Taylor Swift has gotten me through a lot of hard times. I remember the early days of my life in California, when my relationships from back home in New York City had fallen apart, and driving windows-down through the western Redwood forests, rain drenching the wildfire prone regions, listening to her Shake It Off as I handled the curves. The smell of fresh, wet redwood mixing with open California landscapes still feels like personal romantic freedom.
When Taylor Swift sings she feels intimate and personal to me, as though she is singing as the quintessential cultural American womanness I have always known and loved. But romantic visions of her iconography aside, what she sings about is universality and not precisely herself. To the best of my ability she reminds me of what haters would say about Bruce Springsteen: oh, he’s not really like that in person. But Taylor Swift seems to be, although many of us hear her production. And to me, I like hearing her and her production.
It carries me through my own challenges of producing my life around myself.
And you understand now
why they lost their minds and fought the wars.
And why I’ve spent my whole life trying to put it into words.
There are many books about songwriting. My favorites described the thousand or so ways to present lyrics to open up a world of thematics.
Like soundtracks that move us, our stories are blooming as we listen.
It starts small and invites us to tease around the edges until we get a bite that satisfies our listener, then opens up for more world-building our exploration.
Suddenly we’re deeply in the thick of it, happily, and taking a journey with it.
Dancing helps. And when we’re really moving with the groove of the music we may not feel our slide along the various beats and rhythm in compilation.
Each line of movement orchestrates its communication with each other; this is why instruments are played, not scripted, or worked, but spontaneously.
You can see it with the lights out. You can hear it in the silence. You are in love, true love.
Taylor Swift began her career young, early protege young. She wrote her own songs, they said from the beginning. She writes them vulnerably, and invites her listener to imagine themselves and who and what in her abstract place.
Then she performs herself in front of millions of people and thousands of crowds. Even in daydreams I admire the risk this took for an adult her age.
“What they didn’t understand was I wanted everything,” Bruce Springsteen narrates of his life during the break of Growin’ Up, and out from the crowd a woman shouts: “Well, you got it!” His father wanted him to be a lawyer; his mother wanted him to be an author: it’s a good living, they said, you can get a little something for yourself. But what they didn’t understand was that he wanted it all. “Tonight you’re just going to have to settle for Rock and Roll.”
And the band launches in to help him finish Growin’ Up; they were airborne.
I believe together Taylor Swift and I can make our worlds a better place if we a venture fund with Taylor Swift in Caltech, Nashville, and Ohio. Her raw talent for creativity and production are a tremendous force for good in this world.