I didn't want to admit this, since I've had my musical tastes compromised more times than I'd like to admit.
I've admitted to liking a Katy Perry song, I've admitted to liking Lady Gaga, hell, I've even admitted to liking a song from the Jonas Brothers. ("Burnin' Up" is good pop song, shut up!) But those all pale in comparison to what I'm about to say…
I like Taylor Swift.
There. I said it.
I, the Oldies Loving/J-Pop Listening/Alt-Rock fangirl has admitted she likes a country-pop artist whose singing voice is thinner than a sheet of tissue paper. There are so many things wrong with this sentence that I can't even begin to say.
So why was this so hard for me to admit? Well, for one thing, I hate country-pop. Well, at least the country music that's out these days.
It falls into three categories: 1) Chicken and Beer (a favorite of the 2011 Red Sox), 2) Maudlin Whiny Boy/Girl Crap, or 3) REALLY Maudlin Whiny Boy/Girl Crap with Chicken and Beer.
The only current folk I can stand are Brad Paisley and Jennifer Nettles (and I guess Sugarland to a degree). For me, real country music is along the lines of Glen Campbell, Hank Williams and Dolly Parton. This stuff that's passing off as country these days? Not so much. But maybe time will change that.
For another reason, I don't like singers with very thin voices. This is more on an aesthetic level than anything else. While it can work in some places (see Suzanne Vega doing "Tom's Diner" and Audrey Hepburn doing "Moon River" in Breakfast at Tiffany's), it's not something I really dig.
I find thin voices to be very distracting, especially when they're trying to sing like they have full voices. This is part of Taylor Swift's issue. She writes these songs that could work really well with a whole different tone, but you'd need a better singer for them.
And for one final reason, since I like to keep things on a three-reason scale – there are some songs of hers that I find really, really godawful. Namely "Love Story," "Back to December" and… Well, actually, almost all her breakup songs. They're too slow-paced, or the lyrics just really bother me.
Oh and don't even get me started on "Mean." That song sounds like it was written in her diary at one point and somehow made its way into to her album by accident. While I get the message of the song, I really don't like how it’s conveyed. It just doesn't work for me.
With all these reasons that I've listed for why I shouldn't like her, you'd think that I think she's awful and horrible. But, as I said before, I like her. A huge reason why is actually personal and related to high school (*gasp*).
The big reason is because I can actually relate to three of her songs. I hate to admit it, but I really can.
When I first heard "Teardrops on My Guitar," I was actually surprised to hear someone singing from the POV of a girl whose unrequitedly in love with her best friend. Usually, the songs are from the POV of a guy whose unrequitedly in love with his best friend. And the emotions of the song just have resonated with me. They brought me back to when I'd be listening to my friend talk about his girlfriend and trying to act like it wasn't bothering me.
My main issue with this song is that the singer feels way too sorry for herself, even if she is happy for him. I chalk it up to mostly a weak moment kind of song where the cool and collected best friend has that moment of weakness.
With "You Belong With Me," that's the same kind of song, but with a much angrier tone and a less grateful girlfriend for the guy. Oh dear god does this song bring me back to many times.
I'd hear about a friend's girlfriend or crush – a friend that I’d happen to fancy at the time – and just being so damn angry at him for not noticing me. And it just perfectly captures the anger in both the music and the lyrics.
The problem with me is more the voice. I think that the voice needed an angrier tone or at least a tone that goes from the "quite compliant" to "full on angrily ranting." At least that's how I see it.
Then there's "The Story of Us," which I swear must've come from some diary in my room somewhere. The end of my lone high school relationship pretty much went down like this. A lot of miscommunication and a lot of complications ended up causing the downfall of my relationship with "Josh" and it really was upsetting. Like that little bit of hope that maybe they're feeling the same way about how things were going down? That was totally me.
While my resonance with her songs is a huge reason why I like her, there are other reasons too. Like, for example, I like that she writes her own songs. While sometimes the lyrics can be clumsy or just plain weird, it's at least nice to see that someone is actually writing their own music.
I think that "Fifteen," while completely clumsily written, has a great message. I mean how many times have you ever heard someone actually say "Don't be an idiot... That dude on the football team is probably not gonna be your true love, so don't act like it's meant to be." There's at least a genuine kind of feel to it.
Another reason that I will listen to her is because of the arrangements of some of the songs. At least the more power-pop like ones. If a pop song is given a good arrangement, I will always be willing to give it a listen.
That's why I enjoy a little Katy Perry now and then. (Seriously, her producer needs an award or something. She can't sing for crap but the arrangements of her songs are always damn near flawless.)
The thing is that the songs, while I may have issues with them in some respects, are always put together nicely enough. They're always at least enjoyable to listen to. Maybe it's because of her, maybe it's because of the producers. Regardless of whom it's because of, it at least keeps me listening.
So, there, I finally admitted it. I like Taylor Swift. Happy?!
No, but seriously, it's really a conundrum for me. There's so much of Taylor Swift that I find wrong when I nitpick it. But yet, you put it all together, it just works and it's really hard to figure out why. It's like those weird food combinations that shouldn't work, but end up working beautifully – like putting honey mustard on tuna or cheese on waffles (both of these are things I do). It sounds flat out wrong and weird, but yet, it tastes good to me at least. That's kind of how Taylor Swift is for me.
However, I still refuse to like "Love Story." That song just angers me.
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