Taylor Swift does quite a bit to encourage tabloid attention -- at least that’s how Jody Rosen of New York magazine sees it.
The Grammy-winning “Mean” singer-songwriter opened up to the weekly mag about her career and her history of kissing and telling on her records and glut of hit singles.
“I think that allowing yourself to feel raw, real emotions in public is something I am never going to be afraid to do,” the 23-year-old said. “Hopefully that’s the case, if I can remain a real human.”
“I’m fine with being honest with my fans about the fact that it’s OK that everything isn’t OK all the time. I love my life, I love my career, I love my friends — but things are not OK all the time. So I don’t sing about things being OK all the time.”
That’s not to say that the whimsical crossover crooner, whose profile in the mag is headlined, “Why Taylor Swift Is the Biggest Pop Star in the World,” turns every mundane detail of her life into a No. 1 hit.
“I only write songs about crazy love,” she added. “If I go on two dates with a guy and we don’t click, I’m not writing a song about that. It didn’t matter in the emotional grand scheme of things. There’s a lot that goes on in daily life that isn’t really worth turning into a verse and a chorus.”
In the instances that have been worth penning, the so-called “generational bard” has been shrill, vindictive and has easily played the victim, especially when it came to pointing fingers at her infamous exes and celebrity boyfriends du jour.
Swift reportedly slut-shamed Camilla Belle in 2010’s “Better Than Revenge” when singer Joe Jonas dumped her for the actress: “She’s an actress / She’s better known / For things that she does / On the mattress” went that song. Then came her infamous tirade against serial dater John Mayer with “Dear John,” a song in which she cut down the singer for not realizing she was “too young / To be messed with.”
The singer also took a disparaging swipe in her female video award acceptance speech at August’s MTV Video Music Awards in August when she claimed her accolade for “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
“I also want to thank the person who inspired this song,” she said, “who knows exactly who he is because now I got one of these.”
At the time, reports said that “person” was British boy band member Harry Styles of One Direction, but others believed it was actor Jake Gyllenhaal, whom Swift briefly dated in 2010 and is believed to have inspired several tracks on her fourth album, “Red,” which was released in October 2012.
“I heard from the guy that most of 'Red' is about,” the country darling said. “He was like, ‘I just listened to the album, and that was a really bittersweet experience for me. It was like going through a photo album.’ That was nice. Nicer than, like, the ranting, crazy e-mails I got from this one dude. It’s a lot more mature way of looking at a love that was wonderful until it was terrible, and both people got hurt from it — but one of those people happened to be a songwriter.”
“So what are you going to do? Did you not Wikipedia me before you called me up?” she added, rolling her eyes.
As for the public reaction to her lyrical lambastes, she didn’t seem too fazed.
“There’s a spin on every single celebrity out there,” she said. “I know that one of my spins is: ‘Oh, Taylor’s heartbroken. Oh, Taylor fell in love and the guy broke her heart. She’s sad all the time, and lonely.’
“I mean, they can say that all they want. Those are real feelings that every single person goes through. I think that it’s OK to be mad at someone who hurt you. This isn’t about, like, the pageantry of trying to seem like nothing affects you. I’m a songwriter. Everything affects me.”
That observation seems to be working for her. Swift recently won the Country Music Assn.'s Pinnacle Award (an honor doled out only once before, to country icon Garth Brooks). She’s also sold 26 million albums since her self-titled debut seven years ago, and she’s the No. 1 digital singles artist of all time. All this while successfully crossing over from her Nashville start to mainstream pop.
Now she’s at work on her fifth album, for which, she says, she has “a lot of things to draw from emotionally at the moment.”
“But I have to draw from them with a different perspective than on 'Red.' I can’t say the same things over and over, you know? I mean, I think it’s just all the more important that I don’t ever allow myself to coast.
But she doesn’t want to diverge from her fame-making genre either.
“At the same time, there’s a mistake that I see artists make when they’re on their fourth or fifth record, and they think innovation is more important than solid songwriting,” she added. “The most terrible letdown as a listener for me is when I’m listening to a song and I see what they were trying to do. Like, where there’a dance break that doesn’t make any sense, there’s a rap that shouldn’t be there, there’s like a beat change that’s, like, the coolest, hippest thing this six months — but it has nothing to do with the feeling, it has nothing to do with the emotion, it has nothing to do with the lyric.
“I never want to put things in songs just because that might make them popular, like, on the more rhythmic stations or in dance clubs. I really don’t want a compilation of sounds. I just need them to be songs."
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