Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lionel Richie Awards - Taylor Swift Edition

For this to work we shall attempt this like all books written by two people, different shades. Dafna aka Dc's premiere tatsemaker and friend of the stars is in blue (and more coherent) and im in red (less coherent). Think of us as the modern day Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

So when Inie asked me to take part in this deconstruction project, I jumped at the chance to bash trashy videos trying to pass themselves off as “art.” Or something like that. Little did I know that the first video we worked on together (Taylor Swift’s “Love Story”) would be one that I had chosen. And good lord is it terrible.
First off, for those of you with good enough musical taste to not know, here is a little background information about Taylor Swift. She is a country pop singer who was picked out of obscurity because she a) is barely legal and b) has a sound that is pleasant and wholesome enough, parents of the thirteen year olds listening to her don’t have to worry about whorish influence (coughcoughMileyCyruscoughcough). Miley Cyrus hasn't infected the UK yet, the media and people under 14 know who she is. But i make it a rule (i call it the R Kelly) to not hang out with 14 year olds. I do think that Taylor is channelling Hilary Swank by being neither attractive nor ugly. Exactly what any parent would want their child to idolise. As opposed to anyone with talent.

In her short yet illustrious career, Swift has already released two albums, a holiday EP, is going to be on an upcoming episode of CSI and (to the envy of many I’m sure) dated a Jonas Brother. Don’t ask me which one. I thought they were all the same person before I realized there were three of them. I do know, however, that they broke up via text message. Which is of course how the young people do these things, these days. Oh, she also has a bit of a wonky eye. Ahh the wonky eye once something that was once only attributed to black female r and b singers (Lisa Left Eye, Aaliyah and umm Gabrielle) has now gone country. I guess that adds to her urban reach. That is what comes next after a holiday EP right? Or is it the covers album? Who the fuck is a Jonas brother? Actually i lie my brother is a fan, he also spent part of xmas holidays trying to convince that Chris Brown has IT. We all know how that ended up.

To be honest, I’m probably most interested in the upcoming episode of CSI. Not so much for her, but more because of Larry Fishbourne. He's still alive? I thought he was chilling on matrix money.

Moving on…

The title “Love Story” basically gives away what the song is about. It’s about the kind of love only girls under the age of sixteen believe in. You know...the kind where the guy actually calls the next day. (Unlike the aforementioned Jonas Brother…who clearly did not call, but rather “texted”) So of course, what is better than beating the dead horse that is the Romeo and Juliet story one more time. I mean, Swift’s fans can bring her song up in their English classes when they read the play. Or the Cliffnotes. Has no one learned anything from Swingers? You wait two days to call. Or as someone suggested, text her that night, then call afterwards (two days still).

The video, which was directed by one Trey Fanjoy, tries to play off on that whole romance novel feeling. The video starts with Swift walking across her “college campus” and locking eyes with a young “stud” who is clearly old enough to buy her beer. Seeing how he is dark and brooding, he is probably an artist or a musician. Or perhaps a stoner. They ditch this idea fairly quickly, apparently in this day and age love can only be expressed by wearing corsets, cuffs, bodices, pleats and crin lining. No wonder this generation is doomed. I grew up learning about love throught The Roots. 10 years since Thing Fall Apart was released, just so you know.

Suddenly, we are transported to a castle in a field, where we find Taylor Swift in some sort of dress that wants to be Elizabethian but actually screams Victorian hooker. (Notice also, the side swept hair. This is to hide the wonk eye.) Then the screen flashes to a ball room and suddenly we are in some sort of Jane Austen story where Swift’s stoner love interest is now Mr. Darcy. They proceed to do some kind of period piece dance in which men and women circle each other while trying to appear stiff and rigid. He then must whisper something along the lines of “Meet me out in the woods next to that white horse” because that’s where this “story line” takes us next. I often like to take ladies that i have just met somewhere near a horse. I feel it crystalises the moment, plus girls always get squiffy and weak kneed near horses. It is natures true rohypnol.

Now, during this point in the video, Swift sings the lyrics “You were Romeo/I was a Scarlet Letter.” Clearly, she failed English Literature, because if I remember correctly, Romeo was not in the Scarlet Letter. And the Scarlet Letter was about adultery, was it not? Hester Prynne had a child with a man who was not her husband. Is that really the message Taylor Swift is trying to send here? Perhaps I was too complimentary when I said she was wholesome. Or perhaps she is trying to be witty by saying she IS a scarlet letter, so she is off limits? Or perhaps she has no idea what she is talking about. The scarlett letter, the bane of my junior year english class, was about adultery and the cross that Harriet had to bare. Maybe Taylor's promise ring is her own scarlett letter and it's her cross to bare. Or not to bare (skin), if you kow what i mean.

Anyway, back to the video, The two “star crossed lovers” have met in the woods where they walk and talk and laugh and be young. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, there is a white horse. Are horses symbols of virility and stamina? Not something I really think of when I think of virginal and pure. No comment.

And after a few more ridiculous “romance” scenes, we have now come to one of my favorite parts. There is a quick shot of Swift picking two cherries from a tree. This is amazing on so many levels. You have to ask yourself if it was not blatantly obvious to everyone involved in making this video what her plucking specifically cherries could mean. I mean really…was that even necessary? For me, the ridiculousness of this video can be boiled down to at time mark 2:36. This is nothing more than a song about waiting for marriage to do the nasty. Cause you know, everyone’s doing it: Swift, The Jonas Brothers, that Brazilian model who finally got married, that 105 year old virgin…I mean, everyone. I'm not doing it. The cherry picking scene is incredibly gratuitous and indicative of the whole scene. When you get Brett Ratner (Miley Cyrus 7 things) to direct your videos, you should not expect any type of nuance. Russell Brand pointed out, after the fiasco involving jokes he made at the abstinence crew (taylor, jordan and the jonae), that promoting not having sex as one of the images of the band is just as bad as promoting sex all the time. Creating extremes doesnt help anyone.

Overall, I’d say this music video made me more bitter about romance. It’s because of this crap that I feel insecure about actually being romantic. Because after watching this, romance seems nothing more than something Hollywood made up. Oh wait. That is what romance is. Damn it.
Romance dead as the dodo or the tamogotchi. In these times romance should just be: a monetary arrangement. I promise to split the bills, not take money out of the joint account without asking. Not to steal your money to buy Jonas Brother tickets.


Dafna said...

We make a good team :)

La'Donna's Random Rants said...

Bwhahaha!! LOVE IT! you guys are HILARIOUSSS!! and damn u Dafna, you had me concentrating on her wonky eye to see if it really was that wonky!! inie i gotta give props for referencing the roots album and romance! LOL I love jane austin/darcy-cheese-isms kinda makes my heart flutter. This video almost reminds me of that Mandy Moore video "be with you" yea im down with cheddar cheese-isms and now i want a white horse..i can settle for a pony:)