I love Taylor Swift. A few months ago my daughter found out about a song and video that I found at once catchy, if not a bit fluffy. That would be "Love Story." See how pretty and unskanky Taylor looks -- sorry, you have to click to see....
But then. Last week we're riding home from who knows where and we hear a song on the radio. From the opening riffs, I guess it is Taylor Swift and impress my children. My daughter and son both knew the song - they told me it was "Our Song" from Taylor's first record. And I listen closely and hear:
"Our song is the slamming screen doors,
Sneakin' out late, tapping on your window
When we're on the phone and you talk real slow
'cause it's late and your mama don't know
Our song is the way you laugh
The first date "man, I didn't kiss her, and I should have"
And when I got home ... before I said amen
Asking God if he could play it again"
In a choked up voice, I squeaked out, "Oh."
Is that not the cutest capture of high school? DUDE. And her voice! Clear, straight tone, unstrained, and NOT NASAL (Yes, Miley Cyrus, I'm looking at you...you and Ashley Tisdale.).
The 3 minute pop song is my life's soundtrack, and y'all know despite my indie tendencies I'm not averse to folks like Justin and Beyonce and Gwen and Madonna - if they keep to their tight, edited little frothy concotions. Taylor has done it and without the annoying, repeptitive twang of today's country (sorry if I'm offending...maybe my new fascination will help me to be more open-minded).
So I get home after wiping away tears of music love and nostalgia, and open up a New Yorker that's sitting around.
And Sasha Frere-Jones loves her too! His article, like a lot of his, is a gushfest and almost too critiquey, but he knows more about her than I do, so I enjoyed it. Also, read how much better he describes "Our Song".
" 'Our Song' ” was not Swift’s first hit, but it was the first to stop me in my tracks. It’s a breezy recounting of frustration, streaked with simple phrases so conversational that on first hearing they fly by without registering. For example: “He’s got a one-hand feel on the steering wheel, the other on my heart.” Not one hand here and another there; first comes a “one-hand feel,” and then the asymmetrical “hand”—on someone else’s heart, not his own. The song’s tension is that Swift and her man don’t have a song to call their own; its genius is that they never pick one—their romance is the song, and both characters get a chance to narrate. Swift, the writer, also gets to transubstantiate; their song is their life as she describes it.
Now, I should warn you not to watch the video for "Our Song", cause remember that unskankiness? Yeah, apparently she didn't konw how to avoid it on the first album. Taylor's new release is obliterating the charts, iTunes, etc. etc. so you'll hear more of her, obviously, and good thing, too. I have given my full approval for my children to follow her career. Let's hope she continues to let her music do the talking.