Today I will be analyzing 3 of Taylor Swift’s most famous songs. As a disclaimer, I do not claim to be an expert on Taylor Swift. This analysis is based solely on the lyrics and the videos.
First, Love Story. (Click link to view video)
Intended Message: The story of our love is beautiful, just like the classic old stories we were told as kids. We’ve overcome hardships and challenges, only further reaffirming that our love is the real deal.
Perceived Message: Let me start off this blog by asking, out of all the great love stories in literature, why did Taylor Swift choose one in which the two main characters commit suicide? It’s funny that this
little major detail from the original text didn’t make it into the song.
In the opening verse, are the lines, “I close my eyes and the flashback starts.” Note that Swift doesn’t say imaginative fantasizing of our relationship, she says flashback. Given the several century gap between the modern school campus framing device and the fancy castles, one can conclude that either Swift and her beau met at a dress up party or are immortal vampires that have been in love through the centuries. In that case, perhaps a better comparison for their love story would be the Twilight series, not Romeo and Juliet.
Anyway, we can infer that Swift’s parents are initially very skeptical of this relationship. Hence the lyrics, “They try to tell me how to feel” and “my daddy said stay away from Juliet.” So what advice can we gleam from this song? If those older and wiser than you don’t approve of the relationship, it doesn’t matter! As long as you feel that it’s real, don’t listen to anyone!
Also, Romeo and Juliet were not a prince and princess.
Next, Mean. (Click link to view video)
Intended Message: Bullies may put you down, but someday, you’ll have all your dreams come true, and they’ll still just be bullies. Taylor Swift knows because critical people keep bringing her down, but she still succeeds.
Perceived Message: I did some research and found that Swift specifically is directing this song towards Bob Lefsetz, a critic who pointed out several flaws with Swift’s performance 52nd Grammy Awards in his blog. His criticism, according to Swift, was not professional and was downright mean, hence the name of the song.
What a cruel man! How dare he criticize a celebrity!? Pointing out the flaws of someone spending their life in the spotlight. Despicable.
Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not encouraging damaging someone’s reputation just because you can. In fact, I commend Swift for standing up for the bullied. What gets me though is that she’s fed up of people calling her names, so she does the mature thing and calls those critics, “mean, and a liar, and pathetic, and alone in life.” Way to turn the other cheek there, Taylor!
Another thing, throughout most of the video, Swift is singing about what it’s going to be like when she lives in “a big ol’ city.” Then at the end, she’s made it big, she’s in that big ol’ city, and playing for an audience of… one little girl. That’ll show those critics who said you’d never amount to anything who’s boss!
I should probably stop critiquing this song now, otherwise I might end up as the subject of “Mean 2.”
Finally, You Belong with Me. (Click link to view video)
Intended Message: The boy next door, who is absolutely perfect for you, doesn’t realize it because he’s trapped in a relationship with a girl he doesn’t really love. As long as you remain loyal for long enough, he’ll finally realize the truth and confess that he’s loved you the entire time as well.
Perceived Message: It’s totally okay to be obsessed with someone already in a relationship. His current girlfriend is always going to be a backstabbing cheater. So yeah, just keep creeping and eventually he’ll figure it out. Passivity wins the day. If you do manage to pluck up the courage to write a note professing your love, keep in mind that you’re encouraging someone to cheat on his girlfriend. Great love advice.
I know the producers are going for a Peter Parker/ Mary Jane next-door-neighbor relationship here, but those two house windows are dangerously close together. It’s almost like the contractors are promoting being a peeping Tom. Check out the guy peering out his window at 0:55 onto the unsuspecting Taylor Swift dancing and tell me that he’s been consistently able to respect her privacy.
One thing I just don’t understand is why the evil girlfriend chooses, of all possible times, right after her man scores a game-winning touchdown to communicate that she has the hots for another player. Hooray for more cheating!
At the end, we see Swift bogged down in homework and studying, claiming that she can’t go to the dance. After the guy leaves, she then ditches her studies in order to go to the dance, picking out a dress in no time. Lying to the boy you’re trying to impress and not doing your homework? Great life advice.
Also, considering that the boy didn’t know that Taylor was going to show up, the “I love you” note couldn’t have been originally meant for her. Even if it was, it means that this guy has always had thoughts about cheating on his girlfriend, and what’s to stop him from cheating on Swift? By the way, unless Taylor’s dress has pockets, I’m curious as to where she pulled her “I love you” note out of.
Why am I being so critical of the sincerity behind these songs? After all, these star-crossed lovers might be meant for each other! Well then how would you explain why there’s a different actor portraying her love interest in every single video? Either these “love songs” are all about the same hypothetical guy that Taylor has never gotten the urge to actually make a move on, or she’s someone who has had way too many relationships. And is that type of person really someone you want to be taking relationship advice from?
Another reason to doubt the sincerity of these “made in heaven” relationships is her recent material, which is largely about her rough breakups. It makes you wonder how long a guy stays in the “belong with me” stage of the relationship before he falls into the “we are never ever ever getting back together (like ever)” stage of the relationship.
Finally, for all her complaints about being left in the friend-zone, my sympathies go towards Taylor Swift’s male backup musicians, who appear to have been in her friend-zone for quite some time. The same goes for Carly Rae Jepsen’s backup musicians.
As a closing note, Taylor Swift, even if she was a perfect songwriter, would not be a good person to ask for love advice. Why? Because she’s famous and we’re not.
Well that’s all for this week folks. Check back next time to hear all about the worst products I’ve ever purchased. You won’t want to miss it.