I don’t feel as though my life work is completed if I don’t write about Taylor Swift every month or so, just to keep my hand in, because there is no better rock superstar in the world today. She is the Derek Jeter of rock and roll, she is rich, she is gifted, she is lucky, beloved, born at the right time, and she does everything so gracefully most people (I mean I) don’t resent her for it. She does it the right way.
As a songwriter, Taylor is at the top of the profession, Red did the undoable, it took the Max brigade and it humanized them, it took pop manufacturers from Sweden and it bent them to her will so she got everything they had to offer and remained completely true to herself –something Ed Sheeran didn’t quite pull off earlier this month.
It is difficult to be a good guy, but Taylor absolutely is one. I have friends whose daughters have met her after the show (you know, advertising guys from my day job) who speak in glowing terms of her generosity and kindness. You can’t fake that, you can’t be nice all the time if you’re not nice, you get caught out.
Frances Bridges of Forbes wrote ” Instead of changing her image, Swift changes the content of her music to reflect her maturity and how she’s evolved; she’s done it extremely well, especially for someone her age.” With that in mind here is a set list: two songs from each album (no live ones and dropped the Christmas EP as well) plus two movie songs. Let’s do this!!
1. Our Song – The first stirrings of true greatness, sure country but country pop though the band is rocking smoothly. It personifies a daydream of a romance. This is the video where she is painting her toes!!!
2. Tim McGraw – And let the heartbreaks begin, full on ballad and most people go for “Tears On My Guitar” but I will stick with this one. It really is a hearacher, “When you hear Tim McGraw I hope you’ll think of me.” There is this sense where you might believe it should be bigger but even when the violins come in it is down beat and beautiful.
3. You Belong With Me – On the Red tour, she updated the sound taking it from the girl bleachers to the lead singer with the Shirelles without losing the song, but the excitement, the anticipation of this song, the hope which explodes on the chorus is so wonderful; the fuzzed out guitar break is a major move from country to rock. Finally, that one line “You’ve got a smile that could light up this whole town” is so magical, it is like she is giving the guy back that smile.
4. Love Story – I have written about “Love Story” soooooo many times, the first time I heard it, the day it was released, I turned to my assistant at the time (she had introduced me to taylor a coupla years earlier) and said: “This is it, it’s over. She belongs to the world now”.
5. Today Was A Fairytale – I am a sucker for rom-coms and for Garry Marshall (though not the terrible “New Year’s Eve” one), which are the motion picture equivalent of duet albums. Taylor was sweet in the movie and this is a blueprint for how she writes a song: it is a connect the dots piece of magic.
6. Mine – It is hard to write a song this completely perfect in every way, a true romance with the edge of reality which seems to flicker in and out of sight. “You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter” might well be the best line Taylor has ever written.
7. Speak Now – And this is even better, a contender for her best song, I would say “Love Song”, this, one and “State Of Grace” are her three greatest moments. This song couldn’t be any more romantic, stopping a wedding. How wonderful. What a day dream.
8. Safe And Sound – Taylor Swift And the Civil Wars – Swift should take more chances like this, a fragile, stunning dream of protection in the dead of night. Her harmonies with Joy Williams are on a whole other level.
9. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together Again – This is modern pop music by an “A” team Max Martin and Shellback, but it sounds exactly like Taylor. That’s impossible to do. It is impossible to sound so completely part of the moment, the zeitgeist and so exactly yourself.
10. State Of Grace – The acoustic version I bought the moment it came out on the deluxe Target version is her greatest vocal ever and the romance is so adult, it reminds you that 22 is not 15 years of age.
Sneak Peaks: Upcoming New Album Releases 6-2-23 – 6-8-23
excellent, deeply melodic, indie rock
Going Steady: New Singles 5-26-23 – 6-1-23 Reviewed
sort of Neil Young without the head cold and in full pop mode.
L.A. Burning, West Coast Concert Picks, May 29th To June 4th
Grace Jones will be at OUTLOUD Music Fest
UK Top 10 Albums 5-26-23 – 6-1-23
outsold the rest of the Official Albums Chart Top 10 combined
UK Top 10 Singles 5-26-23 – 6-1-23
an EDM plonker on top
Dead Babies: Helmut Berger And Martin Amis Leave Us
about how time decays us
The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 5-26-23 – 6-1-23 Reviewed
a major slice of bad news
The Cure At The Hollywood Bowl, Wednesday, May 24th, 2023, Reviewed
The most heart-pulsing moments took us back through the past 45 years.
The River Deep, Mountain High Soulfulness Of Tina Turner
an antidote to toxic male supremacy