The Taylor Swift Confession—A Musical Interlude

I have terrible taste in music. I always have. Those of you that know me are currently nodding your head in agreement, perhaps sighing audibly over the assault your eardrums suffered the last time we rode in a car together, or the horrifying compilation of artists you viewed when recently perusing my playlists. I find that owning up to my general lack of musical maturity makes it a more easily forgiven offense—people view it as a charming idiosyncrasy of my personality and inherently understand that it is their responsibility to introduce me to more, shall we say, lofty artists both past and present.

Go ahead! I gladly welcome the helpful suggestion of your new favorite indie band, or that classic Pearl Jam album that I just have to reconnect with. And usually I find these new offerings pretty awesome and try to integrate them into my daily soundtrack. But try as you might, you won’t be able to rid me of that instinctual, threaded-into-my-veins attraction to utter crap pop songs and sobfest ballads. I will remain forever weak for the likes of Britney, Tori, John Mayer, Jon Bon Jovi, and little miss breakups herself…Taylor Swift.

Oh yes, I downloaded her latest album the day it came out. I’ve memorized at least 12 of the 16 songs and have listened to the cd in its entirety every day since it’s release. You might pass my cube at work and see me bobbing my head jauntily with track 9, or worse, catch me gesticulating emphatically to track 5 while running outside. My feet pounding the pavement with every drama soaked chord, my chest heaving at the effort of lip synching the words while still maintaining a reasonable breathing pace.

The high’s and low’s of loving Taylor are a daily grind. One moment my best friend (who works at an acclaimed newspaper and always knows the hottest music critics) is telling me that the album is highly rated, therefore making my recent obsession completely valid, dare I say, hip? The next moment I’m offering to burn the album for my friend’s 8 year old daughter, assuring her that “she’ll really, really love it” and coming face-to-face with the fact that I share the same music tastes as a second grader, not to mention I just used the word “hip”. Help.

Oh TayTay—your lyrics can really tug at the heartstrings! Why do I find myself so drawn to your redundant, boy berating music? Why am I not more embarrassed to be singing along loudly to a song about another dude with freckles and green eyes who broke your heart? It was always kind of a mystery that I loved such dramatic breakup songs. While I’ve had no shortage of disinterested crush objects in my past, no one ever ruined me so terribly that I had grounds for such intense anger. And yet, more than once I’ve been found tearfully belting out the lyrics to some tragic tune like a love-starved spinster with 6 cats, a carton of Ben and Jerry’s and pajama jeans.

Like, one time, at a sleepover in 7th grade, I thought it would be really moving if my friend Jenny videotaped me singing “All Out Of Love” by Air Supply while I was lying desolately on a pile of pillows in her basement. I think I even managed to squeeze out a tear—one tear that represented all my lovelorn adolescent angst about the fact that Arik-with-an-A wasn’t going to attend my Bat Mitzvah party.
Or that night after our first senior dance in high school, the one where we took shots of peach schnaaps in Dana’s old Honda, and then and then slow danced in Ryan Hansen’s basement. She and I proceeded to sing loudly to Barenaked Ladies “Break Your Heart” while three boys sat on the couch and watched in varying degrees of abject horror, fascination, and possible sexual frustration.  One of whom asked, after the song ended and we had regained our composure, whether either of us had ever even been cheated on. No? So? Can’t a girl commiserate?!!

So is it really any wonder that even as an adult woman with a husband and child, that when Swifty croons “that magic’s not here no more, I might be ok, but I’m not at all” I find myself getting a little choked up? And I may or may not have just paused typing in order to flip to this song on my iPhone and hit play…

Don’t judge. I swear I won’t try to foist my dismal taste upon you, even if you happen to mention in passing that you too attended that Lifehouse concert in 2008. In fact, I’m usually hard-pressed to throw together the randomly requested mix-cd because I’m so nervous that the intended recipient will be sitting around later while listening to the carefully chosen songs thinking, What. Is. This?!

So I’ll send out a real apology now to that mysterious drunk person who “broke into” our apartment in college, (I say this lightly because the back door was never locked. Super responsible) and walked out with a couple of waitress aprons and my cd case. I’m sorry that you got home, opened it up, and found the soundtrack to Bed of Roses, Def Leppard’s Greatest Hits and at least one Ani Defranco album.

And to you, Taylor, keep on churning out those hits. The 17 year old in me will always cheer your inexhaustible efforts to find love in the unstable and unlikely world of celebridom. For those of you who cringe at my egregious errors in music, feel free to look the other way. Or better yet, turn that scope inwards…can you really tell me that you don’t have a secret affection for some crappy nineties artist like Third Eye Blind, or have a poster tucked away from that awesome Mr. Big concert you attended back in the day? Did you really not get a little misty-eyed when Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert won the CMA for “Over You”,  a song about Shelton’s dead brother, and were both crying while accepting the award on stage? What are you? A robot??

It’s ok if you won’t admit it, I’ll take one for the team this time around. Just don’t complain when I request “Like A Slave” to be played at your wedding. I’ll keep the dance floor packed.