Taylor Swift has reached that sweet spot in her career where she can pretty much do no wrong with her fans, as evidenced by the unconditionally positive response to her newly released single, “You Need to Calm Down.” It certainly helps that it’s an anthem against anti-gay bullies. While I support GLAAD, I don’t support the song. Why? Because it simply isn’t good. The melody is nearly as terrible as “ME!.” I realize the irony in expressing distaste for a song that’s all about being kind in the form of “calming down.” Just know that I’m perfectly calm. Also know that the song is subpar. As an aside, it seems as if Swift has made a conscious choice to veer away from singing about her personal life. Since her entire career was based on publicizing her personal life, I imagine it’s going to take some time to find other inspiration besides social media trolls and celebrity “snakes.”
As someone fascinated by the early exit of actors from successful series, I’ve long been curious about Christopher Abbott’s abrupt departure from HBO’s Girls in season 3. Though he returned for a cameo in the final season, the speculation has always pointed to a stark creative difference with Lena Dunham. On ‘Watch What Happens Live,’ Andy Cohen got to the bottom of it, and Dunham confirmed their cantankerous relationship, saying Abbott once said he felt “stuck on a sitcom.”
It’s no surprise that Taylor Swift took a different, “aw shucks” approach to her new “Delicate” video given that her team drastically miscalculated the direction for ‘Reputation.’ Though the record amassed huge sales, it did not enter the same zeitgeist as her previous releases, and it might have even further damaged her many PR problems. Plus, the songs were not good. I hate to be so blunt, but those are the facts. A good song could have fought her way out of the paper bag she built for herself, but that’s simply not the case.
It’s been brought to my attention via the sleuthing social-media-sphere that Swift’s video overtly overlaps with a Kenzo perfume ad directed by Spike Jonze. I watched both, and there are clear similarities. Of more interest than the possible rip-off; however, is the revelation of what the “Delicate” video was supposed to be. Upon first viewing, it seemed like unintentionally poor dance moves and hard-to-view funny faces. It wasn’t over-the-top enough to emphasize it’s awkward-girl tone so it only served to make me uncomfortable. Had the production team taken it up to the same notch as the Kenzo video, perhaps I would not have been as confused. The other glaring error here is that the video does NOT represent the song’s actual meaning. This is a song about liking a boy in the first, delicate stages of the relationship when we fear we might mess it up or that our reputation could influence his feelings. It’s not about being the awkward outsider at a party.
Now for the larger question. Does it matter that Swift’s video is may be a rip-off? It didn’t seem to matter when Beyonce ripped off Bob Fosse’s choreography for “Single Ladies,” and it also didn’t seem to matter when Beyonce lifted the choreography of Italian singer Lorella Cuccarini’s live performance at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards while performing “Run the World (Girls).” But it matters for Taylor Swift. Why? Because Swift has no PR capital left to spare. Her nice-girl demeanor was destroyed when Kim Kardashian exposed her lies about the Kanye West feud, and it certainly didn’t help when she ran off with Tom Hiddleston on the heels of a messy breakup from Calvin Harris. Though men often get the pass women do not with these types of trysts, there was too much existing damage to salvage such a choice. Her record could have resurrected her image with contrition, but her team advised her to take the opposite, “Look What You Made Me Do” direction, which was a massive misstep. Watch both below and decide for yourself.
Taylor Swift had no choice but to reference the infamous Kimye Feud
Though team Kimye said they’re too busy raising their children to address Swift’s digs, it would be impossible for Swift to have taken the high road given the massive hit her brand took for that feud. Though we know “Look What You Made Me Do” is about Kanye given the “tilted stage,” “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” takes some more jabs.
It was so nice being friends again
There I was, giving you a second chance
But then you stabbed in the back while shaking my hand
And therein lies the issue
Friends don’t try to trick you
Get you on the phone and mind-twist you
And so I took an axe to a mended fence
It goes without saying that this verse is enraging. Let me get this straight, Taylor Swift gave Kanye West a second chance? Did Swift call actress Camilla Belle for lyric approval over a song that basically called her a whore in reference to her romance with Swift’s ex at the time, Joe Jonas (She’s an actress, whoa/She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress, whoa)? Also, explain to me how she was mind-twisted? Oh right, because Kanye asked for permission to say he made her famous but neglected to declare he’d use the word “bitch.” Fine distinction, Taylor. Let’s not relive it.
Taylor Swift Thinks Calvin Harris is a Narcissist
On “I Did Something Bad,” Swift says “never trust a narcissist,” and “If a man talks shit, then I owe him nothing. I don’t regret it one bit, ’cause he had it coming.” As for why she’s so angry, it’s unclear, but it might have something to do with the song Harris wrote with Swift for which he later took sole credit. But it doesn’t stop there. There’s reference to flying “playboys” around the world, who “drop her name.” This is not a pretty picture, folks, but it’s also not surprising given their ugly breakup.To be fair, that might also be a Hiddleston dig given that the press leaks at the time said Swift questioned Hiddleston’s intentions. I’m also guessing the song title, “I Did Something Bad,” refers to the fact that her relationship with Tom Hiddleston overlapped with her Harris romance.
She Met Her Current Boyfriend While Still With Calvin Harris
Swift’s song, “Gorgeous,” makes it clear that she crushed on her current man from afar. In fact, she says that when they met she had an older boyfriend. The reason that’s likely Harris is because on another song, “Dress,” Swift says, “Nights back when you met me, your buzzcut and my bleached hair.” Swift had bleached hair at the Met Gala in 2016 and her new beau had a buzz cut around the same time for a movie role.
Swift’s Relationship With Tom Hiddleston Was “Cursed” From the Start
Swift suggests that Hiddleston was a rebound who broke her out of prison from her relationship with Harris, which she desperately wanted to leave. Hiddleston also somehow “poisoned the well” with one mysterious action referenced by the lyric “X marks the spot” and a “switch to the other side.”
She’s Happy, and She Wants to Keep Her Romance a Secret
“King of My Heart” calls her new boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, “the one she has been waiting for,” saying she’ll “never let [him] go.” This song also has another subtle jab at her exes, referencing the cars they drive while saying, “they never took me quite where you do.”
So is the album good? Yes. Taylor Swift is always good. She’s got a team of people who work extremely hard on making a great album, and the tone is always consistent. I slightly object to some of the hip hop elements, as it feels a little try-hard given that Swift is simply far too uncool for it. It’s also slightly over-produced, which is to be expected. The added elements often distract from the melody, and given that this record is less about heartbreak and more about reinvention, I found myself far less invested in the lyrics. When someone’s “reputation” is impacted by hard truths about their character, my listening experience is slightly dented. But as I said. It’s good. It’s always good.
There’s a reason Andy Cohen’s ‘Watch What Happens Live’ on Bravo is a success, and it’s because the shrunken studio space demands big questions, and Cohen delivers. During Maggie Gyllenhaal’s appearance on the show, Cohen asked whether Maggie has Taylor Swift’s scarf at her house, which was relayed in her hit song, “All Too Well.” The song was rumored to be about Maggie’s brother, Jake Gyllenhaal, who allegedly was too in love with Taylor to return the accessory. Watch her funny reply below.
If you’re Taylor Swift, you’ve got a lot of explaining to do. For starters, she landed in a fight with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian after she bashed Kanye’s song lyrics during her Grammy speech, only to later have her very clear approval exposed via Kim’s snapchat. The act was itself illegal, given that Swift was allegedly recorded by Kanye without her permission and did not give consent for its release, but team Kimye is smart enough to know that any subsequent lawsuit would further damage the Swift brand, so they’re in the clear. Plus, a pissing match with rich people is pointless. Kimye is also tough to take down given that their image has so little to do with propriety. If you entered the public arena via a sex tape, it’s pretty challenging to soil your brand.
It’s clear that Taylor Swift’s song “Look What You Made Me Do” is a direct hit on the Kimye debacle and the lyrics are brilliantly and strategically crafted. She’s mad, she doesn’t like Kanye’s dumb “tilted stage” and has risen up “from the dead.” Also, if she got her karma, then everyone else will to.
A close friend in the music industry classified this song as a lazy double-down on the Kanye drama, which is personified by the Right Said Fred “I’m Too Sexy” hook. Those Right Said Fred songwriters were given credit on this track, presumably because of that whole Robin Thicke “Blurred Lines” judgment. So is my friend correct? The short answer is that I’m not sure. Swift has absolutely zero choice but to address this feud, and she can’t do it in a magazine interview, because each and every time she addresses controversy in magazine interviews she makes it ten times worse. Music is the only way, and re-invention is the key. We all know she has mastered the victim lane, so isn’t it better to flip things around and go for a more angry spin? That being said, the song has to be GOOD for this strategy to work, and Swift’s songs nearly always are. This song might be a little soulless and repetitive, but it does the trick. She’s either on the cusp of her next chapter or this is the beginning of the end. We shall see.
Though I’m not a massive fan of Katy Perry’s music, I’ve always liked her character, Sure I don’t know her personally, but she seems exceptionally shrewd in interviews and her barbs at other stars seem more thoughtful than petty. One such star is Taylor Swift, who accused Katy Perry of “sabotaging” her arena tour by poaching her dancers, a thought that later inspired the song “Bad Blood.” Instead of exchanging more passive aggressive barbs, Perry clarified the details with a curt account of the facts. Here they are. Three of Perry’s loyal backup dancers joined Swift’s tour. Before committing, they called Perry who said that although she was not currently touring, she’d hit the road in about a year, so the dancers should place a contingency clause inside their contracts. When the dancers approached the Swift staff about exiting, they were immediately fired. Perry tried to call Swift to straighten out the mess, but according to Perry, she never answered and instead opted to talk about it in the press.
I’m team Perry on this one. First, in almost every industry two weeks notice is an acceptable method of leaving. If an exit would tank a tour, that’s why you create contracts. If the contract has a contingency clause, that’s on your for allowing it. Second, it’s okay to vent through music, but when you identify a party involve and therefore individually assault their character, that moves from venting to bad-mouthing, and I’d like to think we’re more adult. Third, I hate to jump on the feminism band-wagon, but you can’t champion women’s rights and then create a song and video called “Bad Blood.” It’s just hypocrisy.
Rob Kardashian denies dating Meghan James. Bossip
Tiger Woods got a DUI. NYT
Amanda Seyfried is a happy mom. E! Online
Scott Disick is off the wagon. TMZ
A Bachelorette star landed in the hospital. Wetpaint
Taylor Swift and her new secret boyfriend are busted. ET
Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk are going strong. Wonderwall
Mariah Carey reunited with her much-younger beau. Too Fab
Khloe Kardashian said her friend stole from her. Celebuzz
Chris Cornell’s toxicology report was released. Popsugar
Charlie Sheen has a new girlfriend. Dlisted
Kathy Griffin wants to kill her career. Billboard
Troy Aikman is engaged. Us Weekly
Sarah Silverman told ex Jimmy Kimmel, about life with love Michael Sheen. Vulture
There are many artists I don’t like. There are many musicians I think are sell-outs, hypocrites, or simply a product of a machine I resent. When I saw the nominations for album of the year at the Grammys, for example, I found myself enraged at the thought that Sturgill Simpson was the only artist to actually write his own album — alone. In fact, I once likened Adam Levine to Britney Spears to prove the point that he no longer was worthy of his ‘Songs About Jane’ entrance into the industry. He had become part of the machine, and was therefore nothing but a pop star spouting Sia songs. Having said all that, there’s something about Ruby Rose’s hit at Katy Perry that incited my rage. Her tweet is below.
“Purposeful poop” to “bomb a petit” to a sloppy mess of writing over the top of Funkagenda..stop trying to make ‘Wit..I mean “fetch” happen.
— Ruby Rose (@RubyRose) May 19, 2017
Rose received a predictable backlash, but she stood firm, saying:
I’ve always stood up for the people I love and against things I think are cheap or mean spirited. That’s not new. You have to follow your ❤️
— Ruby Rose (@RubyRose) May 19, 2017
So who is she standing up for, and what exactly is mean spirited — except for her, of course? Here’s the story in a nutshell. Ruby Rose and Taylor Swift are friends. Perry and Swift had a falling out when Perry recruited Swift’s dancers during Swift’s national tour. Swift addressed the move in a public interview, saying that Perry tried to sabotage her tour by poaching her people. Perry’s dancers spoke up, saying that they were closer to Perry, and since Swift’s tour wasn’t exactly dance-heavy, they felt bored. When the opportunity arose to jump ship, they took it. Swift subsequently released “Bad Blood,” which was an obvious hit at Perry. Perry then released a not-so-cryptic tweet referring to Swift as Regina George in sheep’s clothing. Joe Jonas’ ex-girlfriend jumped on the train, pointing out that Swift bashed her with some not-so-friendly lyrics in retaliation for “stealing” Jonas. In summary, the Perry camp felt Swift parades herself as supportive of other women, yet she’s the opposite. I can only assume Rose thinks of Perry as “mean-spirited” as a result.
While I agree that Katy Perry’s new music is less than stellar (to say the least), I also agree that Swift is no innocent lamb, which was especially apparent when Kim Kardashian revealed that Swift played victim over a song she in fact approved. She’s cunning and calculated. Having said all that, these celebrities are little babies in need of a pacifier. Keep your mouth shut, Ms. Rose. I love a genuine, honest critique, but not when it’s agenda-driven, clearly biased, and unnecessary.
She Said: “He’s a very smart man, and I was in love with him when I married him. Let’s just say I haven’t heard from him since he texted me saying he was divorcing me December 31, 2011.”
He Said: We did work it out, she’s happy, I’m happy. I was really, really in love with her, but it was difficult to see each other, it mostly didn’t work for practical reasons.
Perrie Edwards & Zayn Malik
She Said: “It was horrible, the worst time in my life. A four-year relationship, two-year engagement ended by a simple text message. Just like that. Even though things in my career were going really well, it was incredibly difficult for me.”
He Said: “I have more respect for Perrie than to end anything over text message. I love her a lot, and I always will, and I would never end our relationship over four years like that. She knows that, I know that, and the public should know that as well. I don’t want to explain why or what I did. I just want the public to know I didn’t do that.”
Kevin Federline & Britney Spears
She said: ‘I think I married for the wrong reasons. Instead of following my heart and doing something that made me really happy, I just did it for the idea of everything.’
Terri Seymour & Simon Cowell
She said: “You’re with someone for six years and you end it with a text message? I don’t think so! No, it wasn’t ended over the phone and it wasn’t ended by text.
Taylor Swift & Joe Jonas
She said: “It’s all right – I’m cool. You know what, it’s like, when I find that person that is right for me, he’ll be wonderful When I look at that person, I’m not even going to remember the boy who broke up with me over the phone in 27 seconds when I was 18.”
He said: “For those who have expressed concern over the ’27 second’ phone call, I called to discuss feelings with the other person. Those feelings were obviously not well received. I did not end the conversation. Someone else did. Phone calls can only last as long as the person on the other end of the line is willing to talk.”
Carrie Underwood & Chace Crawford
His SOURCE said: “He flew to visit her, went on tour with her—he did everything he could for this girl. But in the end, Crawford “is the one who said, ‘Enough is enough.’ He was upset, but he also had to make the decision that it wasn’t meant to be anymore.”