Aha! I can hear you in your thoughts. This bloke is just a whiny old retired British Half-Colonel who has never been outside of his country since 1945, who thinks that Churchill was next to God and that Thatcher made Britain great again all trapped in the mind and body of a 21 years old Malaysian, who is offended by the culture of the times. Move on you numinous dinosaur!
Frankly, I disdain’s the music of my age not because I am offended, but because I’m deeply and truly bored by it. It’s the same old bourgeoisie claptrap rehashed ad infinitum akin to, excuse the cliché, a broken record (or a CD, or MP3 file whatever you moderns call it).
This brings me to the topic of my post for today. I’ll be the first to admit I am not completely sold by Ms. Swift’s switch from the country/mid-western-ish music that first propelled her into the limelight, to the yes, sometimes bubblegum-ish music that is the staple of the modern day female singer. I’ll admit to it as well that Ms. Swift comes nowhere close to my personal list of favorite musicians, that would be a tossup between Palestrina, Tallis and Handel. However, her latest song did indeed leave me feeling inexplicably thrilled yet uncountably melancholic and I have caught myself, admittedly embarrassingly singing along to it in the car, the shower and anywhere else you would find yourself singing if you should sound like a flu-stricken frog.
So worried was I that I had succumbed to the idiotic, I forced myself to reflect upon why this song meant more to me than words strung together in a rhythm.
The simple truth of the matter is that this song evoked memories of a time and a place when the opposite sex was first truly fascinating and enchanting yet completely infuriating and aggravating at the same time. Ah, how confusing and awkward the ghastly beast of adolescence. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Don’t get me wrong, I do still find women fascinating but the wonder of first discovering it still pushes forth emotionally.
This wonder is captured perfectly in the song. The first part of the song, the oxymorons; magic, madness, heaven, sin were astonishingly a true reflection on how I would feel towards a “crush” of mine no matter how illogical it sounded. Love was truly a game and I wanted to play it.
The chorus that rings with uncertainty. The naivety of thinking that it was to be forever on one moment to the fiery ending the next. Breathless one moment, scarred the next.
Then comes the aching heartbreak of the second half of the song. The screaming and crying and the perfect storms of a break up, the second guessing that comes with unrequited love, the jealous drunkenness of catching her stealing a glance at a better looking boy, forgetting that she too was undergoing the same emotional train wreck.
The whole upbeat tune of the song and, the evocative power of the words explodes in the mind the feeling of the moment you first realized that every girl you knew and thought you loved in that awful time of adolescence was unique and special in her own way. Memories come flooding back of a particular trait of each of the multitude of crushes and childish relationships of mine, like the way she twirls her hair when she gets agitated, of the dimples in her cheeks when she smiles, or how she sneezes like a kitten all dance in the imagination.
I might get a lot of stick from my contemporaries for liking this song as it reeks in their opinion of childishness, or be accused of hypocrisy of liking a commercial show tune while eschewing the rest as mindless gibberish, but all I can say is this, Ms. Swift has brought me back to a very special time and place in my life, not so long ago mind you, that for a moment, however brief it was, I became that boy again who used to get worried about what to wear, do I smell good and after brushing my teeth for the umpteenth time, I trot along with my gelled spiked hair to meet the girl of my dreams.