taylor & a step back in time

Well. I am almost embarrassed to be writing something about Taylor Swift, especially with her horrendously redundant & childish “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” song everywhere on the radio. But, as most people now by now, I listen to everything and appreciate good song writing … wherever it can be found.

To be clear … she has a new song  “knew you were trouble”… and its different … okay … it has some different parts <because it is clearly Taylor> … so here we go.


She does seem to stick to one topic … constantly singing about failed relationships and all that stuff <by the way … there is a semi serious video floating around on “ten tips on how to not have Taylor Swift write a mean song about you”>.  And, I admit, I wish I could send her all 4 bags of my leftover Halloween candy to eat so she could put some meat on her bones.


She is a nifty little songwriter.

She has a tricky voice … very thin & frail and quickly goes out of register as soon as she enters into her upper range <which can get screechy up there in those airy heights>.

But, once again, she is a nifty little songwriter.

She writes dialogue-style sentence lyrics <which are simple and meaningful at the same time> exceptionally well.

She is very very good at alternative pacing.

And, boy, she can write a chorus.

You may not like Taylor Swifts music but it is difficult to not recognize her musical writing skills if you listen to her debut cd …  with all songs written by her at the age of 15.

If interested … here is a link to her “top 10” best songs <to date> which actually includes the song I am writing about at number 10 <it is an impressive list for  22 year old>:  http://top40.about.com/od/picksofartistsbest/tp/Top-10-Taylor-Swift-Songs.htm

She is ever so slowly maturing musically. Some really young artists never do. But I do like that she made a conscious decision to collaborate with experienced songwriters for her newest cd (red) instead of writing all her own music <it features songs co-written by Max Martin and Semisonic’s Dan Wilson and duets with Ed Sheeran and Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody>.

It shows a willingness to listen and learn.

Every generation has young talent. Sometimes they evolve as they mature. Some just cannot.

If I were a betting man, I would bet on Taylor maturing well musically.

Here is a not the usual Taylor Swift song … genre-wise, style-wise and vocal-wise … well … okay … you kind of have to hack your way through the typical Taylor sound upfront <someone should tell her that her voice is not good for repeating vowels repetitively in a line and stick with softer consonants … that’s a freebie Taylor> but overall … well written and different sounding:

I knew You were Trouble: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRMevGc3934

Really well written.

The chorus is something almost any pop star has to be wishing they had written.

It has a really slick bridge that quietly leans into the dub-step pop.

And placing the deep bass electronic beat under her voice as she goes up for some notes was brilliant. It actually lets her go up <where her voice really shouldn’t go to be listenable in any way> but the bass buries the thinness.


As a counterpoint … another song off her new cd has a wonderful slide guitar and mandolin underpinning <and it is a nice song>.

Begin Again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMPEd8m79Hw

And then she stays in a lower range … and it serves her well.

And … as usual … great chorus … albeit very unusual <in a good way> instrumentally.

Red: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZW8QNIiu1A&feature=related

Speaking of this younger generation.

While Taylor is no longer a teen <but still singing teen-loving songs> at 22 she has good company in the teen singing, but not a teen, company:

Carly Rae Jepsen and Call Me Maybe <she is 27>

Justin Beiber … oops … he is 18.

Katy Perry is 28.


Ah. Let us take a step back in music time.

But all these youngsters have nothing on the original teen pop queen JoJo <13 when she broke into the charts>. They should all be sending her a check every once in a while because JoJo taught us all way back in the good ole days that a teen can crank out a very listenable radio pop song … and lots would listen to it.

A step back on memory lane for with 13 year old JoJo:

Too Late: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSBEQEIRR48&feature=related

Leave (Get Out): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggWyUEuGcWY

There you go.

Some contemporary teen pop and some historical teen pop. You get it all here.

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Written by Bruce