Taylor Swift Perth Now concert reveiw & Billboard interview: ‘You never talk to him again and then you write a whole album about him. I can imagine it’s hard to make a relationship last. I wouldn’t know..’ She ushers Stay Stay Stay in by proudly noting ‘See, they don’t always leave..’
As a writer it’s really important I keep my mind in check, that’s the only thing that keeps me here, what comes out of my mind. So I spend a lot of time thinking about my perspective, how to look at life, how to stay happy but still feel things. Not protect myself too much but shield myself from unnecessary pain and insecurity.’ Taylor tapped her head and joked: ‘You don’t want to get inside here, it’s very complicated’.
‘..Break-ups are hard, And you need music to get through them. I am happy to be your go-to break-up musician. People like music when they’re in love but they don’t need it as much. You need music when you’re missing someone or you’re pining for someone or you’re forgetting someone or you’re trying to process what just happened. The heartbroken are a special kind of people. When you’re in that spot, when you’re going through it, I’ll be there to hold your hand.’
On blog: ‘I don’t read anything. It’s dangerous to read the internet about yourself when you’re me. Or when you’re anyone in the public eye. You can’t ever portray who you actually are in the world we live in where there’s a headline and an exclamation point behind everything you say. It paints you as a cartoon no matter what.
I’m the kind of person where if I read a detail that’s wrong , we didn’t go to that restaurant, that person just stopped by to say hi at the table, we weren’t on a date, if I read something factually incorrect it bothers me. People don’t know the full truth. The only way I can accurately portray my side of my story and not filter it is in my songs. My fans know that. Or I hope they get that.’
Sheeran helped Swift through the making of Red, after she finished two envelope-pushing songs with pop kings Max Martin and Shellback – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and I Knew You Were Trouble: ‘I was obsessed by ..Trouble. People had to convince me about ..Never Ever. I thought that song was just me angrily ranting. I didn’t know people would like it. I remember I played it for Ed and he said ‘That’s your first single, whatever mode you’re in writing that song, keep going with it.’
I Knew You Were Trouble saw Swift introduce dubstep to her country audience. “We had this moment in the studio ‘Can we do this? Are we allowed to do this?’ but we just went for it,” Swift recalls. It has had a minor backlash in some country circles, but has also won Swift a new audience.
“I’m just happy I get to experiment.” she says. “Most of my fans, if you were to look on their iPods, you’d see every possible genre of music represented in some capacity.” Trouble also became an online sensation when Swift’s screams were replaced by a goat. “It was amazing,” Swift says. “When that came out I had no idea how big it was going to get. I just knew I thought it was hilarious. But apparently everybody else loved it too. I’d go around at rehearsals with the video cued up and everybody was like ‘We’ve already seen it’ That’s how I knew it’d gone viral.”
One of the album’s – and tour’s – key moments is The Lucky One. It’s a tale of fame gone wrong, and seemingly a message to Swift from herself. The lyrics detail an artist who made it famous, had their “secrets splashed on the front page” and after being “used” took “the money and your dignity and got the hell out”. Swift sings “it took some time, but I understand it now”.
“It’s about three or four different artists, I’d never say who, but I spend a lot of time looking at other people’s careers and watching them and taking note,” Swift says. “When there’s a downfall – and you hate seeing downfalls – but when there is it usually comes from a loss of perspective. Surrounding yourself with the wrong people. Downward spiralling into insecurity and self-obsession based on thinking everybody’s watching you all the time.”
This is a topic Swift, who is quick to call herself an “over-thinker” has spent a lot of time contemplating. “There’s a few things I try to remind myself of,” she says. “People have busy lives. They don’t really care about every move I make. As much as if I were to Google myself there’d probably be a new blog post every 15 seconds, people don’t really care that much. I’m just happy they want to see me in concert or listen to me in their car or at home. I don’t need to concern myself too much with what people think of me because it’s not too much of my business.
“I think you start to become self-obsessed if you let your insecurities make a bigger deal of themselves than they should be.” The 23-year-old is also aware of the downsides of her job. “As much as I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else in order to do what you love to do, there are trade-offs. In my mind I know that but sometimes I think ‘Wow, did I really do anything that wrong? Why do I feel like I’m in trouble for something?’
“Sometimes you get sucked into a vacuum of thinking that the world is watching you and waiting for you to mess up and I can’t live like that. I want to have fun. You can’t really have fun if you think everyone is waiting for the trip and fall.” After a long pause, Swift nominates Carly Simon as an artist whose career she admires. Side note – Simon also likes to keep her male lyrical subjects a mystery.
“Carly Simon has always been known for her songwriting and her honesty. She’s known as an emotional person but a strong person. I really really look up to that. I admire her. I think she’s always been beautiful and natural and seems to do it all effortlessly. There’s nothing more attractive than someone who seems to live effortlessly.”
Swift has been on the tour/album/tour cycle for nearly ten years; ask if she sees winding down or taking a break and it taps into a fresh nerve. “Oh, I think about the future a lot,” she says. “That’s when I start to get very confused. Essentially you can’t make big decisions like ‘When am I gonna take a break? When am I going to start to slow down? When is my hair going to start to go grey? Am I going to dye it or am I going to let it go grey? How am I going to handle wrinkles?
“You can’t make those decisions until you’re in that position. I’d like to think that in all aspects of my life I’ll know the right time to leave the party. But you can’t know when to leave the party until you’re in the room.”
What song really made an impact on you this year?
I’m obsessed with “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line. It’s the catchiest thing I’ve heard in years, and I love the Nelly version too. They’re out on tour with us right now, so I get to hear it all the time. I’m also absolutely smitten with “I Love It” by Icona Pop. It’s the way reckless abandon sounds in my head. I play it right before I go onstage.
What new talent emerged or came into his or her own this year that blew you away?
Tegan & Sara have been around for years and I’ve always loved them, but I feel like they really stretched sonically on this new album, “Heartthrob.” I was just so impressed by it, and there isn’t a song on it I don’t love. So I guess, in my mind, I categorize them as the new Tegan & Sara. To see artists evolve like that is so inspiring.
What to you was one of the biggest losses this year in music?
I think losing George Jones deeply saddened everyone in Nashville. His influence on country music and his legacy will last forever. On top of all of that, he was a very sweet man and I’m so sorry we’ve lost him. George Jones never stopped wanting to be onstage. He played live shows until the day he died, and that passion for performing is something I look up to.
What was your favorite music-related meme or viral video this year?
I like the app where you can make your own memes. I make memes all the time and send them to my friends. I also love basically any cat-related YouTube video. Yes, I’m that girl. And I thought the goat video for “I Knew You Were Trouble” was brilliant—I showed it to everyone on my tour.
Was there a surprising sound or music trend that pricked up your ears?
I love that ballads became huge hits this year and that unexpected songs and artists got lots of airplay. Ed Sheeran, the Lumineers and fun. are some of my favorites right now, and they’ve all had big hits with songs that have substance and real instruments. I like it!
What music trend hurts your ears?
I don’t like to feel like I’m in a club when I’m in my car and I turn on the radio. Anything that ceases to be a song and just sounds like house music kind of stresses me out.
How do you live like a high roller when you’re in Las Vegas?
Room service. I don’t care. I love it