Saturday, November 19, 2022

Coming to the defense of Taylor Swift

 Got into a Facebook spat yesterday with a friend over, of all people, Taylor Swift. (I like to engage people in the important issues of our day.)

I'm not a Swifty, but I've heard her music because I have two young adult daughters who grew up with her and are huge fans. Yet I couldn't name a song. One daughter even scored tickets to one of her upcoming concerts during the Great Ticketmaster Goatcoitus, as they're calling it.

Honestly, the friend didn't specifically name Taylor, but he referred to some "overrated blonde lady's concert" and that he didn't care for anyone posting 15-second snippets it they were at her concerts, so I assumed he was talking about Taylor. And all I said was "Lighten up, Francis." And I added a clip of Prince's "Kiss" video.

That's when things got ugly and he said: "I also find Prince to be far overrated." Then he told me to get in my little red Corvette and hit the road.

Those is fighting words and I let him have it by listing Prince's bonafides and told him we should all wish to be that overrated and to get out of the road before I ran him over.

So unless you care to hear about other people's flame wars on Facebook, which I'm sure you don't, my point here is that just because you don't like someone's music doesn't mean they are overrated and how do you rate a singer anyway?

One objective way is by album sales. Before her newest release, Swift had sold 42 million; Prince over 150 million. So if performers are judged by how many people like their performances and are willing to pay to hear them perform, neither is overrated.

Another way to judge them talent-wise, I think, is how many instruments they can play. Prince played 27 on his albums. Taylor, I've seen play guitar, which is always a plus in my book. Now she's not shredding it like Prince (ranked No. 37th best guitar player in history of the human race), but she can play guitar and sing at the same time, which is more difficult than you think. Plus, I think I saw her play tambourine, which isn't saying much because I jumped on stage once and played tambourine too with my buddy's band in college. I don't remember it well so can't say if I played it well or not, but I've never read a review saying I played it poorly. I can say I played a pretty mean tuba in my high school years, was even offered a small college scholarship to continue that career, but I was also keen to the fact that college tuba players lived lonely, celibate collegiate lives, so I turned it down. 

I also think it's safe to say both have good voices. Sure, that's more subjective, but even if you don't like they're type of music, it's fair to say they can sing. In a way, that can also be measured, as Prince had a range of 4 1/2 octaves, which is pretty rarefied air in the singing world.

So you can choose not to like their type of music, but I don't think it's fair to say they aren't talented. For instance, I don't listen to or like much pop music, but that doesn't mean pop musicians aren't talented. I also don't like bro-country and the Luke Bryans and Jasons and Justins of the world. But they must have talent, if nothing else at least a talent for being marketable.

And if you want to say somebody isn't talented, fine; just don't drag my man Prince into that argument or else be ready to face the music.

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