You’re The Reason For the Grease Drops On My Guitar

Since starting this blog over four years ago, I’ve dealt with any number of important topics — space, religion, improv, relationships, etc.

And, of course, from near the beginning, dumb Taylor Swift lyrics.

I mean, Taylor’s talented for what she does and all, but there are sometimes that I just don’t think what she’s saying is what she’s trying to say. And while I’m not like the world’s biggest Taylor Swift fan or anything, it’s kind of hard to avoid hearing her songs, and there are lines that just can’t help eliciting a “huh?”

For example, not long after I started the blog, there was the post about how the guy was Romeo and she was a scarlet letter. Huh? I mean, yay literature and all, but what is that supposed to mean?

And then there was the one where she was talking to a guy on the phone at night, and so he was talking real slow ’cause it’s late and his momma can’t know. Huh? “Slow”? He’s on the telephone, and his mom’s there, but if he talks really slowly she won’t be able to figure out what’s going on? “That sounds like my son talking, but people don’t talk that slow”? Is that really what you’re aiming for?

So I’m in the car the other day, and I’m flipping stations, and here’s Taylor singing about how she knew some guy was trouble when he walked in. Which is fine and all. But then she keeps singing, and she’s talking about how “a new notch in your belt is all I’ll ever be.” Now, I’m familiar with the concept of someone being another notch in a bedpost, but in a belt? Don’t you put another notch in a belt to either let it out or take it in?

So, um, this is a song about how … Taylor Swift caused a guy … to lose weight? Or gain weight, maybe? Huh? Again, is that really the intent here?

“I knew you had burgers when you walked in…”

The Roar of a Crowd on a Friday Night

OK, you know, initially this was going to be another “Hey, it’s weird I like country music now” post. But since I’ve liked country for most of the time I’ve written this blog, and have been listening to it regularly since before I started “Stories,” that’s really probably not that weird to a lot of my readers. Heck, how many of you are left out there that even knew me back then? I should figure out how to do a poll to figure that out.

It is still weird to me, though. Back in August I wrote a post about spiritual implications of Lady Antebellum’s “I Run To You”, and embedded the official video from YouTube. Cool to be able to come back now and do a post with video of them doing the song that I shot on my iPhone. At that point in time, I’d been to a country concert, with Sugarland (awesome) and Billy Currington (totally not my thing at the time, though I now really like “People Are Crazy”). Since then, I’ve seen Ralph Stanley and Sammy Kershaw and Trace Adkins and Sara Evans and Heidi Newfield and probably a few others I’m forgetting, and I’m going to the Opry next week.

Friday, I saw Lady Antebellum and Tim McGraw.

When my friend pitched the concert tour me, I think it was pitched as a Lady A concert; I’m not sure I even knew McGraw was also playing when I committed to go. And that was fine, I was going to see Lady Antebellum; I really didn’t have much interest in Tim McGraw.

I enjoyed their single “I Run To You” greatly; enough that when I saw Best Buy had the CD on sale for like $8 last year I figured it was worth picking up. Their second CD, I bought twice in the first week it was out. And there’s some good stuff on there. And, yeah, sure, “Need You Now” and “Love This Pain” were kinda very much where I was when the album came out. But, yeah, to summarize, I loves me some Lady Antebellum.

And they were awesome; I loved their performance, and it was a great opportunity getting to see them live.

Tim McGraw, on the other hand? To be honest, when I heard about the concert, the main thing I knew about Tim McGraw was the Taylor Swift song: “When you think Tim McGraw / Hope you think my favorite song.” I knew I must have heard some of his songs, but none of them had made much of an impression. To prepare for the concert, I put some of his music on my iPod, but never quite got around to taking a serious stab at listening to it. The radio station we were listening to was playing his music before the concert, and that was a pretty good chunk of all the prep I got.

For a bit, I figured he’d peaked before he started. Without even visibly coming on stage, he and the band did Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” Since that was a song that I actually know and like, I thought that might well be the high point.

But, I have to say, he did a good job. I was entertained. He was a very good performer, put on a good show, and I recognized more of his songs than I thought I would. I went back afterwards and rated several of them higher so they’d show up in my iTunes more often.

Even so, they highpoint still wasn’t one of his songs. He brought out a couple of songwriters, and said they were going to do one of his favorite songs. They start singing: “‘When you think Tim McGraw, I hope you think my favorite song …’ Oh, sorry, we thought you said one of your favorite subjects.”

I even bought my first concert tour t-shirt. I’ve bought shirts from an independent artist or two that I like at their shows, but I’ve never gotten an official tour shirt before. I really wish I’d gotten one when B.B. King was in town in January, so that regret nudged me into getting a Lady A shirt. I wore it to work Monday and everything.

On the way out, there were people handing out coupons to concert sponsor Outback Steakhouse, and an ad for McGraw, the fragrance by Tim McGraw, and McGraw Southern Blend (which really isn’t that different, but I guess Tim McGraw’s pretty southern already). I’ve been working on my own little song to go with it:

“When you smell Tim McGraw / Hope the smell is not too strong … “

Play It Again

OK, I would say I hate to pick on Taylor Swift again, but, one, the first time is still one of the most-viewed posts on the blog, and, two, she totally brings it on herself.

And this is totally the result of me, as mentioned yesterday, listening to the radio again, I’ve been meaning to post this since at least last fall and maybe longer. I think about it every time I hear the song, but then forget before I get a chance to write it.

This morning, though, I heard “Our Song” on the radio just moments before getting to work, so it’s still fresh on my mind. It’s a cute, sweet song and all, but the part I have an issue with is this:

And he says…
Our song is the slamming screen doors,
Sneakin’ out late, tapping on your window
When we’re on the phone and you talk real slow
’cause it’s late and your mama don’t know

Wait … what? Why does talking slow help? I’m assuming that the issue is that her mom doesn’t know she’s on the phone that late, and she’s trying to prevent her mom from knowing. I could see that talking quietly would help; or, to fit the rhyme, maybe if she talked real low.

But slow? “Iiiiiiiii mmmmmiiiiiiiiisssssssssssss yyyooooooouuuuuuuuu”? Like her mom’s walking by, and hears something that sounds like Taylor talking, but at a speed that’s clearly wrong for human communication, and keeps going?

Me, I suspect her mom is totally clued in and doesn’t care, and Taylor’s dumb enough to think that her clever slow-talking trick has mama totally thrown off.

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.