At the time I missed this Molly Lambert essay on Taylor Swift, specifically the way in which she fucks with gender politics. Encouragement and criticism — she urges Swift to discard the expectations thrust on a female singer-songwriter who doesn’t work in the Rihanna vein:
Taylor Swift doesn’t understand yet that her constant intense desire to fall in love is mostly just the desire to fuck everything, and that she can fuck everything without automatically falling in love. And that she can fuck everything AND fall in love.
According to my interpretation of Lambert’s essay, Swift isn’t recombitant enough: the lovers, imaginary or real, to whom she addresses dear-John letters, the reliance on euphemistic language (“Sparks Fly”), the princess tropes (“Enchanted”), the evocation of masculine blarney stones (“Tim McGraw”). But Lambert misses the degree to which Swift wants a hit in an uncertain atomized pop climate; Swift wants to be pop and is, to a considerable segment of the globe she is. Therefore, she must employ the language of love, which thanks to her songwriting instincts slips from her lover’s tongue, to quote Eurythmics’ “Who’s That Girl,” their own nod towards pop semiotics. What not many people notice is the uncertainty of Annie Lennox’s antecedent. Does “her lover” refer to, you know, her lover, or is she addressing herself in the third person? A question not exactly trivial when Taylor Swift is subject and object.
On the other hand, I cannot recommend the line I’ve used as my title more strongly.