So, Taylor Swift. You know, I thought it’d be fitting to review her new song a year after one of the biggest VMA moments ever of all time. That little incident sparked a wave of public sympathy for Miss Swift from mag covers and increased airplay of her singles to a Grammy for Album of the Year for Fearless High School Diary: The Album. I never paid her enough attention to look past the singles, which seemed to tell me everything I needed to know: pop “country” princess, annoyingly personal lyrics, catchy but spineless music, and a so-so singing voice.
But now I am digging deeper with her new single, “Mine”. The title comes from one of the lyrics in the chorus, “You are the best thing/That’s ever been mine”.
Hm, I just had a thought. Is it just me, or is Taylor Swift really possessive of her lovers? “You are the best thing that’s ever been mine“? “You Belong With Me“? At least the guy kind of gets a choice in “Love Story”, which goes, “It’s a love story/Baby just say yes“…but I can kind of imagine that she’s saying that with a gun to his head. Hm. Anyway, let’s continue.
Let me start by saying that this really sholudn’t be marketed as a country song, because it’s not. Aside form Swift’s token country accent (she was born in raised in Pennslyvania), none of this really qualifies as country. It’s pop that barely has enough oomph to it for pop rock status. Musically, “Mine” doesn’t do anything to stand out, there’s a generic rhythm section, acoustic guitar strums, and an electric lead guitar that noodles around here and there. Not that it’s a bad setup, it’s just nothing special. Hey, look, lyrics.
“You were in college/Working part time waiting tables/Left a small town/Never looked back/I was a flight risk/WIth a fear of falling/Wondering why we bother with love/If it never lasts”.
Doesn’t this seem awfully familiar? The “You were…” and “I was…” thing? Didn’t T.Swift already use that one in “You Belong With Me?” I think so. And hell, since I just gave you the first verse, it’s not hard to imagine the rest of the song. Cynical girl meets cute guy, moves in with him, the fall in luv, and just when she thinks things are at their worst, he says the lyrics of the chorus and everything’s alright.
Like I said in my Radio Rant for Maroon 5’s “Misery” (which, unless WordPress’s stats are fucking with me, is bizarrely popular), I could just say that the artist rewrote one of their former hits, repackaged it, and call it a day. But, I’m still a little short of my usual, so I’m going to keep going.
My main problem with this song is that it represents someone not trying at all. It’s pretty much everything we’ve come to expect in a Taylor Swift song; it’s catchy enough, the music emphasizes the “pop” part of pop country way too much, and it’s a silly love song with gee-aren’t-those-personal lyrics. The only difference is that this time she’s talking about life as an early 20-something, not a something-teen. Try harder, Taylor, or even try at all.