Secrets of TS6: The speculation about Taylor Swift’s sixth album

(Original photo: Barlow & Schofield / BMR)
(Original photo: Barlow & Schofield / BMR)

For your eyes only, Taylor Nation.

There’s a common tagline that you find way too often in movies, tv series and even music: “It’s like nothing you’ve seen before.” It rarely delivers. In the case of the Blonde With the Sparkly 1989 Microphone, it’s both true and false. The Sparkly Dressed has been known to deliver a new album with a new style, always evolving towards the next one. That means we’ve come to expect a jump everytime, but at the same time she remains on point towards a certain style in the way she treats each evolutionary stage.

From Taylor Swift to Fearless she jumped into the national stage. Speak Now is one album where I disagree with most critics, it’s severely underestimated. Red was her unofficial transition to pop, but I consider it more of a practice album for what came next. The next album 1989 marked not only a full transition, but a complete reinvention that invigorated her music and an impromptu homage to the 80’s musical style.

And then she took a year off. Yes, we’ve come to expect a new Swifty album every two years, but the streak was broken in 2016. What happens now? Where do we go from here? Nobody knows. Taylor’s not saying a thing.

We know how this one goes, right? When the album enters the last stages of development, Taylor starts putting out clues in social media. They’re never extremely complicated, but we fans tend to overdo it (nooo, really???) and read way too much into every little thing. So without any clues, and knowing already she’s firmly rooted in pop, perhaps we can make a few guesses. These are not meant to be accurate or deductive. I don’t have any insight into Taylor’s current songwriting style. I’m just speculating to pass the time.

Chances are there will be more collaboration with Jack Antonoff. He’s amazingly talented as a performer, a songwriter and a producer and shares the credit of penning some amazing songs with Taylor. I’m not a huge fan of Max Martin and Shellback collabs in general, which have mostly sound geared towards radio play time. It’s not that I dislike cheery songs, it’s that when a song has too many bells and whistles the music tends to get lost. Fortunately, most of the collabs that they’ve done with Taylor do have a message, albeit a short one.

I know a lot of people still wish the Enchantress would go back to her Country music roots. I used to be one of them, but nowadays I will admit I don’t see why she would. Taylor’s career has plotted a course set by one captain: herself. That doesn’t mean she hasn’t taken input from her fans. Taylor knows you want to dance at her concerts, so she’s slowly added some danceable tracks. I expect a few to make it to the new album. I also still expect the lyric-heavy songs that read as stories, which are more traditionally associated with Taylor. After all, she honed her craft in Country music songwriting where storytelling is abundant.

One thing that I believe will change is the notion that each song has a name associated to it. More and more, Taylor’s songs have drawn from a collage of her experience and imagination rather than from one particular relationship which used to be her modus operandi. She has thrown a shoutout now and then to a specific event (a forgotten scarf, a visit to an emergency room after an accident) that throws the fandom and the media into a frenzy. I would rather she kept away from those, but I won’t deny their impact. They’re a surreal songwriting equivalent to clickbait. The other growing trend is that celebration of youth. That dynamic happiness of living with imperfections and all, experimenting and evolving. I don’t know about you, but I say we keep that. 🙂

The hardest thing to speculate on is the album’s theme. The Blonde With The Sparkly Guitar has always found one subject to envelop her album and gather together the tracks as if they were a bouquet of flowers that go well together. 1989‘s track list orbited the 80’s pop rock feel and style evoking both the style and nostalgia. This album had such excellent results that I’m almost fearful that Taylor will be pushed to recreate it. She shouldn’t. 1989 was a risk, and it payed off. The next album should be another risk, another creative leap of Taylor’s songwriting craft. We expect it to be recognizably Taylor-esque and at the same time, sonically different.

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who knows how long the waiting for the new album is going to feel, we know the expectations are high for this one. I know some people are hoping for the lyrics to include a vague reference to a past romance we only saw from the outside. Myself, I just want more great music.

I want to congratulate the people who are going to get to see Taylor Swift on Houston on February 4. Get some pictures and video for the rest of us to enjoy. Just a request, I’m not sending ninjas after you or anything. 😉

Coming up next, on next year’s calendar:

 

Merry Christmas, Cyrus Porter! This is why Taylor Swift still wins at everything :)

(Photo: Robert Frye via Twitter)
(Photo: Robert Frye via Twitter)

Holidays are not always about the big gestures, Taylor Nation.

Sometimes they’re just about the small ones. For example, visiting your grandfather. In the case of World War II veteran Cyrus Porter, the visit can turn into a one in a lifetime event when it’s your grandfather’s musical idol. The 96-year old from New Madrid, Missouri happens to be a Taylor Swift fan. An article for KFVS 12 news started it all.

“Look what she does, she puts on a show no one else puts on,” Cyrus Porter said. “I just liked the way the way she did stuff.” He has attended two concerts with his daughter and two grandchildren. Cyrus was diagnosed with cancer this year. He still intends to make Taylor Swift’s next concert and something tells me there’s a seat already waiting for him. The day after Christmas, he received a visit and an impromptu performance by the Blonde With The Sparkly Guitar herself.

“He was excited,” said her daughter, Lynette Fowler. “He was like dancing to the beat, what he thought was the beat of the music, and having a great time with it.”

Update: New full video via Cyrus’ grandson, Chris Porter.

Watch on YouTube

The Forever and Always Fearless One even picked up a guitar and played an acoustic version of “Shake It Off” for the entire gathering. I don’t want to overwhelm you with stuff, so- oh ok, one more video here…

As long as she does one impromptu thing like this for us regular people once a year, I’m happy.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season! 🙂

Coming up next, on next year’s calendar:

(Sources: Robert Frye, Landon PooreKFVS 12 news, @TSwiftNZ, @the_diagon_alli, Chris Porter)

Happy 27th Birthday, Taylor Swift! Why we still write about the Sparkly Dressed

She always had the best day with you, Taylor Nation.

(Source: Taylor Swift via Twitter)
(Source: Taylor Swift via Twitter)

Happy Birthday, Taylor! For the young singer-songwriter, music is the one thing that has been there for her all the time. For us here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who tries to be honest with you as much as my writing allows it, we could’ve said the same about Taylor – except that the truth is not that simple. For most fans, she’s an idol. Or a big sister. Or their best friend. For me, she’s been more of a muse. I’ve found something to write about her for more than seven years now.

Being a fan has never been a mild walk in the park. It’s been more of a roller coaster ride. I’ve gone from not knowing why I’m doing this to feeling like I have a zillion things to write from one week to another. Feelings can go from zero to a thousand heartbeats, which has been known to happen in the same day if I’m attending a concert. At the same time, she’s grown to a huge superstar to the point that she’s feel as distant as a comet. Then she releases some acoustic performance in a small setting and I’m ready to write again.

She’s gone from independent to becoming mainstream in an uphill climb that is more steep than the media gives her credit for. She’s reinvented herself, and in that transition we fans have learned to adapt. Taylor has had his shortcomings, but she remains the same person inside – and at the same time, a different one. As she herself has said, she will never change but she will never stay the same. She’s recognizable, relatable and sometimes she does shock us all. Approve or disapprove, Taylor is still the one we cheer for, stand in line and wave desperately for/at/with.

So if you indulge me (No? Gonna do it anyway, k?), I’m going to reminisce about that time I got to meet her in person, back in September 21st, 2013. I had just been talking her ear off, as her voice was fragile from her three concert days and fighting a cold. This is after I decided to recite every single nickname I’ve used to refer to her in my blog entries:

She giggles at “the Blonde With The Sparkly Guitar”. Then she goes “Oh my God” in the most adorable way possible.

Taylor is then thanking me – which doesn’t really make a lick of sense – for what I do. And she loves that I love to do it (in case you’ve never visited this site before, what I do is write). Let’s make this clear. International music artist Taylor Swift thanking me only makes sense in bizarro world. I make sure I thank her.

 Excerpt from Behind the red curtain: Meeting Taylor Swift

You’ll probably notice that as usual, I blur the timeline a little bit as I tend to do whenever I’m describing a concert experience. I start writing in the past and switch to the present tense. It’s a cheap magic trick to take you to live that moment. It’s not a typo. I tend to relive things when I write about them.

And now, the cake… Damn ninjas again! Get back here! Every year… 😛

Coming up next, on next year’s calendar:

I Don’t Wanna Live Forever. I don’t wanna support this movie. An Editorial

(Source: @TaylorNation13)
(Source: @TaylorNation13)

The following post may be for mature audiences only, Taylor Nation.

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who could use a new calendar from the Taylor Swift store, we’re usually all in to support Taylor Swift’s music. However, in case I haven’t make it abundantly clear, I do tend to voice my opinion on the things I’d rather not endorse. The Sparkly Dressed has attached her name before to things like diet soda and cosmetics. She’s been known to write songs like “Today Was A Fairytale”,  “Sweeter Than Fiction” and “Safe in Sound” for movies of different genres. Yes, I know there’s more. These are just examples 🙂 And then, there’s Fifty Shades Darker.

For the record, I don’t have a problem with consenting adults engaging into BDSM roleplay or live the lifestyle out loud. Yes, that’s what Fifty Shades Darker is about. “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” which is the single by Zayn and Taylor, is in that movie’s soundtrack. Show of hands, how many people here expected I’d be explaining BDSM in a Taylor Swift blog? I assure you I’m as surprised as you are. At the same time, I don’t want to dance around the subject. So, here we go. Ahem. I got this. I think.

You probably know the idea of roleplay from dressing up at comic convention or playing video games in which you play as a character such as a wizard or knight. But BDSM (which stands for Bondage Domination Sado-Masochism) is when adults roleplay with the illusion of control. In other words, they pretend in the bedroom for the sake of fun (as in sex, but sometimes more than that) to a degree that one person gives up their freedom (temporarily and with safety measures and limits) to the other. Not the best explanation, but the important thing is this happens between consenting adults. There’s a reason I keep highlighting that word. The problem I have with 50 Shades Of Grey and the books and movies that followed it, is that consent is sometimes not given or the character who has the privilege of taking the domination role (Christian Grey) often abuses it. Abuse is not romantic. Any relationship, even one with a BDSM theme, requires trust and abuse is not part of that equation.

From the outside looking in, it just looks like a movie with some erotic sex, but it’s problematic. So, sound the alarm? Well, you’d be too late. It’s hard to find something that is not problematic. The soda industry and the cosmetics industry have been known to take decisions that were not always health-conscious. I know it sounds like I’m trying to be apologetic of Taylor’s choices. I am not. I am saying that even if Taylor’s name is attached to the PR machine for this movie through its soundtrack, you can choose to watch something else.

I didn’t start drinking Diet Coke when the soda promoted Taylor Swift’s 1989 Tour, yet I went to a concert. I am not subscribing to Apple Music because of Taylor’s ads and I can enjoy the ads. I didn’t see One Man just because “Sweeter than Fiction” was in the soundtrack. I did however went to see Valentine’s Day because Taylor was in it. I did love her performance, but I wouldn’t recommend that movie. The music industry is another facet of entertainment, so movies and music are often sold together. You can’t really turn off your mind as a fan when it comes to the media. So, rather than making an exception because it’s Taylor Swift, remember than following your favorite artist doesn’t mean you need to consume every products that are associated to her brand. Instead, I would advise you use the same criteria to choose something regardless of who endorses it.

That also means you could just get the song and forget about the movie, while we’re at it. I know most people will go with that one and I could just lead off with that and leave out everything else. I just tend to go further than most people and overanalyze everything (bet you haven’t noticed that).

In other words, use your mind. Form your own opinion. Right or wrong, it’s yours to make.

Next up, I get blocked by Taylor Nation. Or perhaps they’ll let me go with a warning again. 😉

Coming up next, on next year’s calendar:

The 13 Days of Taylor: What to give your favourite Swiftie

(Source: store.taylorswift.com)
(Source: store.taylorswift.com)

We’ll be right back after these messages, Taylor Nation.

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who could use a new poster or a keychain, we’re just going to stop for a commercial. Don’t know what to give your favourite blogger Swiftie BFF this holiday season? Well, try getting something from the Taylor Swift Store. They’re once more doing the 13 Days of Taylor, which might be the best time to grab some merch you’ve been eyeing all year or some of the more recent offerings.

Yes, it’s December and there’s nothing wrong with buying gifts for the people you love, but remember to make it less about the gifts and more about the gesture.  As a young country singer used to say a few years back, Christmas must be something more. To be honest, I always prefer to listen to Back To December instead, so here’s a clip for old times’ sake 🙂

Watch on YouTube

Coming up next, on next year’s calendar:

(Sources: Taylor Swift Store)