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.

Taylor Swift to play BBC Music’s Biggest Weekend

I will try not to cough on you, Taylor Nation.

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(Source: BBC)

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who’s got a bad case of a cold/flu, we might be keeping our online activity to a minimum for the time being. I’ll still sneak in to Twitter now and then. Now I gotta go lie down again, sorry.

The Blonde With the Sparkly Snake Microphone will play BBC Music’s Biggest Weekend on Sunday May 27, 2018 in Swansea, Wales. Tickets go on sale February 12.

Coming soon on the Calendar:

  • May 8: The reputation Stadium Tour kicks off at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Glendale, AZ.

(Sources: BBC)

The 60th GRAMMY Swiftlist: Are you watching?

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(Photo: Danny Clinch / GRAMMY)

I’d keep my expectations low, Taylor Nation.

I think nobody outside the fandom has noticed that Taylor is keeping her appearances down to a minimum. She did obliged to British Vogue’s January 2018 cover story. She also did appear in some festive holiday concerts but that’s it. She’s made really close to no interviews, no appearances in talk shows. Yes, she was Jimmy Fallon’s musical guest for his return show as a favour. And yes, she was the musical guest on SNL back in November 11, 2018. She’s mostly let the music do the talking.

And now… The 60th GRAMMYs happen tonight. Taylor Swift’s reputation is not eligible yet. The Blonde With The Sparkly Snake Microphone only has two nominations:

  • Best Song Written for Visual Media with Zayn for “I Don’t Want To Live Forever”.
  • Best Country Song as songwriter for “Better Man” as performed by Little Big Town.

Update: She didn’t win any of them. However, Little Big Town did get Best Country Duo/Group Performance for their performance of the song.

I really don’t count this as a snub. Look What You Made Me Do and …Ready For It? where the only tracks released as singles before the cutoff date of September 30, 2017. I don’t think they were strong enough offerings to be considered for GRAMMY nominations. Call It What You Want is what I would call (pun!) more of a contender but it was released in November.

Given that Taylor has only let the music do the talking, there’s very little chances we’ll see her tonight. Yes, I’d like to be proven wrong, but I think the odds of seeing Taylor randomly dancing in the first row are downright slim. Again, I’d love to be proven wrong here… Hint, hint.

Watching is completely voluntary, of course. According to Billboard, Jay-Z has the most nominations with eight: album of the year, record of the year, song of the year and best rap album. He’s followed by Kendrick Lamar with seven and Bruno Mars with six. All three of them are nominated for album of the year. I love Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic although it would be really sweet for Lorde’s Melodrama to take it, albeit unlikely.

According to Variety, all the male nominees for album of the year were offered a solo spot to perform. Lorde was only offered a group performance of American Girl as a tribute to Tom Petty. That’s kind of awkward considering she’s from New Zealand. Of course, this is the typical unnamed source, so take this information with a grain of salt.

The 60th GRAMMYs happen tonight, January 28th live on CBS at 7:30pm Eastern / 4:30pm Pacific. James Corden is hosting.

(Sources: GRAMMY.comBillboard, Variety)

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.