“You’ll never know my heart/like my heart/knows my heart…”
– From Billy Eichner’s Taylor Swift Parody, “Glitter and Ribs”
Art Imitating The Art of Emo Country-Pop
First Taylor Swift is the MTV VMAs victim (“I’ma let you finish”) , and now she’s the Mean Girl VMA vamp (just for mouthing the words “shut the eff up?). It’s kinda hard to keep up with all these pop star reality TV tragicomedies, isn’t it?
In the wake of Real Taylor Swift’s (ahem. Choreographed.) STFU incident and her recovery from it, Faux Taylor Swift just wants to muse aloud and brood.
So y’all, can we just take a second to wax nostalgic about the end of another bummer summer? Puh-lease?
‘Cause really: which Taylor Swift are we supposed to believe in? Good Girl Taylor Swift or Bad Girl Taylor Swift? ‘You know we’re all either one thing or the other, don’t you?
Well, don’t you?!!!
In the new music video “Glitter and Ribs,” Funny or Die and Fuse TV’s resident smart-aleck sets the record straight. In the video, Faux Taylor Swift is every girl not yet a woman. She’s sassy, cute, happy, frustrated, sad, apologetic. She cries ugly, feels heartbroken, is independent. Yes. She’s strong, young, um…no. She’s old, totally weak and totally dependent. Yeah. Well…?
Celebrities are just like us—totally ambivalent and utterly complex.
Hook Up, Heartbreak, Cash In, Repeat
The real target of this video is the crazy, silly entertainment industry. “Glitter and Ribs” breaks down the “summer fling to summer heartbreak” song formula, the lie that is the ingenue/Lolita aesthetic, and the naughty habit pop stars and producers have of recycling the same song and video over and over to communicate the same ideas—and how that theater of the absurd spills into offstage antics, which then strangely become “real-life” antics.
And then the whole (press) cycle begins again.
As with everything in life, there is of course a grain of truth to what’s going on (private details we’ll surely never know) and how that contributes to Swift’s own creative process. Many artists believe that suffering is a key ingredient necessary for creative inspiration, and Swift just rocks that trope in her own Taylor-ish ways.
And why wouldn’t she? Doing so is a lucrative business, and these recurring themes work for her. The music business is indeed a business. Broken-hearted music sells, and “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” doesn’t apply to this particular case study and music biz model.
Swift’s sales figures and chart positions are telling: there’s catharsis to be had from hearing and singing along with this narrative that’s ever on repeat.
Still, when you think about the artistic choices Taylor Swift and her press team make compared to…say, India Arie’s, the repeated messaging, saga and drama that “Real Taylor Swift” is broadcasting do seem to be more than a little bit laughable.
And sometimes, ya gotta laugh to keep from crying.
Unless of course, you’re Faux Taylor Swift, because “life won’t always be glitter and ribs.”
So ciao for now…see you next summer never-ever-ever!
xo (sniffle, sniffle) xox,
P.S. Ms. Faux Taylor, wash your face full of runny mascara away, come back to your viewing device of choice, and watch Billy on the Street. That’ll solve everything. For now.