Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Very Important Thoughts

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.

Taylor Swift.

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)

48 comments:

The Weed said...

As a therapist and as a former junior high teacher, I fully endorse this post and think it is genius.

Put THAT to a twangy country song.

The Weed said...

(Oh, and ps, I am now totally craving a cool delicious beverage named Country Pop. In my brain it's the coolest, most delicious lemonade in existence.)

Kiersten White said...

"I fully endorse this, oh yeah yeah yeeeeaaaaah!"

Jessi E. (The Elliott Review) said...

That is the phrase in the song that stands out to me ... I'm not a country lover, but I thought this song was interesting as well. :)

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

*dies laughing* All post I was thinking uh oh, she has the lyrics wrong--should I tell her???? But then genius--I see what you did there. And I agree with you. This is a theme I explore a lot in my stories (yes, even though they're middle grade) because I'm with you, I think lack of "loving yourself" is the reason we see so many horrible, unhealthy relationships and broken girls. Bravo you.

Also, now I really want to know your thoughts on Speak Now, where Ms Swift seems to swing the complete opposite direction, and have the girl in the song just a little too in love with herself, so she seems kind of...witchy. Can we find a middle ground?

Kiersten White said...

Shannon, I haven't heard that one. I don't listen to the radio often...

Karen said...

Excellent post! I couldn't agree with you more.

Guess we'll just have to write our own songs for our kids...or at least reword the one's that already exist. ;)

Holly Dodson said...

Yep, I could have used that message as a teenager too. Excellent post :)

JF said...

Am listening to the song incorrectly as I type...so glad you opened my eyes (ears?) to aural error!

Erin said...

that is sort of like how, when i had only ever listened to the CD for "Wicked," I filled in the gaps with my own storyline and thought it was super feminist. Then when I saw it, it had more to do with helping talking animals. Or something. Not as feminist. Disappointing. Although it's still pretty good.

Lynn Colt said...

Aww, I like your version better! Now whenever I listen to the song, I'll pretend she's saying that to herself :)

Rachel Searles said...

Ha! I had to train myself to say 'soda' as well. Now I cringe when I hear someone back home call it 'pop.'

Taylor Swift = meh. Is she setting back the forward steps we took with the Spice Girls? ;)

lora96 said...

I really like that song. I like your version of it better, though.

And fyi, I love Train. I thought my husband would leap from the passenger window of my moving truck if I played Save Me, San Francisco one more time. :)

lora96 said...

Also, I'm a wrong-word hearer by nature and still insist on singing "Your Sweet Moonbeams" in Hey Soul Sister even though people loudly remind me that isn't what he says.

Eleven Eleven said...

This is why I like you Kiersten, and your heroines for that matter. Your cheerleading for acceptance through self love before romantic love fixes all the issues I ever had with romance novels in the first place. Can't wait to read your next one.

Brianna Hart said...

It's totally pop, I don't know what these soda people are thinking.

The Weed said...

Is it bad that you singing those words just made me kind of fall in love with you just a little teensy bit? It sounded stunning.

More importantly, because of your post I am officially falling in love with myself as well.

Why aren't you a songwriter again?

Kiersten White said...

Because I'm long-winded.

Magan said...

She actually has a new song on the radio about apologizing to a boy for wronging him...I don't think she should apologize she should just go all Meredith Brooks on it...which she kind of does in her song to John Mayer.

I don't know where I'm going with this, but I really want a Country pop.

Elizabeth said...

Just what would a Country Pop taste like, exactly? Carbonated sweet tea? Because they do sell that 'round these here parts.

/random

Katie Anderson said...

I quite often hear a song lyric, think it says one thing - then am crushed a few weeks (sometimes years) later when I realise that the song lyric is actually something else.

For instance, when I was younger I was convinced that that Springsteen was singing "Barn in the USA, There's a barn in the USA."

I tend to find that it's better to ignore the person who actually wrote the song and stick with your own interpretation. Much more fun.

Mary said...

Yeah, I like your version of that line much better than the "actual" one. And I fully endorse any book or song or TV show focusing on self-worth and learning to love yourself for who you are. We DO need more of that--always. Especially in YA, when it's so hard to know who you are and so easy to be influenced by those around you.

Great post--and I'll definitely hear that song (which I already liked) with new ears.

prplbookworm said...

thats a nice message but i dont think thats what she was saying, the GUY turned to her and said "she is the best thing thats ever been mine"

Kiersten White said...

Prplebookworm--I know. If you read again you'll see I say I was hearing it wrong but like my version better : )

Ashley R. Graham said...

I've read many of your posts, Kiersten, but this might possibly be my favorite.

At first, I cringed at seeing Taylor Swift's name because, I mean, the girl is 21 for goodness sake...shouldn't she start singing about something other than high school and school-girl crushes?

As a lover of quotes, I LOVE this line: "Girl + self = love? That's a story our girls need more of. It's a story I could have used as a teen."

It's a story I could have used as a teen as well. A story we definitely need more of. A story I'm in the process of trying to write. But am never sure if I'll write it well.

Therefore, your post brought tears to my eyes. Really and truly.

So, thank you.

Kiersten White said...

...except, umm, I'm twenty-seven and I write books about high school...

: ) Some times are just more fun to tell stories about, and she knows who her audience is, right?

Good luck with your writing, Ashley! I have a sneaking suspicion you'll get it right.

Shveta Thakrar said...

Damn straight, Kiersten. Thank you.

"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!"

(Though I'm not sure about the possession part. :P)

Library Gal said...

Everytime you post something on your blog you make me smile. Thanks,

Ashley R. Graham said...

Yes, that's what my husband always tries telling me, too. That *is* her audience...and she's mastered it. Don't hold anything I type against me...my husband also teases me for the simple fact that I'm 24 and about 75% of the shows on my DVR are centered in high school. I love YA just as much as the next person, even if I haven't written any stories in that genre yet. ;-)

Thanks for wishing me luck!

Kiersten White said...

Someday you'll convert to the true genre : )

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I pretty much love everything Taylor Swift. So far, anyway.

Drifty said...

Oh my gosh, thank you!!! I know what you mean... there are several songs I've heard the lyrics wrong in and then been VERY disappointed to realize I'd heard them wrong. xD Sometimes one word can make all the difference!!

Thanks for being a good author, by the way. :D I'm an English major hoping to be a writer. xD I want it to work out, at least, and I can learn a lot from people like you. :P Muhahaha! xD

Liam said...

I happened to adore Fearless, but her new album is just bleh. Although I really can't talk because most of the music I favor contains only violins and harpsichords and/or is the Wicked soundtrack.

Vicki said...

Taylor Swift is a bit annoying to me. I love one or two of her songs (Love Story used to make me cry every time I heard it), but the rest are just meh for me. I think I've heard this one once, and so it's not as fresh in my memory, but I love your version. Definitely a better message.

Have you heard Katy Perry's Firework? Much better message for girls/guys/youth, IMO ;D

Berkeley the Dog said...

I LOVE TAYLOR SWIFT!! We are so in sync. And not in the boy band sense of the phrase. And yes, this is Berkeley. Seriously. Not Erica. That would be ridiculous.

Rue Davis said...

I've never heard that song, so when I first read those lyrics I thought you were going to say that she was singing about ANOTHER she. And I thought, "Holy bonanza, Taylor Swift is getting edgy!" But then I got it. Phew! How's THAT for a misinterpretation?

Madeleine said...

I wish those were the lyrics, too! Much less cliche, much more demand. Honestly, your version is more inspiring, and it's still a love story. Why can't teen girls get behind love-of-self-stories?

Wait. I'm a teenage girl. Let me rephrase: Why can't EVERY teenage girl get behind love-of-self-stories?

Whirlochre said...

The only twanging I've heard recently is the elastic in my pants snapping.

May need some fizzy soda to exercise to in the New year...

Lisa Potts said...

I like your version better. Yeehaw!

P.S. That Train thing? I hear ya. It's bad enough on the radio, but now I have to listen to it during EVERY TV commercial.

Marsha Sigman said...

Love this post and I totally agree with your new message/interpretation of Taylor Swift's song.lol

But I have to admit to loving Train, Nickelback, and Kings of Leon. I am versatile.

Julia King said...

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. That is one thing I struggle with--loving myself because I am me and not because a guy loves me back. Getting better though. You are A-W-E-S-O-M-E. I thank you again.

Julia King said...

BTW I call soda, SODA POP. Does that make me super-all-the-way weird?

Anita Saxena said...

Say it loud and clear sister girl! I can't tell you how many times I've said this to family and friends with relationship issues. You have to love yourself and know how to make yourself happy. Only then will you find yourself in a healthy relationship. Love this post.

Ariel said...

Country Soda. That's genius! Haha!

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Pop vs Soda vs Soda Pop. Weirdly, I did a poll on this at BYU for a Comms class. It's mostly geographical and therefore says nothing about your personal psychology. Yay! Say Soda or Pop all you want! I grew up saying Soda Pop. Redundant? Overkill? I like to think I was being super clear about what I wanted. :)

Great post! I agree 100%. If music won't do it, we'll just have to write the girl + self = love stories our teens need to read.

wordver: sperch- the way someone in speech therapy tells you about their appointment. Get it? Sperch therapy? Okay, maybe not.

Donna Gambale said...

"hoping to hit something other than Nickleback or Kings of Leon or Train (ARE YOU KIDDING ME I WANT TO RIP OFF MY EARS)" How did you manage to hit my three least favorite alt-station bands? Awesome. I should've known I'd agree with you on that, since I also think Snow Patrol is amazing. Although Coldplay is my favorite, technically. Keane is third.

Sarah said...

Sounds like a mistake I made with Poker Face. I thought the lyrics were:

"Can't read my Poker Face
She's gonna love nobody"

Meaning when you aren't willing to share yourself you miss out on love. Turns out the song is much stupider than that.

:(

Kel said...

Most perfectly stated. LOVE this post! Thanks!