Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Taylor Swift and the Wisdom of Youth

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When she was 18, Taylor Swift wrote a song “Fifteen.” “Back then I swore I was going to marry her someday, but I realized some of my big dreams,” she sang, sounding more like a great great grandmother than a rising senior.

“Fifteen” evokes, if a little hygiene: Nimble Mendoline Stromes mimics the nervous-spirited butterflies of the first day of high school, as the wide-eyed Swift sings, hoping “one of those senior boys you But would pounce and say, “‘You know I’ve never seen you before.’

There was a certain emotional truth to the lyrics – the age difference of many years ever When you are a teen, do you feel more consequential? – But some older listeners were skeptical. “You appreciate her skill,” wrote In mixed reviews of Swift’s second album, “Fearless,” a critic for the Guardian “feels a bit unstable at the thought of a teenager away like Yoda.”

Swift, now 31, sings, “When you’re young, let’s assume you don’t know anything.” “Folk song,” An LP that is overall mature and braided in terms of specific, explicit-denied knowledge of adolescents. (It earned Swift five points Six enrollment in ruralWhich which Take place on sunday in los angeles.) By the end of that song “Cardigan,” The narrator has excavated such a heap, but has lost emotionally vivid memories that he must end on the strength of the sudden revelation, “I knew Every thing when I was young.”

While it is not attractive, such as Exz, the subject of fame or A-list celebrity fights, age has been a recurring theme in Swift’s work. An numerology enthusiast with a special attachment to 13, Swift has also released a handful of songs, whose titles refer to specific eras: “Seven,”Fifteen,” and of course, “22,” The “red” hit on which he expresses that particular junction of emerging adulthood as feeling “happy, free, confused and lonely” at the same time. Like her contemporary Adele, Swift seems to enjoy her music from time to time, sometimes presenting it like a public-facing scrapbook that always reminds her that it felt like a certain age Gaya – Regardless, Gramim with her millions of fans and weapons, none of them are women at all Specific.

Swift’s critics often find her hyper unbreakable beyond her age. Probably because Pranjal played such a role in his story from the beginning – at the age of 14, he became the youngest artist to sign a publishing agreement with Sony or ATV; At the age of 20, she became the youngest to win a Grammy Album of the Year – many listeners have been fascinated by how her songs have evolved, or not, in her songs. People associate Swift’s songs with sex, alcohol, and allowances for Profanity As MPAA representatives carefully do a frontier-PG film. Particular attention was paid to her 2017 album “Reputation” and its numerous mentions Drunkenness And Dive bars – Although Swift was 27 years old when she came out.

The relative purity of Swift’s music was until “Reputation” felt like a deliberate verdict: unlike female pop stars who channeled their “loss of innocence” as a sudden and irreversible change, Swift got It was not understood that she did not want to repel the young listener – or lose the approval of her parents. At best, it felt like acceptance of her status as a role model; At least, it was the whisper of a marketing strategy.

But a growing obsession with Swift to “act her age” also showed a greater social duplicity. Famous or not, women face much more intense scrutiny around age, whether it is perceived cultural reminiscent of the biological clock, or the inevitability of ticking. (“People say I’m controversial” Madonna said in 2016. “But I think the most controversial thing I have done is to stick around.”) And when youth and ingenuity are rewarded with some youth, they would easily be dismissed as silly and trivial. As the girl becomes very close. Suraj – As Swift has experienced time and again.

Despite once being a teenage girl myself (unlike many music critics), I recognize that I am not completely free from these internal biases. I initially rejected “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince”, a song that appeared on Swift’s 2019 album “Hover”. The first time I heard it, I was surprised that an enlarged woman at the age of 30 was still writing about Homecoming and the teenagers were gossiping.

But over time, I have come to appreciate the song and its deep vision, acknowledging the dangers of cruelty, depression, and sexual violence (“Boys will be boys then, where are the wise men?”) Directly to any More than? The song Swift wrote when she was an actual teenager. In this song, the senior boys are not the kind who blink at the girls and say to girls, “like they were not seen around you before” – which, unfortunately, makes them feel more authentic. Even the title “Miss Americana” approaches to a larger world outside the high school walls, and more and more systemic forces that keep repeating such patterns well into adulthood.

“Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” now feels like a precursor to some of the richest songs in “folklore”, which finds Swift once again returning to her school days with the familiar eye of an adult . Consider “Seven”, an impressive recreation of her approach at that age. The second verse, attractively, plays like a sequence without the first-graders’ innocent comments:

“And I make sense to tell you, I think your house is haunted, your dad is always crazy and that’s why / and I think you should stay with me and we can be pirates, so You won’t have to cry. “

But “Seven” is not so poignant, because of tension, when Swift’s adult perspective interferes. “Please, show me the pictures in the trees, before I learn the suture,” she sings in a tortured soprano, to surprise the listener as to how she enjoys – and all of us – the perceived “vibrancy of adulthood.” Exchange for “.

Quite a few songs “Evermore,” Swift’s second release of 2020, toggling between past and present, getting lost and gaining with the passage of time. The playful “long story short” passes a note to Swift’s short self (“Past me, I don’t want to tell you to get lost in these petty things”), while “Dorothia,” like “Seven”, is a A feverish childhood friendship again reflects a good perspective of adulthood.

Most striking bonus tracks are “Right Where You Left Me,” a fictional story of a “girl who froze” (“Time is gone for everyone, she won’t know it / She is still 23, inside her imagination” “). That language is something Swift admits to in the Swift 2020 Netflix documentary “Miss americana”: “People say this about celebrities, that they are frozen at the age when they became famous. And that’s what happened to me. I was just trying to catch up to 29.”

But Swift’s recent songs, at their best, understand that “growing up” is not always A linear progression towards something more valuable. Take the songs of “folklore” “Cardigan” and “Betty”, which use an interrelated set of characters to celebrate the chronological drama drama and the heightened emotional knowledge of youth. “I’m only 17, I don’t know anything, but I know I miss you,” Swift sings in the voice of James, a high schooler who has broken Betty’s heart and forgiveness. Have shown up at your door to ask. Maybe it is a melodramatic thing; Perhaps it is the sort of thing that adults stand to do more often. Swift’s music helps us remember that growing up does not automatically mean sensible growing up – it simply means simply compromising, self-denying, and numb to the emotions we have developed. The bar bracing was felt with intensity.

In a gesture to gain control of her songs, Swift is currently re-recording her first six albums (her) Master Recording was recently sold By Ithaca Holdings investment firm Shamrock Capital) of Scooter Braun. Last month it released a note-for-note update of its opening hit “Love Story” and has promised to release a new version of “Fearless (Taylor’s version)” later this year. It continues to think of Swift going back and assimilating his adolescent voice: On the face of it, “Fifteen” is especially surreal to imagine his singing as an adult.

In another way, however, “Fifteen” – with its distant reflection on the young stupidity of expectations – makes more sense and carries a greater emotional weight when a 30-year-old sings at the age of 30. Perhaps Swift was preparing for such an exercise when she created “Folklore”, an album that sinks into years of research and feels free to be as creative as it wants to be as young or as old as .

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