Proof Taylor Swift Is a Better Lyricist Than She Often Lets On

by Jeremy Spirogis
Taylor Swift

Those who criticize Taylor Swift usually concentrate on her teenage-themed vibe. She capitalizes on failed romances through catchy tunes, easy rhyme schemes, and a motley assortment of revenge and self-realizations-based plots akin to a pre-quarter-century disaster (which she ought to have lengthy since handed). Yet, is Taylor Swift really a greater lyricist than she lets on? Is there any proof that her grasp on the English language – and rhetorical methods — reaches additional than “she wears short shirts; I wear t-shirts?”

When analyzing Taylor Swift’s ascension to stardom, you need to account for the truth that she was fairly younger when on the rise; thus, a few of her early hits are adolescent in nature (concentrating on a younger feminine demographic), as she herself fills that field. 

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images For dcp

From “You Belong With Me” to “Shake It Off”, “Love Story,” and “Fifteen” a number of Swift numbers paint a story — utilizing well-known allusions to Romeo and Juliet or stereotypical depictions of highschool cliques — with out illustrating the emotional depth inherent to the expertise in an explorative or pensive approach. However, that is usually the case relating to the artist’s huge hits — a sign that Swift is aware of her viewers. Yet, her B-tracks — and her work exterior her pop-focused profession — spotlight her capacity to faucet into a distinct model. She can supply a distinct linguistic method — even generally proving a grasp on extra classical lyricism. 

Let’s check out “Clean”

Taylor Swift’s “Clean” comes off of the album 1989 and dives into what it means for like to die — for a relationship to crumble…not with a bang, however with a whisper. His love stays “all over her” like a “wine-stained dress” she “can’t wear,” and although she felt like she was drowning when it got here to an in depth, the end is what allowed her to breathe — to reenter the world higher off. 

She is offended however “clean:” clear of the ache, clear of the battle, clear of the long-lasting second in her life. She compares this finish to a drug dependancy ending, making a transparent analogy with out ever veering too far, as to keep away from a trite depiction. 

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Taylor Swift as soon as defined that the tune is about “ coming out of a relationship, or trying to move on from some struggle that you had in your life, and feeling kind of tarnished by it,” as famous by SongFacts. The tune is heavy, however not overwrought or melodramatic; it’s actual with out being combative or whiney. It’s mature. 

“The Moment I Knew:” When transparency meets subtext

Unlike “Clean,” “The Moment I Knew” is a little more on the floor, extra clear, however transparency doesn’t essentially imply weak. Transparency, when matched with a robust emotional subtext, is kind of highly effective. Swift balances the 2 nicely on this quantity; subtext and transparency. 

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The story is correct there: her boyfriend doesn’t come to her Birthday celebration, but in every utterance of the “Moment I Knew,” you are feeling the ache of each missed Birthday, each forgotten anniversary, each Holiday he confirmed with out a present…each second that transpired earlier than the second she knew; it’s all there, however doesn’t must be stated. This one story is sufficient to inform all of the others. 

Like “Clean,” “The Moment I Knew” shouldn’t be her greatest hit, but the quantity reveals a competence exterior her machine-like capacity to write down a sing-a-long tune with a easy relatable message. 

‘Cats’ could have been a catastrophe, however “Beautiful Ghosts” was not 

Cats could have been a debacle, however the quantity Swift wrote for the musical was not. “Beautiful Ghosts” — from the lyrics to the melody — is haunting in its story. Beautiful within the depth of darkness Swift enters to narrate the lyrics to the present musical’s narrative. The character at hand doesn’t have a reminiscence of one thing higher— entry to visions of “dazzling rooms” she’s going to by no means be let into; she observes from the corners. 

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From the darkish crevices that catalyze despair, she seems on the world, desirous to be needed…with nothing to cling to. And whereas others could not have what was earlier than — could have relinquished the delight that after characterised their gate (or ought to we are saying, crawl), they at the least have the attractive ghosts…they continue to be. Swift faucets into the classical model of writing for Cats’ different songs have been written a very long time in the past and for the Broadway stage. A pop quantity wouldn’t have labored. She shortly transitions from her norm to a distinct medium, and she or he excels. 

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