’s not a genie, it’s not a wish granted, you can chalk it up to magic or whatever plot contraption you want. It’s not the how that the video focus on.

Taylor dances. It’s not an elegant, artistic, dance. It’s a free style, goofy, nobody’s-watching, completely carefree dance. And although you feel a joyful freedom for her being able to do that, there’s an innermost sadness that seems to be expressed here. It’s like this is Taylor, a prisoner of her image all over again.

delicate-music-video
(Source: Big Machine)

As she leaves the hotel and into the streets, there’s a bit of a nostalgic image as she’s literally… dancing in the rain in her best dress… An image that took me all the way back to Fearless and made me smile and cry at the same time. Is that what Taylor can never be again, no matter how much she or other people want her to?

For the final scene, she’s soaking wet walking into a bar with everyone staring. She doesn’t really care, she’s just looking for someone. And when she finds that person, her face lights up.

It’s another video directed by Joseph Kahn, who I know has his detractors due to his personal views, but I’m judging solely on his directorial skills here. I respect other people’s opinions and how some have decided not to watch the video, but it’s Taylor choice who she chooses to work with.

For this video there was no male lead, very little special effects, no robots, nothing special regarding casting and a ton of Taylor dancing. Sometimes, it feels like she’s letting herself flow with the music, other times she has a bit more of a choreography. Nevertheless, it seems like a cathartic moment in the real life of the Sparkly Dressed. It makes me just a little worried about her state of mind, but fortunately she has love in her life and that’s all she needs.

Isn’t it?

Coming up on the Calendar!

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

(Sources: Taylor Swift via VEVO)

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)