#shakeitoff…or “How to Embrace Life Like a White Girl!” (Taylor Swift Edition)

I now love Taylor Swift more than ever. Why? Because she’s delivered a jam to make us all feel, well, Happy.

I’m sure some of you are asking, “What would a 47-year old gay Latino male have in common with a 20-something country music chick with pop music leanings?”

Easy. La Swift is the boldest artist in music today.

Granted, the “gay” part of the earlier statement is the most obvious giveaway. And yes, those who know me well know that I score my own, living fashion montages when I go out for the evening with any variety of pop gems from Madonna to Ariana Grande. (God, this blog really is too gay to function).You know the drill. It’s the same if you were holding a hairbrush as a mic and sang to an audience of one in your mirror. Except now you fire up the iPod, start pulling together the wardrobe choices, try them on, look in the mirror, stop for a dance break, lather, repeat, rinse, finish.  Don’t lie. You know you’re doing the same thing.

Well, here comes Tay-Tay’s new track, “Shake It Off.” An infectious hook, the “I could give a shit about what you think about me, Haters” lyrics, the sassy video that apes a myriad of pop culture iconography, the “Center Stage”/”Black Swan” of it all.  I mean, who the the hell is the REAL Taylor Swift? Will she please stand up? But, that’s the rub.  She is standing, towering actually, over this generation of pop divas cluttering the airwaves.

Granted, the Max Martin-produced track does sound like something Ariana Grande (or facsimile thereof) would drop. But, you only have to listen to what Swift is saying in the lyrics to know that’s she’s completely in charge of her own artistic evolution. 

The Internet is aflame over the significance of Swift’s completed transition from country to full throttle, radio friendly pop. That’s not what intrigued me. What hooked me was the utter joy displayed in her strong vocals and in the awkward cool of her performance in the accompanying video. This is a young woman who is happy in her beautifully styled skin. She will gladly tell those critics where to go because she is going to “shake off” their negativity and embrace the positives on who she is on her terms.

Granted, we all can’t be multi-zillionaires with a team of artisans paid to make us look good. But, I was taken by the sights and sounds of what’s underneath, a positive message of empowering yourself to rise above the fray and shake it off. Groundbreaking? Hardly. As much as I’ve enjoyed singing about “problems,” “anacondas” and “all that bass,” it is nice to actually “feel” something for the ear candy I’ve been consuming. (Speaking of Meghan Trainor’s one-hit wonder, that video’s “dance like no one’s watching” cutaways seem like country fair sweet tea amped up with Ritalin by comparison to “everybody should just dance their own way” honesty that Swift and company deliver in her video.)

We have learned in this era of living and dying on the Internet that a fishbowl existence on any level is not healthy. People are going to have a comment about you no matter what you do. So, fuck ’em. They may be living vicariously through you. They will troll you. They will love you. They will ignore you. They will either “Like,” “Share” or “Unfollow” you. But, we can’t live to destroy or bully each other, just as much as we should not live for being validated by the other side of the spectrum.  (I write this after posting a particularly unflattering Ok! Magazine cover pic featuring Kim Kardashian. I know, I know. Glass houses.)

Swift is very much aware of the world thinks of her. She knows that as many as those fans/critics who put their names on their comments, many more will praise/attack anonymously. Thus said, the bold manner in which she takes creative risks is exciting to behold. In fact, this new look and sound is positively inspiring. Here’s an example where experience does wonders for art. It shapes narratives and perspectives, turning them into living and breathing organisms that should surprise you and everyone around you.

True, Swift chose to live her life in a public manner. She understands the importance of “giving people what they want” from a commercial sense. But I get the sense she wouldn’t keep doing this if she couldn’t give herself the artistic playing room to do what SHE wants as a musician. Which says something in this age of manufactured celebrities that allow only auto tune and stylists to speak for them. Swift puts her shit out there for everyone to see and feel, because chances are it’s our truth, too. 

No matter what happens next, or what is said next, know that she’s going to shake it off and focus on what is important: To keep giving folks something to sing along with at any age without restraint for a long time. 

And, if you have anything to say about this — or anything else I may post on this blog in the future, I, too, will shake it off.

Now, go be happy while I go and try on some clothes for tonight…

#behappy #shakeitoff #stayhere

Monday, August 18 from Wayne Avenue Manor. 

SHAKE IT OFF by Taylor Swift

I stay up too late, got nothing in my brain
That’s what people say, that’s what people say
I go on too many dates, but I can’t make them stay
At least that’s what people say, that’s what people say

[Pre-Chorus]
But I keep cruising, can’t stop, won’t stop moving
It’s like I got this music in my body and it’s gonna be alright

[Chorus]
Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, Ishake it off
Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

[Verse 2]
I’ll never miss a beat, I’m lightning on my feet
And that’s what they don’t see, that’s what they don’t see
I’m dancing on my own, I’ll make the moves up as I go
And that’s what they don’t know, that’s what they don’t know

[Pre-Chorus] + [Chorus]

[Refrain] (x4)
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off

[Interlude]
Hey, hey, hey, just think while you’ve been getting down and out about the liars and dirty, dirty cheats in the world you could have been getting down to this beat

[Bridge]
My ex-man bought his new girlfriend
She’s like “oh my God,” but I’m just gonna shake it
And to the fella over there with the hella good hair
Won’t you come on over, baby, we can shake, shake, shake

[Chorus]

[Refrain] (x4)

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