Taylor Swift told me she could imagine a time when she’d stop performing and just be a writer.
“When I’m 40 and nobody wants to see me in a sparkly dress anymore, I’ll be, like: ‘Cool, I’ll just go in the studio and write songs for kids.’
It’s looking like a good pension plan.” Perhaps.
But Swift’s songwriting may be too quirky, too personal, to fit all comers. Swift’s parents named her after James Taylor, and she has a seventies-folkie’s soul; she is a confessor, a memoirist.
You could call Swift a generational bard: She merges the pleasures of old-fashioned songcraft with millennial social-media oversharing.
There’s no doubting the artfulness of Swift’s best status updates. Red’s centerpiece is “All Too Well,” co-written with songwriter Liz Rose, a frequent collaborator.
If the Internet is to be believed, “All Too Well” is about Jake Gyllenhaal, whose romance with Swift convulsed the tabloids in late 2010.
“I heard from the guy that most of Red is about,” Swift said. “He was like, ‘I just listened to the album, and that was a really bittersweet experience for me. It was like going through a photo album.’
That was nice. Nicer than, like, the ranting, crazy e-mails I got from this one dude.
It’s a lot more mature way of looking at a love that was wonderful until it was terrible, and both people got hurt from it—but one of those people happened to be a songwriter.”
The Guy who most of Red is about: Jake Gyllenhaal
Ranting Crazy Email Dude: John Mayer