MUSIC

Taylor Swift's Best Song from Every Album

Swift's best song isn't "All Too Well." Sorry Swifties and music critics.

Taylor Swift is a master lyricist who captured the imagination of anxious, boy-obsessed adolescent girls across the nation, and who became a global pop phenomenon.

Today, Swift has struggled to maintain the same accessibility to the hearts of girls and women across the nation, but her discography has had an undeniably heavy hand in our musical consciousness. Her vulnerability's resonated with many who felt misunderstood, lonely, and driven up the wall by the concept and feeling of "love."

Swift's looming presence endures because of her singular ability to tug at our heartstrings with the pick of her guitar. Every album is released in a different era with a different sound, but the singer's voice always shines through. These are her best songs from each album.

Taylor Swift (2006): "Picture to Burn"

Taylor Swift - Picture To Burn www.youtube.com

"Picture to Burn" is Swift at her grittiest and most immature. It revolts against an unrequited love interest in the pettiest of ways. While parts of the song haven't necessarily aged well, the country-rock style jumped out, making Swift's stage-presence undeniable.

Fearless (2008): "The Best Day"

Taylor Swift - The Best Day www.youtube.com

Fearless is known for its writhing teen melodrama. "The Best Day" is a criminally underrated, near-perfect ode to childhood and your parents. The song sounds effortless in its exploration and reflection of youth. So far, Swift has been unable to top the song's heart-felt, nostalgia-ridden music video.

Speak Now (2010): "Back to December"

Taylor Swift - Back To December www.youtube.com

"Dear John" may be one of the most iconic break-up songs, but "Back to December" evokes the undeniable guilt every lover has felt in a past relationship, where, really, nothing went wrong. The sweeping sonic production is as epic as it gets.

Red (2012): "State of Grace"

Taylor Swift - State of Grace Audio) www.youtube.com

I will be the first to say, "All Too Well" is not one of the best written songs of the decade. That is a knock to Swift's abilities, specifically because "All Too Well" does not capture her heart in the way many of the songs from Red are able to. "State of Grace" accomplishes all "Long Live" tried to achieve. "State of Grace" is a treacherous examination of a woman in a constant state of change, from adolescence to adulthood. It's magnetic and stunning.

1989 :(2014): "All You Had to Do Was Stay"

All You Had To Do Was Stay www.youtube.com

Swift's pivot to pop garnered her critical acclaim and commercial success like never before. Her singles were inescapable and her face was plastered everywhere. No one may immediately associate "All You Had to Do Was Stay" with Swift's best, but it never gets old. The track is always an entertaining musical thrill-ride, commenting on the highs and lows, and the desperation to make a relationship work. Also, Swift's voice has never sounded better.

Reputation (2017): "Getaway Car"

Taylor Swift NOW: The Making Of A Song (Getaway Car) www.youtube.com

Taylor Swift's discography is a collection of messy, complicated, and gut-wrenching songs, but "Getaway Car" may be one of the messiest songs Swift has ever written. Tugged between two men, escaping one relationship for another, "Getaway Car" is a knockout call to Bonnie Tyler's "Eclipse of the Heart." It's a must listen from her mixed-received album, Reputation.

Lover (2019): "It's Nice to Have a Friend"

Taylor Swift - It's Nice To Have A Friend (Official Audio) www.youtube.com

The haunting nature of "It's Nice To Have A Friend" complements it's sweet, simplistic subject beautifully. The song completes a narrative that only Swift can accomplish. Anytime Swift explores platonic relationships, sincerity always drips from her lips. On Lover, the track was a pleasant and gorgeous surprise.

MUSIC

Taylor Swift Soars in “Lover’s” Exploration of Complex Love

Swift finds her state of grace on Lover's more personal, sincere, and quiet tracks.

When people think of Taylor Swift, they think of break-up anthems, heart-shattering love songs, and her ability to write and produce earworm singles.

Over the past six years, from 1989 to Reputation to Lover, the brash production of her pop-perfection has overshadowed Swift's more subtle talents. But on Lover, long-time listeners can forge a connection to the woman they've grown up with, as Swift turns to quiet reflections to grapple with loss and the trials of love.

Admittedly, throughout the first half of the album, Swift feels removed, regurgitating the same spew she's offered fans for the past six years. The songs give little insight into her life (besides the intimate title track, "Lover"). At the very least, Lover's opening song, "I Forgot That You Existed," immediately pivots away from the resentment of Reputation and moves towards acceptance: "It isn't love / It isn't hate / It's just indifference." Frankly, the tedious lyricism is disappointing.

It feels like the further you delve into the album, the further you are from being connected to Swift. "Miss Americana and The Heartbreak Prince" is the most reductive track. It's a retreat back to adolescence, but the song sounds even less mature than her work as a teenager, as it's missing the vibrant and visceral emotion of her earlier work. Upon second listen, it's apparent that she's alluding to her past reluctance to address politics, but for the average listener, it fails to achieve its intent. (And anyway, it's a cop-out for her to merely allude to her political silence rather than fully explain her rationale).

Thankfully, Swift is able to make the necessary heel turn to a more personal and quiet style midway through the album. Of course, there are still interjections of certified pop-pandering hits, like "You Need to Calm Down" and "ME!," but you're better off skipping those. The album's midsection, from "Cornelia Street" to "False God," is almost heavenly. The tracks expose another side of Swift: sweet, mature, introspective, and at her most sincere since Red. For once, she shows a few signs of genuine growing pains.

"Soon You'll Get Better" is her most personal track on the album. Swift always does her best work in the midst of heartbreak, and "Soon You'll Get Better" twists hearts into knots, as Swift softly sings about the stress of having a sick loved one. The track is about her mother, Andrea, who was diagnosed with cancer back in 2015 and went into remission before the cancer recently recurred. The lyrics leave the star emotionally exposed: "And I hate to make this all about me / But who am I supposed to talk to? / What am I supposed to do? / If there's no you."

From introspections like "Desperate people find faith / so now I pray to Jesus, too," Swift moves to "False God's" declaration that "the altar is my hips." The transition is almost seamless, exploring how different relationships evolve, sometimes with beauty and sometimes with heart-rending tragedy. "False God's" slow-burn beat and her captivating delivery are soul-stirring.

If "Soon You'll Get Better" shatters your stone cold, glass heart, then "It's Nice to Have a Friend" succeeds in gluing the shards back together. The evocative imagery tells a story of strangers becoming friends, friends becoming lovers, and lovers becoming partners. The echoing vocals hover around the chorus, encompassing the listener; it's cinematic.

On her seventh studio album, Swift sheds her old skin of pettiness and resentment. Altogether, the album matures from "I Forgot You Existed's" indifference to "Daylight's" focus on love and sun rises, as she quietly concludes, "You are what you love." For the first time since Red, Swift mixes genres and plays to her voice's strengths to say exactly what she has to say. She could have written this album back on her bedroom floor, all alone, and we'd believe it. Lover may have its ups and downs, but its midsection proves why Swift doesn't need to retreat back to country music—those brief but poignant songs create moments when the album is glorious.

Listen to the epic album here:

MUSIC

Taylor Swift Will Re-record Her Old Discography in 2020

Swift's announcement demonstrates her endless dedication to advocating for artists' rights.

Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

On Wednesday night, CBS News released a snippet of their interview with Taylor Swift.

In the interview, Swift alluded to the possibility of re-recording her old music, which is now owned by dominating-industry manager, Scooter Braun. The next morning, the singer sat down with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts. Discussing her upcoming album, Lover, Swift exclaimed, "It's the first one that I will own!"

When Roberts pivoted to the subject of the singer's music catalogue, Swift disclosed that the rumors of re-recording were true: "It's something I'm really excited about doing, because my contract says that starting November 2020 (so next year) I can record albums one through five all over again. I'm really excited about it."

In November 2018, Swift announced her departure from long-time label, Big Machine Label Group, to join Republic Records and Universal Music Group. Then, in July 2019, news broke that Scooter Braun acquired Taylor Swift's masters, meaning he now owns all her old recordings. Typically, music labels own the master recordings of their signed artists, but now Scooter Braun has the right to make, sell, or distribute copies of Swift's music—and keep the profits for himself.

Swift's plans to re-record her music demonstrate her endless dedication and advocacy for artists' rights, such as being fairly compensated in the new streaming economy and to own their masters. For those who have been wishing Taylor would go back to country music, well, now she will, but to make an important statement. The music she wrote on her bedroom floor, "playing in bars, then clubs, then arenas, then stadiums" will finally belong to her, and those songs will be recorded by the grown version of herself she always hoped to become: A music superstar.

TV

Don't Congratulate The Bachelor Franchise for Exploiting an LGBTQ Relationship

In response to claims that the show is outdated, they're pandering to viewers and exploiting the LGBTQ community.

ABC Network

If the Bachelor franchise supports LGBTQ partnerships, why do they need to bring in a queer person from outside of the franchise instead of building same-sex romance into the foundation of their shows?

Last week, Demi Burnett came out as queer on Bachelor in Paradise. Her courageous act was followed by an admission: She dated a woman before the show and couldn't stop thinking about her. Her predicament received mixed reactions from fans. The most extreme compared Demi to Jed Wyatt— the dishonest contestant who got engaged to the former Bachelorette, Hannah Brown, after lying to her face about having a girlfriend. In contrast, Demi was honest with her on-island love interest, Derek Peth, who was extremely understanding.

However, Tuesday night's episode did reveal a double standard between how the show deals with straight relationships and how they deal with queer ones.

This past week, Demi opened up to host Chris Harrison about her difficult situation: She was still thinking about the girl she dated, Kristian, and felt conflicted about being away from her.

The following day, Harrison explained that he'd thought about their discussion and invited Demi to walk up the mighty Bachelor in Paradise entry steps. When she made it to the top, she gleamed with joy. Kristian was in Paradise! Immediately, Demi hugged her girlfriend. The moment felt genuine. They kissed, embraced, and called one another "beautiful."

Demi's Girlfriend Kristian Arrives! | Bachelor In Paradise www.youtube.com

"The more time I was away from you, the more and more I thought about you and the more time I spent with him, you just came to the forefront," Demi told Kristian. "The second that I saw you, I knew it's you, and it's always been you, and I want to be with you."

Afterward, Demi had to reconcile with her place on the show and make a clean break from Derek, having finally obtained clarity.

During their "break-up," Derek broke down. In tears, he lamented that he's always been told that he's a "nice guy" but continuously feels like he's not enough. Demi had him sit down with Kristian to acknowledge their respect for one another and ensure they'd be okay on the show together.

Then Demi took Kristian down to the famous Paradise deck to introduce her to the cast, proclaiming that they would explore their relationship on the show. Demi's friends cheered in support (yes, in front of Derek).

The reality is that no one would be clapping if she'd done the same with a man. Double standards never seem to escape The Bachelor franchise. In fact, the whole incident sheds light on how complicated sexuality fluidity can be, and how the feelings of a bisexual person's partner can fall on the back burner as they come to terms with their identity.

Unfortunately, as happy as I was to be represented on screen, I couldn't help but feel forced into the production. The couple's admissions of love indicated the pair were more involved than Demi ever alluded to on the show. She led Bachelor Nation and Derek into believing her connection with Kristian was less serious.

Furthermore, Demi didn't handle the situation well at all. She made her relationship with Kristian seem much more casual than it was. Kristian even told her that she didn't appreciate being taken for granted as a second option. During their date, when Demi finally committed to her, Kristian giddily professed, "I love you." Demi shockingly returned the proclamation, saying, "I love you too."

Demi & Kristian's First Date In Paradise | Bachelor In Paradise www.youtube.com


Despite being elated for Demi, viewers like me were upset, conflicted, and confused. Not only did Demi lead on both Derek and the audience, but ABC packaged it as celebratory of the LGBTQ+ community. If anything, it felt demeaning.

And let's be honest. A network reality TV show like The Bachelor would never allow a bisexual man to explore his sexuality with both sexes in the same way. Sadly, in 2019, that's still a harder pill to swallow than two blonde women making out.

But if the show seriously wants to be celebrated as "groundbreaking television," then it should incorporate queer people into the system and foundation of the franchise, instead of going out of its way to "produce" a queer relationship by bringing in an unknown contestant unrelated to their show.

In spite of all that, Demi and Kristian's love and commitment to one another is still moving and necessary for mainstream audiences to see. The Bachelor production allowing both of them to stay and pursue their relationship, despite its odd break from regular formatting, presents a significant opportunity for the brand to actually take advantage of the praise it's receiving to create meaningful, if not questionable, LGBTQ+ representation.

MUSIC

"Glitter and Glory": Heidi Montag Is a Christian Pop Singer Now

After a third listen, it bops in the same way Rebecca Black's horrendous "Friday" captivated the nation.

Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

Over the last decade, Heidi Montag has gone from teen pop "Overdosin" to Christian pop's "Glitter and Glory."

After a seven-year hiatus from making music, she's back to shed light on the difference between "glitter and glory" on her latest single. Yet, her over-stylized, over-produced, and auto-tuned song makes the reality TV star sound exactly the same as she did almost a decade ago. After a third listen, it bops in the same way Rebecca Black's horrendous "Friday" captured the attention of a nation.

Montag is known as a D-List celebrity who spent over two million dollars trying to become pop music's next Britney Spears. But now she's back on The Hills reboot and making inflammatory comments. She recently came under fire for comments during an interview with Vanity Fair, concluding that the cast is diverse simply because they "don't all look the same." She continued, "I mean Audrina has dark hair, Mischa has darker hair. But yeah, we're California girls and it's a group of friends."

The song calls back to a time when Montag didn't understand the dark reality of D-list fame, like that time Montag bought into the "glitter" so much that she almost died after undergoing ten plastic surgery procedures or when she partied too hard to find her "glory." Of course, the song doesn't get into the nitty-gritty details—or anything of substance, really. It's the kind of song California valley girls might sing along to at Hillsong Church.

Listen to "Glitter and Glory" below:

Glitter and Glory www.youtube.com

In the United States and other developed nations, world leaders use taxpayer dollars to travel privately for vital conferences, international interventions, campaign events, and yes, even vacations.

A month ago, Prince Harry sat down with Jane Goodall to discuss issues that were important to the royal couple, including the environment and its conservation to combat climate change. Since then, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been vocal about their intent to only have two children in order to decrease their carbon footprint. Yet, on Monday, news broke that the pair went on a much needed holiday by traveling on not one, but two private jets. News outlets soon began shaming the pair.

With Meghan's birthday on the 4th, the couple began their festivities at Frogmore Cottage before jetting off in a private plane to Ibiza, Spain. After six days of relaxing in the sun by the sea, the family took a different private jet to Elton John's vacation home in Nice, France.

The general public called out the couple's supposed hypocrisy and even calculated the amount of carbon emissions from their travels. Elton John has since spoken out defending the couple. He noted that he'd paid for the jet in order to ensure their safety and utmost privacy on their way to his home. Knowing the Duke and Duchess care deeply about the environment, the singer made sure the flight was "carbon neutral." Carbon neutral flights make sure that the carbon emitted by planes will be redistributed to the earth through the carbon offset projects, such as planting trees.

Controversy surrounding celebrities who fly on private jets isn't anything new, but Meghan and Harry aren't just celebrities; they're royalty. Similar to world leaders, they contribute positively to the world with their activism and charity. And unlike former presidents of the United States, there is no expiration date to their public service. Remember, being a royal doesn't have term limits. On the other hand, our former presidents receive access to Secret Service for the rest of their lives after serving their term(s) as a civil servant. Plus, they're protected by the Former Presidents Act of 1958, which covers travel for former presidents and two of their designated staff members. For reference, in 1969, the General Services Administration cut back on spending to a million dollars per year, per former president. Even though former Presidents tend not to spend that much anyway, why shouldn't the royals be afforded a fraction of that same treatment and protection?

After all, the Duke and Duchess need privacy; their lives can depend on it. While the existence of royalty may feel unnecessary and frustrating to a portion of U.K. taxpayers, the couple's decision to dedicate themselves to that service entitles them to a certain amount of security, which includes private travel.

For those who accuse the pair of being hypocrites about combating climate change, then call your government officials hypocrites, too—Or worse, some of our elected officials (i.e. our current president) don't even believe in climate change.