Monday, November 19, 2012

8th Grade Playlist: 5. Red by Taylor Swift

Define work . . . if you define works as: Can you get something out of it? Was it good for you? Was it good for them? Did you grow in this relationship? Do you look back at it with some fondness if it should end before your death or his death? Than yeah, it can work. . .
Dan Savage Savage Lovecast: Episode 226
The idea of a relationship for many people is a relationship that lasts 50 or 60 years. Sometimes in our struggle to find that relationship, we see the relationships that don’t last the long haul as not really “working.”

If you think about what Dan Savage is saying, a relationship that lasts 60 years and then ends because someone dies, may not have necessarily “worked.” And a relationship that lasted a year could have really worked for that period of time.  Just because it ended, as all relationships eventually do, doesn’t mean that it didn’t work.

“Red,” the title track from Taylor Swift’s most recent album is about a relationship that worked. It ended, but Taylor is able to look past this to celebrate what the relationship meant. I’m reminded of Springsteen’s “Bobby Jean,” which has a similar message. It’s not about trying to get back together, but rather its' about acknowledging how what was meaningful about a relationship.

Taylor goes into some great similes and metaphors, “Loving him is like trying to change your mind, Once you’re already flying through the free fall."  However I got to say though the opening line “Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead end street,” is kind of hard to relate to for most of us. She takes us through different colors, expanded on the idea of feeling the “blues,” to feeling “grey,” and most powerfully: “red.”

Taylor effortlessly sings through this song and introduces some great musical touches that are heard throughout the album. Right after the bridge she sings the chorus in a slightly different way with more intensity and darkness. Also the line “and that’s why he’s spinning round in my head,” feels like its twirling. Taylor could have made an entire section of this song repeating this part but rather she leaves it undeveloped as a catchy and beautiful musical nugget.

“Red” revels in the wide range of emotions that love can bring and celebrates the drama, the lack of control, the intensity and the true wonder that is love. We hear her struggle in the bridge trying to get over the relationship but part of her doesn’t want to because she remembers everything about the relationship that worked.

Sometimes we feel like the only way that we can get over a break-up is by convincing ourselves that the relationship never worked and that there was never anything worthwhile in the relationship. Well, if there wasn’t anything of value even for five minutes then the relationship would have never happened.

Yes it’s hard to get over the end of a relationship.  However this process isn’t always about burning photos, bad mouthing the other person with friends and being bitter.

After Ellie dies in Up!, Charles struggles to move on with his life.  The way he accomplishes this is by cherishing the time they spent together, which helps him realize the value of the relationship he develops with Russell.

If you go out with a guy for a month and it doesn’t work out, am I saying you should strap some balloons to your house and go to South America? No, but don’t let the way it ended cloud the beautiful colors of the memories of when it worked.

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