Rich Fury / Getty Images for iHeartMedia
I have no idea what it's like to be a pop star; I don't know what it feels like to be seen by (but rarely known by) billions of people. I'm about to have an obscure underground rock band called Priests. While Taylor Swift plays in the stadiums and has a deal with Universal's major soundtrack, an exclusive licensing deal for luxury versions of her Target album, Priests runs in small clubs, and we, her members, manage our own soundtrack. (We recently celebrated a new distribution deal that introduces our editions to larger stores.) Swift has 85 million followers on Twitter and 121 million followers on Instagram; I recently asked our 4,000 Twitter followers (only half jokingly) if anyone had paid for bot accounts to follow us on Instagram, since we've reached 10,000 followers and I think it's very unlikely that many people even know that we exist.
So the expectations, the size of the audience and the salaries for Swift and I are completely different. But I know about being a songwriter, and how the artist's desires can directly contradict those of the songwriter. When I'm a performer, I'm an extrovert. I like to entertain the audience that I want to make happy, angry, sad, excited, etc. As a songwriter, I'm an introverted interior designer trying to install a curtain (a nice-looking curtain, a captivating curtain) around the extroverted, fulfilling sheer goes on (and on, and on, sometimes feels) by telling everyone everything. The singer says: No . Not everything. Select and choose what you share. Make art, don't read the news to everyone . Whatever the form, for me, art comes from the friction between these opposite poles of desire: the songwriter always wants to show, while the performer always wants to tell.
So I'm excited about the show and not telling the songwriter Taylor Swift is making his new album, Lover turning up phrases that darken as they reveal. Most of these 18 songs are pleasant, warm reflections on different kinds of love, soundtracks that the listener can dance to or choke on. This is a familiar ground for Swift, whose discography has always felt as though it was written by and for people who grew up in Disney's demented fairytale films, movies, and other fun-loving and lifesaving characters of our love. Swift was a harlot in the art of romantic songwriting, and straight from the gate with early songs to crush sweet boys ("Tim McGraw, Our Song," Tears on My Guitar). But the songs of Lover sound comfortable with the wider, open arches of the rainbow. On the topic of "It's nice to have a friend," Swift's storyteller recounts moments in a special relationship that can span decades: sidewalks in the snow, rooftop under pink skies, school bells turning into church bells. This is a new and successful Swift approach that usually tells everything; here she instead invites the listener to do the work – to conclude what exactly could be so enjoyable about having a friend.
When Swift made her self-titled debut in 2006, she encouraged listeners to have an intimate relationship with their music. Longtime fans know that the texts in her cover notes often contain seemingly random letters that spell out decryption messages. (A quick Google search for "All Too Well lyrics" and "MAPLE LATTES" will reveal a high-profile relationship that inspired what many consider a career-defining song in the Swift catalog.) Fans decided on the message "PORTLAND, OREGON" . capitalized on "Sparks Fly" means that the song is for country singer Swift, opened in this city in 2006. The stories behind the origin of fan favorites such as "Mean" and "Dear John" are well documented in interviews and with herself Swift and his supposed subject (music industry blogger and older celebrity guitarist who probably should have known it would have been wiser not to meet 19-year-olds respectively). The Lover is the first chapter of Swift's career after what she describes as some of the worst years of her life. Stalkers, a legal battle with sexual abuse, business interruptions and romance, broken friendships and her mother's battle with cancer are just some of the personal issues the pop star has addressed in recent headlines. As Swift's profile grew, so did the reasonable restraint on conveying all the details to the inquiring minds. In a move that she feels is good for her personal relationships and mental health, but feels wrong for many of her fans and some members of the press, she does not interview for reputation in 1945. Reputation . The playful attempt to develop from the image of the cool girl-next-door-who-absolutely-key-your-car, if necessary, which was so captivating to fans, was probably a success, measured by most indicators, but the relatively quiet talkative author of songs have left room for many assumptions, especially her values and political convictions.