Origin stories? The beginning? I am sixteen, sitting in the back of a summer-camp van, and when a song comes on the radio a dozen teenagers groan. “What is this?” I asked, and they all said,
Then I’m the kind of 17-year-old who reads thinkpieces but I don’t really care because I just want to watch the “You Belong With Me” video a bunch and listen to it on repeat as I defrost the freezer.
And a couple years pass, it’s spring 2012 and one night I want to watch some music videos and that’s how it starts for real.
Six months later, I’ll send Shannan a link to “All Too Well” with only the line ‘taylor swift is getting sadder and I LOVE IT.’ I hadn’t listened to most of Speak Now at this point, forgive me.
Summer 2013 and I’m crying in my kitchen listening to “Last Kiss” because that’s a cold-summer song if ever there was one. And–I tried listing some places I cried to Taylor Swift but I mean–it was all the places. It was all the songs. I still can’t bear to get all the way through “Sad Beautiful Tragic.” I’m not so much a crier these days but ‘you’ve got your demons and darlin’ they all look like me’ makes me feel like my heart is shutting down.
“The thing about Taylor Swift The Artist is her pain is your pain, but sometimes her joy is your joy.” That’s it, that’s why I haven’t read any reviews of 1989, why I’m not even interested in what the music writers I follow have to say. The first time I listened through the album was with Rebecca and we were both mostly catatonic with love and I said some really dumb stuff, like ‘This album sounds familiar because it’s been living in my heart,’ like ‘This makes me want to take risks and live my best life.’ But it does, and I do!
Taylor said that 1989 was the album that comes when you pick yourself up and you’re okay, and not to be all that’s-my-life, because there were no breakups here, but. I’m okay and I am finally clean and big sweeping chords, I got that red lip classic thing that you like, I really do, we’re too busy dancing. It’s wistfulness removed from the old pain and what a relief it is to know that you were in pain but you’re not any more. Like ‘This Love.’
And maybe it’s ridiculous to feel so attached to an album that’s so huge, biggest sales week of the year, Taylor Swift is a corporation, but she only became this popular by connecting with people (and writing brilliant hooks) so it would be a disservice to lie, and pointless.
Mostly the way I’ve put it the past couple days–or weeks I guess, since “Out of the Woods” came out–is I’m losing my mind. Once I wrote a poem with that line and it was very dark because I thought I was actually losing my mind but this is nice, this is like my head is drifting off my neck out of sheer joy. Last month I was answering ‘What celebrity would you like to meet?’ and I started to say Taylor and then changed it because I don’t need to meet her; it feels like I already know her. Maybe that sounds creepy but she’d get it, she’d know I mean I lived with her words and her voice and let them into my heart, she’d know I love her music with the purest kind of love, the love you have for something that saved you.
1989 is amazing, let’s listen to it together instead of talking.