Monday, November 8, 2010

Mine by Taylor Swift

“People like to fixate on Taylor Swift’s youth, as if to say, yeah, she’s pretty good for her age. But that just begs a question: Where are all the older people who are supposedly making better pop records than Taylor Swift? There aren’t any.”

This opening from Rolling Stone’s four star review of Taylor Swift’s new album Speak Now pretty much sums up the reality of the situation. Her career has no parallel in popular music. Taylor Swift a country singer, on an independent label, recording music that she composes and at the age of 20 is one of most popular and critically acclaimed musicians of her time.

If you don’t like her music, it’s all good, there’s no apologizing for taste, but it is undeniable the incredible craft and skill she puts into her song writing. Is Taylor innovating like crazy? No, but what she is doing reflecting on her own life and beliefs in a genuine and intimate way that speaks directly from her soul to our hearts.

The lead single “Mine” is “Love Story” matured from an idealized fairy tale romance to realistic struggle of a couple. It follows a similar form providing background on a relationship building to a flipping perspective in the song which for “Love Story” is when he proposes to her (which is a moment that gets to me every time I listen to that song).

What is remarkable about this song is the way that Taylor packs in so much information in so few lines, painting a rich and deep emotional story in a subtle and unassuming way.

The first verse sets up the story as Taylor meets a college student. She describes her own insecurities “I was a flight risk, afraid of falling, wondering why we bother with love, if it never last” (man, that’s girl has a little Bob Dylan in her, wow) which sets up her emotional journey.

The chorus describes a critical memory which will come back to bring Taylor comfort as well as describing how she views herself, “you made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter.” This line not only sounds great but it speaks to the reality that girls often end up with guys like their father and while she views her dad as careless it is the same rebellion that this guy bring out of her, helping her embrace the parts of her father that are within herself.

The second verse describes the struggles in her relationship and how thinking back on a memory helps her get through the fights. The conflict is continues in the bridge as she feels that the relationship is “slipping right out of our hands” like she predicted in the first verse. Bracing herself of the worst her love interest responds not with an apology but a memory, the same memory that she holds so dear in her heart. Knowing that they feel the same way Taylor exclaims at the end that she “I can see it now,” the future they have together.

Relationships succeed or fail often because of the similarities or differences in the way people feel about each other. When you know in your heart that the person you love, loves you back with the same depth and passion that you feel instead of grasping at past glories as Taylor does in the first part of the song the future opens up with possibilities and wonder.

I love the memories I have of times I spent with my wife Diana but more than that it's the future that excites me. I don't know how Taylor Swift captured all of this so beautifully in her music. I just know that Taylor Swift reflects my belief in love and the beauty of life and for that I will forever hold her music close to my heart.

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