It’s a new year, traditionally the time for reassessment and resolution, and one of mine was to keep a cleaner house. In the process of scrubbing down the living room — where are all these spiders coming from??? — I tidied up a stray stack of CDs, and found myself holding the sophomore effort from one Ms. Taylor Swift. She’s everywhere, that one, and regular readers of this blog are aware of the fact that I have little to no patience for her as a performer. Yes, Virginia, it is possible to respect her talents as a songwriter and yet never want to hear her sing.
I record Dick Clark every year to watch with my coffee on New Year’s Day; she was there, too, bleating out the hitz for a bunch of freezing people in Times Square who hadn’t peed in four hours. As I watched her unzip her fleece jacket to reveal a sparkly dress — always with the costume changes on TV, Taylor Swift! What on earth could you be trying to distract us from? — I found myself once again totally zoning to the flat, uninteresting warble of her voice. But today, as I was cleaning, Fearless all but bit me, so I decided to crack it open for the first time since loading it onto my iPod. In the liner notes, at the bottom of a long list of thank yous, I read the following line: “And to the boys who inspired this album, you had fair warning.” And I smiled. I’ll be damned if that simple sentence didn’t make me want to like her — or at least stop using the phrase “cardboard and dental floss, lit up with flashlights” to describe her.
So PopWatchers, you heard it here first: In the interest of what I am currently calling “2009: A New Hope,” I am going to give Taylor Swift a second chance, effective immediately.
What about you? Are there singers, bands, movies, TV shows, or books you feel you may have judged too harshly, or too quickly, that you’re prepared to reexamine during this, the season of charity and forgiveness? If the stock market can shoot back up above 9,000, is there perhaps a pop culture entity whose stock can go up in your personal market, too? Feel free to share it in the comments. I’ll be over here gritting my teeth and trying to get “Love Story” out of my head. But at least I’m trying.