Thursday, January 10, 2013

In Defense of Taylor Swift?

I have a confession to make: I grudgingly admire Taylor Swift. I know it’s popular to bash famous artists because of their absurd popularity, but I just can’t bring myself to take obligatory potshots at her for the sake of coolness.
No, my forbearance isn’t just because she is pretty, although she is attractive. (No, she’s not my physical type, but a man can still admire an attractive woman who isn’t his type). I don’t admire her because she is a great crafter of songs, although she is indeed a skilled crafter of catchy lyrics. Not because she has a good voice – I won’t delve into that thorny question. Not even because everyone else seems to hate her for her popularity, awakening my inner contrarian.
Unlike a whole host of other artists (that this blogger shall not name), Swift projects an image that is not completely toxic. Yes, I know about her, shall we say, awful choice in boyfriends, and decry her peculiar obsession with breakup songs.
But at least she has one at a time! And in a world where performers put their descent into depravity on display, there is something to be said for an artist who doesn’t induce a gag reflex every time she strains her voice for three minutes. (I know this image is largely based in illusion; I know her relationships have this annoying habit of ending in disaster. But in this crazy-quilt world, even the pretense of sanity is better than outright psychosis.)
This illusion of wholesomeness doesn’t mean that her lyrics are also wholesome – they aren’t. For her songs incessantly promote a foolish conception of “love.” Half of her music pushes the standard “happily ever after” nonsense that the wonderful world of modern entertainment has made its hallmark. The other half of her music is composed of complaints about relationships gone sour.
But say what you will about their message, her songs are very well-crafted, and fun to listen to. (Some in my family - including an editor of this blog - will disagree.) And that, at least, is the embodiment of the self-inflicted problem the modern Christian faces. Those orchestrating our cultural decline craft terrible messages into attractive packages for public consumption. Christians come up with confused messages and present those messages in forms that are painful to listen to.
Given the choice between well-crafted art with a terrible message and bad art with a semi-palatable message, most people (myself included) will choose candy-coated toxicity every time. And a confused woman like Taylor who croons well-crafted lyrics is far better than bands which play the tripe that constitutes Christian “music” – or should I say auditory torture noises. At least her falsity is far more true to life than that of "Christian" artists. 

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