How to do it, you do it wrong; somebody always complains: This circumstance, which is well-known from everyday life, also applies in connection with answering the question of whether pop musicians should or should not comment on political matters. Should they speak out against racism, homophobia, discrimination and capitalist exploitation systems? Is it perhaps even necessary that they formulate a party political preference? Or is it enough if they simply do what they do best, namely make music? The views on this matter are different, and as is customary in the polarized public of our present, both political statements and failure to do so can be brought into the limelight of criticism and denunciation.
One artist who exemplifies how to do everything wrongly is the American pop singer Taylor Swift. Since her transformation from the young, musically traditional country talent (her debut album Taylor Swift took her in 2006 in Nashville at the age of 16) to the mass-madding Mega-Eek teen pop star (with her 2012 album Red ), she was repeatedly pushed to political statements First of all, the old right movement, which flourished before and during the election campaign of Donald Trump, tried to elevate her as an "Aryan goddess of ponies" to her own figurehead: because she is blond and blue-eyed; because she posed in the video for her 2016 song Wildest Dreams as a good-humored white colonial mistress and was criticized by liberal commentators and sharp criticized, and because - unlike many other pop stars in the US election 2016, no sympathy for a political side to recognize would have.
That's why right-wing commentators and bloggers eagerly sought hidden references to pro-Trump sentiment in their texts and videos. For a long time Swift preferred not to mention this question, again to the disapproval of the liberal commentators - until she declared herself in October 2018 before the Midterm Elections in the USA. "I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights and that any kind of sexual discrimination is wrong," she wrote on her Instagram account. "I believe that the prevailing systematic racism we face in this country over people of color is scary and disgusting, and I will not give my votes to anyone who does not fight for the dignity of all human beings, no matter what skin color and gender they have and who you love." Among her previous supporters of the Alt-Right, she thus caused anger and indignation.
Now her new album Lover is released , and in one of the four previously released singles, Swift has reaffirmed her political position from last October. In the play You Need To Calm Down , she asks people to calm down and and love ways to tolerate as your own. In the accompanying video you can see them celebrating a party in the midst of gays, lesbians, drag queens and transgender people. " Whyare you mad / when you could be GLAAD? " She sings -GLAAD is the name of an LGBTQ lobby organization, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation - " Sunshine on thestreet / at the parade / but you would rather be in the dark age ", while the representatives of the" dark ages "in the form of neglected hillbillies with bad teeth of the beautiful non-binary community hateful their" God will punish you "posters.
This leaves nothing to be desired in terms of clarity. Of course, it is wrong who should have believed that liberal America welcomed this clear partisanship. "That's so well-intentioned that it's annoying," wrote critic of influential website Pitchfork, "the text has the power of fingernail emojis and is presented with a plastic smile," he sounded like the hollow advertisement of some corporation that was gay - Lesbian Pride Month will also jump up fast on the solidarity train. In other media - from the New York Times to The Atlantic to Slate - Taylor Swift was immediately accused of expressing her solidarity far too late and too superficially: " too late to theshow ". A group of gay and lesbian filmmakers and filmmakers even accused them of " queerbaiting ", that is, the commercial exploitation of LGBTQ iconography for the purpose of target group expansion.
So again: everything went wrong again. The fact that Swift in their song had called first and last, that all first calm down a bit before they go back together for the purpose of debuting the next shitstorm - that went down in the general discourse of course, natural.
Given the history, one should first realize that among the 18 pieces on the new album You Need To Calm Down is the only one that can be as explicit political opinions. At any rate, there are no anti-Trump songs to be heard. Swift did not become a political singer-songwriter this time either, and if she ever commented on the state of the country again, then between the lines; more on that later. The central theme of the album is - as the title implies and as the artist explains in a kind of user manual in the booklet - love. " This album is alove letter to love ", she writes, " Iwant to be defined by the things I love ". But love is, as with Swiftstets, above all a complicated and painful thing. For her lyric standards has always been the confrontation with - more or less clearly recognizable - former lovers.