I should be packing, or cleaning, but I have something very important I've been thinking about lately that I needed to share with you.
Or, rather, her latest popular song. Driving around I sometimes like to turn on this quaint, antiquated device known as the "radio." The basic idea behind the radio is that they pick the songs and then play them, and you just have to listen or change the station hoping to hit something other than Nickleback or Kings of Leon or Train (ARE YOU KIDDING ME I WANT TO RIP OFF MY EARS) (ahem). It's a strange concept, to be sure, but occasionally entertaining.
So, Ms Swift has been creeping onto the alternative stations I listen to even though she's technically country. (Or pop? Pop country? Country pop? That's making me thirsty.) But I really liked this new song of hers because she sings about being a "careless man's careful daughter" and tells the story of learning to trust and love.
There's this repeating chorus that goes something along the lines of, "You made a rebel of a careless man's careful daughter, you are the best thing that's ever been mine." With more guitar and a hint of twang but not too much twang because this is Country Pop. (Can we call it Country Soda? Because I stopped saying "pop" when I got to college and people made fun of me.) But then at the end of the song, she turns it around and sings, "I fell in love with a careless man's careful daughter, she is the best thing that's ever been mine."
And I loved that. So much. I loved that, through learning to trust and open herself up, the thing she realized was that she loved herself and that she is the best thing she could ever possibly have. Because only by learning that would she really be able to love someone else and have a functional, fulfilling relationship. Every time I heard it I thought, "YES! Thank you, Ms Swift! Girls SHOULD realize that they are their own most important possession and that they need to love themselves before they try to be in love with someone else!"
But then I did this thing where I actually, you know, paid attention to the lyrics. And it turns out that that end chorus reversal is actually what he's saying to her. It made me sad. Sure, romantic, blah blah whatever. I wanted it to be a love song the girl wrote to herself and the person she realized she was. Boy + girl = love? Meh. Girl + self = love? That's a story our girls need more of. It's a story I could have used as a teen.
So I don't know about you, but I'm going to keep hearing those lyrics wrong, and hope that maybe some teens who need to figure that out hear it wrong, too. Because you don't need a boy to love you in order to love yourself. You need to love yourself in order to find someone who will love you the way you deserve.
(TWANG! GUITAR! POP! And: END REFRAIN! TWANGITY TWANG TWANG LOVE YOURSELF THE END)