Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Taylor Swift – You Belong With Me

Whaddya mean, “No way are those her glasses”?…



[Video][Website]
[8.58]

Jessica Popper: After years of thinking Taylor’s music was boring, I heard this song performed on American Idol, and although the performance was utterly terrible, I instantly loved the song and had to hear the original. I’m not sure if this is really classifiable as country, but if it is it’s the best country song I’ve ever heard.
[10]

Ian Mathers: My voting record here indicates that I don’t like country at all, but Taylor Swift is more proof for what I said about Katy Perry – aside from a little bit of banjo spangle, I’m not convinced this is country at all! It’s power pop with a vaguely down-homey gloss, and seeing as how Swift has such a great voice and how this song nails one of my secret favourite dumb pop song tropes (the one about wishing the guy/girl you’re pining for would just realize how wall-to-wall awesome you are), that gloss becomes endearing rather than annoying, and doesn’t get in the way of me appreciating one of the finest pop songs we’ve seen yet on the Jukebox.
[10]

Dave Moore: On Taylor Swift’s second album, all songs were created equal — any of them could be singles, and I imagine at least two or three more will be. This one is a confidently strolling juggernaut that manages to make a throaty hop up to strained falsetto in the chorus feel like an old-skool Mariah stained-glass-shattering siren shriek in context. As for the song’s potential significance, I’ve given up speculating on where the next Taylor Swift single will wind up: “White Horse” was an unexpected gap-bridger to Radio Disney, “Love Story” has a club remix, and who knows, maybe “You Belong with Me” will break her on Christian radio (You = Jesus!), or Satanic radio (You = Satan!), or that Bob Dylan radio show on Sirius (You = tasteful eclecticism!), or maybe it will be declared the new U.S. national anthem (You = America!).
[8]

David Raposa: This tune’s more about the pop than the country, but that doesn’t mean that the drum machine pishes can’t co-exist happily with the tacked-on twang and banjo. And with Swift navigating her winning lyric with a healthy helping of aw-shucks charm, radio-format concessions don’t matter all that much. Not that Swift needed her own “Since U Been Gone,” but it’s nice to have all the same.
[9]

Hillary Brown: This is the first of Taylor Swift’s string of singles that really made me get it. Her voice is still a little breathy and weak, but she knows how to spin a story out, and while the subject matter isn’t anything new (it’s the Duckie), it’s tattered for good reason and she does good things with it.
[7]

Edward Okulicz: Swift has bucketloads of charisma, sweetness and toughness, to say nothing of her attention to detail. Every single breath is a swoon waiting, nay begging to happen. Her voice is beautiful, the lyrics are simple (in the sense of being smart, not clever), and their simplicity strikes right to the heart of the matter; very few songwriters in the world today have her gift of writing sweetly charming, disarming melodies. Fearless is a great pop album and this is its inviting, open heart, not so much begging to be loved as creating an airtight case for it.
[10]

Frank Kogan: Fearless is a deep sea of feminine feeling, Taylor on the grand search for self by way of busted relations with boys. “You Belong With Me” is atypically cheerful and airy, her shaking the drops off her wings with “can’t you see-ee-ee, you belong with me-ee-ee,” but it still draws on the anger and hurt drifting up from below.
[8]

Jonathan Bradley: Swift’s songwriting talent is nothing short of incredible. Though it seems to be effortlessly constructed, “You Belong With Me” is loaded with precise but lightly drawn observations, capturing great depths of character and motivation in a few lines. Her approach is diaristic; the song starts on “a typical Tuesday night,” which means little except that Swift seems to have a fixation with Tuesdays; in “Forever and Always”, she describes meeting a boy on “I believe it was a Tuesday.” The repetition across her oeuvre of these motifs (she is also fond of kissing in the rain) suits the obsessive close reading of relationship turmoil at the heart of nearly all her songs. On this particular typical Tuesday, she’s hanging out in her crush’s bedroom while he argues on the phone with his girlfriend. It’s so natural you could miss how perfectly revealing it is: who else but a high school boy would force his guest to hang around listening to his relationship’s dirty laundry? Later on, Swift captures the giddy thrill of spending time with someone you adore with a few offhand remarks about “worn out jeans” and an amazed sigh of “hey, isn’t this easy?” But I fear the title and the (adorable) video get it wrong: The boy in question does not actually belong with Swift. Listen to her audible inhalation at 2:47, when her breath catches in her throat before she piles on the reasons her object of affection should be with her — Taylor knows his favorite songs, his dreams — delivering them in a rushed, too-insistent torrent, in case he should dare interrupt her with the horrible truth that love is not a legality to be argued in a courtroom, and each certainty of which Swift has convinced herself probably means nothing at all. This is the sound of a girl fighting against the gradual realization that she’s stuck in the friend zone, but it’s also the work of a truly impressive pop writer.
[10]

Martin Skidmore: I like the details in this song about a boy preferring a cheerleader type to our heroine (high heels vs sneakers is a nice summary of this). Trouble is, however well she handles it, it is a cliched subject. She sings it nicely, of course, and while I could do without the soft rock elements, it’s pleasant to listen to, but I wish it were a more interesting song.
[6]

Alex Macpherson: Taylor Swift’s genius lies in her ability to bring familiar, well-worn scenarios to vivid, brilliant life without ever losing the value of their familiarity. You’ve heard all the details before, from the music taste Taylor shares with the boy she admires to the fashion sense she doesn’t share with his girlfriend, but hearing them from Taylor somehow pulls you right inside them; she captures their emotion with astonishing exactitude, crystallises it in a driving melody, and sings it with a wild, heart-swelling optimism.
[10]

Michaelangelo Matos: For someone so young and presumably biz-cloistered, she’s a very good writer. Her teen-movie scenario never transcends itself, but it doesn’t have to, because she gets the emotions right, which is easier to tolerate in a song than over 100 minutes onscreen. I also find her vocal perkiness is exactly right — she seems like a genuine optimist, and not because she’s a megastar with shitloads of money, either.
[7]

Alfred Soto: Swift’s become such a resourceful singer and songwriter that the hysteria of the chorus is balanced not just by diary details in the other verses, but the way she deliberately flattens her voice when she gets to the “me” part. She’s so generous a singer and songwriter that one of my students, looking over my shoulder as I typed this, assumed the song was about Swift’s crush on the cheerleader in the video.
[8]

56 Responses to “Taylor Swift – You Belong With Me”

  1. Wowzer. But I agree.
    And she actually twittered that the glasses ARE hers.

  2. Five 10/10s! Even YYYs only had four, and only another five have so much as two. (FYI: Demi Lovato, Jazmine Sullivan, Phoenix, The Lonely Island and, uh, Freemasons.)

    This is an amazing song and STILL only my fifth favourite on the Fearless album, in that I only find myself having to listen to it a few times each day instead of LIKE CRACK ALL THE TIME, as with ‘Fearless’, ‘Hey Stephen’ and ‘White Horse’. Nonetheless, this result is totally deserved. I’m trying to think of other songs which deal with this scenario and are so optimistic about it – you always feel Taylor will get her boy – and the only comparison springing to mind is Madonna’s ‘Open Your Heart’. (BTW, the boy in the video? HOTT. She has good taste!)

    I guess I can’t diss anyone else’s taste here any more, given that the acts responsible for my top 3 albums of 2009 (counting Taylor’s UK release this year) are now also the Jukebox top 3 (albeit, none with the very best songs on their respective albums – which just shows how strong those albums are).

  3. Really interesting to see how a song like this has done so well here.

    I guess what I find interesting is how only the songwriting craft seems to matter to most people. The music itself seems entirely (deliberately?) ordinary and not something distinctive on it’s own terms.

    Likewise the vocals seem competent but not particularly distinctive. I don’t have strong appreciation of country/MOR pop vocalists generally but would anyone disagree other than to say that this does not matter because the song and it’s sentiment alone are what make this so great? I can’t see that either but I can see that this is the strongest aspect of the track.

    I wouldn’t suggest for a moment that this is a badly written song. I’m just intrigued by why that appears to be enough for so many of you (I’m not suggesting this is a flaw either, just generally ‘woah my tastes/value system is not very Stylus Jukeboxy these days).

  4. Hmm. It’s by no means bad but I’m finding it hard to get excited by the song. Love the video tho.

  5. People have mentioned why the vocals and music are so good though, Steve. I’m assuming you’re not expecting ~sonic innovation~ from a pop-country record, but I’d have thought the perfect gloss and the absolutely driving hooks are distinctive enough. And vocally, again I’m assuming you’re not expecting Mariah-esque heights from a pop-country vocalist, but Taylor’s phrasing and ability to convey emotion are really A+. My favourite bit is the sudden chord change on “You say you’re fine – I know you better than that”.

    But it’s obvious that songcraft is Taylor’s forte, so it makes sense that that’s what people focus on – just as they’d focus on the production on a Dream record, or the rhymes on a Lil’ Wayne record, or the vocals on a Jazmine Sullivan record.

  6. I guess I can’t diss anyone else’s taste here any more

    Hate the bees, love the hive!

  7. I’ll kind of echo Lex here, Steve. I wrote about the writing because I think it’s the most interesting aspect of the song, and the most distinct thing about Swift’s music in general. Her debut album has a few less well-constructed songs that are not as enjoyable as her best work; her writing is her greatest attribute.

    Still, I’d place her vocal performance as a close second. She not only has an impressive ability to describe very precisely what it is like to be a teenager in love, she can act the part very convincingly. Sure, that’s cause she’s not just writing it, she’s living it, but not every teenager could play themselves so well.

    Musically this seems a good representation of the experience a teenage girl from small town Pennsylvania. They get MTV out there, but they get country radio, too. The country roots are intuitive; the pop sparkle is charming (and, I dare say, intuitive as well — she adores Shania Twain).

    This is an excellent song, with fitting production, performed excellently. I might give it another [10].

  8. Word to Lex’s pointing out the turn at “You say you’re fine/I know you better than that” as the highlight of the song. I’d just add that it’s closely followed by the way she says “captain.” I also understand people’s points about the cliché of the lyric — even the gender-reversal of Duckie was done in _She’s All That_ — but that only emphasizes how good the crafting of the song and the vocal performance are. For 3 minutes, it seems like it’s not a cliché at all, and this is only because of all these little authenticating touches that fly fast and furious at your ears.

    That being said, I find it really annoying that the video has Taylor and the boy as neighbors when the lyric is explicit that they don’t live within walking distance from each other.

  9. All this and no one points out how very similar the chorus melody is to “Whisper to a Scream” by THE ICICLE WORKS? For shame, you international arbiters of pop, for shame.

  10. this makes me very happy. lex, your blurb is great.

    this video is also incredible. i think my favorite thing about taylor is that around the same time i outgrew the disney channel it started to outgrow me (i.e. in moving away from shows like lizzie mcguire and even stevens that high schoolers could appreciate towards things like high school musical which is really for 11-12 year olds) but all of her songs make the disney channel irrelevant because they are as vivid as television can be and she documents teen fables as professionally and efficiently as they often did. i hope that’s not a dumb comparison to make and i wish that taylor would make a video like this for every song so there would basically be a taylor swift movie.

  11. also

    (BTW, the boy in the video? HOTT. She has good taste!)

    yes!!

  12. Jordan, you’re right, but one interesting thing is that Taylor is saving the Disney Channel, too. Of all the stuff I’ve most liked on the Disney Channel, most of it has either been crossover that was bigger on regular radio (Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson) or briefly popular acts who still haven’t left much of a dent (Aly and AJ the biggest, maybe a bit of Jordan Pruitt or something). But Taylor is HUGE on Radio Disney and also awesome.

  13. And she has the best song on the new Hannah Montana soundtrack, too. (Hannah Montana and High School Musical wound up killing my brief enjoyment of the post-Disney-production-house-takeover RD c. 2006).

  14. Photo at the top looks like a cross between Laura Palmer and her cousin Maddie.

  15. Me on the Miranda Lambert comment thread: “this is the only time in history that my rating of a country song has been or will be lower than the Jukebox average.”

    OK, so I’ve got to stop making predictions.

    ’m assuming you’re not expecting Mariah-esque heights from a pop-country vocalist

    Well, yes, sometimes I am, from Faith Hill and LeAnn Rimes, but each of them got beaten down for not being country enough, which somehow Taylor has avoided (because programmers are realizing that she’s saving the genre’s commercial ass). I’ll take LeAnn’s ’00s over Mariah’s, actually. But Taylor’s as much a virtuoso as those three, just uses a different palette.

  16. Don’t know why but John’s comment makes me wonder whether there’s a direct link between Taylor Swift and Lisa Loeb. (Just the “big glasses” thing?)

  17. You know, we could really use you guys on the Rolling Country thread, where everyone (including me) underrated Fearless at first.

  18. Dave – Chuck made the Lisa Loeb connection last year (he didn’t mean it as a compliment):

    I’m sorry, I’ve been listening to the thing for a couple days, hoping it would sink in, and I’m sure some of it eventually will (“Love Story” is real good, and I actually might like “You Belong To Me” even more — it’s really catchy), but I just gotta say, up to this point, this new Taylor Swift record is SO FUCKING DULL. Who told her to make a damn Lisa Loeb album, anyway? I don’t get it.

    Except Taylor is vastly better than Lisa Loeb.

    As I said, you guys need to start hanging around rolling country.

  19. Ha! Difference in quality being truth in specificity, maybe (or just a basic demographical difference that we read into Taylor that it’s hard to read into Lisa?), but yeah, she’s definitely closer to Loeb than, e.g., Leann Rimes or Faith Hill.

    (I was as off the mark about Fearless when it came out as y’all were, which is why I wasn’t posting there at the time. I think it’s starting to make sense, but I still listen to her first album more.)

  20. I just knew Jonathan Bradley was going to kill this one.

    But SteveM, “I wouldn’t suggest for a moment that this is a badly written song. I’m just intrigued by why that appears to be enough for so many of you” – what the fuck more are you looking for? This is the Singles Jukebox. We like good singles, including good pop singles, and as I said this is one of the best we’ve gotten our hands on yet.

    Also, I’m amazed this hasn’t been raised yet, but Martin Skidmore: Why do you hate America?

  21. Steve – If anything, the lyrics are the least extraordinarily good thing about this song (and Jonathan makes the case for the lyrics very well). Among other things, there’s the melody. Notice how in the first two stanzas of the verse every line is built on the same three-note descent while the stanza goes through three different chords and therefore gives the feeling of progressing rather than repeating. And the singing in the verses gives the sense of casual speech, which I realize is standard enough in country, but she does it as well as anybody this side of Willie Nelson, conveying the emotional nuances of speech rather than the stylizations of singing without losing the song. And what she is, she’s a strong girl with a fragile voice, so she’s modeling to a lot of teens and pre-teens how to be tough and be a girly-girl at the same time – and she’s doing it with a frame that some people might find threateningly tall (which may be why she’s so committed to wearing dresses). And – again like Willie (and many others, but it’s hard to do well) – when she goes to the “big” parts of her songs she uses the fragility and wavering to powerful expressive effect. As I said, she’s a virtuoso, even if it’s a crap shoot whether she’ll be in tune live.

    Also, she’s done the best rap cover by a nonrapper ever.

  22. Martin Skidmore does not hate America. Jeez! He could take you to school on American music.

  23. Also somewhat undermentioned – I’m not going to deny that the fact that my first listen of this song was while watching the (really adorable) video helped it make an immediate impact, but really, it was going to win my heart in any case. But the video is like the song – it executes a series of cliches so perfectly and winningly that only curmudgeons would resist it.

  24. Frank, I figured that statement was sufficiently over the top so as to avoid people not getting it was a joke, but for the record: It was a joke. I neither hate Martin Skidmore nor do I dispute his knowledge of/love for American music. This isn’t ILX, man, it’s not a constant seething cesspit of backbiting and hate.

  25. Also, anyone know much about Liz Rose? Co-writer of this song and of my favorite Taylor song (“Tim McGraw“) and other crucial Taylor songs (“Cold As You” and “White Horse”), though not my other two favorites, “Should’ve Said No” and “You’re Not Sorry” (written by Taylor solo). She’s more like my age than Taylor’s, but beyond that I don’t know her history.

  26. Sorry. Missed that it was a joke. Kinda don’t get the joke, either.

  27. (OK, now I think I do.)

    By the way, I really like the actress who plays Taylor’s evil, dark-haired nemesis in the video.

  28. Wait, was that a joke, too? Because it’s … Taylor Swift.

    I have to echo what Ian said about the video. You know, I believe I heard this song for the first time when I gave Fearless a cursory listen a few months ago and thought “cute, catchy” — but when I watched the video this morning, there were a few moments where I got sort of choked up.

  29. Wait, was that a joke, too?

    Yes.

    The video works on its own terms, but it gives a happy ending where the song itself leaves you with uncertainty.

    I wish the guy’s sign had said, “I Love You – ’cause I’m a teenage dirtbag too!”

  30. Frank, the qualities you cite above sound fine and thanks for pointing them out.

    Alas they require a level of sympathy/interest I can’t offer against instrumentation this bland. There’s just no sonic character or detail to the production that I can get behind (I’m trying to square this in my head with some acoustic tracks I adore). Admittedly I don’t generally like teen-orientated pop this “soft”.

    But I want the sound to tell the story as much as the singer and I want both to be done with equal strength (as I measure it). TS fails that test for me (so does a lot of current hip-hop incidentally, mainly due to production trends being what they are). Hard to articulate this well enough but basically I agree with Martin I’m just being a fair bit harsher about it.

    This is the main reason I’d give it a 4 or 5 if reviewing but I would try and make it clear why I don’t appreciate/care about what is great about it and hope people understood. It was just interesting to me to see how many people do care (to the extent where it feels like this is way more important than anything else, enough to warrant full marks).

    Incidentally the last country pop song I did like – really unexpectedly – was LeAnn Rimes ‘Nothing Better To Do’ but I don’t keep up with the genre generally so I dunno how useful that comparison is (just saying I’m not against that side of the genre itself).

  31. Steve, I don’t know if you’d like “You’re Not Sorry” any more than this one, but its sonics are about the opposite (this one relatively light, that one dripping and dense).

  32. Steve, I don’t know what kind of arrangement you’d rather “You Belong With Me” have. I think it sounds great, I love that polished radio-friendly pop-country feel, but while it’s very conventional and familiar – as befits a song in which conventions and familiarity are virtues – this isn’t the same as being uninteresting or bland. (I think “bland” is TOTES overrated as a criticism, btw – some of my favourite artists can be, and often are, derided for blandness, like Sade, but to me that smoothness is blissful, not bland. I could imagine people saying the same thing about, idk, Gui Boratto or Erykah Badu’s first album – all that would say to me is that they hadn’t listened properly.)

    Anyway, yeah – surely any other sort of arrangement would rupture the song, come at its expense? This arrangement is precisely what fits Taylor’s world, and she vivifies it in the same way that she vivifies the familiar lyrics.

  33. I think this is a pretty middle-of-the-pack song on an album where everything is single-worthy. My four-year-old sitting next to me would give it a 10, but that would be her default grade for all things Taylor Swift. I’d say about a 7. The idea that this is the best country song someone’s heard makes me sad, though.

    I can’t believe “Fifteen” hasn’t been an actual single. That’s the anthem. I gather “The Best Day,” which always makes my wife weep, is next.

    Love the site — a recent discovery.

  34. I’m kind of with Steve on the arrangement – modern country sounds so much like soft rock that I rarely get much from the music. I still like great voices, and country quite often gives us that, and it’s very good at metaphor and new ways of addressing classic concerns. This song felt like simply fresh phrasing (I did praise the lyrical detailing) of a stale subject. I gave Teardrops on My Guitar 8, back in the old Stylus days, and I expect I will give her high marks again in future. Frankly I’m sort of disturbed to be low mark on someone I basically like!

    I happened to provide a list of my 10s and 9s to other friends a couple of days ago: 3 of my top 4 are American, and the majority of my 9s too.

    I would not claim that I could teach Ian anything about American music! He may know far more than I do, for all I know.

  35. Maybe country-teenpop is one too many stumbling blocks for me, but I’m really weirded out by everyone finding this so amazing. I think the highest praise I could give this is that it’s undeniably competent.

  36. I’d probably give it a [6].

  37. “I think “bland” is TOTES overrated as a criticism, btw”

    me too incidentally, but i do feel it applies here (just in terms of what i want). of course it’s as subjective as ‘boring’ and i like a lot of ‘chilled out electronica’ which is often criticised as bland by others (inc. yourself). i’m not trying to spark a tit-for-tat battle there tho (too easy and even more boring!).

    but i admit i’m clearly prejudiced against this style of pop song generally. there are lots of songs i like that i can imagine an artist like Swift doing but ‘you’re not sorry’ doesn’t appeal at all either (sorry Frank).

  38. I’m not sure why I didn’t blurb – or listen to – this, but I came to it sceptical after seeing this and was won over in about a bar. Just so much command over her storytelling that it honestly doesn’t matter if the melody etc is pat. I’d probably still only give it an 8 (it’s no “Good Girls Love Rudeboys”), but I’m not complaining that it’s our #1

  39. The melody is kind of pat but I love how forceful and driving both the song and arrangement are in the chorus – it is basically power-pop as Ian has said. The country touches are roughly as authentic as “Don’t Be Stupid!” by Shania Twain, which I love too.

    I can’t put my finger on WHY I love it so much to the extent that it’s probably the best pop record I’ve heard in two or three years. Unhealthy empathy, perhaps, or maybe it’s the economical, matter-of-factness of the situation…

  40. What kind of mass delusion is going on here? This is an alright country-pop track, but what else is there? I’m totally with SteveM on this one, I see absolutely nothing out of the ordinary here. Of course part of it is that, like many here, country is not my thing, but I also fail to hear the “absolutely driving hooks”. I mean the verse is good (not great) but the chorus is totally meh and predictable.

  41. Frank, does it help if I point out that I’m Canadian?

    I should have stopped with playful sarcasm on the internet years ago, but every so often I relapse.

    Martin, if I recall your yeoman work here and on the old Jukebox correctly, I think you probably do, indeed, know more than I do, at least about the sorts of music the Jukebox is about.

  42. I actually like the song a lot ([8] as with most Taylor songs, no more, no less) but can I just ask why do you all like the video so much? It’s dire for three minutes and then it takes a horrible turn into moralizing trash in which the slut wearing the skin-baring RED dress is shoved aside for the virgin. It’s enough to make me hate the song.

    I will give her credit, though: Taylor’s videos are exact representations of the horror I imagine her entire non-musical life to be.

  43. That’s reading too much into it. It’s just the bitch with the evil eye being shoved aside by the sympathetic heroine. She likes fairytales (even though she likes to tear the naivety of them down later, see ‘Love Story’ into ‘White Horse’), and so she copied the concept of modern fairytale movies for this video. No more, no less.

  44. The hip-hop cover that Frank referred to upthread, btw, is her live version of Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’, and it really is terrific.

  45. Re: the video (and this can be extrapolated to Taylor generally) – look, she likes and values conventions. Partly this comes off like genre formalism (which is a good thing: it roots her), and partly like her personality. And it doesn’t stop her tearing them down when she needs to (‘White Horse’) – indeed, it makes that even more effective than it would be had she positioned herself outside the conventions in the first place. And, you know, it’s so fucking refreshing to hear someone who’s not afraid of conventions, especially given the current surfeit of chancers trying so desperately, and with so little success, to be unconventional.

  46. Ian, my ‘expert’ knowledge of music in general and American music in particular is far, far more about old stuff and hardly about current stuff at all. I know vastly more about old soul and rock ‘n’ roll and R&B and blues and country and so on than about any current styles. I am nowhere near as informed on current music as most of the people here, though doing this is getting me back into the swing, gradually.

  47. Ian, the sarcasm is fine, I just didn’t instantly recognize the background that would make it sarcasm (presumably it’s Lex on one of these threads or an ilX thread having asked people why they hate America when they dislike or overlook American tracks he likes, and this becoming something of a meme without my knowing it) – though it does kind of take us off-topic, to troll Lex, and I’m glad he didn’t rise to the bait. (Of course I troll Lex all the time over on poptimists, but with the positive intent to subtly teach him that he loves a whole hunk of stuff for reasons that are rather close to my reasons for liking, e.g., the Rolling Stones.)

  48. Fwiw, I way prefer the story Jonathan tells to the story the video tells. Which convention you use to which effect certainly makes a difference. But the video does make a case for the cheerleader vamp, given how intense and attractive it makes her (which is one reason I praised the actress who plays her).

  49. The video’s happy ending fits the song more, though. Lyrically, it’s left ambiguous; but Taylor performs it with such optimism that you can’t help but feel she’ll get her boy in the end. This is why I compared it to ‘Open Your Heart’ – there, the odds are stacked way more against Madonna; the boy there is actively avoiding her! But the confidence and joyous determination in her voice force it into being a song of genuine triumph. ‘You Belong With Me’ could well have been sung in such a way that the futility is what you’re left with, but Taylor doesn’t choose to do this.

  50. Not to jump into this one, but I thought the joke was just that Taylor Swift is ALL-AMERICAN RAH and by having the lowest score it signals that you hate America. Like a mock Jukebox McCarthyism.

    Interesting thing about Taylor (to move away from the joke thang) is that she’s not really all-American, though her themes are in an American Graffiti sorta “look at how we’ve changed through high school” and/or moderately popular smart girl writing smart songs in her bedroom sorta way (though this doesn’t scream “American” to me — then again, maybe Twilight is the new all-Americanism?). I mean, she’s no more all-American than Norwegian M2M are.

    And my sense is that most of country popularly accepts (yay sales!) but doesn’t totally accept from the “inside” (boo inauthenticity!) Taylor (e.g. some sour country critics in the Nashville Scene poll — not “popular” or anything but perhaps representative of a mindset?).

  51. I like to think of the song as being the identical situation as “Teardrops On My Guitar” but sung from a different mood, this one being “of course he should want me.” And the next take on the same situation could be, “What the fuck is wrong with him that he doesn’t want me?” and then back to “what’s wrong with me that he doesn’t want me?” and around and around in circles. And the fact that the situation doesn’t resolve means that you can go from any one of those takes on it to any other, so they all enrich each other and every single one contains the others, and also, therefore, every single one can call forth something like Jonathan’s eloquence from an engaged listener.

    (One of the reasons that “Tim McGraw” remains my favorite… well, the melody and the singing are still my main reasons, but another is the way that the song itself suggests all the possible feelings and interpretations. It’s the only one that reaches an Ashlee level of complexity – though the Jukebox discussion has helped me better appreciate the complexities of the track, so maybe more will be revealed as each new single comes up for review. “The Best Day” is getting a little country airplay, but I don’t know if that’s just a blip, an album track that a few stations have picked up on, or if it’s raring to go. Seems a little early, with the “Belong With Me” video recently out.)(Haven’t listened attentively enough to figure out if it’s about her father or her brother or a friend or all three.)

  52. he Jukebox discussion has helped me better appreciate the complexities of the track

    Of this track (“You Belong With Me”), that is.

  53. Taylor Swift is like the best singer i have ever hear she is incredible i wish i could just meet her in person.
    I LUV U TAYLOR SWIFT.
    P.S if u want to reply to me Taylor swift my Email is
    tanyamilton1998@hotmail.com

    If u could you send me an autograph please thanks

  54. britney can i get your sister email why because she look intersting

  55. o tanyapaws

  56. Blakee said yuhh r hott :) Tho it tru :)