Taylor Swift ‘s Good Morning America Appearance, Thursday, August 23rd, 2019, Reviewed
Did Taylor Swift really only perform three songs on Good Morning America this morning? “You Need To Calm Down,” “Me!” and “Shake It Off,” given a professional break down live on network TV, preceded by a nothing much interview, and proceeded by Kelly And Ryan. It seems that way, and I have no idea how much they do tracking tape wise, but they all sounded (even “Shake It Off”) just like the recorded version. It seemed like a whole lotta fuss for not very much at all.
Let’s take a quick look at the single off tomorrow’s, or related to, tomorrow’s, album # 7, Lover:
Me! – C-
You Need To Calm Down – B
You Need To Calm Down – YONAKA – A-
Lover – A
You Need To Calm Down – Clean Bandit remix – B+
And also, while not officially a single, “Archer” (B+)
Compared to the somewhat botched “Look What You Made Me Do” introduction to the generally agreed upon worse album of her career Reputation, the Lover songs have been better and with so much riding on the return of Tay Tay this week, it needed to be. YONAKA, and the always fabulous UK EDM team Clean Bandit, saved the over produced in every way “Calm Down,” and the title track is one of her greatest songs to date. The three song set on GMA dropped nothing but bangerz for an audience of tweens and teen girls, some of whom had spent the night on line at Central Park, weathering a vicious thunderstorm. Taylor’s father showed up with pizza for all.
I’m a huge, though highly critical, Taylor Swift fan, and had been eyeballing the show since I heard about it. Finally, late last week, I made my move. As you may be aware, I am in the advertising business, so I called my ABC Owned And Operated Sales rep and asked him to guest list me. Which he did. The doors were at 530am, so I planned to wake at 3 and Uber over to 72nd and 5th, Rumsey Playfield (home of SummerStage and a place I’ve been to countless times), and make it in plenty of time. worst case scenario I would be in the first five rows. My friend, who had been planning to go with me, balked at the 530am but my foreign policy went like this: I am 62 years old and I will never, ever, even consider doing it again. What the hell, three hours and then the best viewing I’ve ever had for Taylor in a decade.
So yesterday I am looking at the ticket (via 1iota -from whom I got my Elvis Costello “Revolver” billet, and who are less than helpful), and I am reading it and it all looks good except it says General Admission and not Priority. Some mistake, right? No, no mistake. That means, if I left at 3am for Rumsey Playfield my chance of getting in would be, well, zero point zero zero. Non transferable, and a no go for me. So I came down to work and watched it online. Robin Robert’s interview with Taylor wasn’t up to much: Yes, Taylor plans to re-record her first five albums, and, oh, Taylor is opening the VMAs… plus there will be pop up shops all over the city. Her parents were with her as well…
The stage was filled with pink everything, like my pretty pony had thrown up all over a girlie slumber party, there were four back up singers/dancers, and a keyboard and synth heavy backing band with plenty of music on tape: business as usual circa 2019. Taylor, who, after the dark heralding of Kanye and Hiddleston (they were playing Loki to her Black Widow) was re-born in love, and three years into her fully blossomed romance (Joe something or other), filled with stories about her jet airplanes and possessive positivism, Swift seems absolutely delighted. Lover is the result, though we haven’t heard it yet.
At GMA Taylor does the one thing she has never missed out on, she walked the walk for her closest body of fans, girls, who, if they were thirteen when “Love Story” broke pop, are 23 years old today, though the tweens sure caught on and the 3,000 person capacity outdoor venue.
The performances were very disappointing, they sounded almost exactly like the recorded versions in all three cases and, much like the songs we’ve heard, were precisely what we expect from Swift. Having jumped aboard the Max Martin roller coaster in 2012, while keeping one foot in AOR country vibes, by 2014 she was where she is now. Same thing. Who knows where Swift is going to go, but one thing is certain, on what we’ve heard off Lover she is still treading water on the sandcastles of 1989 and Reputation.
Having said that, Taylor’s joy infected the audience and the audiences joy infect Taylor and I would bet that, except for a parent or two, and those unfortunate enough not to get in, everybody was the better for it. On the scroll of tweets during the performance somebody wrote, “With my kid sister, making memories to last forever”. I bet the sister wasn’t complaining.