“He got friendly with Max Martin, the hugely successful Swedish producer-songwriter, and eventually Luke and Martin wrote some songs together. The first one was “Since U Been Gone.” The inspiration: when they listened to indie rock bands, like the Hives and the Strokes, Martin complained, “Why can’t they just write a hit chorus?””—this is the most beautiful thing i’ve ever read (x)
COSIGN. Anyway, I loved it. I LOVED IT! I have never given one shit about this play, but I was like “oh wait, this is super good.” You know what Tom Hiddleston is real good at? Acting. He sure is good at that. Sure is good at creating a whole, living, complex physical person that you feel you know and understand. Sure is good at making you be like “THAT IS ONE COMMANDING-ASS PROTOFASCIST. I DEFINITELY SEE THE APPEAL.” Sure is good at being mutually physically obsessed with another dude. Sure is good at slowly dropping to his knees without surrendering any of the fierce animal pride/fury/sorrow that drives him and lifting his EXTREMELY fine-ass jaw to bare the pale marble column of his throat, etc. Sure is good at later deconstructing his own commanding stage presence by making himself so vulnerable that you wish you were dead rather than having to watch him suffer, even though you totally saw it coming and clearly he brought it on himself and there is no other way for things to go. Sure is good at onstage showering. 5 Stars.
I’m disappointed that this video wasn’t a bigger celebration considering that this song is kind of an anthem about being Teenage Millionaires. “We don’t care how much we spend” and what not. (Seriously how much would how have rather had Niall write that cop a check for his boat than just sign his autograph?) But lame party identification and an excuse to compare with Can’t Hardly Wait is a gift that keeps on giving.
Wayyyy too many people have asked me to lawyer today. Each time I just wanted to ask then if they knew that I was a human whose fancy dishes are 6 different One Direction cups from Wal-Mart. Bet they wouldn’t be relying on my judgment then.
One of the effects of whatever stupid virus I got hacked with is that it started following a bunch of bots and randos. And like, send annoying messages to the few people who follow me (still sorry about that) but please don’t fuck up my carefully curated dash. I have spent TIME on that.
Taylor Swift’s fourth album, Red, was released on October 22nd 2012. Moving 1.2 million copies in the first week, it was the fastest selling album in the United States in over a decade. It made Taylor the first artist in 43 years, since The Beatles, to spend six weeks atop the Billboard 200 with three consecutive albums. It marked the third time a Taylor Swift album was the top seller the week before Christmas, which apparently is very important, or something. I don’t care about any of that stuff and totally just read it on Wikipedia and regurgitated it to appear knowledgeable, but, guys. Red is so good.
Red is good, if a little disjointed. Supersonic pop of the “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” variety feels odd just a few clicks of the fast forward button away from something as quietly sexy as the fantastic “Treacherous.” And, like, there’s that duet with the guy from Snow Patrol? Inside of this schizophrenic record, there is a mini-record of three songs that play like a trilogy of acutely sensitive short stories about the rise and fall of one love affair, about the rise and fall and nervous first steps back up of a person who has loved.
"State of Grace" is the most aggressive sounding of the three, it is the start of the album, it’s the start of a relationship. The drums pound until the listener can remember or recreate what it’s like to have your heart beat that way. “We are alone just you and me, up in your room and our slates are clean, just twin fire signs, four blue eyes.” What Taylor describes here is the kind of love that absorbs you and makes everything in the world that is not this one person seem blurry and distant. The title is apt. A state of grace, a little sarcastic, maybe, a place as much as a feeling. “These are the hands of fate, you’re my Achilles heel.” You’re not even sure it’s a good idea, only that you can’t stop.
"State of Grace" leads to "All Too Well" and "All Too Well" is so absolutely perfect that I don’t really have anything worthy to say about. I want you to listen to "All Too Well" right now. I want you to think about the "I was there" repetition. I want you to think about "in love" as a place, conceptually, sure, but also as real physical places where the love was and grew. About physical monuments to emotional milestones that don’t just kindly disappear because the memory sours. I want you to listen to, "you call me up again just to break me like a promise, so casually and cruelly in the name of being honest" and I want you to think about the politics of losing and leaving. Listen to "All Too Well" and think about how strange and unfair it is that everything moves and changes and rearranges, everything is ephemeral, everything is only for now, every thought or feeling you ever had and every body being close to every other body for a little while, temporary. Think about how it will all change and go and that fucking scarf will still be thrown over the back of the couch. Spaces of intimacy that become minefields of loss. I want you to never have to feel like that but you will.
'Cause there we are again in the middle of the night We dance around the kitchen in the refrigerator light Down the stairs, I was there, I remember it all too well
But then there’s “Begin Again.” Thank god, there’s “Begin Again.” Thank god you get to begin again. A coffee date with someone nice. They show up on time, they laugh at your jokes, you like the same music, you have become such a feral thing that such simple politeness feels like a dream. The repeated, but I do-s works in conjunction with Taylor’s I was there-s. I was there, and now that place in time, and everything that happened there, is a part of me. “But I do” serves as an acknowledgement of lived experience that informs your every action, that informs even a lukewarm coffee date, embrues it with meaning. At the same time, a wary distance remains. Taylor sings, “I’ve been spending the last eight months thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end, but on a Wednesday in a cafe I watched it begin again.” I watched it begin again. I do and I was there but I am not ready to admit I took part in the start of something else. I saw it happen. I witnessed that things could be easy, and that was enough.
The wails of, "and I neeeeverrrrr sawww you comingggg, and I’ll neeeeverrrrr be the saaaaaaame" in "State of Grace" can be read as just the giddy hyperbole of new infatuation, but that idea of being changed by a relationship with another person, because something inside of you opened and made space for them instantly, a space you’d have to contend with and rebuild around should the day come when they would no longer occupy it, that idea is exactly what "All Too Well" is about. "It was rare, I was there, I remember it all too well." And I might be okay, but I’m not fine at all. "Begin Again" is about striving to believe that fine is on the horizon. "Begin Again" is a song about knowing that you can never be the same again. It’s a song about becoming something entirely new.
"Begin Again" is the album’s most hopeful moment ("Stay Stay Stay" is too sugary a fantasy to count, plus, like, it’s not cute to throw things at people when you’re angry, even if you’re a leggy blonde), the song in which a steady optimism is most keenly felt. An earnest and understated happiness permeates, not the wide-grinning mirth of pop anthems but a warmth that feels like recovery. “Begin Again” is Red’s most joyful moment, and the source of that joy, the hope that buoys it, us, is just that, maybe, someday, things might be okay.
And, I don’t know, man, Taylor Swift. Today was a fairytale I wore a dress, kittens and boyband boyfriends and lucky numbers painted on hands and cheeks in glitter paint, yeah yeah yeah, but, that’s some really real shit.
i was gonna be like sry sry sry i know it’s super weird and tragic to be reblogging myself like this but maybe you just saw taylor perform “all too well” on the grammys and want to read some of my feelings i have had and continue to have and, like, just stumble goose-bumped and distracted through life all the time having, whatever, it’s chill, about “all too well,” i was gonna say something like that but then i remembered lolololololl i don’t care
I always forget and then am re-reminded of “Spaces of intimacy that become minefields of loss” and this analysis of “Red” and Taylor and excellent music writing.
We don’t talk enough about how Christian Bale is using his Jack Kelly accent in American Hustle. And like, Christian, if you’re gonna pretend that Newsies didn’t happen because you’re a Serious Actor maybe spend a little time with a Serious Accent Coach.
I find fiction harder than law. When I was in law school, I discovered that I thought like a lawyer. I liked the logic of law, and the taxonomy of legal reasoning (which is bit like the Passover hymn “Dayenu.” “Your honor, the defendant didn’t do it; if he did do it, he acted in self-defense; if he wasn’t justified to act in self-defense, he is mentally ill….”). It was a wholly satisfying experience, so different from my undergraduate experience. (In college, I was a rather indifferent English major. I rarely had to read a bad or boring book for class, but I was no good at literary criticism.)
Law requires education, experience and, most importantly, judgment. Fiction requires invention, discernment and, most importantly, discipline. To sit down to write a novel, with no set task in front of you, is very different from lawyering and, for me, far more difficult. In fiction, but not in law, I have a threshold problem: getting my bottom in the chair. Once I’m in my chair at my desk, facing my computer, I can work for hours, but I can spend hours avoiding my chair, reading the Times as if I were being paid to do it, listening to NPR, prowling on eBay, even doing laundry. But there’s a big BUT: writing fiction is more satisfying. You’re making something.