I read an article by BBC comparing Taylor Swift to the Beatles, because she recently broke a record that they’ve been holding for decades. She has released more #1 albums in a shorter time than The Beatles did. There’s something about comparing anyone to The Beatles that always rubs me wrong. It comes from reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower when I was in high school (and a million times since) so whenever someone is compared to The Beatles, it feels like they are lessened by the comparison. The Beatles were The Beatles, they changed the world and it was not the same after they walked on to the scene. What Taylor Swift did is not comparable to The Beatles for many reasons. The logistics of recording and distributing were so different that for all I know, The Beatles could have put out six records in a year if they had the technology we have today. Also, people loved The Beatles so much that they got off their couches (they weren’t even on their phones!) and dragged their ass to a record store to pay cash money for a physical record. Today, we all sat on our phones and got an alert from some form of social media and clicked a button. The two are not comparable. I am not saying any of this to bring down Taylor Swift, I’m saying this because to even hold the two music phenoms together is to do a disservice to them both. I’m sick and tired of women being put in these boxes where they’re seemingly boosted by an argument that is odd and easily deflated (it would be like winning an award just to have a man come and take the mic out of your hand to say you didn’t deserve it). I’m just going to put this shit to rest, The Beatles v. Taylor Swift. They’re two different movements. No one compares Mercury to Saturn and debate which one can keep up, they are just two different planets. So basically…
Fuck the patriarchy. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and watching lately and an idea keeps coming up, one that was first presented to me by Judas and the Black Messiah: the idea that to be happy, to be at peace, is of itself a high form of rebellion. Seeking that feeling is what ignites revolutions. A million women went before me and paved a path for Taylor Swift to walk down as she strummed her guitar, singing her little heart out. The revolution led to me dancing around in my underwear, charcoal mask on my face (self care!) to the new Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and furiously typing my thoughts into the internet void.
It’s been too long since I wrote about music. The truth is, movies are easier and I’m kind of lazy. Don’t get me wrong, I love movies and television. But when it comes to the real, slow burn kind of changes in life – those eras come with a soundtrack. My first internal revolution as an adult came when I was nineteen, I was in the process of realizing that I was under no obligation to follow “the plan” – to go to college, marry my high school sweetheart, buy a house in our hometown and start making babies. I was taking time off school, and while I would not call it the happiest or most enlightened time of my life (no time spent confronting the lies and obligations of your past is particularly fun) I was starting to see things clearly for the first time in my life. While I was looking around, my sister introduced me to Taylor Swift with her Fearless album.
For more on my feelings about Taylor Swift and the way I met her music, check out my first ever article. This article isn’t about changing hearts and minds or even defending Taylor. I could care less if you like her (if you don’t, you are kind of a putz) but I need us all to band together and stand firm behind her in her choice to rerecord all of her albums.
In case you don’t have T Swift Google New Alerts, I’ll give you a quick summary of what’s been going on. All of Taylor’s masters (her albums before Lover) were sold to a man named Scooter Braun, who is (non biased, actual fact) a piece of shit. He is every man that ever told you that you couldn’t do what you wanted. He is every boy who pushed you down on the playground. He is…the fucking patriarchy in human form, and he hurt Taylor deeply, for a long time. In her own words:
“…Scooter got his two clients together to bully me online…or when his client, Kanye West, organized a revenge porn music video which strips my body naked. Now Scooter has stripped me of my life’s work, that I wasn’t given an opportunity to buy. Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.” Read her full post here.
Taylor has written most of her own songs, and she made her career (until recently) by putting her pain on display. She didn’t want some dude that had given her hell for years profiting off of her work, so she decided to rerecord them all. While this is creating a sensation on the charts, and I’m personally stoked to hear her older self revisit “Red” – this move is also an incredibly brilliant business decision. Once all of her albums are rerecorded, it’s easier for someone who wants rights to a song to go through her, as she’s the writer/owner of the song. Normally they’d have to jump through hoops to get the rights from the record label, the writer, etc etc. Not only is Taylor keeping Braun from making money off of her work, she’s is gaining control over her own career, her own inventions and ideas. These songs were inspired by her experiences, so why shouldn’t she own them?
So before I read another article about how this is a publicity stunt, or hear another person say “Taylor can just go ahead and wipe her tears with $100 bills” I’d like to remind you all that in a society dominated by men, the woman is coming out on top this time and that is truly spectacular. I wouldn’t be surprised if no one will touch Scooter Braun soon because he’s bad publicity. Taylor is taking back the world, and making room for all the women in her wake. Maybe you’re not like me, still dancing in your underwear and singing “it’s like a million little stars spelling out your name”, but if you’re one of my readers then you must appreciate feminism and the value that women hold in this world (and hey, if you’re a hater, welcome! once I get haters I’ll know that I’ve made it!). What I’m saying is, you don’t have like Taylor Swift’s music, but if you’re any kind of human being you will stand by her decision to do this and you will shut down anyone who says otherwise. Do it because there are things that make you happy (whether or not you express it by dancing around in your underwear) and you deserve to be happy about things that are as pure and simple as an artist owning their work.
Fuck the patriarchy.