Swift jabs in Tay­lor-made lyrics

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE ’N’ LOUD -

TAY­LOR Swift knows what time it is. And it’s not just show time, al­though she is on stage in front of thou­sands in Detroit as part of her su­per-sized Red tour.

‘‘50,000 peo­ple have opted in to hear me sing about my feel­ings for two hours,’’ Swift tells the mainly fe­male crowd. ‘‘I’m told I have lots of feel­ings. . .’’ Even with her tongue in cheek, those feel­ings are re­spon­si­ble for 26 mil­lion al­bum sales and 75 mil­lion down­loads in seven years – each al­bum fol­lowed by a tour that grows in size.

It’s play­ing to her fans where Swift is most com­fort­able. She can’t be mis­quoted by nosy jour­nal­ists and she can ex­press her sense of hu­mour to let ev­ery­one know the diss-andtell song­writer is firmly in on the joke.

‘‘You never talk to him again and then you write a whole al­bum about him,’’ Swift says at one point, acutely aware the au­di­ence all have dif­fer­ent as­sump­tions about who ‘‘he’’ is. And they know she’ll never tell.

In­tro­duc­ing Arms, a fan re­quest, Swift says: ‘‘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. . .’’

In­ter­view­ing Tay­lor Swift is tricky. She’s si­mul­ta­ne­ously open and closed. Her abil­ity to swerve off topic dur­ing a warm anec­dote is politi­cian-like. Per­sonal ques­tions are off lim­its, in the most po­lite way.

But when Pres­i­dent Obama uses your break-up songs as a punch­line to at­tack his po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents, you know you oc­cupy a rare place in pop cul­ture.

‘‘It’s crazy to take in what’s hap­pened in the last few years,’’ Swift says, deftly sidestep­ping specif­i­cally ref­er­enc­ing her pres­i­den­tial shout out.

‘‘There’s no way to wrap your mind around it, no way to fully com­pre­hend it with­out chang­ing your own per­cep­tion of your­self, which I’d never want to do.

‘‘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.’’

Swift then taps her head and jokes: ‘‘You do not want to get in­side here. It’s very com­pli­cated.’’

Some of Swift’s best lyrics are about the joys of fall­ing help­lessly in love ( Treach­er­ous, Love Story, Sparks Fly, Be­gin Again) but for the world be­yond her di­rect fan­base, she’s the bit­ter ex-girl­friend who gets suc­cess­ful re­venge in song. She doesn’t mind.

Red. ‘‘Break-ups are hard,’’ Swift says. ‘‘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. . . I’ll be there to hold your hand.’’


Tay­lor Swift plays Sun­corp Sta­dium, in Bris­bane, on De­cem­ber 7. Tick­ets go on sale at 9am on Tues­day.

US singer and song­writer Tay­lor Swift mixes things up on her new al­bum

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