With the release of her Reputation Stadium Tour documentary, Taylor Swift took a step beyond the mostly affirming tone that has characterized her recent pop culture appearances. In the documentary, which follows Swift around New Zealand while she travels with her dancers from concert to concert, you’ll see some of the adorable, goofy moments between Swift and her dancers. For instance, we find out that there’s a personal history between the songstress and one of her dancers, Dougie Baldwin, whom Swift calls “one of my favourite people.”
As the footage unfolds, Swift’s still got plenty of spunk (not to mention the skillfully timed abs), but the film also dives into some of the awkwardness that happens when you use a tour to meet people who really don’t want to meet you. Such was the case in North America, where Swift and some of her dancers visited a Mount Airy Casino bar in the early part of their tour. According to the video, security came inside to interrogate the dancers, and once they realised who Swift was, the workers ushered her into a private room. Upon her arrival, the security guards informed her that the bar and owner were aware of her presence and would like to talk with her. Her response: “Come in here, pick me up.”
That pretty much encapsulates the many ways in which Swift has used her music as a tool to portray the female experience. “I write from this point of view about my experiences,” she told Vogue. “I always write from the point of view of a girl. I was raised by an older woman — I’m the youngest of six kids — and we don’t know anything about the outside world. I was with a great mother. She grew up around the world. We had experience in travelling, but it was a different point of view.”
At that bar in North America, of course, Swift wasn’t surrounded by her family, and thus the hypothetical pick-up line she wrote about would have been empty. The way that she used that experience, however, not only caused her to be humiliated, but to come off looking ironic, since she then did end up in the room to be taken care of, by security. (Side note: On the one hand, we would have wondered how the security guard could have let her write her own story. On the other hand, we can’t think of any better way to represent a celebrity’s awkward behavior than in a video detailing a personal experience.)
Where did they go in there? There has to be the pay-per-view Taylor Swift Festival Saturday right before you speak with us, eh? 😑 https://t.co/2I9wZhrdSX — GIGA (@giga_music) August 9, 2018
Or there are all the other chances when this kind of headline doesn’t quite fit.
As with most headlines when it comes to Swift, there is the chance that there’s a bit of exaggeration, just for laughs. As such, the video takes on a more life-affirming tone after a frame-by-frame rewatch. In truth, she also ends up being taken care of by her bodyguards, who not only absolved her from the humiliation, but also give her a thorough pat on the back for her eccentric charm.
And we really could use the boost. One glance at the backstage photos in the documentary will tell you that Swift could use some. While she’s still got the talent to make great music, the desire to put on a show has declined somewhat. It’s also becoming apparent that Swift has a way of not even being herself, even after a tour. From early-morning photo shoots to her search for a lipstick shade that will flatter her teeth, she’s metamorphosed into a kind of entertainment vampire, that other singer who comes out once a year to pretend she doesn’t exist.
The inspiration behind her Reputation album was an apparent attempt to rebel against the image she’s been defined by since the age of 13. It was a rebellious attempt that crashed and burned, and a puzzling attempt at self-image modification that made her seem not just unrepentant but also a little silly and unhinged.
She goes back into hiding when it’s time to release a hit single, and makes it her mission to release a video to accompany her next album, in order to redeem herself. That video gets released on repeat, and she doesn’t end up in the few bars of fun and frivolity that she was predicting.
To paraphrase former NFL quarterback Joe Namath, and translate into