The Silence Breaks Again: Taylor gets political

Today is never too late to be brand new, Taylor Nation.

Where do we begin here… It’s 2018 and Taylor Swift just got political on instagram. The Blonde With The Sparkly Guitar decided to finally talk about the issues that matter most to her, because although she states that she might agree with everything any of the candidates stand for, she can’t vote for the candidate that is opposed to her own personal values. Although I stated that we’d only get political once, Taylor has put the subject on the table again. This is happening.

This is going to be a good thing and a bad thing. She’s going to be criticized for being silent for so many years, although she has already been vocal about a few of these issues. I expect there will be a lot of vitriol sent her way so I am glad that the US Leg of the reputation Tour is over. That timing can’t be accidental. I know she’ll get criticized for that too, but I’m actually thankful for it. So, what did she say that was so terrible again?

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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

In a single post, Taylor stated her support for women in office (just not this woman in particular), her belief that systemic racism exist, her support for LGBTQ rights and the fact that discrimination against sexual orientation is wrong. Please note that although she opposes the Republican candidate, her endorsement for the Democratic one was not fully sparkling. “For a lot of us,” she writes. “We may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway.”

That is the sentiment that I think I share most of all. Even here in Canada, I don’t always find the best candidate to vote for and often have to align with the one that at least doesn’t outright wants to deny rights to people because they come from another country, belong to a different race, have a different belief system or love who they want to love. The day will come where these subjects will be universally accepted and not issues for political divisiveness, but before than can happen we will have to have days like these.

Taylor spoke her mind about something she believed in, and it is a political topic because of her own values. Values that I admire as well and I don’t really consider part of politics until someone decides that they’re going to oppose them for some reason. It’s not much of a choice for me then. I can’t vote against myself. Fortunately we do get more than one party, but even then sometimes all their candidates are weak and you still have to vote for the one that will not make you live like a second class citizen.

She’ll get a lot of flak for this. I can imagine people unfollowing her and burning CDs or whatever. At least we can bury all the crazy theories about nazis now. Don’t get me started on why we have to worry about nazis in this day and age.

The Sparkly Dressed is up for Artist of the Year, Tour of the Year, Favorite Female Artist Pop/Rock and Favorite Album Pop/Rock for the American Music Awards. The show is live on ABC on Tuesday, October 9th. The most important thing you need to know is that she is attending and performing as the opening act. She’s actually supposed to unveil a live performance of “I Did Something Bad” which is a song I’d really like mainstream to get stuck in their heads just so they know Taylor can still make bops.

The Enchantress is also up for three People’s Choice Awards with Female Artist of the Year, Concert Tour of the Year and Social Celebrity of the Year. The show airs Sunday, November 11th.

Coming up next in the Calendar:

  • October 9: The American Music Awards live on ABC. Taylor Swift is nominated for Artist of the Year, Tour of the Year, Favorite Female Artist Pop/Rock and Favorite Album Pop/Rock.
  • October 19: Optus Stadium. Perth, Australia.
  • October 26: Etihad Stadium. Melbourne, Australia.

(Sources: Instagram. Featured photo credit: Taylor Swift via Instagram)

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)

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)

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:

 

Look what you made me write. An editorial.

I’ve got a list of names too, Taylor Nation. Tomatoes, peppers… Wait, this is my grocery list. Never mind.

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who’s committed to write about things a little bit deeper, we’re doing one of those critiques that not everyone enjoys. First of all, I don’t think that you do any favors as a fan when you accept everything blindly. I prefer to think that a smart fan is the one loyal because they like their artists (I don’t like to use the word “idols”, sorry it makes me cringe) with flaws and all.

That being said, the following critique is not on Taylor Swift as a person. I don’t know her as a person, I’ve only known her as an artist. I might take a stab at thinking I can guess her frame of mind when she wrote a particular song, but that’s as close as I think anybody can get. The only think I can criticize is her work, her craft. It will still be my opinion, and therefore it might miss the target for a mile. That being said, this is on her musical persona, not her personal identity (I might have to explain that one a bit further).

“Look What You Made Me Do” is the first single from her album Reputation. Unfortunately, its biggest flaw is repetition – a rather constant cliche in pop music to repeat the same lyric over a familiar beat so it can be easily learned. The beat in the chorus is a re-sampling from Right Said Fred’s “I’m too sexy”. Honestly, that doesn’t concern me that much as the monotone repetition. That’s not an accident, it will probably end up as club music with a quick remix. Taylor may not frequent clubs as much, but Kanye, Kim and Katy might have a cheeky DJ play this song in their faces the next time they step into one.

The choice of the phrase for the chorus and the track’s title have been pointed out in this Bustle article as being part of domestic abuse speech. Yes, but you are taking the phrase out of context here. We allow other songs to exist which glorify violence in context so I find selective criticism a bit askew. Lots of songs use suggestively charged titles that out of context mean trouble just to get our attention. This one is not even one of those situations. That being said, if you want to use this as a mechanism to bring awareness about domestic abuse, it’s a worthy cause and I’m not going to stop you.

I actually have more problems with the other repetitive phrase in the bridge which is in context: I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me. There’s anxiety and depression in that phrase. Be careful repeating it – don’t let that seep in. I know what I’m talking about here. For the same reason, I don’t like Taylor laughing at her own death.

That’s Taylor Swift the musical persona, the one in the video as a corpse, as a jewel-bathing millionaire, as bike gang leader and as Snake Queen. I think Taylor is taking some actual distance between herself and her image. That allows her to be extravagant with the way she presents herself artistically but she’s keeping her private persona in private from now on.

By the way, there is a list of names. Every single artist that tours several times ends up with a list. It’s got the names of every stalker fan (no, not you – real stalkers) that has been judged as a risk (a bit too cuckoo for coco puffs if you get my drift) to attend or be too close to Taylor. It’s the kind of people that security keeps an eye on when they show up. For the record, I don’t think I’m in there, but I know I’ve been recognized.

Finally, here’s the other thing about both video and lyrics that I’m not quite a fan of – it makes the song a little too meme-friendly. Now, memes are everyone’s favorite thing. Viral phrases and selected situations re-played and parodied over for everyone’s amusement. This might be Old-Man-Swift talking (and to be real, that’s true for the whole article), but it does seem to unintentionally endorse gossip and scandal reporting. In other words, I fear this will reward gossip lovers everywhere. It will also encourage fans to follow gossip from now on.

I believe that Taylor might have given in too much here. Even the video is a little too TMZ-friendly for my taste. The song itself has too many hints towards you-know-whom. I really would’ve preferred she’d taken the high road instead. I think that’s the reason this song sounds like it does. It’s a club song with a message to someone. It’s as close as a diss track as she’s ever made (and I hope she doesn’t have more). I’ve got high hopes for the rest of the tracks because overall this one is not in my favorite list.

In the end, I just hope there’s something in Reputation that is not meta. I prefer non-club music, not explicit made for Pop Radio and more lyrically complex that a simple phrase played over and over. To put in other album’s terms, I think LWYMMD is the “Bad Blood”, the “Better Than Revenge” song of the album. Now I want to hear the “All Too Well”, the “Clean” equivalents. Unfortunately, if history repeats itself, they won’t get to be singles. We’ll have to discover them when the full album drops.

Coming up in the Calendar:

November

  • November 10: Reputation, the new album by Taylor Swift is released!