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Taylor Swift Settles for Mediocrity

was released on Oct. 22, 2012 through Big Machine Records. The album was exactly what I expected, which was that it would sound exactly like all of her other music. With sleepy, simple lyrics; country genre minus the accent and the subject matter (as always) boys, boys, boys; it is sure to not disappoint her target audience: 12-year-old girls.

This is great, T-sweezy. I’m happy you’ve found your niche in the consumer music industry. But it’s weird. And it loses artistic merit for me when your “radio hits” are stylistically inconsistent with the rest of the album. There are about three pop songs thrown in with her sleepy-sad country girl routine. Just stop, T-sweezy, and stick with what you are good at.

With that in mind, I am going to devote an entire paragraph to “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Because it’s that bad. Her stylistic influences? P!nk, for sure. Ke$ha, definitely, but God knows why. And maybe a little Avril Lavigne, early 2000s teen-punk-angst thrown in there. BUT THE MUSIC VIDEO. I never, ever thought I would say this but Taylor Swift has become a hipster. Or she’s trying really hard, at least. The guitar, ukulele and tambourine players dressed up as furry woodland creatures in the background look like they are straight from a Where the Wild Things Are themed Tumblr account. She is wearing pajamas (and by pajamas I mean it in every sense of the felt, patterned, shapeless sense of the word) for 70 percent of the video, until she changes into a floral print dress (from Urban Outfitters, no doubt) so she can dance in her living room with her giant furry friends. I just can’t take it. Seriously. Yahoo produced a funny parody titled “We Were Never Actually Together,” although the original is funnier in my opinion.

And as a second iteration of the hipster-ness, look to her video “Begin Again.” This time, T-sweezy takes inspiration from Audrey Hepburn circa Roman Holiday and Lana Del Rey circa every video she’s ever made. Two great sources, right? Swift doesn’t fail to mess it up, as expected. I was okay when she was riding a bike through the grey streets of Paris. I was even keeping it together as she sipped espresso in a cozy little coffee shop. But the moment she started drawing the Eiffel Tower in her little notebook I lost it. NO ONE DOES THAT. And as incredulous as it may be, she utterly failed at creating a sense of angst (also a fad these days in the hipster community, surprise). No one does it like Audrey, and no one does it like Lana. Stop trying, T-sweezy, and stick to what you know. (Oops, just spent a whole paragraph on that one too, this album is worse than I thought!)

The verdict? If you liked Taylor Swift in the past, you will like this album. If you do not like Taylor Swift, this album won’t change your mind about her. I give it two stars because of her hipster music videos and her hipster haircut, but if I were including my personal bias it would have negative 3.5 stars.

On a final note, I am thoroughly convinced T-sweezy has developed Synesthesia, the psychological condition where one associates colors with words. I honestly can’t think of anything else to explain the song “Red” and resulting album title. Unless she just really, really likes her lipstick.

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