Monday, August 27, 2012

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift

Hope is a powerful force.

It can change the course of history and save people’s lives. However, hope can also hold us back.

Diana and I have never broken up and then gotten back together. That was not the case with my high school girlfriend. We probably broke up three of four times for reasons that I cannot bring to mind. The reasons why we got back together, I can’t remember either.

The last time we broke up was right before I left for college. She was staying in the Seattle area and I was moving out to Chicago. We agreed that we would break up and move on with our lives but that we would still be friends.

The problem was that our definition of “friends,” was different. I didn’t want to respond to the daily e-mails and instant messages. She wasn’t getting the hint when I would not respond as quickly with shorter e-mails explaining that I was busy.

When I got to college I let go of any possibility that we would get back together, but she didn’t, she held out hope.

She kept pushing and pushing to be part of my life and as she continued to not get my hints, I became harsher and meaner and in the process, I fear that I broke her heart. I just wanted to move on and as horrible as this sounds, the only that I could do this was telling her over the phone that we would never get back together.

There were tears and these words resonated in a completely different way than the way Taylor sang these same words.

Taylor Swift’s newest single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” is about the freedom and joy that comes from giving up on any hope that a relationship will come back together.

This song continues the evolution of Taylor Swift’s musical style. She takes different musical elements from her own musical heritage and mixes it with moderm influences to create a fresh and original sounding song that is uniquely Taylor.

The opening guitar lick has two effects thrown in that seems to turn the line around like a sample in a rap song. As soon as that is established she introduces a steady thumping beat. This four on the floor bass drum rhythm comes from country line dancing and can be heard in Springsteen’s “Shackled And Drawn.”

Taylor has already combined very different musical elements, the feel of sample and a the beat and pulls it together with a hook featuring repeated syllables that is reminiscent of “Umbrella” by Rhianna and harmonies in the chorus that sound like something out of a One Direction or Jonas Brother’s song.

All of these different influences and musical ideas combine with Taylor’s unique subject matter. Now does Taylor Swift sound like a woman in her early 20’s? Do girls this age actually sound like this when they talk about relationships? I can’t generalize but I know girls who do and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. I think this song may come across as speaking from more of a teenage perspective because of the sound of the song, but Taylor is singing about relationship relapses that happen just as often with young adults.

All of this adds up to expressing that moment when you finally get over a relationship and are once again excited about the future possibilities. If you break up with someone and keep hoping in the back of your mind that you could get back together with that person then you can never truly move on with your life.

I didn’t learn until later when I was dumped how the loss of hope could hurt but how this pain could lead to the kind of joy that Taylor sings about. I know in my heart that my high school girlfriend got to that place as well. As I telling myself this to make myself feel better about my actions, probably but after twelve years, what else is there, but hope?

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