Mutually Exclusive

A big issue in the news lately has been the shocking documentary called “Leaving Neverland”. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.

And I, like many people, used to love Michael Jackson. I still have his History album on cassette (audio tape, for you young’uns. Google it) and used to listen to it a lot throughout my childhood and sometimes still do.

Now, I’m not going to comment on the documentary. Yes it’s shocking beyond belief and everybody seems to have an opinion on it.

But there was something the director of the documentary said which sounded weird to me. He said:

“We’re going to have to reā€‘evaluate the way we see Michael Jackson… People will have to listen to his music in the knowledge that he was a prolific child rapist. If they’re comfortable doing that, fine. If they’re not, well perhaps listen to something else for a while.”

Then I heard that many radio stations in New Zealand have declared that they will not be playing Michael Jackson songs on the radio anymore. Radio stations that had played his music as number 1 of the top 500 songs of the ’90s for several consecutive years.

I think this is kind of ridiculous.

People are trying to make others feel guilty for listening to music. As though they somehow become a privy to his crimes or his character just because they play his music on their phones or radio stations. The music isn’t tainted.

I don’t get why his music has to take a hit. Especially 10 years after he has been dead. What about the 30+ years they were being played and listened to around the world when he was alive and doing the things he’s currently being accused of? Just because there wasn’t enough “proof” of what he was doing when he was alive, his music was okay to be played, but since this documentary, suddenly it’s tainted? These allegations were around when he was alive too, you know.

People seem to be acting as though his songs are no good anymore. And anyone who listens to them are also somehow supporting his paedophilia.

And that makes me very confused.

He is not his songs. The two are mutually exclusive, in my opinion.

I listen to Bad and Beat it and appreciate the music. The music alone. Even if they were sung by someone else, they’re still great songs.

You can’t associate an art with a person to the point where you have emotional attachment with that person. If you believe that every famous person is good and pure, you’re living in a very naive world. Everyone has something hideous about them. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t super talented and can’t produce something that everyone loves.

Every singer/actor you like probably has something you would find horrifying about them. About their character. You just don’t know about it.

I don’t think there’s any point mixing the two up. He can be a terrible person and still make great music. It’s like that saying about giving the devil it’s due. And listening to his music isn’t something you should feel guilty about. They’re still bops. You’re not supporting his crimes or anything. You can still listen to his music and not approve of the things he did when he was alive.

Just appreciate the art for what it is.

“Look What You Made Me Do” Thoughts

Ladies and gentlemen! Guess who’s back!! Oops. Shouldn’t say she’s back. Because the Old Taylor is dead. 

Yes that’s right, Taylor Swift has just released a new single before her much anticipated album Reputation releasing in November. I heard this song on the radio the day it released, and I have a few thoughts. But of course, many out there are more vocal than me on Twitter and music review websites that I perused before making this post.

Mostly because when I heard this song, I was super confused. Now, I’m not a huge Tay-Tay fan. I never really have been. When her music came out back in 2006, I wasn’t overly impressed with songs like Love story and Fifteen, etc. I didn’t really see the fancy everyone else did at the time. But before you stamp me as a Taylor hater, I have to say that some of her songs are so realistic and resonate with me in a big way. Like some are so perfectly written in a way that echo my thoughts and feelings about a certain subject completely. And her music is so easy on the ears unlike a lot of other artists out there. That’s what I thought Taylor was all about.

Which is why I was confused by this song. The image I have of Taylor Swift is one with her guitar. And by that I mean, her music is something I appreciate about her. This song, lacks a tune. It lacks music. It’s more of a rhythm strip with words put to it. That was my first thought. I was waiting for a build-up to a massive chorus where there would be a melody matched to her voice. I was sadly disappointed. What I got instead was “Look What You Made Me Do” repeated to a two-beat (albeit, catchy) rhythm. People on the internet are calling it a “half-rap”.

The other thing, is the repetition thing. The words. Like I mentioned before, what I adore about Taylor Swift are the words in her songs. Regardless of what she’s writing about, be it her exes, her currents, Mr. And Mrs. West, etc. She always has a lot to say in her songs in that not-so-subtle way that’s priceless. So naturally, I was looking forward to hearing who did what to her in this song and her thoughts on it. But unfortunately, she has all of 4 lines with just a lot of repetition. There was no story, no chapters, no poetry, nothing really. Just the line “Look What You Made Me Do”  and “I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me” over and over and over. Not ideal Taylor. But there is a line in the middle of the song that I think explains a lot. She speaks! Although what she says is quite chilling. “Sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh.. Cuz she’s dead”

I found this line just scary. There’s no other word. Just scary. And kinda sad I suppose. There wasn’t anything wrong with the “old Taylor”. But hey, everyone changes, so why shouldn’t she? Just wish she could’ve changed without being “dead”.

Anyway this song doesn’t have much in the way of lyrics. The tone is quite angry. It’s quite dark and focused on a bitter side of Taylor. The video depicts her standing above her former versions of herself, obviously transformed into a higher being. It definitely echoes revenge and rage. Which is also quite a step away from the girl-next-door Taylor. All of this would have been fine if the tone was positive such that she’s happy to have changed into this new person, but it’s not. It’s more about blaming someone for it and seeking revenge and looking down upon who she was previously.

I wanted to know who she was aiming this song at. My top choices were Katy Perry (the betrayal runs deep), her former DJ (who dragged her to court unnecessarily) and of course, Mr. Egregious himself, Kanye West.

I didn’t think she’d still be singing about Kanye West, after all, it’s been years since the first drama and many songs since. You wouldn’t think she’d still be hung up on that would you? Apparently though, a lot of people on the internet believe it is Mr. Kanye who yet again had become the star of her song. And it is him who is “starring in (her) bad dreams”. The line about “tilted stage” is apparently aimed at him. Also, from the video, there are a few people who think that she is insulting Mrs. West and her burglary ordeal.

Reviews are calling this song, “petty”, “venomous” and frankly, an insult to her singing career. I kind of disagree.

Yeah I have issues with this song, but I do empathise with her. There isn’t a lot of words, but I kind of get it. It talks about the frustration that someone else pushed you to the point of changing a part of you that you may have actually been happy with. And that’s a sucky feeling. Which is what I think her song talks about. People say she should get over it, etc. But hey, this is how she copes and to be honest, it’s a pretty constructive outlet for her to sing songs about the things that bother her. It’s better than turning into a serial killer (as the undertones of this song seem to suggest).

Taylor has been transforming since her album Red into more serious themes in her music, and I suppose this is the peak. Everyone is foreseeing this album as a revenge set of songs about everyone who crossed her in life. Which is fine for her I suppose because the release of this song has broken a few records already apparently. So there’s no shortage of loyalty among Tay-Tay fans.

But I do kind of miss her earlier sound. They were much easier to replicate on my guitar.

Anyway! Verdict: I’ll give this song a 2/5. I do hope the album has some trace of her old stuff though.

Reputation Taylor Swift.jpg

The guitar shop expert

Today I decided to do go buy some new strings for my guitar. Apparently you’re supposed to replace guitar strings around every 3 months or so to ensure your guitar is at its best musically. I’ve err.. been not too disciplined with this. Being quite new to acoustic guitar and the whole changing strings myself business, I haven’t quite been changing them every 3 months.

Excuses? Oh definitely. I’m mostly just lazy and forgetful and pretty much deaf (I’ve been told you can hear when you’re strings are quite old while playing, but I guess I’m not that advanced yet. My motto is – if it sounds good, it is good.)

Anyways! So I paid a visit to the Rockshop (for all your musical needs!) to buy new strings. Like I said, I’m pretty new to this so I always buy the most standard set that have been recommended for me as a beginner. But the ‘friendly’ helpers at the shop are always a bit condescending. I think they think of themselves as the ‘Guitar Gods’ that are all-knowing. They give you the “look” when you bring something up to the counter. I once got the look for buying two different sizes of picks. I’m quite a pack rat when it comes to guitar picks. And I always seem to lose them, so I have a million. But I desperately needed 2 more of course. But this guy with the look asked me “Are you sure you want both of these? This one is quite thin and that one is quite heavy.” I assured him that my eyes are fine and I was perfectly aware of the thicknesses of the picks, having read the numbers on them. But it was so nice and pointless of him to ask me that. And I would be ever so grateful if he would give me permission to buy them.

Okay I didn’t say that. But I think I should have. Instead I just smiled and said “yup I’m sure” and he let me buy them. How nice and helpful of him.

But back to the string story! So anyway I asked for my usual string set and the ‘Guitar God’ went into his lecture about the strings. “Yup these are phosphor-bronze and they’re quite good, gives you a nice warm sound” and I smiled (Yes I know. Hence I’m buying them). But he proceeded to suggest I buy another set of strings instead. “These are also phosphor-bronze, but they’re coated and a bit heavier and more expensive, but they’ll last you much longer and you wouldn’t have to change them as often.” Now this I was interested in. I thought well that sounds good. I’m pretty useless with this 3 months thing so maybe if I get these I wouldn’t have to worry about them for a while. So I asked “Oh so how long would they last?”

The God smiled brightly and said “Well if you get them, you won’t have to change them for the rest of the summer!”

I cannot explain how hard I had to work to keep a straight face. I politely declined and bought my standard strings and ran.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him… I hadn’t changed my strings in 9 months…

Guitar expert, I am not.