The Swiftening, Part 3: Speak Now (2010)

Until recently, Jordan Holmes had never, intentionally, listened to a Taylor Swift song in his life. Then began The Swiftening, in which he decided to listen to every album of hers in chronological order and give his thoughts. You can read his thoughts on her 2006 self-titled debut, and her 2008 breakout Fearless by clicking on the links.

I swear to you, I hit play on “Mine” the first track from Taylor Swift’s 3rd studio album, two seconds later I hit pause and audibly sighed, said – out loud, to no one – “This is going to be tough.” 

Sorry. I know by the laws of bloggerations, I’m supposed to ease into the actual review – maybe tell a nice story about something (last one I rambled about time) – but I hate the song “Mine”. I know I’m supposed to comically hate Taylor’s music, but seriously, this song fucking sucks. It’s nakedly manipulative. This is the music equivalent of “They Live”.

First off, and I doubt you’d hear this fully unless you were wearing my metaphorical ear glasses of hatred, but Taylor Swift and Nathan Chapman (who should both be fired for their work on this album), cannot write an intro that matters. I know I harp on this, but there are about five separate 38 second songs in “Mine” and a good intro would act as a thread tying these terrible elements together into something that would resemble a complete sound. 

But the evil part, the manipulative part, is the monstrous decision to overlay her vocal track with another Autotune’d up, but only for a measure! I realize it might not be obvious why that is evil, perhaps because I am not necessarily a reliable narrator, so I will explain.

You are 19. You have shoulder length auburn hair. You have a nose well-proportioned for driving a convertible. You are driving a convertible. Your 3 best friends are in the car in order of affection. The moment happens. A sing-a-long will happen, must happen. All of you are in a state primed for hypnotic suggestion. If one of you lost souls listens to Taylor Swift, they may insert this song into the conversation and you must resist. You must go into the conversation knowing that she can destroy you.

On the first chorus, when she sings “You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter” she overlays it with another vocal track. The song is singing along for you! If you’re not careful, you’ll be tricked into singing, too. Then you’ll be tricked into liking the song. 

Then you would be wrong. This song sucks.

You must deny your friend Taylor’s insidious message. Instead, play something every 19-year-old teen enjoys, something like, “Nonstop Disco Powerpack.” One of those songs everyone loves to sing along to.

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Stray thoughts for “Sparks Fly” track 2 on “Speak Now” – a terrible song on a terrible album.

Oh fuck me…a fiddle. Shit.

How exactly do you move like a “full on” rainstorm?

Public displays of affection in the rain make me feel gross.

Is this the song that plays in The Notebook when the Gos and Adams Mac make out?

Ok, now I’m no fancy scientist, but I see this scenario in the song. They’re kissing in the rain, a retinue of her assistants are nearby – filming or photographing on the off chance it’s a good enough kiss to post online – Nathan Chapman is spotting, fortifying Taylor’s knees in case she gets tired, the rain continues to poor (it may even be a full on rainstorm), a puddle forms around them. 

Sparks fly and BAM! 

Everyone is electrocuted. 

————————————-

Wait, Taylor Swift fucked Taylor Lautner? Every god damn album I find out she’s boned another celebrity, but, you know, one that sucks, I guess. Has everyone put together that her boyfriends all famously suck? Chicken or egg – does she date shit people in order to continue writing shit songs, or does she write shit songs because she likes to date shit people? Maybe if instead of dating fuckin’ John Mayer or whatever, try someone cool, like,… uh… Jeremih. Why not? That’d be dope.

Also, this table exists so I’m fully ready for human extinction:

I guess Loki’s ok?

If this song was about me… I don’t know if I could recover from being memorialized both as a teen werewolf in Twilight AND the pitiable puppy dog of Back To December. I would immediately renounce fame and money. I would grow a Gandalf beard and become a longshoreman. That is the only option.

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“Speak Now” = Bad

Wayne’s World 2 = Better than that shit at least

—————————————-

I call bullshit on “Dear John”. I call such bullshit. I have absolutely no sympathy for Taylor Swift. 

You were fucking John Mayer. You knew what you were getting into. You know how I know? Because what you were getting into wasn’t some stranger you met online, it was John Fucking Mayer. The guy who was famous for being a piece of shit to famous women. It was on fucking TV. You know why your mom said you were crazy? Because she knew John Mayer was a piece of shit to famous women. 

You wouldn’t even have to have watched TV to have known John Mayer was a piece of shit. You could’ve just walked by a TV store like they have in disaster movies, barely glanced at a TV, and you would’ve seen John Mayer being a piece of shit. 

Fuck. John. Mayer. 

AND his music sucks!

So no, I don’t feel for you, Taylor, you need to accept your responsibility in this or you’re never going to change. 

Furthermore, one thing that I despise about Taylor Swift’s music is how famous she is for writing songs about famous people. “Dear John” was never going to be a good song, even if I could hear the music. I can’t hear the music. I can’t hear anything. I’m trying to decipher the song. Who the fuck is the John to whom we are Dear? Then I have to find out, I don’t finish the song at all. Then I find out it’s John Fucking Mayer. I don’t have any interest in her relationship with John Mayer. Even if the song was good – which it’s not – I do not want to be aware that I am listening to a song ABOUT JOHN FUCKING MAYER. 

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From Genius: “Swift wrote “Mean” in response to music critic Bob Lefsetz, who gave her a cruel review after a February 2010 performance with Stevie Nicks.”

So I dug up the review she is referring to and Holy Shit is that dude a crank! Love it! I’m a huge fan of how he can be condescending while at the same time spouting literal nonsense. What he’s saying has no basis in reality, because his premise is “People care about the Grammy’s” and that’s just not true.

But this is after ‘09, this moron couldn’t actually have hurt her feelings, right? She got Ye’d in ‘09! Who gives a shit about some crank online!? 

And by the way, so far this project has only strengthened my belief that what Kanye did was not only hilarious, but True and Righteous.

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One quick break, do not pity me, but writing new and interesting insults for Taylor Swift can be difficult. Not because I have any less than an ocean of creative insults, but because her songs drone together into one big song, and, crucially, most of them are musically inoffensive to the point of non-existence.

More than one song deliberately tries to deceive me into believing it is a different song. Oh, on “Back to December”, watch out, there’s a fucking string section. But that doesn’t mean it is not actually the song “Fifteen” from her previous album “Fearful, but Resolute”. 

Using a string section to lie to me is not just unacceptable, it is sacrilege!

Tell me the song “Speak Now” isn’t just “White Horse” 10 bpm faster. Get the fuck out of here Taylor Swift. 

Fearless me once, shame on you! Fearless me twice, shame on me!

———————————

THERE IS ANOTHER SONG ABOUT JOHN MAYER!!!! FUCK. JOHN. MAYER.

And you, everyone who let her write two songs about John Mayer, and, you, everyone who listened to two songs about John Mayer and continued listening to her

“The Story Of Us” was written about Taylor Swift meeting John Mayer at the CMT awards held in June, 2010. John Mayer gave an interview to Playboy posted in February, 2010. 

Lyrics she could’ve used in “The Story Of Us”:

“Did you ever say, 

‘I want to quit my life and just f—ing snort you? 

If you charged me $10,000 to f–k you, 

I would start selling all my s–t just to keep f—ing you”

OR:

“Someone asked me the other day, 

What does it feel like now to have a hood pass? 

And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, 

because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a n—-r pass. 

Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass 

if you really have a hood pass?”

OR:

“My d–k is sort of like a white supremacist

I’ve got a Benetton heart and a f—in David Duke cock 

I’m going to start dating separately from my d–k”

Sure, that’s a bit of a joke, but if she put out a track going that hard on Mayer, I’d kill for her. 

Instead:

“I used to think one day, we’d tell the story of us

How we met, and the sparks flew instantly

And people would say, they’re the lucky ones

I used to know my place was a spot next to you

Now I’m searching the room for an empty seat

‘Cause lately, I don’t even know what page you’re on”

Call me crazy, but the story of John Mayer seems to be paying $10,000 to cram a Simpson up his honker. Not sure about the story of “Us”.

———————————

“Never Grow Up” reminded me I’d meant to Google Taylor Swift’s hands for the last album. Not because I have a… hand fetish (it must exist, but… like, I haven’t really heard of it being A Thing), but because I want to insult her as a guitarist, and everyone who’s worked on her albums.

Taylor Swift has smooth hands.

Kaki King does not have smooth hands.

——————————-

From Genius:

“Enchanted” details Taylor’s infatuation with Owl City’s Adam Young, who Taylor corresponded with via email for quite some time. When she finally met him in New York City, she was “wonderstruck” but worried she would never see him again and worried he was in love with another girl.”

I just realized how awesome a power Taylor truly wields. I imagine Owl City’s Adam Young knows exactly what I’m talking about.

When I am finished with this project, I will rank the songs written about specific dudes and can you imagine being the dude Taylor Swift wrote her worst song about? This song is bad – and stupid – and right now it’s in the running for Worst Song About A Dude. 

I would feel terrible if Swift didn’t just write a song about me (something that would mortify me regardless), but wrote a shitty song about me. How could you ever know for sure if you’re a shitty song subject, a shitty person (John Mayer knows for sure) or maybe just had she had an off day.

OR

She did it on purpose just to fuck with you and immortalize you as the subject of a shitty song by Taylor Swift. She has some sort of comic book supervillain power. She can will your name into existence on Wikipedia. She wields the Death Note, only worse. If she wants to fuck you up, she has the power to do it long after you’re dead. 

No one woman should have all that power… ahh uhhh, eeeeyyyhhh ehh

———————————

So at first, with track 10 “Better Than Revenge” I was like, oh fuck, fuck fuck, she’s gonna kill me. I literally just wrote that shit above this shit right here and it is not kind. It is the type of shit people who are better at revenge salivate about! 

But then I kept listening and I was like, “God damn, Swift… that’s just some real mean stuff right there. Just… just real hurtful.”

Let’s take a look at the lyrics here and find out who deserves vengeance:

“The story starts when it was hot and it was summer and

I had it all, I had him right there, where I wanted him”

Uhhh… Taylor?

“She’s not a saint and she’s not what you think

She’s an actress, whoa

She’s better known for the things that she does

On the mattress, whoa”

Yowzas! Is her next album titled, “Now! That’s What I Call Slut-Shaming!”

“She looks at life like it’s a party and she’s on the list

She looks at me like I’m a trend and she’s so over it

I think her ever-present frown is a little troubling

And she thinks I’m psycho ’cause I like to rhyme her name with things”

Ok, hold on. So from what I understand, she looks at life like it’s a party, but she also has an ever-present frown? What’s she doing going to all these parties if she’s just there to frown and look at you like you’re a fad? I think maybe what happened here is, and stop me if this sounds crazy, but maybe she’s having a great time when you’re not around! Maybe the problem is you!

She didn’t write a song about you, did she?

Oh, and hey, rhyming people’s names with things is classic bullying. And if Taylor goddam Swift starts rhyming your name with things, you’re about to wind up in a song about how much of an asshole you are! I think it’s entirely reasonable to think she’s a psycho!

“Soon she’s gonna find stealing other people’s toys

On the playground won’t make you many friends”

Well this is just demonstrably untrue. In 5th grade I stole a Super Mario World cartridge from some asshole and we became close friends for years after that. And all the way up to this very day I have not returned that cartridge. I plan to be buried with it.

“She should keep in mind, she should keep in mind

There is nothing I do better than revenge, ha!”

Uhh, Taylor, alternate theory, maybe she doesn’t think you’re a psycho because you rhyme her name with things, maybe it’s because you self-describe as someone’s whose best skill is revenge? Just tossing that out there. Like, you know who else self-describes as being the best at revenge? 

Wolverine. And that guy’s a psycho.

———————————-

Wowzers. “Innocent” is one of the most irritating, but far more importantly, condescending things I’ve ever heard. This is not a song about forgiving Kanye, it is a song that infantilizes a grown man who was fucking right! Of course you don’t like the way he did it, bummer, but he took a fucking stand where other people didn’t and never would. Beyonce did have one of the best videos of all time, and Taylor Swift, whether you like it or not, did receive that award with the increased benefit of being white and non-threatening. 

I kinda thought it was out of the blue, Kanye’s lyric about “making that bitch famous,” but now that I see it was written after Taylor performed this disgusting shit at the VMAs in 2010, yea, now I get it.

So fuck you, Taylor. I’m 33 now, a year older than Kanye in the song, and if an arrogant 21-year-old country singer told me that I’m an innocent and then said that I was 32 and “still growing up”, I’d throw hands. If it happened in public, well, I guess I’d tell everyone we might still have sex. 

Or is that not cool? Maybe if I said you’re better known for the things you do on the mattress?

——————————————-

“Haunted” is evidence of Swift’s risk taking. She made the bold choice of hiring an orchestra and allowing them to play all four notes. 

Guitar? Those hands won’t need lotion! Piano? Played easily by an amputee! Bass? 

Actually pretty good. The drums and the bass are both quality work. I can hear them in the recording studio. The bass and drums were not recorded on the same track as the vocals, guitars, or strings, the two were both using headphones. It’s entirely possible, based on the way these two instruments are in sync, the rhythm section may have recorded together in the same studio. Either way, the two are enjoying this song far more than everyone else.

The bassist is loving the way he finally gets to curl his hands around the neck of his guitar, twisting his wrist to bend each note into shape, like a blacksmith he hammers his tones to create. 

The drummer is downright giddy with his kit. At around second 30, he starts to treat his rolls with nonchalance instead of hammering the tempo. At the minute and a half he drops in a delightful little snare/bass triplet combo that makes me smile every time. Sometimes simple fills can be more rewarding than complex syncopation and speed. 

These two were so enjoyable, I liked the song. I could not tell you what it’s about, I was hanging on to the bassist and drummer with one hand like Stallone in that movie. Over the Top I think.  

The song’s probably about a boy.

———————————

“Last Kiss” is about Joe Jonas. I am very done with the Jonaphim.

Instead of listening to that, try this.

—————————————–

About “Long Live” Taylor said:

“This song is about my band, and my producer, and all the people who have helped us build this brick by brick. The fans, the people who I feel that we are all in this together, this song talks about the triumphant moments that we’ve had in the last two years. We’ve had times where we just jump up and down, and dance like we don’t care how we’re dancing, and just scream at the top of our lungs, “How is this happening?” And, I feel very lucky to even have had one of those moments, nonetheless all the ones that I got to have. ‘Long Live’ is about how I feel reflecting on it.”

I feel about this song the way I feel about my Cubs fandom. I am not actually on the field and none of the players actually care about me and giving money to the owners of said teams is giving money to people who are actively using that money to kill me and everyone I love. 

I love the Cubs, but I do not have any pretension towards sharing in their success. Ultimately, I like watching baseball and it’s more fun to root for a team than not and I’m from north central Illinois. I am not in a cult.

Taylor Swift wrote a song to congratulate Taylor Swift fans for helping Taylor Swift become famous enough to have Taylor Swift fans. This song is Taylor’s Rabbit.

—————————————-

As always, I shall rate the album “Now! That’s What I Call Slut-Shaming!” on my patented scale, listenable/unlistenable.

This album is unlistenable. 

And not just that. I hate this album. I hate the music. I hate the lyrics. I hate everything this album is about. I hate it. 

That said, the next album Taylor Swift released was “Red” which I’m told will show Taylor Swift’s growth into a real human being instead of this shitty facsimile, so I will be keeping an open mind!


Jordan Holmes is a Chicago comedian, author, podcaster, and one of the twenty best humans of all time. We love him very much. Every Monday & Friday, you can hear him on a new episode of Knowledge Fight, a podcast devoted to exposing the lies of Alex Jones. You can read (or listen) to his debut novel, The Quiet Part Loud, by going here.

6 thoughts on “The Swiftening, Part 3: Speak Now (2010)

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