Review Summary: So take some notes and you can step aside, while we hand you a lesson that you won't learn...44 of 47 thought this review was well written
Taylor Swift fucking sucks. Not because of who she dates, or how much press coverage she commands, but instead because of how disingenuous and intrinsically-perverse a sustainable multi-platinum career based wholly on teenage diary confessionals feels to me
. Songwriting is personal. Songs have meaning-to artists and listeners alike. Taylor Swift’s songs do not resonate with me. Her loves do not compare with my loves. That is all I can say about that.
There is an ongoing discussion in the feminist community surrounding the increasingly convergent meanings of the words “misogynist” and “sexist.” Based on what has been said about this album in other threads, I do not expect you, member of the predominantly male (understatement of the year) userbase of Sputnik to be up on contemporary affairs of the feminist movement, whether you’re the overzealous, undereducated freedom-fighter’s avatar or the pig-headed, undersexed woman-hater’s avatar. As long as you dance around double-standards, you are all equally worthless when it comes to speaking up for a cause.
“Double standard” is such a nice concept, by the way. It is the cornerstone of the point I will try to make here. A double-standard, the process whereby one group (let’s call them “women”) is evaluated by a different set of rules than a similarly situated other group (“men”), is one of the most basic elements of SEXISM. Sexism is unequal treatment or discrimination based on sex. It is the process of reflecting perceptions (based upon that which differs between the sexes) into an institutionalized system that is driven, at its very core, by an impersonal bias about what these differences mean (e.g., that the differences between men and women account for what makes men better at Y and women better at X).
MISOGYNY, unlike sexism, is not rooted in an impersonal bias, but rather it is derived from a visceral, emotional prejudice aimed at women. Misogynists can be sexist, but sexists need not necessarily be misogynists (see, e.g., SowingSeason, theacademy, just about every other sputniker who has unintentionally objectified a female vocalist while evaluating her music).
The impetus for the recent dialogue surrounding this distinction comes from an incensed address by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivered last October to the Australian Parliament. The speech concerned the efficacy of allowing highly-placed officials with a history of sexism and misogyny to adjudicate matters where the treatment of sex is a material concern. Gillard, and many Australian women, took issue with permitting a man (Opposition Leader Tony Abbott), who harbored unquestionable sexual bias in his past, to dictate what constitutes permissible conduct.
Imagine that Kelly Clarkson, the Kelly Clarkson, calls you one day and tells you that when you get home, she will be waiting for you in your bed. So, being the lusty man that you are, you start to fantasize. When you get home, you run into the bedroom, expecting to find this woman lying in your bed:
Exciting, no? Well when you get into the bedroom, this is what you find instead:
Well, that first picture is the Kelly Clarkson who made Breakaway. That second picture is the Kelly Clarkson who made My December. Yeah. Oh don’t get me wrong. There are parts of My December that are undoubtedly enjoyable, much in the same way that Kelly Clarkson #2’s big toe would be enjoyable, but it’s such a huge letdown from Breakaway, which was enjoyable all the way through, much in the same way that Kelly Clarkson #1 would be enjoyable all the way through, if you know what I mean.
The main problem with My December is that it just doesn’t feel like Kelly Clarkson. If someone else were to make this album, like maybe that chick from Lacuna Coil or one of those other goth whores, it would be slightly more fitting, but this is Kelly Clarkson. - Channing Freeman
The internet is a precarious "place."
I draw attention to this particular characterization of the internet to underscore the particular sensitivities to writing something both for (and as a fellow member of) a community such as Sputnikmusic, as well as the man I am in real life.
To universally call into question the character of an entire commentariat by muddling an analogy about pornography critiques (do these actually exist?) and slinging “sexism” around seems wholly backwards to me. Here’s what’s telling about Red
predominantly being discussed by males: a disproportionate number of males use Sputnik and sites like Sputnik. Some of them (us) are ignorant misogynists. Some of them (us) are homophobes. Bigots. Every community has its hypocrites and its assholes. Here’s what’s telling about andcas talking too much about Taylor Swift’s breakups: andcas is a gossipy TMZ bitch sometimes and probably will never actually listen to this record.
Sometimes music is reviled for non-musical reasons. This is the sad, messy, beautiful, sensual, tragic, fleeting, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, self-resurrecting truth of the enormous universe of music to which we avail ourselves.
When it comes to Taylor Swift, here’s something that’s actually telling: Songs written specifically to be anthems can never actually be anthems, no matter how infectious they are, no matter how big of hooks they might have, no matter what their lyrics say.