Monday, July 13, 2015

Taylor Swift is a Monster, Be Very Afraid!

I've been reading some of the recent press coverage of the staggering popularity of Taylor Swift, including the Time cover story (left) and others. Just about every story now about Swift is just a variation on the same theme that Taylor is the new queen of pop music. That is not inaccurate. She has indeed conquered the music business, such as it is.

But what the giddy, breathless music journalists lack is even a remedial understanding of just who and what Taylor Swift really is, and who and what she has always been.

Now that Taylor, 25, has abandoned her slightly more substantive acoustic-country teen love songs for vacuous, throwaway, kitschy 80s-ish high-energy pop, she will fade even faster. Country audiences are relatively loyal. But the pop crowd? Like omigod, Taylor, you're gonna be a has-been who'll be reluctantly appearing in Where Are They Now articles in the tabloids in 10 years or maybe less. 

I'm generally not this cynical, and I'm almost never this mean. But it's impossible for me to sit idly by and let Taylor Swift "conquer" the music business without having my say. Because you see, folks, Taylor is a huge phony. She's way too "sincere" to be sincere. 

Taylor is the most calculating and manipulative music artist to hit the top of what's left of the pop charts in a long time. From the time she could walk and talk, she was teaching herself the tenets of by-the-numbers modern Nashville songwriting game and how to write a "hit" song.

As opposed to, you know, picking up an old six string and learning organically how to enjoy music for its own sake, form the heart. It was all part of Taylor's master plan. There never was an innocence for her to lose.

Nashville is the new Brill Building. Nashville songwriting has become an obsessive and very specific hit-machine craft. You, too, can find fame and fortune if you study the basics of Nashville songwriting. Art? That got lost somewhere along the way. It's all about the hook now, the clever song title/premise. It's all about the hit. 

This is a full-on craft now, and Taylor, to her credit and shame, taught herself to be among the best craftsmen in all of music. She embraced this mentality while still in grade school. She craved acceptance, fame and a record deal not long after she learned to tie her shoes. It was never about love for music, it was always about getting as famous as is humanly possible.

And she subsequently conned Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and so many others in the business into thinking she was a sweet little child who just happened to have a little musical talent. She was Shirley Temple meets Irving Azoff. A cute little blonde kid who had a scarily venomous side and would do pretty much anything to succeed.

Taylor's been playin' the players since she was tiny. There is nothing genuine about her. And now, also not surprisingly, she's bailed on Nashville and walked away from country music. It has nothing more to give her. She's moved on and is now a product of the plastic pop world. 

In reality, she doesn't belong to anyone or anything other than her own callow ambitions. Who are you really, Taylor? Do you even know?

Taylor Swift has become a brand, a corporation, a pop-culture phenomenon, a theme park (that's coming, trust me). But what's happened along the way is that this is now all that she is. Taylor has tragically lost anything similar to what a real, spontaneous human being possesses. That is simply not required when you reside in the rarefied but odorous air of hyper-fame. 

Taylor, who is utterly obsessed with "celebrity" and whose best "friends" are all required to be equally as famous, doesn't need to be anyone now in particular out of the limelight. She doesn't need to do any soul searching or self analysis. She can hire a yes-man psychotherapist and some clingy, college-educated personal assistants to do all that for her. 

Taylor's level of fame is the kind that destroys people. Invariably. Inevitably. And, yes, sadly. Taylor is lost. She would undoubtedly tell you that she has it all together, but no. She's gone. Taylor has left country and she has left the building. There isn't a person in there any more. She's created her own monster. I hope she's happy. But I'm really not certain she understands the destructiveness of this kind of fame or even the concept of true "happiness" any more.

Taylor has been an absolute failure in her relationships, as anyone who's ever listened to her songs or read the entertainment press knows. She's just way too ambitious to ever please someone else, or herself. She and DJ Calvin Harris, the insanely overpaid millionaire record spinner, have only been together for a few months but are reportedly moving in together and discussing marriage. Uh oh. Be afraid, Calvin, be very afraid. It won;t last. Mark my words.

We all know that Taylor has a habit of writing some rather nasty tell-all songs about ex-boyfriends. And anyway, she's married to her career. Good luck with that, kids. 


Fame and wealth do not make it easier to have happy, healthy, satisfying, trusting relationships. 
On the contrary. Fame is just about the most powerful and destructive drug on the planet. It devours everything in its path, leaving in its wake a "person" who, after achieving all she so desperately wanted, finds that she wants to return to the person she was before it all started. 

But, typically, that person is no longer available. You've traveled too far away from whoever you really are, Taylor. Or were. And now you find that you have become this "person" you don't even know, or like.

That is the tragedy of what you thought you wanted since you were a little girl. It happens all the time. Taylor is in for a very hard fall when her golden star begins to tarnish. In the meantime, Taylor, I hope you are happy. I hope you are able to find a little bit of yourself, a bit of that little girl, such as it was, amid all the idolatry and yes men and phony worship. 

And if you ever read this, Taylor, please know that I am not writing this to be mean, or because I hate you. I am writing this because I feel sorry for you. I feel sorry for everyone who only cares about making it to the top, and once the person makes it to the top, you find that if you weren't happy when you were at the bottom of the ladder, you won't be happy now. It's just one of those very basic facts of life that almost everyone who strives for fame and fortune does not learn until it's way too late. 

But I can guess what you're thinking right about now. Instead of being ticked off at me for writing such an audacious column, you're thinking:

"Hmm... Fame? Unhappiness? Tragedy? A manipulative little girl who made it big but is now lost and lonely? Now that would make for a killer pop song, wouldn't it? Call my record label, pronto! And get my agent in here!"

22 comments:

  1. Interesting, Jamie. Just this morning a picture of Taylor flashed on the TV and I told the person I was with that I thought she was a coniving entertainer (I HATE it when she gets up from her seat while watching someone else perform, and dances until the camera finds her!). Ugh. And more behavior like that. There's always been something about her that has turned me off. You have fleshed that out for me.

    Sue Emmett

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a very astute observation, Sue. So true!

      Delete
  2. I thought at first she was just focused and manipulative. The longer I've watched her, albeit not closely, I wonder if she's not on the spectrum. Color me, am not a fan.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You're so right about giddy journalists, but it's not just those in music. When I see former WH correspondent Norah O'Donnell's devotion to Taylor and how she's got her latest songs on her phone and Charlie Rose,who's old enough to be her grandfather,swooning over her it makes my ill. As for music Taylor won't ever come close to the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Norah Jones,Allison Krauss,Ann Wilson,Melissa Ethridge, Debbie Harry etc!

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's a business. It's all about the money. honey ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Kind of amazing how many negative comments Mr. Reno has deleted. For an "award winning correspondent", this fellow has an awfully thin skin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only delete things that are genuinely offensive or stupid from my blog, but in your case, jerry, I'll make an exception this time. :)

      Delete
    2. Following that logic wouldn't you then need to delete your blog post?

      Delete
    3. Oh, snap. Is that your attempt at being clever, Patrick? Keep trying, you're bound to succeed eventually.

      Delete
  6. http://gawker.com/taylor-swift-is-not-your-friend-1717745581

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/28/taylor-swift-s-bad-blood-hypocrisy-an-anthem-fit-for-regina-george.html?via=newsletter&source=Culturebeast

      Delete
  7. I've always thought that behind that pristine image lay a manipulative personality disorder of the narcissistic kind. If you watch her closely at the Emmy Awards in the year she lost to Adele you'll see what I mean, even more so when Amy and Tina dared to comment on her flippant relationships. Like any personality disorder she aligns herself with those she considers a threat serving only to secure her status. Look at all the "friends" she parades with ; this is one smart manipulator with an empty soul. It's all in the eyes people. Don't be fooled.

    ReplyDelete
  8. When you have hung out with Taylor ( for at least 1 day ) and had a meaningful personal conversation with her, I will accept your opinion, otherwise it is only speculation. Let me know if that happens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok Big Al. And let me know when you summon up the courage to issue insults online with a profile that isn't anonymous. :)

      Delete
    2. Ok Big Al. And let me know when you summon up the courage to issue insults online with a profile that isn't anonymous. :)

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. As a fellow card-carrying member of the Call It What It Is Curmudgeon Club, I concur. I would much rather watch an endless loop of a Susan Boyle's first appearance Britain's Got Talent than fifteen endless seconds of Taylor Twit.

    ReplyDelete