Let me just start by saying that my mouth fell open while reading Taylor Swift’s Rolling Stone cover story, and to really feel the waves of insanity and just SWIFTINESS wash over you, I would recommend reading the entire thing yourself. It’s bonkers and really give yourself some time to really enjoy it. I won’t even have the space to really expand on so many of Taylor’s lengthy rants, and I’ve separated the Kanye West part of the interview into a second post. Strap in. Let’s go. Some highlights:
She’d had some upheavals in her career before the Reckoning of 2016: “I’ve had several upheavals in my career. When I was 18, they were like, “She doesn’t really write those songs.” So my third album I wrote by myself as a reaction to that. Then they decided I was a serial dater — a boy-crazy man-eater — when I was 22. And so I didn’t date anyone for, like, two years. And then they decided in 2016 that absolutely everything about me was wrong. If I did something good, it was for the wrong reasons. If I did something brave, I didn’t do it correctly. If I stood up for myself, I was throwing a tantrum. And so I found myself in this endless mockery echo chamber.”
Whether she has regrets about the “girl squad” thing: “Yeah, I never would have imagined that people would have thought, “This is a clique that wouldn’t have accepted me if I wanted to be in it.” Holy sh-t, that hit me like a ton of bricks. I was like, “Oh, this did not go the way that I thought it was going to go.” I thought it was going to be we can still stick together, just like men are allowed to do. The patriarchy allows men to have bro packs. If you’re a male artist, there’s an understanding that you have respect for your counterparts.
Her relationship with Scott Borchetta, her old Big Machine boss: “A lot of the best things I ever did creatively were things that I had to really fight — and I mean aggressively fight — to have happen. But, you know, I’m not like him, making crazy, petty accusations about the past. . . . When you have a business relationship with someone for 15 years, there are going to be a lot of ups and a lot of downs. But I truly, legitimately thought he looked at me as the daughter he never had. And so even though we had a lot of really bad times and creative differences, I was going to hang my hat on the good stuff. I wanted to be friends with him. I thought I knew what betrayal felt like, but this stuff that happened with him was a redefinition of betrayal for me, just because it felt like it was family. To go from feeling like you’re being looked at as a daughter to this grotesque feeling of “Oh, I was actually his prized calf that he was fattening up to sell to the slaughterhouse that would pay the most.”
Borchetta’s claim that she declined performing at the Parkland & Manchester benefits: “Unbelievable. Here’s the thing: Everyone in my team knew if Scooter Braun brings us something, do not bring it to me. The fact that those two are in business together after the things he said about Scooter Braun — it’s really hard to shock me. And this was utterly shocking. These are two very rich, very powerful men, using $300 million of other people’s money to purchase, like, the most feminine body of work. And then they’re standing in a wood-panel bar doing a tacky photo shoot, raising a glass of scotch to themselves. Because they pulled one over on me and got this done so sneakily that I didn’t even see it coming. And I couldn’t say anything about it.
How right-wing people thought she was on their side: “I don’t think they do anymore. Yeah, that was jarring, and I didn’t hear about that until after it had happened. Because at this point, I, for a very long time, I didn’t have the internet on my phone, and my team and my family were really worried about me because I was not in a good place. And there was a lot of stuff that they just dealt with without telling me about it. Which is the only time that’s ever happened in my career.”
When the white supremacists called her their Aryan princess: “I didn’t even see that, but, like, if that happened, that’s just disgusting. There’s literally nothing worse than white supremacy. It’s repulsive. There should be no place for it. Really, I keep trying to learn as much as I can about politics, and it’s become something I’m now obsessed with, whereas before, I was living in this sort of political ambivalence, because the person I voted for had always won. We were in such an amazing time when Obama was president because foreign nations respected us. We were so excited to have this dignified person in the White House. My first election was voting for him when he made it into office, and then voting to re-elect him. I think a lot of people are like me, where they just didn’t really know that this could happen. But I’m just focused on the 2020 election. I’m really focused on it. I’m really focused on how I can help and not hinder. Because I also don’t want it to backfire again, because I do feel that the celebrity involvement with Hillary’s campaign was used against her in a lot of ways.
She convinced herself that endorsing Hillary Clinton would backfire: “That’s literally what it was. Yeah. It’s a very powerful thing when you legitimately feel like numbers have proven that pretty much everyone hates you. Like, quantifiably. That’s not me being dramatic. And you know that. [RS: “There were a lot of people in those stadiums.”] It’s true. But that was two years later. . . . I do think, as a party, we need to be more of a team. With Republicans, if you’re wearing that red hat, you’re one of them. And if we’re going to do anything to change what’s happening, we need to stick together. We need to stop dissecting why someone’s on our side or if they’re on our side in the right way or if they phrased it correctly. We need to not have the right kind of Democrat and the wrong kind of Democrat. We need to just be like, “You’re a Democrat? Sick. Get in the car. We’re going to the mall.”
“But, you know, I’m not like him, making crazy, petty accusations about the past.” THAT IS LITERALLY WHAT SHE DOES THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW. There are so many fundamental things that Taylor needs to reconcile about her image, her persona, her politics and everything else. I’m going to make a list!
1. Is Scooter Braun to blame for Kanye or is Kanye to blame for Kanye or is everyone to blame for Kanye? She blames Kanye for so much, then she blames Scooter Braun for everything too, including… asking her to take part in some charity benefits, which she didn’t even know about because everyone on her team knows not to bring her anything from Scooter!
2. Choose what you are – either you’re the savvy businesswoman who is on top of everything, or you’re the woman who passes off a big chunk of your business and management to other people. Personally, I think she can be a bit of both, but I’m wary of how she flits between both sides depending on what she won’t take responsibility for. When it’s about her music and her image, she’s the toughest businesswoman, the fighter, the ballbuster, the one on top of everything. When someone criticizes her, it’s not her fault because her team didn’t even bring it to her.
3. The Aryan princess thing. She will creep on her fans’ Tumblr accounts for months, but she was blissfully unaware of how white supremacists were calling her their Aryan princess for years. She didn’t know anything about the Aryan princess thing… but her lawyer tried to shut down a blogger who criticized Taylor for her “Aryan racebaiting.”
4. The New Democrat. She’s only publicly been a Democrat for a year and she’s saying sh-t like “I do think, as a party, we need to be more of a team.” A squad, perchance? A Democrat Clique?
Yeah… I have so much more to say but I’ll save it. This RS interview was a lot to take.
“It’s weird, because in some of the worst times of my career, and reputation, dare I say, I had some of the most beautiful times.” @taylorswift13 looks back on the tumultuous past three years of her life in our latest cover story https://t.co/PDIryPTygw pic.twitter.com/15S5yW5k4k
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) September 18, 2019
Cover and photo courtesy of Rolling Stone.