Discussion in 'Pop & Justice' started by Laura Vanderbooben, Jul 23, 2014.
Yeah Blank Space totally rode on Shake It Off's eating radio.
Blank Space's video helped a lot. Sorry for the *real* world anecdote, but I remember a lot of my university friends talking about it.
Yes, definitely, if "Style" had been released after "Shake it off", it would surely reach number 1.
A lot of people I know find Style quite plodding and dull (they're wrong of course), in large part due to the fact that they have only ever heard it while watching the video, which is both of those things. Of the many things this campaign has taught us, one of the most important is that a great video can elevate a lesser song to sound better than it may be and vice versa.
It's no wonder to me that Blank Space hit a billion views so fast. Every single time people drink at my house someone demands to watch it and it just ends up being played over and over.
What may be overlooked regarding its success is Blank Space's colossal production. That bass is killer: a heavy, chunky, enormous bulldozer pounding against her pure, serene, cherub-next-door vocals and those echoing reverbs like slabs of clinking steel cascading in the sunlight. This was what turned on many a non-Taylor fan, myself included. It's something out of harder, rougher genres (i.e. hip hop) and as superficially as one may look at it, something as simplistic as shoulder-bouncing bass can totally annihilate any preconceived notions of a singer and their back catalog.
Such things can suck you into the groove, swallow you whole, and then spit you out in rhythmic ecstasy. The way it smashes and collides over the "Keep you second guessin, like, ohmygod who is she?" section is just heavenly. Indeed, her lyrics are poignant and sardonic - a clever play on not only her image, but anyone with a "loose" reputation or attempting to create one - but the production stole me and many others I know. She'd crossed (culturally) over with a minimalist beat. And it only made it easier for Bad Blood to explode.
Now now, whilst I agree that a great video can elevate a track, I don't think it works inversely (for myself anyway). The video for 'Style' may be a stagnant, damp squib of an effort but I contest this by simply not watching it. Videos like 'Style' or 'The Edge of Glory' never take away from the song's merits themselves, they just feel like wasted opportunities in sewing the final seeds towards making the songs the 'moments' I feel they deserve.
'Style' will always be a 10.
I dunno, for me it's just the negative association, almost as if the boredom from watching the video translates to when I'm listening to the song. But I take your point, I've never felt bored by The Edge of Glory, shit as its video is, maybe I was just never a true believer in Style in the same way and simply got bored of the song.
I don't know if I would ever describe Blank Space as 'poignant'.
The mixture of self-deprecation and self-satisfaction is quite muddled. She's defiantly gleeful and perhaps proud of her long list of ex-lovers - of this supposedly promiscuous persona - but there's a sense of her feeling still a bit stung and bothered by the connotations that come along with. It's a classic inner fight between "I don't give a fuck" and "okay, this still actually annoys me" with the former seeming to win over any remaining doubt. That, to me, made the song more vulnerable and relatable - not just its wink-wink ode to a singer's own gossip clippings.
Blank Space is such a grower. I didn't pay it much attention for months and now I'm obsessed with it.
'Blank Space', whilst obviously brilliant, kinda doesn't sound like a hit? It sounds like an amazing album track that shouldn't work as a hit single...but obviously for Taylor it does. Like 'Shake It Off', say what you want about, screams Lead Single / Number 1 for weeks, but 'Blank Space' just sounds...weird and unusual.
I remember living for the last chorus of Blank Space on my first listen of the album but immediately thinking it would end up as a fan favorite/4th single at the end of the campaign. I think I thought most people wouldn't "get it", but I'm glad I was very, very wrong. I might prefer Style and wish that would've been just as huge, but there's something very, yes, poignant about Blank Space being Taylor's signature song. It's the one I had been wanting her to write for years.
I love Blank Space so much. I talked with a friend a while ago about whether Blank Space or Style was a better song and he actually had some legitimate points, mainly the brilliance of the songwriting. Blank Space shuts down any criticism of her love life in such a happy, carefree way. She's not angry or upset, she's taking it in stride. It pokes fun at herself while being way too absurd to actually be about her. It's pure genius and yet another example of why she is the songwriter of our generation.
Blank Space had the pre-Christmas partying holiday period going for it too, - you'd hear it out everywhere in shops and bars with so many people getting their lives to it (in the latter). Shake It Off was still blazing thanks to X Factor so Blank never felt overplayed even during its peak.
I can imagine a lot of the people reluctant to buy 1989 at that time would have had no doubt downloading Blank Space and Shake It Off and ended up getting the album eventually any way.
Blank Space is just hook on top of hook as well. The abruptness of the verses is actually very nearly chant like, and those backing 'OOHs' that Taylor talks about in the chorus just add a bit of a singalong feel to it. And going back to the production, she owes a lot to Lorde in that department. Blank Space sounds like Pure Heroine if it had been given a poppier sheen. An absolute monster of a song really. I don't think I'd have invested in the era, and bought the album if I hadn't heard Blank Space.
"Blank Space" is her best song.
The "Untouchable" to "Blank Space"'s "Biology", if you will.
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