Alright, world, I'm ready to come clean. I love Taylor Swift. I mean, I really love Taylor Swift. In the past six months, I've listened to 751 Taylor Swift songs according to Last.fm. I've used her "The Story Of Us" music video as inspiration for my classy yet sexy summer wardrobe of knee highs and mini-skirts. I've bought a copy of Teen Vogue because she was on the cover. On a particularly good hair day, I tweeted that I was rockin' waves worthy of Swift herself. What is it about Swift that has me so enamored? Well, to be honest, Swift started out as the lesser of evils in my household. At the start of the year, I started my tenure as a live-in nanny and the biggest lifestyle adjustment I had to make (Other than curbing my rampant, intravenous drug use - JUST KIDDING!) was my music consumption. Sure, when I'm in my section of the house, it's all Okkervil River and Timber Timbre but when I'm not in my lair, everything has to be kid-friendly and, let's face it, I'm too nice of a person to tell the kids how I really feel about the likes of Bruno Mars and Jason Derulo, the latter of whom appears to have made a career out of using the most idiotic samples possible. Begrudgingly, I started requesting the kids turn on Swift just so I could escape "The Lazy Song" and thus, my unlikely love affair with the country-pop superstar began.
I wasn't immune to the hooks found in "You Belong With Me" and "Love Story" but it was Swift's non-single tracks that found me warming to her the most. "You're Not Sorry" managed to sum up a year of my love life in a three minute long piano ballad. "Haunted" perfectly encapsulated the long-gone love affair that I just can't get over, although my musician ex isn't nearly of Joe Jonas caliber. "Mean" was an anti-bullying anthem that I first heard when rumor mongering ran rampant in my life and it's chorus of "Why you gotta be so mean?" proved a cathartic listen. More than all of that, however, was the appeal of Swift herself: One of the few pop stars who actually has control over their own image and career, Swift writes her own songs, produces her own records, and shreds on the banjo like you would not believe.
Even though I keep the fact that I'm a proud Swiftie no secret, I still consider Swift somewhat of a guilty pleasure lest all of my indie cred be erased. And who better than my favorite guilty pleasure artist to cover my favorite guilty pleasure song?
Let's get something straight - Coldplay isn't all bad. They're just bland and douchey. If given the choice between Coldplay and death, I'd chose Coldplay, albeit begrudgingly, and hope that the god-awful X & Y album wasn't on my forced-listen list so I wouldn't have to hear Chris Martin whine about his longing to "fix" Gwenyth "I Have A Music Career Now, You Guys!" Paltrow. In their early days, however, Martin and co. had some pretty sweet songs on their hands. Nearly half of their first two releases are not only tolerable, but actually enjoyable and the Six Feet Under promo set to the band's "A Rush Of Blood To The Head" remains hauntingly memorable after all these years. (Seriously, am I the only one who remembers that commercial?) By the time the band released Viva La Vida or Death & All His Friends, however, their schtick had grown tiresome. The band had found their soft-rock niche and they stuck with it. After all, they were raking in the dough. Why should they bother changing their winning formula?
Martin still has some talent left in him though, when he's not busy whinging about the Goopster, and that was made evident with Viva La Vida's title track, a haunting, soaring song about the pitfalls of power and fame. Something about "Viva La Vida" has always appealed to my better nature, perhaps because I'm a sucker for remembering the "glory days" and "Viva La Vida" is three and a half minutes of reminiscing about when King Martin's subjects didn't want his "head on a silver plate" before surmising his whole sorry existence: "Oh, who would ever want to be king?"
It's a great allegory and Swift's loyal, acoustic version is one of the more beautiful cover songs I've heard this year. Plus, the whole "king" allegory really reminds me of the Stark family but that just might be because the majority of my summer has been spent simultaneously reading and watching George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones so anything involving a crown, incest, giant puppies, boobs, or dwarves is apt to remind me of the epic series. Winter is coming, ya'll!