~ originally published at www.whitworthian.com ~
Taylor Swift has become an icon of our generation. She sings about those feelings you just can’t express when relationships throw a curve ball at you. You know, when that boy won’t look at you; or when you’re dreaming about your future with that boy that you’ve never talked to before; or when you’ve finally broken up with that boy, or when he’s broken up with you … generally when a guy enters the picture, regardless of what he does, Swift writes a song about it and turns it into a single.
Swift’s audience is composed mostly of girls, so naturally she sings about what her audience wants to hear: teenage angst and young love. And her lyrics may sound innocent enough coming from her as she slams Joe Jonas for leading her on with “Forever and Always,” or pining away for a high school senior when she’s “Fifteen.”
This, however, is ridiculous. Her lyrics are not innocent. They’re not romantic. They’re not even hot. How do I know this? Simple. What if Taylor Swift was a guy? Would her lyrics sound just as innocuous?
Let’s ponder the grossly overplayed radio single, “You Belong with Me” from her sophomore album, “Fearless.” In the opening bars, Swift is watching her guy friend (who isn’t her boyfriend yet because, obviously, he’s too dumb to notice her) talk on the phone to his girlfriend, who is “going off about something that [you] said/but she doesn’t get your humor like I do.”
Switching genders, the image shifts from yearning to downright creepy. How does Man Swift know what I’m talking about with my boyfriend? Has he bugged my phone? Is he sitting in a dark closet with the receiver pressed longingly to his face, chugging Captain Morgan while “Mad World” plays on loop in the background? This is not a love song; this is the kind of thing that happens in bad movies starring Shia Lebouf. Obsession (or “love,” as Swift likes to phrase it) can make people do crazy things, though apparently, it produces a sort of bitterness usually reserved for serial killers and shunned Justin Bieber fans.
How about “Picture to Burn”? In this track from her self-titled first album, Swift is upset with her boyfriend for being too controlling and neurotic, so she sends all of his memorabilia up in flames. If I saw a guy in front of his house throwing pictures of some girl into a bonfire and hysterically playing the guitar, I’d pull out my mace and call the cops.
A running trend in most of Swift’s music is her acute frustration with boys breaking her heart. And since she has three CDs chock-full of songs about boys, I would say that she’s dated around quite a bit. (John Mayer? Really?) Man Swift would be considered a player for putting all those notches in his belt. But Taylor Swift keeps putting out multi-platinum records about these experiences, so we let her keep doing it because it keeps us entertained.
So, if you think about it, if Taylor Swift turned into Man Swift, she would be a creepy stalker who bugs people’s phones. Think about that next time you’re waiting for that boy (who probably doesn’t know you exist) outside of Core, mouthing “You Belong With Me” over and over again. Don’t worry. Taylor Swift’s been there, too.
~ no holds barred ~