A Taylor Swift Trifecta (Part 1)
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Oh boy... Where do I begin? I know. The beginning. It was December 13, 1989 in Reading Phil... wait. That's too far back. I'll try this again. (But before I begin, I want to speak about the info I found right before drafting this post. Consider this the scene before the title roll at the movies. Taylor Swift and I are both Sagittarius, so that's cool. She was also born in Philadelphia about two hours from where I'm living in New Jersey. Lastly, we both have cats. But... that's nothing new, or special. I mean, she can be her own cat at this point.)
Okay! It's blog post time! A Taylor Swift Trifecta will be a series of three blog posts about Tay Tay's most recent trio of albums (1989, Reputation, and Lover). Initially, I didn't plan to do three separate posts, but after finishing my thoughts on 1989 alone, I'm realizing there's a lot to say. I shouldn't be surprised, but let's begin. I'll confess. I was not a fan of Taylor Swift until Red was released. I didn't think she sucked or anything, but I definitely didn't connect with her music. That changed when I heard I Knew You Were Trouble. God, that song played every hour on the radio. Plus, my good friend Jamie sang it all the time. Follow her on Twitter. She's pretty awesome. Anyway... I was so fine with this earworm that I wrote a remix of it called "I Knew You Were Phi Mu When You Walked In." Again... thanks, Jamie. Alas, it was all for the best. I was now a fan of Taylor Swift. Then she dropped 1989. Shake It Off attacked any shred of toxic masculinity that might've existed inside of me, and released my inner Dwayne Johnson.
I don't really understand how anyone could dislike this song. Also, if you've never heard the DJ Mike D remix, check it out below. It adds a nice beat to an already nice beat.
It's rare that I can listen to an album from start to finish. I can without a doubt do that with 1989. If I'm being extremely picky, the only song that I could do without is Welcome To New York. The electronic feel the song takes just doesn't do it for me. Everything else is done masterfully. Let's talk about some of my favorites. - Style
- Bad Blood (preferably the remix)
- How You Get The Girl - This Love
- I Know Places
Style is such a smooth song that it's tough not to like. It has Taylor Swift's classic poetic writing, (which I'll mention a lot) and the vocals are just perfect. Truly, I could write a blog post just about this song and the symbolism, but I won't... yet. Bad Blood is an undeniable anthem, regardless of (maybe partly because of) it's controversial tie to Katy Perry. It brought us a video allowing women to be strong and fearless comrades, plus Kung Fu Kenny (Kendrick Lamar). The beat demands you rock left to right. The story telling is clear and easy to relate to.
How To Get The Girl, in true T. Swift fashion, illustrates a love story. The poppy tempo captivates you, and the bursts of short breath ad-libs keep you hooked. Some songs have lyrics that you remember forever. The ones found here are,
Remind me how it used... to... be... Pictures in frames... of kisses on cheeks... And say you want me.
This Love hits anyone with a soul sooo deep. I won't write a portion of the lyrics here, because there's truly no way to choose. This song is four minutes and ten seconds of poetry. The drums drop in, your tears hit the floor, and your small heart grows three sizes with each listen. See what I did there? You know, I often hate that we don't get videos for certain tracks, but for this song in particular, I understand. It's clear that human beings aren't capable of surviving the visual beauty that this video would entail. Now for my favorite. I Know Places speaks to me spir... actually, let's go ahead and talk about Clean, first.
Clean sounds like the triumphant recovery out of a darkness that often comes after songs like This Love (or equally, Eminem's Love The Way You Lie). The playfully soft melody paired with the raw, direct lyrics show growth and a nonchalant realization of truth. In short it's saying "Remember that time when? Yeah, that sucked. Glad I learned from it. Now, I'm moving forward." Okay, back to my favorite. As stated, I Know Places speaks to me spiritually. Well, as spiritually as I can be spoken to. Point being, this song is my jam. I get hooked from start to finish. Part of what's great about this track is that it plays on a cassette! The detail. I'm so sad that we never got a video for this one. But guess what! I'm about to walk you through exactly how I would've directed that video!
The video opens with the cassette click being replaced with a VHS tape being inserted. Pan out to a high school classroom complete with rolling television cart set in the 1980s, how about 1989? Sounds good? Oh, TV carts weren't a thing before 1990? I don't care. Let's do this. The VHS starts and we see flash frames of a 1789 small town village surrounded by deep forests. (Drums come in at 00:13) There's a gathering for soldiers going off to war, and... an oddity. Taylor Swift's eye is caught by an outcast. He's a man of a different race. (Oh the glory of our American history.) They mingle cautiously, hoping not to reveal the secret that they're already involved. The brooding antagonist notices and is furious. (00:25) Taylor and the outcast notice the angry soldier gathering his comrades. The two leads leave abruptly, and the next scene... (00:38) ...shows flashes of both parties gathering equipment, one for an escape, the other for a man hunt. (full instrumental drop 00:50) Slow motion scene of the leads running through twilight woods with hands held tightly. Some close-up shots of their fear, panic, and devoted love. Of course, the obligatory shot of a fox. (00:55) Yeah, let's show the fox becoming alert and fleeing as the mob of soldiers tries to follow our star-crossed lovers. (01:02) The leads burst into their supposed safe haven. It's a cabin surrounded by large, dead, apple trees. They hug in embrace until... (01:14) ...a shot of a muddy boot hitting the ground as he kneels, reveals the antagonist tracking their footprints in the mud. (01:16) The calm before the storm. Casual scenes of the leads preparing their new home in silence. (01:23) Slow motion scene of TS dropping a mug, and the outcast... (01:26) ...using seemingly alien powers to stop it before it hits the floor. (01:28) Awe-struck face of TS looking at her love. Scene of the soldiers arriving at the safe haven up until... (01:33) ...the outcast notices and convinces TS to hide, and that he'll handle it. He begins to creep towards the front door. (01:39) He throws the door open and... (01:41) ...is shot in the shoulder. Slow motion pan of fragments of his human shell flying off to reveal a neon blue alien under layer as he falls to the floor. Outcast in the foreground, TS in the background in shock with hands slowly rising to her cover her lips. (01:52) TS slides over at her lover's side, in tears, as she holds his hand in hers. He looks into her eyes reassuring her that he is fine, and begins to rise. (02:04) The outcast walks through the open door frame, in slow motion of course. Next is a montage of different camera angles showing the outcast striking the soldiers who are now frozen with fear. A neon blue "scar" is left on each of them. (02:05) The antagonist is lurking, planning his death blow with the outcast in his sights. (02:10) TS sees the their enemy going for the kill and runs... in slow motion... yeah... again... to intervene. (02:15) We see the antagonist's blade in a position of a finished slice, with neon blue scratches. (02:17) Begin panning up from feet to face on our leads who are now holding each other as they stand. (02:19) Show the antagonist's awe-struck face. (02:23) A close-up shot of the leads almost in tears, about to kiss. (02:25) A shot of Taylor's mid-section revealing that she was cut. A neon blue under layer peeks through her blouse, revealing that she is actually the same alien species as her love. (02:28) A kiss between our leads lands right when the instrumentals do, displacing them into a panoramic still of the two in space, embracing in a kiss, swirling among the stars. (02:35) The leads are back in the forest complete neon blue, holding hands with their backs to their their injured, not dead, attackers. TS rests her head on the outcast's shoulder. (02:41) Close up on a lone soldier revealing the same human shell falling off of his neon blue under layer. (02:46) A group shot of soldiers losing their human shell in the same way. (02:53) The antagonist losing his human shell as he rises up on his back with his elbows placed in the mud. They are all the same. (02:59) A shot of our favorite fox staring at the scene then retreating. (03:04) Four different shots to accompany each piano keys. A shot of the teacher back in the classroom, then one of TS sitting in a desk at the back of the class, then one of the outcast sitting next to her, and last a shot of the leads hands held together as they sit in the classroom. In that final shot the hands will take the foreground and the camera pans in past them, bringing the teacher who is now standing at the TV cart about to remove the VHS into the middle of the shot. Black screen when we hear the VHS removed.
...Yikes. That was much more detail than I intended. Clearly, I love I Know Places. Well, that concludes the first installment of A Taylor Swift Trifecta. Next time, I'll talk about the jaw-dropper that is Reputation. #TaylorSwift #ATaylorSwiftTrifecta #1989 #IKnowPlaces #MusicVideo