Let's Close Read Taylor Swift's 'WSJ' Op-Ed As Though We Are In High School English Class

In case you missed it, Taylor Swift dabbled in the editorial field on Monday. She wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, proving that James Franco is not alone in his mission to be a celebrity journalist. Swift , as the perennial believer in fairy tales, love, and the music biz, went so far in her op-ed to use a metaphor to describe the music industry. She likened popular music to romance. That's so deep! I might dig up my B.A. in English for this one.

Swift compared pop hits to summer flings — you know, the forgettable one that, while fun and hot at 3 a.m., gives you a UTI the next day — and a good song to the one

So this use of a metaphor means one thing: we must close read a few passages from Taylor Swift's op ed as though we were in a high school English class. Do you remember close-reading? It was probably your least favorite thing to do in school, since it meant over-analyzing and ripping apart an author's words in order to find the "deeper meaning" of it all. But Swift's writing is so rife with metaphors and meaning, it practically begs for a close read. 

Grab your highlighters and pencils, my friends. Let's do this.

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Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.

With this piece of insight, Swift is implying that we don't value MUSIC. Also, we should pay for it. Damn you, piracy. Damn you.

It's my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album's price point is. I hope they don't underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.

Perhaps Swift is suggesting that we should live in a world run by musicians, where they value their art and make people pay tons of money for it. Also, does anyone else sense shades of "please continue to purchase my albums?" No? Okay. Let's look at another passage that represents the crux of Swift's message.

There are always going to be those artists who break through on an emotional level and end up in people's lives forever.

A song you can't get out of your head that sucks is the album no one will buy at your garage sale. That emotional level is that song that makes you cry no matter what. Emotions are not the same as catchy songs, guys. This is a good point to make. I mean, I know all of the lyrics to "All That She Wants" by Ace of Base, but it ain't a tearjerker like "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow."

The way I see it, fans view music the way they view their relationships. Some music is just for fun, a passing fling (the ones they dance to at clubs and parties for a month while the song is a huge radio hit, that they will soon forget they ever danced to). 

She's right. LFO's song "Summer Girls." Forgot about that one til now.

Some songs and albums represent seasons of our lives, like relationships that we hold dear in our memories but had their time and place in the past.

Oh, like "Seasons of Love" in Rent! Or like that guy who you know was So Not The One but was so right for you before you moved to the big city. In other words, this song ain't gonna last forever on your Most Played list, but it will always have a place in your heart. So yeah, "Seasons of Love" in Rent, basically.

However, some artists will be like finding "the one." We will cherish every album they put out until they retire and we will play their music for our children and grandchildren. 

THIS IS TAYLOR SWIFT TALKING ABOUT THE BEST, MOST POWERFUL MUSIC OF ALL TIME. But wait. The one? Is she implying that I'm musically polygamous because I have strong emotions about No Doubt and Alanis Morissette and The Civil Wars? (Makes large mark in red.)

As an artist, this is the dream bond we hope to establish with our fans. 

T. Swift wants to connect with her fans! Hey, she means really well! She aspires for artistry! 

I think the future still holds the possibility for this kind of bond, the one my father has with the Beach Boys and the one my mother has with Carly Simon.

"And hopefully, some young teen girl feels that way about me." (Some young teen girl definitely has your lyrics written inside her math notebook, T, Swift. Don't you worry.)

I think forming a bond with fans in the future will come in the form of constantly providing them with the element of surprise. No, I did not say "shock"; I said "surprise." I believe couples can stay in love for decades if they just continue to surprise each other, so why can't this love affair exist between an artist and their fans?

Perhaps in this passage, Swift is silently expressing how she wishes her exes surprised her more in their relationships. Perhaps this essay is serving as a symbol for how she has felt undervalued in her relationships, and if music is like a relationship, then WHY CAN'T A RELATIONSHIP BE LIKE MUSIC?! I think I got it.

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So there you have it. An over-analysis of Taylor Swift's op-ed. And you know what? It looks like she really said something. High five to you for your Adventures in Journalism, Taylor Swift. 

Image: Giphy; Giphy


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