It started out as a joke, you know? Chris Gray threw us a curve ball and said, "Taylor Swift is coming to town. Do something with that, you little eyeliner-wearing fangster." Well we did sit down and listen to the young country superstar, and to our surprise we discovered that somewhere in what we're sure is her gigantic mansion must be a closet full of corsets and stompy boots. You mark our words, before the definitive tome on Taylor Swift is written she will be known as a goth icon.
Tracking points across her timeline we've delved in her Birthday Massacre-esque lyrics, the tortured impassioned stage performance she unleashes in her song "Haunted," and her appearance in the only legitimate vampire entertainment outlet currently available, True Blood. Tellingly, that last example accompanied a scene where a waifish, pale country-girl vampire gives into her bloodlust and also her regular lust by having an energetic sex scene under the moon in the back of a pickup truck. Maybe we're reaching, here, but if we are look at how awesome what we're reaching for is (That would be hot Taylor Swift vampire sex).
Now Swift has released her contribution to the soundtrack for the upcoming Hunger Games adaptation. Now, we haven't read the books because we're reading Game of Thrones and we only have time to read about twenty pages a day, which means we'll be done roughly around the time the sun goes nova. Still, should we ever get done Hunger Games is next on the list as a teenage version of the Running Man (Book, not movie) sounds keen. Like Battle Royale without all that legendary Japanese subtley.
The song is called "Safe and Sound" and features the Civil Wars in addition to Swift. We've embedded a vid below so you can listen to it as we pontificate.
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Sometimes it feels like we're a lone voice in the wilderness when we say this, but lone voices in the wilderness are going to be the next incarnation of goth. The sound we call Southern Gothic embraces a simplicity found in folk and country mixed with desolation, emptiness, morbidity, and the grace of good deathrock. Swift captures that mood perfectly, being both beautiful and hopeless at the same time. Just listen to those lyrics.
Don't you dare look out your window, darling
Everything's on fire
The war outside our door keeps raging on
Hold onto this lullaby
Even when the music's gone
You could drop those lines into almost any Siouxsie song and they would perfectly. You could say that Swift is just doing justice to a film that by all accounts is a pretty bleak affair, and to that we reply that you're confusing cause with effect. She's not fulfilling a contract, she's searching for an excuse to let the black out from under the blonde. We wouldn't be at all surprised if the next album from Swift played like late-career Johnny Cash, or barring that Hannah Fury, both of them fully goth by our measure. With any luck she'll embrace something darkly stringy like Melora Creager. Considering she already dresses like Creager it would be a perfect match.
Regardless, it's fun to watch Swift get drawn to the dark side, and we'll be waiting for her.