Now, I have to be careful writing this post, because in our household there is one human who is utterly obsessed beyond comprehension with Taylor Swift, and just to be clear, it’s not me.
I like Ms Swift, I think she’s very talented and pulled off an incredible feat switching from country to pop the way she did. 1989 is a really good album. I also like the stuff she does with her fans and the way she really seems to care about what’s going on around her. (That’s enough praise to get me out of trouble, isn’t it?)
I do have one gripe though, and it stems from that aforementioned switch of musical genres. Back when Tay-Tay was a country-pop sensation, she had catchy songs with memorable videos telling interesting stories.
One of my particular favourites is The Story Of Us, chronicling an awkward relationship in a school library.
There’s some brilliant creativity involved in We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, using the familiar but always mind-boggling one-take idea and filling it with costumes, characters and some kick-ass pyjamas.
There’s also the lovely rom-com played out in You Belong With Me, where the girl gets to go to the prom on her own terms, but still manages to get the guy.
When Taylor went pop (genre wise, not physically), she made a couple of good ones - Shake It Off is fun, and Blank Space has some of that lovely storytelling in it - but the more recent efforts have been awful.
Wildest Dreams looks so expensive and yet doesn’t deliver on its promise. Bad Blood is a brilliant game of “spot the famouses” but it doesn’t really meet the video standard I’m looking for, despite the budget. And, seriously, don’t get me started on Out of the Woods!
I’m curious where the disconnect comes from. Is it that having a huge budget behind your videos means the creativity gets lost along the way? Or that branching out in such a new musical direction means moving away from your storytelling roots as well? Or is it just a blip and soon we’ll be back to the mini-movie moments I much prefer? I hope it’s the latter, or I’ll have to stick to the audio-only version of Taylor for the foreseeable future.