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.

(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)

Weekly News Update: October 15, 2017

We’re not ready for it, Taylor Nation.

I don’t know if I’m going to make this a thing. The idea of this feature is that when there’s just a little tidbits of news here and there but nothing super official, I’ll throw into this post and you get to hear what the murmur is about. The source is most likely Twitter, Instagram and (occasionally) Tumblr but only when there’s some evidence behind it.

Taylor Swift is in London. The overachieving songstress has many reasons to be there, but only a few are known right now.

  • She’s appeared at some fans’ homes. Which might or might not be related to…
  • She’s started her secret sessions where she’s had some fans listen to her yet-to-drop album Reputation making the rest to the Taylor Nation (as in the fandom, in case you didn’t know) seethe with jealousy.
  • Although non-disclosure agreements have been signed, all we know by word of mouth is that there’s one song that made everyone cry. This was a love song, not a break-up song.
  • Secret sessions are also expected to happen in the US once she returns. Expect at least one on the East coast and one on the West, but chances are she’ll make more. It’s more than likely that London will be the only non-US secret session. Note: I want to be wrong about this one.
  • At least in one occasion, Taylor wore snake-themed boots.
  • Fans have mentioned there’s better lyrics than “All Too Well” in Reputation. A very bold claim, and more of an opinion than fact, but again we’ll have to wait to find out.
  • Taylor has been captured by the paparazzi on the streets of London while filming what appears to be a music video.
  • The most obvious candidate is the video for “… Are You Ready For It?” but nothing is certain.
  • Joseph Kahn (which has been Taylor’s music video director as of late) is also in London. He has gone into his usual snarky self claiming he’s just filming a fish and chips commercial. Note: Fish and chips is a common fast food thing in the UK, in case you don’t know.
  • At this point, I know you might be asking where are the pictures from the paps. I’m not posting those because I’m not particularly fond of the paparazzi taking sneak pictures. Don’t ask me where they are, they’re pretty easy to find (google it!) and of course look like they were taken by a potato. I’ll wait for the official stuff.

Coming up in the Calendar:

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

(Sources: Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr)

Out of the Woods: The monsters turn out to be just trees. A video review and commentary.

Happy 2016, Taylor Nation!

We got a pretty sweet present on New Year’s Eve. Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy that was visiting some family down south (wayyy down south in South America, actually), we had to wait after the fireworks display was over to have a look. It’s Out of the Woods in video form, as directed by Joseph Kahn and starring the Enchantress herself:

Watch on YouTube

And yes, it was beautiful and meaningful. It should not escape nobody that this video was about heartbreak- but this time, the solution was not getting the guy. If you’ve heard the song, you probably have sensed the spirit of the chase. The video embodies this as Taylor is chased by wolves, trees, nature in distinct environments. Earth, wind, water and fire are present. In the end, she doesn’t really lose her captors. She stops running. Spoiler alert. She finds herself.

It’s a very specific imagery she’s using. Personally I think wolves get a bad rap. Here once again they are the pursuers. Vines tangle and snare. Mud soils and stain. Tabloid media is well represented BUT here’s the trick – Taylor makes songs to represent the feeling rather than the actual situation. This allows YOU the viewer to make this relatable to your life. Intentionally, you can apply this hunting allegory to a bad situation you’re working through. And yes, it might be a little too corny to say the solution is to find yourself but we need to hear it. Favorite moment: Taylor’s face-of-fury as she goes through the mud.

Update: On other news, the People’s Choice Awards were happening a moment ago. Taylor Swift won for Favorite Pop Artist and Favorite Female Artist.

(Source: Big Machine Records)
(Source: Big Machine Records)

Coming up in the Calendar:

  • January 6: People’s Choice Awards.
  • February 15: It’s the 58th Annual Grammy Awards! Taylor is nominated for Album of the Year for 1989, Record of the Year for “Blank Space”, Song of the Year for “Blank Space”, Best Pop Solo Performance for “Blank Space”, Best Pop Duo Group/Performance for “Bad Blood”, Best Pop Vocal Album for 1989 and Best Music Video for “Bad Blood”.

(Sources: YouTube)

Not even in your Wildest Dreams. An Editorial.

(Source: BMGL)
(Source: BMGL)

I can see the end just as it begins, Taylor Nation.

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who knows this is not a topic to be taken lightly, we wanted to address the recent controversy over the Taylor Swift’s latest music video, Wildest Dreams. You’ve probably stumbled across a few articles that have debated back and forth whether the video is racist (wait, what?!). Here’s where I have to actually describe a few terms that are not popular, but still, necessary for this discussion.

There is a difference between outright hate, discrimination for someone’s color, and there is racial and/or cultural insensitivity. One of them is intentional, one of them is malicious, the other is when someone could do better but doesn’t for some reason. Wildest Dreams is not racist. It doesn’t ever portray or inspire hatred. It doesn’t glorify hatred. It seeks to emulate the golden age of Hollywood, where exotic desert locales and wild animal life were often the background of romantic adventure movie making. In that, it might be actually committing a second-hand slight… Those movies often would use foreign locations as backgrounds but would not be sensitive to racial diversity or culture.

I could easily point out than the sequences could be completely imagined by Tay’s character since as the movie wraps up we see a fake background, but let’s not take the easy way out here. In this music video, the characters played by Taylor Swift and Scott Eastwood are inspired by actresses and actors of the 1950’s. That is the second focus of the film (shocker, it’s a love story plot based on a song). Yes, there’s elements used back then that are romanticized by movie fanatics. It’s a lavish fantasy. So, you can argue that there’s some cultural insensitivity in the sense that the movie chooses to focus on… the song’s central story. Which is what it is supposed to do. Let’s not forget this is a music video.

Could it do better? Could it be more sensitive to the culture of the background it uses? Here’s where this becomes bittersweet, because the answer is yes. But the problem is how… How do you put a culturally and/or racially sensitive message in this video? Again, you could. But it would really get analyzed to death, wouldn’t it? Joseph Kahn chose to focus on his stars, but one wonders if he could’ve added more diversity in his cast. The director did cast at least one black African actor in the background. That’s because everyone else was also in the background.

(Source: BMGL)
(Source: BMGL)

I’ve had my brushes with racism (you’ve been reading a blog written by half latin, half chinese guy). I can’t put that in the same boat than Wildest Dreams. Yes, this video, like a lot of videos out there, could be more racially and culturally diverse. It also could’ve been much worse. It’s also a music video about dreaming that involves exactly two people in the foreground. Is there room to improve? Yes. Then let’s not tear Taylor down and give her some constructive criticism instead of jumping the shark and taking it to extremes.

Coming up in the Calendar!

(Sources: TheSwiftAgency.com)

Wildest Dreams: Standing in a nice dress, staring at the sunset

(Source: BMGL)
(Source: BMGL)

This is getting good now, Taylor Nation.

The amazing music video for Wildest Dreams just premiered before the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. The setting is the romanticized golden era of movie making. The scenario is Africa. Our girl is the lead actress in an adventure film. She has adopted a bit of a classic air here. I know this might be a stretch, but she has a slight resemblance to a young Elizabeth Taylor.

Her leading man, played by Scott Eastwood, is the classic hero with stoic jaw. That’s not an accident, he’s the youngest son of actor Clint Eastwood. The video, which is basically a mini movie about a movie is directed by Joseph Kahn. You might remember him from Blank Space.

Watch on YouTube

It shares some likeness with Blank Space. The characters are different, but it does seem like they could exist in the same universe. That classical fantasy-like hollywood world that we romanticize about from classic movies. I did love the video for its elegant surroundings and lavish sets, but I loved it even more for the final message. All of Taylor’s proceeds from this video will be donated to wild animal conservation efforts through the African Parks Foundation of America.

Coming up in the Calendar!

(Sources: YouTube)