Love Story

OK, I’m not the most hip to mainstream music at the moment, so I was late catching on to Taylor Swift’s “Love Story,” which is apparently huge, as based on the fact that it’s on pop and country stations and a friend’s ringtone.

For those not familiar with the song, allow me to share some of the lyrics:

little did i know / that you were romeo you were throwing pebbles / and my daddy said stay away from juliet

romeo save me i’ve been feeling so alone / i keep waiting for you but you never come / is this in my head, i don’t know what to think / he knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring / marry me juliet you’ll never have to be alone / i love you and thats all I really know / i talked to your dad you’ll pick out the white dress / its a love story baby just say yes

So, basically, it’s an unironic happily-ever-after song about how they’re like Romeo and Juliet? OK, see, I’m not even expecting her to have actually, you know, read Shakespeare, but before you write a song about Romeo and Juliet, shouldn’t you at least, maybe, do the due diligence of, say, watching the 1996 Baz Luhrmann version. I mean, it’s even got Leonardo DiCaprio. And guns. And a Prince cover. She should be able to handle that. We’re not even talking about the relatively highbrow Zefferilli version or anything. I’m willing to be reasonable.

Maybe Taylor Swift would appreciate other great ideas for songs, like “Spread your wings, Icarus, and fly!” or “Mount your horses, and we’ll win the day/ Charge into battle, like the Light Brigade!”

My favorite part, though, is this nice literary reference: “cause you were romeo i was a scarlet letter” What? Really? Again, I picture a notebook somewhere in which she’s scribbled ideas: “you were agamemnon i was east of eden” “you were the great gatsby i was gone with the wind” “you were david copperfield i was lady chatterly’s lover”

That scarlet letter bit, for whatever reason, reminds me of one of my other least favorite song lyrics of the last decade, from Stone Sour’s “Through Glass”: “But no one ever tells you that forever feels like home.” You know, there may be a good reason for that; perhaps the same reason that no one ever tells you “solace tastes like distance” or “the past smells like family.”

OK, enough crotchitiness.

11 Responses

  1. Bah – you journalist types with your literalness and your need for words to mean what they mean

    Bah – no poetry in you soul


  2. Oooh, that was like a little poem itself. In fact, better than most.

  3. To play devil’s advocate: lots of people use “Romeo and Juliet” as shorthand for a couple in love, despite knowing the tragic outcome of that story.

    Also, I kind of like a little mix n’ match of different allusions, even if they don’t make too much sense. But then, I’m a Tori Amos fan, so….

  4. That’s why I prefer Sting. He tends to keep his literary allusions fairly straight.

  5. Yeah, Lain, but “lots of people are stupid” isn’t a particularly compelling defense of anything, no matter how true.

    And I mind less if the couple is at least somewhat star-crossed; for example, I totally dig the Indigo Girls version of Dire Straits’ Romeo and Juliet.

  6. Well, the outcome of Romeo and Juliet’s little love affair doesn’t necessarily undercut its usefulness as an example of a particular fiery passionate strain of young love. One could reasonably use Julius Caesar as an example of a charismatic leader, despite the fact that it didn’t work out all that well for him in the end.

    Hell, our whole region is awash with people who venerate and romanticize the “Lost Cause,” despite the fact that it was not only ill-fated but also ill-begotten and poorly reasoned. A “down” ending only ramps up the romance for lots of folks. Doesn’t make them necessarily stupid.

    It seems to me that if the song said, “And we’ll live happily ever after, just like Romeo and Juliet,” your critique would be a little more persuasive.

  7. I am HUGELY amused that this became a real semi-debate here.

    ha ha

  8. I move that the author of that last post be bard.

  9. You know, I’m really inclined to disallow pseudonym posts on this blog. They’ve annoyed me on ATW, but I always kept a very “say what you want” policy there. Here, I’m a little more inclined to run the blog in a way that makes me happy. So, for the moment, I’m asking politely that you not post other than under your own name. Thanks!

  10. Too bad, I was going to start posting as Spanky O’Blubberton, which would have become a huge meme on the intarwebs and made me famous.

  11. Stumbled upon this and thought it addressed your criticism quite well and echoed some of the other comments.

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