The Problem With... Taylor Swift's "The Story of Us"

After traveling around cities in New England for a week, I've found myself writing this week's "The Problem With..." in Taylor Swift's neck of the woods -- Pennsylvania. It's a hilly, rocky and forested state where old-school white churches stand in the middle of pastures and where mountains and skyscrapers coexist.

And the bridges! So. Many. Bridges.

I just gotta wonder why Taylor Swift doesn't draw any inspiration from this place. I reckon, though, if she were to spend a week out in these forests or hilly streets, she might turn all folksy and charmingly droopy, like a Rust Belt version of Sarah Jaffe.

No such luck. Instead, we just get another stale, suburban, tale in country form like Swift's recent single, "The Story of Us."

This track sounds a bit louder and heavier than Taylor's previous singles. It details Swift's lingering feelings toward a rusty bridge on some bike trail she used to ride.

Actually, wait. That's just an analogy. It's really about her lingering feelings towards a boy she broke up with. So yeah, it's typical Taylor material.

I've always said that, below the surface, Swift's tunes are like pop-country interpretations of the health reference book, DSM-IV. I'm sure she wrote the entry on boy-craziness.

This time, "The Story of Us" details social anxiety disorder. You could probably take lines from this track to pitch a prescription drug ad for the condition, too: "Are you feeling so many walls up you can't break through? Do you find yourself nervously pulling at your clothes and trying to look busy? You don't have to worry anymore, 'The Story of Us' is here to help you. Side effects may include excessive blushing, musical dryness and listlessness."

Ask your doctor if the "The Story of Us" is right for you.

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The problem with this regular column is that it's constantly expecting something of artistic value from artists who clearly do not possess the legitimate ability to innovate.

Nick R.
Nick R.

So, Lady Gaga doesn't innovate?


I was feeling snippy.  

I'm just not sure if what she does is innovative, or if she's just taking what's already been done there and going 10 steps further with it.  It's adventurous and daring, but I wouldn't say that's the same thing as innovation.  Then again, rumors have been swirling that I was wrong once or twice before.  

Nick R.
Nick R.

Well, then. Props for the succinct argument.

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