Pure Imagination

Music about invention/creation.

Taylor Swift
2012, Big Machine

The bridge in “Treacherous” will play a movie in your head. “22” is a solid “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”-type jam. “Stay Stay Stay” has shades of a Hannah-to-Adam speech from Girls. “Sad Beautiful Tragic” is a good example of the classic Taylor theory that the act of feeling is itself sacred and makes you feel alive, if not necessarily happy. “The Lucky One” is like a smarter “Lucky,” and much less eerie, since the artist actually wrote it and you get the feeling she will not end up like Britney Spears. The last track, “Begin Again,” is about meeting someone new, but he’s not Taylor’s savior so much as just someone who lets her be herself. Of her ex, she sings, “He didn’t like it when I wore high heels / But I do.” Wait! As opposed to sneakers? The secret message in her liner notes (look for the capital letters) confirms: “I wear high heels now.” In addition to this FYI that she now wears grown-up lady shoes, Red features Swift’s most blatant pop songs and a ton of new backup singers, and also her logo is big blocky letters instead of her girlish cursive, and also she permanently straightened her signature princessy locks. (To serious Swifties, these have all been big deals.) But the album also includes more of her sneaker-wearing (I swear I will ditch this symbolism soon) side than ever before. The acoustic tracks feel much more private, and like they took a lot more pain to write. They sound like real secrets, with none of the shimmer of even the saddest tracks on her previous albums. Her universe is no longer a vacuum of small towns and high school and fairytales; RED takes place in cars and trains and cities, trying to get somewhere, thinking about one’s place in the world. It’s best to listen to it without any knowledge of who the songs are about or who she is dating, or why, as a recent US Weekly cover asked, she CAN’T FIND LOVE. I know why! She is a 22 year-old person. In her song about this age, she says, “We’re happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way,” and I think that’s exactly where one should be. And, she’s managed to avoid the traps that are set in the 23rd year of life for beautiful, famous people like herself by driving her own career—from the songwriting to the business details—since the beginning. She’s so successful and her image so wholesome that it’s easy to see her as someone with no hint of rebellion. But her defiance has never been about pissing off the parents who made her a star before she’d gone through puberty, it’s been about proving wrong anyone who thinks a young woman singing about her personal life couldn’t possibly be in control of her career or genuine in her writing. Taylor’s victory is in just being really good at what she does, and this album is a prime example. —Tavi

How Sad, How Lovely
Connie Converse
2009, Lau derette Recordings

For years Connie Converse was a forgotten pioneer. Long before the “singer-songwriter” genre existed, she wrote and sang songs that were personal, that told stories, that were musically simple (and beautiful) but lyrically clever. This was in the 1950s in New York, and her music was so far ahead of its time that no record company wanted to record it. (It would have fit in perfectly with the great singer-songwriters of the ’60s, like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.) After about a decade of failing to make it in the music industry, she became disheartened and moved to Ann Arbor, where she worked as an editor for a while. Then in 1974, hopeless and depressed, she packed her belongings into her Volkswagen Beetle and drove away, never to be heard from again. Thirty-five years later, her recordings from the ’50s were discovered and released as this album, to much critical acclaim and “How have we not heard of her till now?!”-ism. The collection is indeed so sad and so lovely—the songs are lilting, haunting remnants of a life that didn’t go entirely to plan. “Roving Woman” is especially eerie when you know her whole story (“When I stray, there’s positively got to be someone there to take me home”). “Talkin’ Like You (Two Tall Mountains)” is a beautiful song where the song’s chorus, instead of coming between the verses, appears twice, at the beginning and the end, like two bookends (or, come to think of it, two tall mountains), and the stuff in between changes its meaning. It will echo in your mind for days. There are tinges of gritty sarcasm, too, like Alanis Morrisette except a good 40 years earlier. If she’s alive today, Converse is 85 years old, and maybe she’s smiling somewhere and saying, “I told them so.” —Minna

Social Studies
2012, Antenna Farm

I’ve been listening to this album nonstop since Tuesday, when it came out. It’s the perfect thing to put on when you’re making something and need to turn on the ~creative~ part of your brain. The lyrics are poetic, and the music is hypnotic and beautiful, lush but somehow stark at the same time, so it sweeps you away from your everyday cares and concerns but still gives you room to invent your own story. The title of the record feels perfect, because listening to it I feel like I’m in a darkroom watching each song develop like a picture, seeing the images form: faces, landscapes, buildings, characters, stories. My favorite songs so far are “Terracur,” “Western Addition,” and “Think of the Sea,” all of which are so emotionally true, they leave you feeling bruised, but real and hopeful. —Stephanie

The Information
2006, Interscope

This album was the gateway drug into my obsession with Beck. I admit, as a visual artist, that it was the visuals that drew me in: first of all, the album comes with a graph-paper cover and then a set of stickers (many of which were created by one of my favorite artists, Mercedes Helnwein) that you can use to INVENT your own album artwork—for me, a dream come true! And the bonus DVD was an absolute feast of music videos (which you can actually now watch on YouTube), each filmed on a whim, with Beck’s family, and each one sillier than the last. On top of all that, there were official videos for the singles, including one by one of my all-time favorite directors, Michel Gondry, in which Beck wanders around a torchlit hotel room and interacts with giant robots who metamorphose into various buildings and items of furniture. Enough said! (Oh, and the music’s pretty great too. Especially “The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton,” one of my favorite songs ever ever EVER. Period.) —Eleanor

Neil Young
1982, Geffen

If you know anything about Neil Young, you probably know he is the nasal-voiced, shaggy-haired dude responsible for the epic country/folk/rock hits “Old Man” and “Heart of Gold.” If you know him a little better, you’ve probably spent some time appreciating his sweet songs, like “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” and angry, rambling dirges like “Cortez the Killer.” But very little in his catalogue prepares you for the weirdo magnificence of Trans. Heavily influenced by the synthesizer-heavy music of Kraftwerk, the album prominently features a Vocoder effect that transforms one of the most distinctive vocals in rock into a burbling chorus of grumbly robots. But this is no nightmare dystopian vision of an electronic future: “Transformer Man” and “We R in Control” are songs about the benevolent computers that run things while everyone is sleeping. “Computer Age” describes a world in which human and computer functions are intimately intertwined. “Sample and Hold” imagines a dating service by and for bots—because machines need love, too. Young has said that the songs on this album were influenced by his difficulty communicating with his son, Ben, who was born with severe cerebral palsy and without the ability to speak. Inspired by his son’s dependence on technology and challenged by the difficulty of connecting with someone who is beyond language, Young invented a new sound to reflect the complicated harmonies of the computer age. —Rose

Queen of the Pack
1993, Epic

Nineties dancehall singer Patra is a goddess, and this, her debut album, proves it. The title song is all brash braggadocio, not just demonstrating that she’s well aware of her goddess status, but also making me feel like maybe I could attain it too. My favorite song besides that one is “Romantic Call,” which features the brilliant rapper Yo-Yo. The best thing ever is the breakdown, where Patra and Yo-Yo discuss what kind of men they like and Patra gets all shy and adorable. That album-only moment isn’t in this video, but it’s OK, because the cutest Tupac cameo in the world is. LOOK AT THAT ADORABLE GRIN. Even he can’t take the focus off Patra, though, who is not only the queen of the pack, but also of my heart/life. —Amy Rose

Saturdays = Youth
2008, Virgin/EMI, Mute

This dreamy record is a soundtrack to teenagehood; it makes you feel like you are experiencing everything for the first time. “Kim & Jessie” is very ’80s-y and cinematic; it reminds me of the scene in Pretty in Pink when Andie is getting ready for prom. You can feel the quickening heartbreak, the longing, the tragedy. My favorite song on this record is “Skin of the Night”—it captures those scary adolescent feelings of lust, heartbreak, and insignificance. It’s best to listen to it with your eyes closed—I bet you’ll find it beautiful. —Tara

¡Hey, Hey Pioneers!
Farewell Continental
2011, Paper + Plastick

Last year a friend of mine linked me to Farewell Continental’s “Who’s the Boss” video, correctly guessing that I would adore the dual vocals of Justin Pierre (from Motion City Soundtrack) and Kari Gray set against a perfect blend of frantic, fuzzy, poppy keyboards and guitars. I immediately downloaded the album and made plans to see the band live. What I love best about Farewell Continental is that they somehow manage to take anxiety and heartbroken self-destruction and set it to danceable indie pop that lifts you out of your emotional haze and helps you work through it and reinvent a brave new world for yourself. —Stephanie

Beach House
2012, Sub Pop

This is one of my new favorite albums; I cannot stop listening to it! It makes me feel so very alive. It’s about creating a fantasy and finding yourself. I love Victoria Legrand’s low voice, which can be quietly raspy or powerful, and express everything from melancholy to bewilderment. My favorite track is the lush and dreamy “Wild”—I listened to it during the hurricane and it made me feel like I was in Melancholia, that Lars Von Trier movie about that dizzying state right before an apocalypse. Listen to Bloom if you want to feel like you are in a state of half-sleep, your mind flooding with images. —Tara

Building Nothing Out of Something
Modest Mouse
2000, Up

Oh man, do I ever love this collection of singles, rarities, and EPs from Modest Mouse’s golden age, 1996-1999. The title is a clever joke about turning a bunch of previously homeless works into a cohesive album, like making a new collage out of scraps from old ones, or a big poem from a bunch of odds and ends you didn’t know what to do with (I do both of these things a lot). Modest Mouse’s little poem-scraps are particularly beautiful, and together they make a love, emotional, and raw whole. One of those scraps, “Baby Blue Sedan,” a bony, mournful song about how difficult it can be just to be a person in the world, absolutely peels my heart apart. All of the songs are like that, really, but that one’s my favorite. Or maybe it’s “A Life of Arctic Sounds,” a song about a really long car ride that is really a song about heartbreak. Building Nothing Out of Something is a perfect album right after a breakup, because it knows exactly how you feel and it screams about it a lot (9 out of 10 dentists agree that post-breakup screaming always helps you feel at least a little better), and then builds you up again, even if you feel like you’ve got nothing left to go on. —Amy Rose

Coral Fang
The Distillers
2003, Sire

I credit Coral Fang, the Distillers’ best and unfortunately last record, with helping me get out of an unhealthy relationship with an alcoholic when I was in high school. I have probably listened to “The Hunger,” my favorite song on the album (and maybe my favorite song in the world, period), a thousand times. It’s starts slow and acoustic, with lyrics about wanting and craving someone you know is bad for you, and then Brody Dalle screams, “DON’T GO!” in what is seriously the most perfect rock & roll scream of all time. From the very first line of “Drain the Blood” (“I’m living on shattered faith, the kind that likes to restrict your breath”), this album is about being bruised and broken, totally destroyed by something you loved and believed in so much. But rather than wallow, Brody and the band thrash and scream and willingly go through the torture because survival is essential, survival will lead to reinvention (“There’s a highway to the edge, once a night you will drive yourself there. At the end of the road, you will find the answer,” as she sings on my second-favorite song, “Hall of Mirrors.”) Surviving also, this record promised me when I need to hear it, can lead to new love (“Beath Your Heart Out”) and some pretty awesome sex (“Death Sex”). Whenever one of my friends is going through a bad breakup or serious emotional crisis, I give them Coral Fang. —Stephanie

Top 10 Hits of the End of the World
Prince Rama
2012, Paw Tracks

It just came out a week and a half ago, but I already know Top 10 Hits is one of my favorite albums of the year. It’s a concept album, with a story: the world has just ended, and the ghosts of 10 pop bands who perished along with everyone else get together to make a compilation album of those bands’ greatest hits. This turns out to be a fun songwriting exercise for Prince Rama, two sisters from Brooklyn—they get to write in 10 different genres (and even photos as all the different bands for the album cover). “So Destroyed” (by the fictional band Rage Peace) is a psychedelic garage-y disco jam that had me bedroom-dancing for weeks on end when it came out earlier this year. I also love “Blade of Austerity” (big drums and Middle Eastern vibes by the ghosts of Guns of Dubai) and “Fire Sacrifice” (channeling Black Elk Speaks). The concept makes the album super varied, but all of the songs are dance-y pop at its best, and they all have Prince Rama’s signature chanting vocals and hypnotic drumming. —Eleanor

Dark Night of the Soul
Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse
2012, Parlophone/EMI/Lex

I sought out this album when I heard that David Lynch had not only designed surreal album art for it, but also sang on two tracks! There are a lot of other fantastic guests, too, like Julian Casablancas, Iggy Pop, and Suzanne Vega. The whole collection is shaking with fear and anxiety. “Revenge” (featuring Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips) is painfully vulnerable: Coyne sings, “You can’t hide what you intend. It glows in the dark. Once we become the thing we dread, there’s no way to stop.” YOW. The two songs Lynch sings on are of course FANTASTIC. “Star Eyes (I Can’t Catch It)” makes me feel like I’m floating through space, and “Dark Night of the Soul,” juxtaposing Lynch’s nasal voice against a jazzy piano and a gritty guitar, is as wonderfully peculiar and uncanny as one of his movies. —Tara ♦


  • Lydia Jane November 15th, 2012 11:36 PM

    Ahhh yay, I’m really excited to see Taylor Swift on here! I always get hate for liking her.

  • spudzine November 15th, 2012 11:37 PM

    OMG TAYLOR!!!! I actually NEVER listen to Taylor Swift songs-unless they are on the radio. Honestly, I enjoy reading the lyrics to all of her songs than listening to them beforehand, because her lyrics are like a poetry like no other.

    • effy November 16th, 2012 3:18 PM

      ‘We are never ever ever getting back together.
      We are never ever ever getting back together.
      Like, ever.’

      Sorry I just really dislike Taylor, and how she is so popular with young girls although her lyric writing is on the wrong side of dull and verges on poor. She is so popular because she writes about boys.

      And I am in no way trying to undermine your comment but thought I would put that quote as I snorted a little when I read your comment about her ‘poetry like no other’

      Sincerely, just up for a discussion


      • Tavi November 16th, 2012 3:34 PM

        It’s not poetry, but it’s skillfull songwriting, which is fine when something’s only meant to be a solid pop song. She’s talked openly about collaborating with Max Martin and Shellback on songs from Red that she just wanted to be fun, and even said WANEGBT was written to follow around her ex who was an indie snob and put her down for making her silly popular music. I think her other songs — on this album and going all the way back to ones she wrote at 14 — show enough of her talent with lyrics as less of a technician and more of a poet. I’d recommend “Dear John” as an example — it’s somehow both really cruel and slick and cutting, and absolutely heartbreaking.

        And, FWIW, she’s also not only popular with young girls! She has a lot of reach. James Taylor and Selena Gomez both performed with her on the closing night of her Speak Now tour, and I think that says a lot.

        • effy November 16th, 2012 3:51 PM

          Hi, and I actually have listeneted to many of her songs (including Dear John) -my friends are big swiftys, and simply can’t understand WHY I don’t LOVE Taylor- so I have sat and looked at the lyrics and listened to her voice to find any of the ‘great song writing talent’ and ‘amazing voice’ that are often praised in reviews.
          What you say about the solid pop song is exactly my point, but many of her fans can’t accept that these songs simply aren’t deep and meaningful.
          I didn’t know about James Taylor, but to be honest I feel the same way about Selena Gomez – that it’s a shame so much attention is being payed to this end of the musical and song-writing spectrum, that is modern popular music, when there are so, so many more talented people out there being ignored – but I suppose this is the way pop music works and the simple and slick music will always get more attention – as it will always appeal to more people.
          I would like to say how much I respect all the people defending Taylor on Rookie, as they construct far, far more valid points that the swiftys of the ‘OMGA TAYLOR <333'
          And sorry if I come across as an indie snob…

          • Tavi November 16th, 2012 5:09 PM

            You don’t come across as an indie snob at all! I agree that the pop musicians we see most often are probably not the most qualified in their field, but I appreciate that Taylor at least writes her own songs and controls so much of her own image — at age 18, she became CEO of her own brand, and she has never had a manager. It’s a shitty game but at least she’s an earnest player, you know? As for how deep or meaningful her songs are, that’s all subjective. They’ve been important to me in my life, and a lot of people love and cry to music I will never understand, but that’s just sorta how this works. I respect your eloquence as well! Much nicer than blatant hate. Basically thank you Rookie readers for not turning this into the comments section of Youtube.

  • indigosunday November 15th, 2012 11:39 PM

    I love the RED album so much! And Ed Sheeran(another amazing artist) is on the track “Everything Had Changed” that makes me feel so much and I just cry whenever I hear it.

    • Tavi November 15th, 2012 11:40 PM

      YES! that one is often my favorite on the album! the verse about butterflies is so good!

  • clairee November 15th, 2012 11:55 PM

    When I saw Taylor Swift’s picture for the last article I got super excited and refreshed this page a whole lot and I cannot express to you how much it makes me happy that you are a Taylor Swift fan too, Tavi.

  • castlegrime November 16th, 2012 12:09 AM

    Omg yes Patra and Tupac. Please

    I really love “Begin Again” off Red. Thank you for the Taylor mention in general, girl means so much to me.. Silly as it sounds, she showed me that I shouldn’t hide my country accent when I moved to a big city my freshman year of high school. Hahaha

  • Adrienne November 16th, 2012 12:09 AM

    I love M83!!!

    By the way I saw Tavi on Project Runway tonight. I was so freaking excited I was like “OMG THAT’S TAVI!!!!” and my mom was like “Who?” and then I explained Rookiemag and everything, and then she connected the dots and remembered the Rookie Road Trip meet up. Anyways, in short, my day was made when I saw Tavi on being on Project Runway. That is all.

  • hellosailor November 16th, 2012 12:13 AM

    Tavi, your smart, insightful review of Taylor Swift’s Red lights up my girl-heart in ways unimaginable.

  • Abby November 16th, 2012 12:29 AM


  • lylsoy November 16th, 2012 12:58 AM

    I love Beck! My Bf got me into it, and e is literally the biggest Beck fan ever- he changed his last name to Beck and caught his plectrum on a concert which is framed on the wall.. :)

    • Katherine February 20th, 2013 12:04 AM

      My studio art teacher’s last name is Beck.

  • airplanes.books November 16th, 2012 1:10 AM

    building something out of nothing. sleepwalking. all nite diner. EVERYTHING.

  • baratully November 16th, 2012 1:14 AM

    OMG BEACH HOUSE. ugh ty tara for perfectly articulating EXACTLY how that album feels to listen to… one of the best music experiences i’ve had in a while fer sher. and this totally made me remember just how much i love M83. oh, rookie, you make my life ♡ ♡ ♡

  • lash98 November 16th, 2012 1:14 AM

    Terrific! Loving Social Studies! So great to see them on Rookie :D

  • Kasey November 16th, 2012 1:24 AM

    M83, ugh. I downloaded all of their music at once, and there’s a ton, so I haven’t had the chance to really sit down and focus on any specific album besides Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. I do love “Kim & Jessie” though, and this review has motivated me to dive into Saturdays = Youth. Thanks Tara!

  • amelia November 16th, 2012 2:06 AM

    MAN MAN – Six Demon Bag

    listen to MANMAN

  • Lucy November 16th, 2012 4:11 AM

    Neil Young is superb! Everyone go listen to Cortez The Killer RIGHT NOW!!!!

  • filmfatale November 16th, 2012 6:39 AM

    A few years ago, one of my boyfriend’s former coworkers publicly threw him under the bus. Normally my BF is all about, like, Pavement, but he started listening to Taylor Swift a lot. A few of her songs make him cry.

    Also, he thinks she should cut an album with Morrissey.

  • litchick November 16th, 2012 6:41 AM

    Stephanie- I totally agree w/ the description “seriously the most perfect rock and roll scream of all time”. (Coincidentally, I began listening 2 The Distillers b/c they were one of bands mentioned in ur 1st book.)

  • inthatsense November 16th, 2012 10:20 AM

    Dark Night of the Soul is AMAZING! One of my favourite albums, and probably the one I’ve listened to the most for the past 2 years. SO GOOD! <3333

    • Tara November 16th, 2012 4:43 PM

      OMG another Dark Night of the Soul lover? it’s so often overlooked. so glad you love it too!

      • inthatsense November 17th, 2012 2:06 PM

        So true. But its such a winner! I’m so glad it made it to the list.

  • LuxOrBust November 16th, 2012 10:53 AM

    Modest Mouse is everything to me, good to see them on this site that i love so much.

  • fast french braid November 16th, 2012 11:03 AM

    Lovely list–just one thing: that Modest Mouse album is actually Building Nothing Out of Something (even cleverer)!

  • wallflower152 November 16th, 2012 11:42 AM

    Yes! Farewell Continental, I got into them cuz I love Motion City Soundtrack. Justin Pierre is one of the best lyricists of our generation, I swear.

    Also, I think Rookie readers would love Meg & Dia. Check out their newest album Cocoon and then check out their older stuff. They have lots of songs based on classic works of literature. The Taylor Swift mention reminded me of them cuz Dia released a solo album called Red last year. But really, check them out! Their music is poppy and accessible but has well thought out lyrics and song structures. I look up to them so much. They are both strong, intelligent, beautiful and all around awesome women!

  • Mollie November 16th, 2012 12:12 PM

    <3 taylor

  • SewHappy November 16th, 2012 12:28 PM

    I love Taylor’s album Red so much! 22 just makes me feel so happy and it’s so catchy, but all the songs have something amazing about them!

  • Flavia November 16th, 2012 1:01 PM

    Coral Fang is amazing and The Hunger is definitely the BEST SONG EVER

  • Limey November 16th, 2012 1:16 PM

    Red is insanely good and intricate. At the Walgreen’s near my house, there’s this whole “Taylor shrine” thing. They have T. Swift blankets and T-shirts and all that good stuff. And a giant cardboard cut out of course!

    All the songs from the album are great, but I really like “I Knew You Were Trouble.” It’s so different from everything she’s ever done, but it’s so awesome and it makes me want to dance.

  • Blythe November 16th, 2012 1:39 PM

    Listening to all the albums where the descriptions sounded interesting and HOLY SHIT I like almost all this music.

  • frankiebaker November 16th, 2012 2:13 PM

    The paragraph about How Sad, How Lovely is heartbreaking… So much beauty can go unnoticed. Exhibit A: Cole Sprouse before Coleture Concept.

  • Sorcha M November 16th, 2012 3:13 PM

    thank you for introducing me properly to beck!!!!! and patra!!!!!

  • ElleEstJolie November 16th, 2012 3:25 PM

    I LOVEEEE beach house!!!! <3

  • strawberryhair November 16th, 2012 3:39 PM

    OH MY GOD TAVI I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! Thank you so much for writing about Taylor Swift. So many people seem to think that liking her isn’t cool, or isn’t “hipster”, or isn’t sophisticated. Thanks you soso much for being cool and individual and amazing and still liking Taylor Swift! I love her, and her music, and I totally agree with what you’re saying about her music changing and growing up. To me, Red feels very real and honest, and like she wasn’t trying to cover everything in glitter and prettiness. Your last post on The Style Rookie was one of my favourites ever, because you wrote about the highschool-fairytale narrative in her songs, which was always one of the things I loved the most. Even though I really like that magical depiction of teenagedness, I think I like Red even more, because of the “cars and cities and trains”, and the sense that she’s growing up now.

  • Libby November 16th, 2012 3:45 PM

    I love Beach House & Taylor Swift, and it is so nice to see them on a list together, like you can like dreamy lo fi synth pop and overly angsty pop songs as well.
    ALSO WILD IS MY FAVOURITE SONG EVER. I started singing it in my maths class when we were working in silence and it was awkward but whatevs.

    • Tara November 16th, 2012 4:45 PM

      I kind of want to sing it everywhere all the time. I AM PROUD OF YOU FOR SINGING IN MATH!

  • effy November 16th, 2012 5:18 PM

    The discussions on rookie that could turn into arguements but instead ends up with everyone virtually high-fiving each other…
    Why is real life not like this?

    • Yani November 17th, 2012 3:49 AM

      it is if it’s safe, and people laugh instead of feel scared of another…

  • monsters November 16th, 2012 5:38 PM

    thank you for reccomending the prince rama album, only just downloaded it today, already convinced it is THE BEST THING EVER, completely obsessed. i love the concept and there’s some killer band names

  • azultardis November 16th, 2012 11:34 PM

    Oh god, I just downloaded RED and is so good! I usually don’t like this kind of music, but Taylor has something and I like her songs so much

  • Yani November 17th, 2012 3:47 AM

    tavi, you’re a poet

  • HollinsCollins November 18th, 2012 9:29 AM

    Ohmygosh I haven’t listened to ANY of this music…but that will soon be fixed.

  • CharismaticHat November 18th, 2012 7:22 PM

    I like Taylor but I can’t love her. I also respect her ‘wholesome image’ and the fact that she doesn’t strip down to booty shorts to sell her ‘image’, but I feel like she shouldn’t be on Rookie. Since Rookie is heavily centric on feminism (as well as other stuff that promotes girl power) it makes me slightly uncomfortable that she’s being cajoled and eulogized here when she desperately doesn’t want to associate herself with feminism. Here’s what she said when asked specifically about feminism, for those of you who may be reading this and are curious: ”I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.”
    I think it’s extremely embarrassing and disconcerting that she’s 22 years old and has absolutely no idea what feminism is or stands for. It’s not simply about ‘guys versus girls’. Oh no Taylor, definitely not. Women have been fighting tooth and nail for their rights for quite a long time and it’s been an uphill battle. So when she reduces this entire paradigm to a childish and futile battle between the genders, it’s slightly irksome. I also don’t get why she’s so quick to disassociate herself from feminism as if it’s some disease. Someone needs to educate her about what it REALLY truly is.
    She’s also been mocked for what she said about ‘working hard to go far in life’. So women who are unsuccessful in achieving what they want haven’t worked hard enough? Damn.
    Btw, I really don’t want to seem like I’m bashing her. I have her songs on my iPod, lol.

  • mayaautumn November 19th, 2012 1:00 PM


  • madame_addie November 20th, 2012 8:25 PM

    Oh Tavi, thanks so much for putting Red in here! I think is such a great album, as well as all the other three but I feel that people immediately discard the idea of it being a good album or a good song because of what the words “Taylor Swift” represent these days, that is a similar thing to Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez when the only thing they have in common is the popularity among kids of a certain age…

  • Kennedy Jones November 21st, 2012 5:48 PM

    I haven’t stopped listening to Connie Converse for like ever since I read this post, her lyrics and voice are so sly and sad and defiant and smart and sassy and like ALL THE FEELZ!

  • sol December 4th, 2012 1:12 AM

    Tavi! I love this article. I am a regular indie rock/folk/alternative music listener. But I started listening to taylor’s music when I was around 15 (currently 20). I instantly felt in love with her lyrics and her first album. It is amazing how people can underestimate such remarkable song writing skills, and how she personifies every phrase and transmit it to the listener with such passion. It is sad how people can blur this behind media gossip and personal aspects of her ¨love life¨. Thanks again for writing it!

  • Cutesycreator aka Monica January 19th, 2013 2:11 PM

    I love love love Taylor Swift, and I always smile when I see her on Rookie. While Red isn’t my favorite album of hers (Fearless tops the list for me! :)), I still really really really like it :D

  • julesdeluxe January 20th, 2013 5:37 PM

    What I don’t understand is how Tavi just changed her mind so drastically about Taylor Swift…I remember a post on Style Rookie where she wrote a not so positive rant about Taylor’s messages in her songs. At that time I still kind of liked Taylor’s music and was really disturbed because I understood Tavi’s point of view but didn’t know what to make of it. And now Tavi is like a Swifty? The world changes so fast, I get confused okay!
    Also I love M83, their sound is amazing!

  • Bananaskid February 9th, 2013 10:19 AM

    I love Taylor Swift and her latest Album Red!
    Ed Sheeran features in a song on her album called Everything Has Changed.
    To me, all the songs on the album are good.
    They consist a lot of emotions and what Taylor felt.
    Well, her number one single We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together definitely states how she feels about her relationships.
    She has some really strong emotions in her songs.
    But I pretty much like Taylor Swift the way she is.

  • claudia h April 22nd, 2013 2:44 AM

    I hate that everyone always looks down on me when they see that I have Taylor Swift on my iPod (and not just in an ironic way). Everyone kind of makes me feel as though liking her is a sin and if I listen to her then I can’t listen to indie music. I don’t tell anyone about going to her concert in 2010 because everyone would laugh at me if I said that I really enjoyed it and that I still really enjoy her music and am a total Swiftie. So, thank you Tavi for mentioning her in this article. It has made me realise that I shouldn’t be ashamed or apologetic for what I like.