Dear Taylor Swift,
You have somewhat recently released a new album featuring this song, among others:
Now, before I go into my thoughts on this jam of yours, Taylor, I have to be honest. I have not historically been your biggest fan. I first heard about you when I was at school in Texas and one of my friends started playing your debut album in the car non-stop when we would drive around. I could not get away from this, as I did not have my own car at the time, and this person was more or less my sole mode of transportation. I listened to your entire first album multiple times against my will and I did not enjoy it. At all. I still don’t like any of the songs on that album. Not a single one.
But apparently, as you have started to grow up, so, too, has your music. This is what I am telling myself, because I find myself obsessively listening to a lot of your songs and I don’t really know how to feel about this.
Really, it started with that song from The Hunger Games. That song is gorgeous. Plus you sang it with The Civil Wars. I told myself that the only reason I could possibly enjoy something associated with you, Taylor, was because someone else made it good. So I attributed the enjoyability of that song to The Civil Wars and listened to it song guilt free, for the most part.
But then you started releasing songs from your new album Red. And I listened to them. And I initially thought, “meh.” And then I’d listen again, just to make sure I thought that. And then I’d look up what the internet was saying about who you may or may not have written that particular song about, and then I’d listen to it again because “ooh I missed that lyric.” And then suddenly I’d listened to it thirty times and knew all the words?
I’m obsessed with you lately, Taylor. I still don’t like most of your early stuff, but a select few of your older songs have grown on me and I absolutely love Red. The funny thing is that a lot of the people I know who used to love you now think you are incredibly annoying and that your new music sucks. Well, I don’t blame them for finding you annoying. You might be. But I think your new pop singer/songwriter direction is great. Keep doing that!
Now let’s talk about this We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together song. I thought it was ridiculous at first and the title is still too long, but whatever. It is one of many songs off this album that I love. The reason that I love it is because I actually kind of relate to it. Yeah.
It’s not that I’ve been in a relationship where we broke up and got back together over and over again, because I haven’t. But I have had those kinds of friendships, the ones you think are going to last forever and you throw yourself into maintaining them no matter how difficult and one-sided it becomes. The ones where you’re fed up and just over it, and then they call you and apologize and say how much they miss you and you’re manipulated into feeling bad for not being there for them, only to start the vicious cycle over again. And I’ve gotten to the point where I just wanted to scream at them that I never, ever, ever wanted to see them again.
So once I realized I liked this song and understood the place you wrote it from, I started listening to more and more of your songs and I slowly discovered that there are a lot of them that I can connect with. I’d have to say that my favorite songs of yours are Everything Has Changed (featuring Ed Sheeran) and probably Fearless, though that makes me feel weird to say because it’s so… cheerful and optimistic. What can I say, my New Year’s resolution to be braver has already paid off, so I’m not going to feel bad about listening to a song about not being scared to fall for somebody. (More on this later… provided it doesn’t all fall apart and Sad Beautiful Tragic becomes my favorite Taylor Swift song.)
There’s just something special about the honesty of your lyrics. I guess that’s your big appeal in the first place, but I was annoyed by you in the past because your songs all felt juvenile to me. Like, I don’t know, a teenager wrote them, or something. But this new album is different. I think you’ve still got a lot of growing up left to do (Harry Styles? Really?) but I think your sound has matured in a pretty interesting way. It also helps that none of the songs on this album are like, “your girlfriend’s a slut! She doesn’t understand you! Date me instead!” because that was pretty gross, Taylor. Let’s just be real.
Anyway, all I wanted to say is that you’re all right, Taylor. I don’t know if I want to like, be friends with you, but I like your music. You’re still mostly a guilty pleasure for me, but I’m warming up to you. Maybe, someday, ten years from now, I’ll go see you in concert. As long as you don’t sing Picture to Burn or Love Story or Mean or You Belong With Me or… you know what, just spend the next decade writing songs less irritating than those. I think you’re off to a pretty good start.
A Reluctant Fan
P.S. This version of I Knew You Were Trouble is ridiculously cool.