Taylor Swift - Lover

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What's weird for me is I thought she made her allyship and views frank and clear when she wrote her letter about the midterm elections last fall. It cleared the air (I, personally, didn't believe she was a secret Trump supporter, but some did) and we know where she stands. It also felt personal in relation to her second home of Tennessee, and without a project to promote, it allowed her words and message to just be.

Her songs with an agenda, whether it's Look What You Made Me Do, Mean, or Calm Down, never land the way she wants them to, because that's not her natural state of being. She's so much better with melodrama (your All Too Wells, your Styles) or self-analyzing (your Blank Spaces, Back to Decembers, Delicates).

I worry the album will be an unedited mess. Not that I advocate for a Big Music Man executive producer to come in and tell her what to do, but I wish she would calm down and realize she's doing things she doesn't need to do.
 
Her finally speaking out before the midterms and seeing the effect it had on voter registrations here in Tennessee really was amazing considering we are always dead last in registrations and participation. I actually viewed her in a different light after her messy ass ways but this new era has had a souring effect once again for me. I'm honestly hoping for a few signs of brilliance on the album but there's just something off.
 
I've finally managed to articulate my take on this. I find the song clueless but ultimately harmless - well, socially anyway; musically it's an absolute terror. Likewise, the video taken on its own I could just see as a cute Pride Month tie-in. Again, useless, but cute.

What I object to is the way Taylor - and, it seems, the bulk of the media coverage she's gotten - have managed to cast such a cluelessly anodyne song as a big stand for LGBT+ rights, when it just isn't. It's frustrating, to say the least, to have so many of us working our butts off, whether in protests or politics or theorizing, and then to have a straight (allegedly) girl swoop in and all but be proclaimed the gay Messiah.

This is where the Madonna comparisons actually are worth bringing in (and where they originally came in within this thread). When Madonna got attention beginning in the late '80s for her LGBT+ allyship, she was a) doing a hell of a lot more than a couple throwaway lines in a song mostly about herself, and b) doing so in a time where she actually stood to lose more than she gained from it. The same could be said of Gaga - (b) less so, but still somewhat true. Taylor seems to be trying to place herself in that line, and frankly she doesn't fucking deserve it.

From a strictly musical perspective... like I said, the song is garbage. I stand by my opinion that it's actually worse than ME! Aside from having a terrible tune and awful production, I have had way too much of that speak-singing style she uses throughout it.

And even speaking as someone whose favorite Taylor album is Reputation, I'm tired of the woe is me angle. She was and, to a much lesser extent, still is criticized for her lyrics and for her personal life, and it's totally understandable that she'd be pissed about it. But it's been five goddamn years since she first explored that lyrical territory with Shake It Off, and in that time, nearly half of her singles have been on the same topic (Blank Space, Bad Blood, New Romantics, Look What You Made Me Do, and now Calm Down). It's also acted as the thematic centrepiece of an entire album, albeit an album whose individual songs were mostly about her relationship. It is time to move on.
 

eccentricsimply

Staff member
they/them
It’s funny that she could’ve avoided some of the critics by simply not being in the MV. Making it about people other than her for once and just not being featured at all.

Alternatively she could’ve jumped in to help write a song for an up and coming queer artist that needs the boost instead of trying to speak for queer people rather than with them.

There are several ways in which she could’ve expressed allyship effectively that would’ve kept us from getting mad at her again and her from getting more criticism she’ll brush aside with a song called Maybe We Are All Gay in three years time.
 
Sorry to make every post of mine in this thread about Kacey Musgraves, but...it's interesting to contrast the ways in which Kacey (who had admittedly already done a bit of groundwork with "Follow Your Arrow") slowly became a gay icon as a country pop artist last year, mostly through her songwriting (though the Met Gala effort and the enormous wig she sported on Drag Race helped, I guess) with Taylor and her new queer accoutrements. True allyship is in the synthesising of glittery camp ("High Horse") with the ennui and confusion central to the modern queer experience ("Lonely Weekend", "Happy & Sad")! Not to mention ending your album with a song called "Rainbow".

It's jarring to position that next to...this, which just seems so calculated and inorganic, and totally out of step with the kind of things queer people lionise and support. I keep thinking about how much gayer the camp hilarity of the video for "Blank Space" was in comparison to this mess, with its Ellen associations and eye-rolling """friendship!!!! <3""" message inexplicably shoehorned in at the end. Also it's obviously been covered already but shade is not the same thing as bigotry!!!! Dorian Corey didn't hide a mummy in her house for 15 years to be desecrated like this!!!
 
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he/him
The message itself isn’t even the issue. It’s largely the over-the-top fawning from the politico-media complex that largely favors symbolic representation over material gains. And this isn’t even too specific to her - most celebrities, by virtue of being rich, largely only get as deep as representation as far as their praxis goes.

And this isn't to say representation is only symbolic. It's largely both symbolic and material, especially in entertainment and media. If visibility determines worth, helping to push an oppressed group and their concerns out from the shadows and into the spotlight can have material benefit.

...but that's not really what's happening here, no?

Largely, (a type of) drag is mainstream now. You just have to tune in to VH1 weekly and feel you have the entire lexicon of drag in your living room. And it's at this moment, in which drag is the most mainstream (ie: at its peak potential to create capital) in which Taylor sees it as the time to put her support behind it publicly. It largely speaks to how much gayness has been brought into liberalism's fold that Taylor Swift can group critics attacking her brand and homophobic violence onto gay people into a singular issue of "haters hating".

I don't know if I even want Taylor Swift - The Politician as a capital-T thing. I want less rich people involved in politics, not more. So I don't need Taylor Swift crafting legislation. It's just wild to see something rudimentary and cynical be championed by corporate media as #Revolutionary.
 
I know this conversation is pre thread-lock but I really need to respond and Popjustice saved my response, so:

If she understands why people “get” guns why does she think they should all be illegal?

It's perfectly possible to understand the sociological/political reasons people get guns and still think they shouldn't be available to purchase and own?

Give up what? Who are “they”.

She understands why people in this country give up trying to have a better life/make things better. Because it seems impossible.

And you’ve only taken a snippet of the song, what about the lines about “a new democracy”, “a normal life”, “everbody knows the truth”.

"Everybody knows the damn" truth just means that everybody knows deep down things aren't right. I don't necessarily agree (some people are genuinely oblivious), but that lyric is not unclear. I'm not seeing what's unclear about "a normal life." There have been so much dialogue on people not being able to attain things that once seemed fundamental.

You can hardly get any more vague, scattered brained, and non commital than the lyrics of God Control.

I'll grant that there's a few lines that could use tightening up or more focus, but you're trying awfully hard to miss the point one of some of these lyrics. And Madonna's hardly going to write a political song just about gun control. She can multi-task, particularly because a lot of these issues feed into each other.

In any case, the idea that "shade never made anyone less gay" is better executed than any of this is really off the mark.
 
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My boyfriend wanted to see it and the song is getting worse everytime I hear it. It's a chore to get through, it is just so empty and lifeless.

Especially in the scene with the sunchairs I am also wishing so hard it would be someone else doing all this. Because the general idea is nice and the line-up is quite something. But it is all Miley Bangerz era allyship shomehow.
 
I've finally managed to articulate my take on this. I find the song clueless but ultimately harmless - well, socially anyway; musically it's an absolute terror. Likewise, the video taken on its own I could just see as a cute Pride Month tie-in. Again, useless, but cute.

What I object to is the way Taylor - and, it seems, the bulk of the media coverage she's gotten - have managed to cast such a cluelessly anodyne song as a big stand for LGBT+ rights, when it just isn't. It's frustrating, to say the least, to have so many of us working our butts off, whether in protests or politics or theorizing, and then to have a straight (allegedly) girl swoop in and all but be proclaimed the gay Messiah.

This is where the Madonna comparisons actually are worth bringing in (and where they originally came in within this thread). When Madonna got attention beginning in the late '80s for her LGBT+ allyship, she was a) doing a hell of a lot more than a couple throwaway lines in a song mostly about herself, and b) doing so in a time where she actually stood to lose more than she gained from it. The same could be said of Gaga - (b) less so, but still somewhat true. Taylor seems to be trying to place herself in that line, and frankly she doesn't fucking deserve it.

From a strictly musical perspective... like I said, the song is garbage. I stand by my opinion that it's actually worse than ME! Aside from having a terrible tune and awful production, I have had way too much of that speak-singing style she uses throughout it.

And even speaking as someone whose favorite Taylor album is Reputation, I'm tired of the woe is me angle. She was and, to a much lesser extent, still is criticized for her lyrics and for her personal life, and it's totally understandable that she'd be pissed about it. But it's been five goddamn years since she first explored that lyrical territory with Shake It Off, and in that time, nearly half of her singles have been on the same topic (Blank Space, Bad Blood, New Romantics, Look What You Made Me Do, and now Calm Down). It's also acted as the thematic centrepiece of an entire album, albeit an album whose individual songs were mostly about her relationship. It is time to move on.

This is all tea, but it's so nice to see somebody else who's tired of her fucking speech-like melodies. It's. so. played. out.
 
She / Her
I'm not sure which article mentioned this, but one of my least favorite things about this is the trailer park setting and her portrayal of the "haters" as poor toothless hillbillies. I understand the ~aesthetic~ of queer trailer park fantasy but the classism aspect of this video feels veeery off-color.
 

SockMonkey

Staff member
I think my main issue with it is that it’s all such a step backwards. Nobody, as someone suggested above, is saying that these representations aren’t real or part of gay culture. The problem is that it’s reinforcing that this is all gay culture is in 2019.

If you’re trying to send a message to homophobes that it’s fine to be gay, maybe don’t reinforce the notion of men in dresses or men acting fem, which is how a lot of them see it. And maybe don’t reinforce the stereotype of the people you’re trying to convince as being a bunch of biker rednecks with no teeth, because that’s just as damaging.

It’s a cartoon version of being gay, a cartoon version of being a homophobe. It becomes dangerous when it’s the loudest version. For kids growing up gay, give them something which shows they can be flamboyant and who they are, if that’s who they are, but give them something that shows they can be a boring bastard who works in office and just happens to prefer knob or muff.

Don’t give us a blast of Rainbowface and think you’re going to change the world.
 
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