Music

Taylor Swift – Red (Taylor’s Version)

When we left things in December of 2020, I was at the end of my rope with sad Tay songs. We had just gotten folklore and evermore back to back and there were whispers of a third in woodvale. If you fast forward to the end of my evermore track by track review you’ll find that I said THAT’S ENOUGH. I couldn’t take anymore sobsies. Then a month later she announced Fearless (Taylor’s Version.) We have literally been inundated with Taylor Swift surprise announcements every few months for 2 years now. If you’d like to see my much bitched about rant on this “Taylor’s Version” era, feel free to click HERE and read #5 so I don’t repeat myself for the zillionth time. Down here on earth, I’m a rational fan. I can lose my G-D mind over her releasing a 10 minute version of my favorite song of all time and also be like ok, everyone calm down now. It’s too much. Short films and surprise music videos and her psycho fans are eagle eyeing every TikTok guessing which album will be re-released next. So from an old bird who puts her pajamas on the second she walks in the door from work, here’s a grounded view of Red (Taylor’s Version.)

*It is important to note that Red was released pre-The Salty Ju (so there is no official blog) but it is and has always been my favorite Taylor album. It came out in the fall of my senior year of college, it will forever give me cruising down the thruway in Upstate NY with peak foliage vibes and *not to brag* but I turned 22 that year so THAT SONG WAS BASICALLY WRITTEN FOR ME and anyone who has turned 22 since doesn’t matter and that’s pretty obvious. My age nearly matching up with Taylor has made her albums that much more relatable. Except for the fact that I never had a 3 month whirlwind affair with a Hollywood actor 9 years older than me. But whatevs, my point being that I’ve always been a Red stan and I’ll take any excuse to throw it on rotation and drive around on a crisp fall day singing along. Even though I never originally gave it a track by track review, it wouldn’t be honest to give my gut reactions to these songs I’ve been listening to for 8 years now, also there were THIRTY songs on this album so we will only be breaking down the 9 “from the vault” tracks we’ve never heard before.

Better Man. Alright so there’s two songs “from the vault” (alright, Walt Disney) that were actually written by Taylor and then when she cut them from Red, she sold them off to other country singers to perform. This one was handed over to Little Big Town. So it’s kinda cheating to be like eh this song doesn’t make the cut on my album, sell it to another artist and then circle back and be like I want it now. Total Indian Giver move. If you haven’t been keeping up though, Taylor does whatever the hell she wants now. So LBT can suck it. It’s a classic country breakup ballad though. Cause sometimes you can realize your ex was T-rash but still miss them.

Best Lyric: I know the bravest thing I ever did was run.

Nothing New (Feat Phoebe Bridgers). Immediately was digging on this song. Duetting with Phoebe’s haunting breathy voice really elevated the typical Taylor sound here. Seemed like something that would’ve fit perfectly on her last two emo albums except it’s not about breakups, it’s about when you’re not a shiny new singer anymore and everyone is over you. Based on the pop culture takeover that Taylor has commanded with this re-release and the fact that Spotify literally crashed on Friday at midnight, I don’t think this is a legitimate concern of Taylor’s anymore. And might I add, staying up past 11 on a school night when you’re 30 is embarrassingly difficult and being met with a Spotify “the page you’re looking for does not exist” was a real boner kill. I had myself questioning if I misunderstood which day it was dropping and after finally getting a lil listen in snug as a bug in bed, I was a literal zombie the next morning when my alarm went off. I’m getting too old for this shit. THANKFULLY we had a 7PM short film premiere and now coming up, a 10AM music video. Much more convenient. PS between the “I’ve had too much to drink tonight” and “how long will it be cute, all this crying in my room” I looked around to see if there was a hidden camera in my apt then realized it was physically impossible for 2010 Taylor to know that 2021 Julia is either drunk or crying or bonus round *both* on any given day.

Best Lyric: Criticize the way you fly/ When you’re soaring through the sky/ Shoot you down and then they sigh/ And say, “She looks like she’s been through it”

Babe. The second take backsies on Red (TV.) This one was released by Sugarland but did have Taylor featured on it so it’s not a total rip from Jennifer Nettles’ paws. It is a little weird though because Jennifer has a very distinctive voice so redoing any of her tunes is a stark difference. It’s just meh for me. “What about your promises, promises” would’ve slapped harder with a 3LW lisp. And to be even more honest, a little word association with the word babe immediately brings me back to the Jason Sudeikis & Kristen Wiig “Two A-Holes” SNL bit. Sucks to be you with a normal brain and have lovely positive associations with this term of endearment and then I stomped in and blew that right to smithereens with a callback to Jason chomping gum at warp speed, tacking babe on at the end of every sentence. You’re WELCOME, BEB.

Best Lyric: I hate that because of you, I can’t love you, babe (BEB.)

Message In A Bottle. What a zesty little banger this is! Again, total curveball in the grand scheme of this album. I feel like this would’ve popped OFFFF on 1989 and I’m surprised she lumped it into the Red era. Realistically, every song that Taylor writes and records is a message in a bottle. LOL to think that she’s like I wonder if the person will hear this. Yeah, girl. 90.8 million people hear the message. Anyway, there’s nothing deep to say about this song. It’s fun and 80’s and I can’t wait to dance my face off to it.

Best Lyric: You could be the one that I keep, and I / I could be the reason you can’t sleep at night (Honestly these lyrics are dumb, sorry not sorry. The song ain’t about the lyrics, it’s about having a crush and groovin it out.)

I Bet You Think About Me (Feat Chris Stapleton). The first time I heard this song I cringed because I L O A T H E when Taylor puts on a Dolly twang. It’s so tacky to me. You grew up in Pennsylvania, girl. If anything you should be saying “hoagie” like an uneducated moron, not have a southern drawl. (Please know that when I diss the PA accent, I’m fully aware of the fact that I say “calendar” like an uneducated moron. We’ve all got stupid accents depending on where we grew up.) Obviously everyone has heard “Our Song” and essentially every other song on her debut album where she put on QUITE the show with a little hick flair. While I do enjoy over-enunciating the words to Our Song just to piss off everyone around me, I’m still never going to be down with faking an accent just to do a country song. ESPECIALLY now that you’re a seasoned musician who has proven to be talented beyond belief. We don’t need the dog and pony show you were putting on as a fresh on the scene teenaged singer. Plus, in front of Chris Stapleton?! Girl. Do better. He’s a Nashville ruby red gem. The soulful voice of a cherub and the humble aw shucks I’m just grateful to be here personality that few actually have. I was a little disappointed he didn’t get his own verse like Phoebe did on her guest appearance. I love to hear Chris let it rip. But now that I’ve dumped on the lack of Chris and the presence of fake accent Taylor, I am happy to share that I do really like this song. The cocky laugh at the beginning and the tell-off ‘tude overall is GRAND. I love a snarky Tay. I’ll be the first to admit that 2010 Jake Gyllenhaal was a total babe soda, but my God what a dooooouuuuuuuchhhheeeee. Love that she gave us more ammo to DRAG him because any a-hole who brags about his indie music and his Hollywood connects and leads book talks over wine with his friends deserves to be pooped all over via twangy sass. Million dollar couch and organic shoes?! BOOOOOOO, JAKE, BOo0oOooOo0Oo. Can’t wait for this Blake Lively directed music video.

Best Lyric: I bet you think about me when you say / “Oh my god, she’s insane, she wrote a song about me” – This is the best possible way to end a song where you just DUMPED all over an ex. Wanna call me crazy, DO IT BITCH.

Forever Winter. Considering the content of this song is about someone being severely depressed, it slaps real hard. The way she goes up an octave in the chorus and the oh, oh, oh’s. Chef’s kiss. Apparently it was written for a friend who died of an overdose at 21. So yeah I feel like a real asshat for being like WOW COOL SONG, but also, cool song. Seriously, to have the ability to take a shitty situation and word vom all of your feelings into a bangpiece of a song is something I’ll forever be envious of as I sit on this blog and write poop jokes day in and day out. We’ve all got talents, folks. Some of them are just more impressive than others.

Best Lyric: He spends most of his nights wishing it was how it used to be / He spends most of his flights getting pulled down by gravity

Run (Feat Ed Sheeran). This was the first song Ed and Taylor ever wrote together and even though I’m a BIG fan of Everything Has Changed (and the adorable video that they made to go with it,) this song is like a warm hug after a shitty day. The simplicity to it and their harmonizing voices are perfect. Maybe if something like this was on Ed’s latest album, I wouldn’t have been so hard on it. The way they take turns singing each line is just downright delicious. I’m not saying I wish Ed and Taylor ended up together but I’m not NOT saying it either.

Best Lyric: There’s been this hole in my heart / This thing was a shot in the dark / Say you’ll never let ’em tear us apart

The Very First Night. Another bubblegum pop beat about falling in love and wanting to be up that person’s butthole 24/7. It’s a gift how I can take a cute little song and incorporate the world butthole into it. For realz though everyone knows when you’re in the honeymoon phase of a relationship and you want to follow that person into the bathroom so that you never have to be apart for even one second. It’s all fun and games and smothering until one time you get too snuggly while your boyfriend is eating dinner and he tells you to back off. HONEYMOON PHASE ENDS WITH A SHARP LEFT, FOLKS. Jus sayin. So enjoy this song and soak in the “I miss you so hard when we don’t talk for five minutes” glow while it lasts because as Tay sings…”we broke the status quo, then we broke each other’s hearts.” See? Dark turn.

Best Lyric: I drive down different roads / But they all lead back to you

All Too Well (Ten Minute Version). HERE IT IS BABY. Saved the best for last. Taylor dropped the “oh I have a ten minute version with swear words” morsel over a year ago at this point and since then I’ve been salivating in wait for its release. She obviously knew how savage we all were for this treasure and she built it up as much as one possibly could. Any true fan did exactly what I did upon the re-release of this album. Midnight hit (I refreshed Spotify 5 times until the album appeared) and I scrolled straight down to this track and smashed play. Nothing else mattered. I knew I would get to them eventually but first order of business was see if this was going to ruin the best breakup song ever written or make it infinitely better. And here’s my Salty Ju hot take. My very first listen I was not blown away. I felt like it didn’t flow. These new verses almost sounded like they were parts of a different song, wedged in and disjointed with the perfection that was the OG All Too Well. Then I slept on it. And when I revisited it the following day (SEVERAL times), I was able to approach with a clearer head. Obviously a song that’s 10 minutes long is going to sound nothing like the original version half its length. I’m so glad we got that one first and nothing will ever top it. But now I’m able to appreciate the bigger picture. And that picture is her spilling more tea on how much Jake stinks. And yes, I am absolutely here for it. I prepped all week to get in my feels and become one with heartbreak. The weather cooperated.

@thesaltyju

To ALL of my friends begging me to hang out…I’m booked on Friday night. #redtaylorsversion #swifttok #alltoowell

♬ All Too Well Taylor Swift – TaylorswiftxFolklore

If I may go verse by verse of the new lyrics…*pops the top on a $7 rosé (shout out Wegmans)*

[Verse 2]
Photo album on the counter, your cheeks were turning red
You used to be a little kid with glasses in a twin-sized bed
And your mother’s telling stories ’bout you on the tee-ball team
You taught me ’bout your past, thinking your future was me
And you were tossing me the car keys, “fuck the patriarchy”
Key chain on the ground, we were always skipping town
And I was thinking on the drive down, any time now
He’s gonna say it’s love, you never called it what it was
‘Til we were dead and gone and buried
Check the pulse and come back swearing it’s the same
After three months in the grave
And then you wondered where it went to as I reached for you
But all I felt was shame and you held my lifeless frame

I was hoping for Taylor to be so overcome with emotion that there were several F bombs. As someone who in the throes of a 6th grade breakup instant messaged “I’m so fuckin sorry” to my weasel of a boyfriend (of two weeks) for how much whining he was doing that I said we should break up so I could play the middle school field, I understand all too well how heartbreak (and guilt) can cause someone to swear like a sailor. Unfortunately, this much hyped explicit content was SUCH a letdown. Making fun of Jake for having a “fuck the patriarchy” keychain is SnOoZeWoRtHy. Come onnnnnnn. Give us some snarky F bombs not a “oOoh you’re a feminist but not really because you treated me like shit” dig. Besides that lamewad keychain, the additional lyrics further paint the picture that in these brief three months, their 9 year age gap was a huge point of contention and Taylor fell HOARD while Jake was more in love with himself than anything else. So right off the bat we get that she was WAY more into it than him and that he was almost ashamed or wanted it to be a secret from his snotty crowd.

And there we are again when nobody had to know / You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath

And then we get to my FAVE new verse. It flows like butta and honestly by like the third rotation of me listening, I was getting annoyed with myself that I hadn’t learned the words yet. Yes that’s right, a 10 minute song that was out for mere hours I was disappointed in not having known every single word of.

[Verse 3]
They say all’s well that ends well, but I’m in a new Hell
Every time you double-cross my mind
You said if we had been closer in age maybe it would have been fine
And that made me want to die
The idea you had of me, who was she?
A never-needy, ever-lovely jewel whose shine reflects on you
Not weeping in a party bathroom
Some actress asking me what happened, you
That’s what happened, you
You who charmed my dad with self-effacing jokes
Sipping coffee like you’re on a late-night show
But then he watched me watch the front door all night, willing you to come
And he said, “It’s supposed to be fun turning twenty-one”

OH MY GOD WHERE TO BEGIN. How about with that first line “all’s well that ends well but I’m in a new hell” YEAH BABY. THE FLOW. Then going right into the savagery of “that’s what happened, YOU.” Damn, dude. I don’t care how many years have passed, that’s gotta hurt. And then to double down with some good ole fashioned Dad guilt. Hey remember when you charmed my dad but then he watched me sob on my 21st birthday because of your stupid ass. MY DAD HATES YOU NOW. But also, not shocking at all that Tay spent her 21st crying instead of getting trashed. Without a lame 21st birthday…would we have gotten the joyful anthem that is 22?! PROBABLY NOT, so for that Jake, we thank you for your service.

And then if I may be a scooch critical… by adding in the previous verse, we kinda lose the buildup BANG of crumpled piece of paper and you keep my old scarf. The original “All Too Well” CRUSHES at building up to a real scream-fest and I love it a whole lot, but with this sprawling story, there’s really no screaming climax. I miss it. Don’t get me wrong, Verse 3 also hits hard, but it’s a more subtle slow burn. And then we arrive at the completely unnecessary final new verse where I was almost like ok, he’s got a family, let’s pull back here. It seemed a little TOO “wait let me make him feel worse.” If the final verse was cut I don’t think that I’d miss it. Plus the beat completely changes and it’s just weird. It feels to me like it doesn’t fit.

[Verse 5]
And I was never good at telling jokes, but the punch line goes
“I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age”
From when your Brooklyn broke my skin and bones
I’m a soldier who’s returning half her weight
And did the twin flame bruise paint you blue?
Just between us, did the love affair maim you, too?
‘Cause in this city’s barren cold
I still remember the first fall of snow
And how it glistened as it fell
I remember it all too well

Like yeah, the pussy posse is always going to slay girls half their age, we’ve all accepted that. Leo’s getting the last laugh at any criticism of his latest young boo thing and I can tell you Jake probably feels the same way. Does it suck that he pointed out your age difference as the reason why things weren’t working then continued to date girls your age? For sure. But it seems a little dramats to compare your heartbreak to a war survivor. I realize I’m one of the most dramatic people on this earth and I’m telling a fellow drama queen to tone it down but it comes from a genuine place. Know when to amp up the drama and when to let it simmer. “That’s what happened, YOU” was a sick burn, no need to then be like YOU BROKE MY BODY AND I WAS AT WAR FROM DATING YOU. It’s too much, girl. Also, the use of the phrase “twin flame” will unfortunately always bring my brain to the two cesspools of tongue that are Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox and that’s not your fault, Tay. Obviously in 2010 you had no clue these two morons would tromp into the spotlight and overshare about their sexual connection. And I’ll be honest it’s not the only zeitgeist buzzword that has made me want to drill a hole in my brain. The term gaslighting, which MANY fans have been using as they break down this song makes me want to take a dive directly off of a cliff. I wish we could do a collective crash course on what the actual definition of this stupid therapy term is because METHINKS that it’s being used incorrectly 90% of the time. If I were to blindly believe the majority of the population these days, every man is a narcissist who gaslights. But that’s a story for another time. From this verse we transition into basically the same lyrics repeated over and over again with this sexy slow jam beat. Going out with a whimper not a bang even though it sounds like we’ve got a little horns section cookin at the end.

WHAT A JOURNEY. From the haunting and melancholy tone of the first piano keys to start to this echo-y sensual sendoff. It is basically a movie playing out in musical form. So much so that Taylor said, you know what? I’m literally going to make it into a movie. Never one to be less than extra, she created this short film to go along with the song. It was fine. If I was missing F bombs in the song they were certainly in no short order in these fight scenes. If you’re so inclined to spend 15 minutes watching a relationship break down as the leaves fall, check it out. Or even if you want to see Taylor as a ginge. (Spoiler alert: fast forward to the end for that.)

Would it have been mind-bending if Jake himself made an appearance at the end rather than just some schmuck named Jake? Yes OBVIOUSLY. But alas, it doesn’t seem like these two could bury the hatchet for the sake of shock value. And realistically, it seems like Jake’s sense of humor is trash so him being in on the joke would be way too much to ask. But after my RAMBLING breakdown of the song Swifties have been patiently waiting for, if you’re not a Tay fan and you just skimmed through this, I will give a 10/10 recommendation to her SNL debut of this song. Just from an artist performance standpoint, she rocked it. The drama and the effects and the emotion as she sang this song were all nailed perfectly and that’s saying a lot from someone who hasn’t watched SNL live in so long that I had to google what time it started. I watched the whole stupid show just for this one performance that I could’ve easily YouTubed the next morning but THAT IS DEDICATION FOLKS and it paid off. I had chills. CHILLS I TELL YOU.

As Colin Jost said immediately following this performance: “The lesson we all learned this week is never break up with Taylor Swift or she will sing about you for ten minutes on national television.” DAS RIGHT, HOMESLICE. Ok but seriously I’m done now for realz. I got what I wanted and now I’m going to play it on loop, learn the words front to back and ruin my best friend’s wedding this weekend by drunkenly performing it at the reception probably using my beer as a fake microphone. Congrats and every happiness to the new couple but…THEY SAY ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL AND I’M IN A NEW HELL EVERY TIME YOU DOUBLE CROSS MY MIIIIINNNNNNNNDDDDDDDD.

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Music

Ed Sheeran – Equals

Well, well, well, if it isn’t the English orangehead loop-stompin monster back after a LENGTHY hiatus with new music. That seems to be the theme lately. I realize not every artist can be Taylor Swift, recording or re-recording a full album each month, but also WHY THE DRY SPELL?! Well, in Ed’s case, it was pretty understandable. Since his last record (Divide, fully reviewed by The Salty Ju upon its release in 2017) Ed has gone cold turkey with the partying, gotten married to a gal named Cherry, and had a baby unfortunately named Lyric Antarctica. So I GUESS he’s been a little busy. We’ll let it slide…for now. This comeback (but don’t call it a comeback) album is titled = or Equals and if you’ve been keeping up with Ed’s discography, is right on par for his math symbols theme. Although, if I may be picky, this seems like a final call if we want to get deep. He’s already released +, x & ÷ and you would THINK the grand finale would be = because that’s typically the end of a math equation. HOWEVER, he still hasn’t used – (minus.) Just some deep thoughts I’m having as I overthink the meaning of math symbols just like Swifties overthink every social caption she’s posted since 2009. Anyway, I’ve done my homework and listened to this album on repeat all weekend long in preparation for this blog. I just know you were all overcome with anticipation for this track by track review because you can’t TRULY enjoy new music until you’ve heard my opinions on it. So without further ado…EQUALS.

  1. Tides*. The very first lyric that Ed sings on his comeback after an off the grid 4 years is “I have grown up, I am a father now.” WHOA. Ok, hot start. He’s setting that damn tone. We’re not going to have any cheeky references to your new douchey boyfriend getting his asshole bleached on Equals, because Ed is a DAD now, guys. It was with this single lyric in the first 5 seconds of listening to this album that I was like oh, fudgsicles. We’re about to get served with 14 songs oozing love and happiness for his new family life. And I have to be completely honest with you, I almost didn’t want to listen. I almost heard this first lyric, rolled down my window driving down 195 and tossed my phone right into the breeze. But I didn’t. Mostly because I’m still paying off that brand new upgraded iPhone, but also because I’m 30 now, guys. I’d like to think I’m mature enough to listen to music about people being blissful in their fairytale life and not want to drive my car off the road because that’s not where my life is. I’ve GROWN. (Quick context: as I’m typing this, I’m hysterically laughing.) But seriously, I’m going to try to listen to this album with an open mind even though I hate when musicians are happier than a pig in shit and therefore only release love songs. (See: Taylor Swift’s Lover which she conveniently released as I was going through a breakup. Thanks for that, TAY.) Ok, so now that I’ve given you that very lengthy preamble, I’ll actually get to the meat of this blog, judging the music. I really like this song. Musically, when he sings the chorus and then jams on those strings to bring it back up again, it makes me want to do a cartwheel. And you know what? I can. Because the message of this song is live your damn life because life is like an ocean, always changing tides, yo!
  2. Shivers. This song was one of the few pre-released singles before we got the whole album. Click here to see my initial thoughts on the music video. As per usual when I first hear a single that’s a little different than what I’m used to from an artist I’m like KILL IT WITH FIRE, and then my hysterics calm down after a few listens. Now that I have the cohesive album, I’m thankful for these club beats to break up all of the I LOVE MY WIFE AND BABY deep cuts. #Grateful for a beat I can drop it down low to and not have to overthink. I’ll be sure to introduce this one to my playlist for the next kitchen dance party with my four year old niece.
  3. First Times. There’s the Ed we know. The classic romantic, introspective love song. If this wasn’t so specific to his achievements in his career, I’d say it’ll be this album’s overused first dance song at weddings. But if I had to venture a guess, no one wants to slow dance to a song about how playing a sold-out crowd at Wembley stadium wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Gawd, Ed. BE MORE UNGRATEFUL. Just kidding, obviously the point of this song is to say that no achievement is worth shit without the love of your life, and every moment with them is the best achievement ever. Or whatevs.
  4. Bad Habits. This was the first single Ed released back in June and I was downright scared. Our first taste of Ed tuneage in several years and he drops this jumpy beat with a creepy vampire music video. Read my kneejerk reaction here. And obviously, remember that I’ve toned it down since then. What a sneaky little B Ed is releasing the only two club jamz from this album to trick people into thinking that was his new sound. Then he drops the whole thing and it’s like GOTCHA! This song is another fun jam to groove to despite the fact that the lyrics are touching upon Ed’s years of going HOARD in the party scene which eventually led to him going stone cold sober. I get it, once you get your moneymaker sliced and diced by a royal sword, it’s time to reconsider if you need to take a beat from drinking…but that doesn’t mean cancel ALL partying! Moderation is key for all bad habits.
  5. Overpass Graffiti*. ALRIGHT now we’re cooking with gas, baby. We’ve got a breakup song. It’s not a sassy tell-off, it’s wistful and sweet full of nostalgia but rather than being a total downer, it’s 80’s MAGIC. I love that he sped up this song and made it snappy. And those background scream-y vocals?! Oh, hell yea. Can’t wait to practice those at full volume in the shower. Plus to finish things out, he does my fave thing singers do where they take away the instrumentals and just sing with an echo effect at the end before the music kicks back in. I tell you, that and a good clap break in a song will get me EVERY damn time.
  6. The Joker And The Queen. I really don’t like this song. I’ve spent all weekend listening to the album in full with no skips and every time this one came on my finger was ITCHING to next it right out of my ears. They can’t all be winners and a dramatically slow piano ballad with an old timey sound and unrelatable lyrics just didn’t hit with me. Total personal preference. Obviously it’s well done–Ed has the voice of an angel, it’s simple with just the piano and the strings and there’s a nice musical interlude that might be fit for a 1940’s black and white picture but sorry I’m uncultured swine and I just can’t get down with it.
  7. Leave Your Life. I love the beat of this but natch the lyrics don’t resonate so much with me because I don’t have a popstar dad who goes on international tours. Ed wrote this song as a letter to his daughter in case anything ever happens to him. I used to go on and on about how I was my dad’s little mistake and that he was probably out playing a gig with his band Zipper at the Rusty Nail when I was born and couldn’t be bothered to come to the hospital. So I guess it’s kinda the same thing. Except my dad never wrote a song for me, he just wrote a bunch of songs about presidents, books and God. Your move, DEN. Also out of all of these songs, this is the only one that’s consistently been stuck in my head all weekend so it’s definitely got sticking power.
  8. Collide. How appropriate that after his love letter to his daughter, he writes a love letter to his wifey. This is basically a laundry list of all their memories as a couple. It’s like when you sign someone’s yearbook and write a bunch of inside jokes. And honestly that’s kind of the theme for this album. I understand Ed is an artist and he wants to release songs that he’s proud of and all, but there’s at least three songs on this album that I can think of that could’ve just been recorded for his family and shared privately. It’s romantic as hell to release public love songs that are very obviously for one specific person, but that person is not me and therefore I’m bitter as hell about having to listen to it. Whoops, guess I haven’t matured. The effort was there, I promise. But also, no one cares that you two have been to an Irish bar in Rome.
  9. 2step. Fun fact, I got firsthand two-step lessons from a Texas girl in a Boston bar while I was schnackered. I’m sure it was a real sight for sore eyes to see a bar with 5 people in it and 2 of them are two-steppin to whatever bro country song was playing. Haven’t 2stepped since then. In fact, gun to my head I wouldn’t be able to remember how to do it. The Jersey turnpike is the only dance move that’s stuck with me. #sorrynotsorry This song is a nice lil groove about how dancing makes all your troubles go away, which I wholeheartedly support. It’s also OG Ed with the double time singing/almost rapping and oh boy is it good to have him back.
  10. Stop The Rain*. What a cuppa positivi-TEA. See what I did there? Punny AND British. Also, just facts. This is a great anthem and I love it a lot. Plus it has CLAPS! The rain gonn’ come baybay, but just pop open that umbrella and keep on chuggin YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAAHHHHHHHH.
  11. Love In Slow Motion. Alright, back to his lady. This is obviously a nice slow jam for all the married couples who have kids or busy lives and don’t take the time to do date night or focus on each other. Take your time away from those runny-nosed puke monsters and talk to your sig oth and remember why you fell in love with each other and decided to create those runny-nosed puke monsters to begin with. Or whatever. I dunno. I’m running out of steam here, folks. I had the open mind to start and then slowly but surely it started to close as each sappy love song started playing. We’re reaching the end of our rope here.
  12. Visiting Hours*. Oh, great! I just admit I’m reaching the end of my rope and then we throw in a death song! READ THE ROOM, ED. Anyway, get ready to sob your damn face off to this song. It’s about wishing you could visit those you’ve lost and update them on your life and let me tell you, it’s beautiful and depressing all at once. Written for his friend who passed suddenly and sung at his memorial service, there will never be a dry eye in the house when this song is playing, I can assure you that. And not for nothing, but the composition of the song, using backup vocals in certain parts, the horns section and you guessed it, my favorite break for vocals only with no instrumentals at the end, CHEF’S KISS.
  13. Sandman. Remember when I was like hey maybe some of these songs didn’t need to be on a public-facing album that people spend money on? DING DING DING DING. I’ll take “A lullaby for your infant daughter” for 500 please, Alex. AUTOMATIC SKIP without even a second thought. I don’t have children so maybe those Ed fans who are parents will appreciate him including this but I sure do not. I didn’t think I was listening to Raffi’s greatest hits and therefore when this hit my eardrums I had to do a double take and be like did Spotify pull a fast one on me? Appreciate the calming island vibes but I’m lulled to sleep the normal adult way, to the sounds of a sitcom I’ve seen 9 zillion times. Shout out to the zesty way he sings “shake of a lamb’s tail” though. I’ll give him that.
  14. Be Right Now. Alright, we’ve made it to the end and the message as it has been on every other song so far, is LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL. This closer is about living in the moment and it’s a got quite a club beat but is also oddly soothing. A conundrum of a song to ease us on down the road. It’s a breezy palate cleanser to leave you twirling away from this chapter of Ed’s life. Also, I originally bitched about how long he’s gone without putting out music and then as I was diving into each track, I learned that he started working on this album in 2017 so my apologies for being a greedy dirtbag, apparently works of art can take time. Another note I’d like to make, the last track and the first track flow SEAMLESSLY together. A couple times I wasn’t paying attention and this song ended and Tides began and it felt like just a continuation of this tune. So well done for all your repeat listeners, Ed (whether you intended it or not) we’ve got two great bookends to this story!

Overall Notes: I mean not to beat a dead horse here but obviously this album is REAL specific to the place Ed is in currently and therefore lacked a lot of relatability for me. And again, not just because I’m a single bitter loser, but also because each song had SUCH detailed accounts of memories or things that have happened in his life. Certainly much more of a diary entry album than songwriting and music that we can all apply to our lives, which is how people typically connect with songs. It’s not a bad album by any means and it has a great and uplifting theme overall, but it’ll be lower on the list in my personal rankings, which are as follows: 1. Divide 2. Multiply 3. Plus 4. Equals. And remember that these criticisms come from someone who has never written a song, lacks all musical talents and just has a lot of strong opinions SOLELY based on her own worldview. So, if you loved this album and it made you feel like you were floating on air, more power to ya-take my sass with a grain of salt and a shake of a lamb’s tail.

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John Mayer – Sob Rock

Keeping things spicy over here by introducing a new artist to the classic Salty Ju feature where I recap an album track by track and relate every song back to my own personal experiences. And then I judge those songs based on absolutely 0 musical expertise. JOIN ME, WHY DON’T YA?! It’s John Mayer’s first album since 2017 and it’s a short one but I welcome it with open arms because who doesn’t love an 80’s cassette player aesthetic and a breakup album. For those of you who are in the know, J.May’s 2006 album Continuum is the greatest breakup album of all time and though it will never be topped, I feel like this is the first time John has inched back to the genius of that all-time classic both musically and lyrically speaking. So let’s hop right in and sob our faces off (shout out Taylor Swift and John for really coming in hot with the soundtracks to our hearts being shattered into a million pieces this year.)

 

  1. Last Train Home.* John’s first single off of Sob Rock and what a musical snack it is. When it was first released I tweeted this:

And I still stand firmly behind that. Guy’s clearly got a thing for trains but thank God he went for the uppers this time around when using locomotive imagery. We’ve got a little Toto’s Africa vibe to it with the funky instrumentals and it just makes you want to wiggle your hips. Simple song with a nice hopeful message that Johnny boy will find his wifey and ride that train right on into a home filled with kids. I guess kinda sad because he’s pushing 45 and clearly wants to settle down now but certainly not as sad as Stop This Train which is about how we all die and he doesn’t want to. So, like I said, much more of a bop in the train category of tunes. Plus… there’s only about 3 seconds at the very end of Maren Morris doing backup vocals, which is really all we need. Thank you for your time, Maren.

Best Lyric: “I’m not a fallen angel, I just fell behind”

Here’s the music video, which was absolutely nothing special and could’ve been much better but further gives off that throwback vibe to set the tone for this album.

2. Shouldn’t Matter But It Does.* Oooohh baby, this is a great little ditty to really get in your feels with. You wanna know the WERST part of a breakup? That you feel ALL of the things and you can’t do anything to stop it. All anyone wants to do is not care afterward and yet it’s actually SUPER hard to not care. Show me a person who says they’re carefree and I’ll show you a liar because that person does not exist This is a lovely slow jam with a dose of real talk lyrics about all the things that you feel or think about after a breakup that you want to not feel or think about but that’s life, man…no control I tell ya. There’s all kinds of kinds when it comes to breakup songs and as we’ve seen with the popularity of Olivia Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U” the post-breakup rage is alive and well. But sometimes after your twenties, you need a little more lowkey rage and you just wanna listen to something a scooch more mellow passive aggressive and text your ex: hey, this shouldn’t matter but I’m listening to John Mayer on my bathroom floor at 3 am with a bottle of wine and guess what it DOES matter.

Best Lyric: You shoulda been sad instead of being so fucking mean. (BURN CITY TIMES A ZILLION.)

3. New Light. I was a little thrown off when I was giving Sob Rock my first blind listen that he included songs he released literally three years ago. Kinda a boner kill when you’re excited to discover new songs and you hear one that not only has been out for several years but also kinda stinks. Never been a huge fan of New Light. It’s a little *too* experimental with what I can only imagine are computer-generated sounds in the background. John, my love, you’re a phenomenal guitar player – you do not need all these bells and whistles to make a song “breezy.” Although I am a real sucker for a groove break, which this song has right before John rips a tasty solo lick. I do love that John’s more recent music is embracing the fact that he’s old as hell and yet still in the dating world dealing with all the bullshit us fellow singles are dealing with. He’s out here getting friend zoned…John Mayer. Friend. Zoned. Just makes him even more relatable, especially after his very un-relatable outing for being a semi-abusive douchey boyfriend in Jessica Simpson’s memoir–people don’t forget!

Best Lyric: Pushing 40 in the friend zone. (Yoikes, rough look)

And his super weird 80’s music video for this one back in 2018:

4. Why You No Love Me. This is a sad mariachi song. As soon as I heard the first grammatically incorrect “why you no love me” I was equal parts confused and hysterically laughing because I pictured John in a Mexican restaurant singing this while wearing a large sombrero. Other than that very dramatic chorus, the rest of the lyrics were legit and I mean come on, the album is called sob rock…this certainly fits the bill. The end of this song sounds like a 90’s TV show theme song coming to a close. Oddly specific but that’s exactly what I thought of, like oh ok Growing Pains is about to start.

Best Lyric: Hurt me once, I let it be / Hurt me twice, you’re dead to me / Three times makes you family. WHAT A GREAT PLAY ON WORDS HERE. No one hurts you like family does so guess you’re part of my family now, bitcc!

5. Wild Blue. Your jazzy insert to this album. Groovy beat and all about that jam band life but kind of an eh song overall. Since I don’t have much to say about this song, I’ll tell a fun story. This past week I was rehashing to my dad how my staff meeting zoom call got all sorts of awkward when an impromptu game was added to share what’s on your desk at home that you would bring to your desk at work. There was minimal sharing and a whole lotta dead air, and my dad’s response was “you should’ve said check out my Steely Dan.” And I was like why would I randomly bring up 70’s rock band Steely Dan during my staff meeting. And my dad goes you know how they got their name right? Obviously I did not. It was the name of a vibrator. YA LEARN SOMETHIN NEW EVERY DAY I TELL YA. Not only is that a fire flames name for a battery operated boyfriend but ALSO a great band name. Win, win for all. Can confidently say I will not be bringing vibe talk to the table amongst my work colleagues but what a fun piece of music trivia to insert into this blog that should be passed along for generations to come as we’re reelin’ in the years. (wink.) Also, if you didn’t enjoy my story, enjoy John dancing awkwardly to this song via his Tok.

@johnmayer

In the words of the great @rejectedjokes – Dance small. Listen big. #wildblue #sobrock #newmusic #music #dancesmalllistenbig

♬ original sound – johnmayer

Best Lyric: This entire verse is art: All the tears I meant to cry / Dance across the evenin’ sky / And in my sorrow, I can see / That missing you belongs to me

6. Shot In The Dark.* A catchy tune and wOrLd’S cOLLiDiNG, it is *heavily* rumored that several of the lyrics in this song are nods to Taylor Swift. I don’t subscribe to the belief that John Mayer is nearing his 50’s and is looking back wistfully on Taylor Swift hoping for a second chance. But I do believe that he loves pop culture and appreciates a nod for intrigue or chatter. I think Taylor was probably young and naive and John Mayer is a reputable star and when they worked together, they hooked up and Taylor took it much more seriously than it was and was heartbroken and John was casj and cool as a cuke about it. Taylor wrote Dear John which was most obviously about him right down to featuring guitar that sounds like a John Mayer song. It was not subtle. I definitely don’t think Dear John keeps J.May up at night but he did look like a real creep after it came out, so if intertwining his music with Taylor’s again clears his name, I’m sure he’d be willing to give it a shot. Taylor’s song Getaway Car has the lyric “we never had a shotgun shot in the dark” so this could potentially be a play on that. Regardless of if there’s any intentional wordplay here, it’s a bangerang of a song. John was killin em with smoove lyrics about love and breakups way before Taylor ever was and he’s reaffirming that with this album.

Best Lyric: I’ve loved seven other women and thеy all were you.

Enjoy this music video featuring some quality and highly entertaining John dance sequences:

7. I Guess I Just Feel Like. Another cheat song originally released two years ago. This one I like better than New Light probably because I’m such a Positive Polly. That was sarcasm, guys…this song is depressing AF. It’s basically a stream of consciousness or a classic diary entry of like everything in the world sucks now, I have too many worries and I’m alone. YOIKES. This is a song exclusively for days when you have a real aggressive case of the poor me’s. Listen to it, nod your head soulfully, then shake it off and go find a butterfly or something nice to remind you why you’re not on suicide watch. At least the end of the song has a hopeful spin. John’s like HAHA it’s ok guys no need to do a wellness check, I just felt like giving up but I’m gonna find my way so don’t you worry about me. ALL GOOD!

Best Lyric: That love’s gonna save us from a world that’s gone mad.

8. Til The Right One Comes.* Oh jeeze we needed this pick me up after that debbie downer. Classic rock vibes here as John tells us that he’s actually not going to die alone. He’s just waiting for the right lady. He’s not going to just dive into bed with whoever these days, he’s looking for that forever kind of love and she’s just around the damn corner so everyone just reeeelaxxxxxxx. I admire John’s positivity here and also may I take a moment to really appreciate how guitar heavy this album has been. I feel like pop, rock, and country songs rarely include an instrumental bridge and it’s refreshing to have a moment in each of these songs to just bop right along.

Best Lyric: As if I woke up lonely one morning / Looked around and decided I would stay that way. AND Headed the wrong way down that highway of dreams. (I couldn’t choose just one, sue me.)

9. Carry Me Away. Apparently this was released in 2019. Honestly I don’t think I’ve heard it. Also can we make it a law going forward that if you’re going to do a BIG lead up to an album drop, lots of press, merch, a tour, etc. the album has to be 100% new songs. None of this recycling shit. If I’m going to get hyped up this hard I want 10 brand spanking new unheard songs. I know you can sit down and write a smash-hit breakup song in a few hours, so this was just a lazy move here. This song is decent but didn’t knock my socks off. It’s certainly no Ravioli Shoes and I think we all can agree.

Best Lyric: You’re just the kinda crazy I’ve been lookin’ for.

10. All I Want Is to Be with You.* Strong finish with a fresh jam. I would’ve been MAD online if he closed out the album with a recycle. I love him singing in the lower register here and the way he breaks up/the cadence of “All I Want Is to Be with You.” I’m sure there’s a real fancy musical term for this, but you get what I’m saying right? The way he sings it with the guitar strums matching up is chef’s kiss. Also just in general the low guitar notes here. It feels kinda like Johnny Cash song and I’m here for it. Full disclosure, I called my dad at 9:30 last night to ask if this was a guitar or a bass because I didn’t want to be like damn he’s really slappin that bass and it sounds amazing and be completely wrong. So moral of the story is the efforts I put in (and really my dad puts in) to make this blog accurate are top tier. You’re welcome.

Best Lyric: I dance alone with deja-vu / But all I want is to be with you.

Overall Sob Rock Note: I know I gave J.May a lot of shit for bringing back old songs but I assume he did so because of the theme of this album and the cohesive story he wanted to tell. It’s not often that you can listen to an album front to back anymore and I feel like he really nailed it with this one. I listened to it on repeat all weekend and never pulled a skiperoni, plus it was rainy as shit this weekend so honestly the mood lined up perfectly. It’s like John Mayer knew this summer was going to be gloomy and depressing and was like ASSEMBLE, TEAM, IT’S TIME FOR SOB ROCK. It’s also not lost on me that Sob could stand for Son of a Bitch, which the press has really made John Mayer out to be over the years (the press and Jessica Simpson.) He’s had quite the reputation as womanizer controlling pee-drinking crapface…I may have gone a little off the cuff there but I think the older John gets, the wiser he gets when it comes to relationships and love. Yeah breakups are literally the pits, but that shouldn’t stop you from finding the right one but maybe proceeding with caution. FIND THAT LAST TRAIN HOME, JOHN! We’re rooting for you.

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taylor swift – evermore.

Taylor Alison Swift looked 2020 directly in the eye and said I’m going to make you my bitch. Musically speaking, of course. She kicked things off with folklore in August, surprising us all with a real woodsy vibe and easily her best songwriting to date. Then she puts out a live performance on Disney + in a recording studio that is like an hour away from me and I’m mad as hell she didn’t notify me of her vicinity. And here we are, closing out 2020 with evermore because she “just couldn’t stop writing songs.” She calls it a birthday gift to us as she turns 31 but really the gift is that she rolled out back to back sadgirl albums in the WORST year of my life. I feel SEEN. Let’s dive in.

1. willow. I was very heated about the music video for this song. Mostly because Taylor typically adopts a specific look for each album era and the one she has chosen for this one is unfortunately bangs. Curls and bangs don’t go together. They just don’t. And now we’ve extended this era for double the time and WE MAY NEVER KNOW WHEN THE FLUFFY BANGS WILL GO AWAY. Plus she added pilgrim fashion on top of that for the video and it’s a statement I wasn’t in love with. HOWEVER, without the visual, I could focus much harder and this is definitely one of my favorite songs off this album. folklore had a kickass start with the 1 and now evermore has a solid opener with this enchanting ditty. Also I would be remiss to not include that one of her psycho fans went back in time to the “mean” era and found the word willow in the music video so apparently Taylor was calling her shot back in 2010, while wearing the same table linens your grandma uses on special occasions.

best lyric: But I come back stronger than a ’90s trend (she’s speaking directly to me with this.)

2. champagne problems. The start of this song is giving me MAJOR New Year’s Day vibes and I LOVE it. The simple piano and vocals together, I literally had to double check I was listening to the right album the first time it started playing. Except rather than singing about true love lasting long after the party’s over, this one is about true love being set ablaze. A rejected proposal, YOOOOIIIIIKES. Despite the fact that this starts out SUUUUUPER depressing and you feel for this imaginary character who proposes to a girl whose like nah, I’m good…when she changes tune with “one for the money, two for the show, I never was ready so I watch you go,” it’s catchy as hell and THEN we get a GLORIOUS F bomb. Taylor finally put on her big girl pants on folklore and gave us all the curses. It was like the girl in college who was sheltered in high school and never tried drinking then does a kegstand and blacks out at her first frat party. Once the floodgates opened after all these years being PG, Taylor was screaming F bombs from the rooftop and I’m beaming with pride to see that she’s still letting them fly. She’s 31 now. SHE’S ALL GROWN UP. Brings a tear to my eye. Plus, it’s cathartic AF to really hit home on a well-placed swear in these magical tunes.

best lyric: She would’ve made such a lovely bride / What a shame she’s fucked in the head,” they said (I don’t know how Taylor knew what everyone was saying about me but same.)

3. gold rush. Right away you can tell this is a Jack Antonoff song with the beat and the breathy wonder to it. My head was already bopping away and then she hits the speed round with “with your hair falling into place like dominoes.” Wooooo girl. Assumptions are that this is a Joe song because she’s constantly using gold in songs about him and also she thinks everyone’s obsessed with him and trying to steal him but I’m not really sure why. How these two aren’t married yet is the real surprise of 2020. Waiting for that news to drop, surprise style of course.

best lyric: My mind turns your life into folklore / I can’t dare to dream about you anymore

4. ’tis the damn season. It took me roughly 24 hours to abuse the shit out of this phrase. It’s not my fault it’s timely as hell and also sassy. I’ve already used it as an instagram caption and said it to several people. IN fact, I’m actually a little peeved I already sent out my Christmas cards this year because I would’ve 100% used it there too, it really would’ve fit my whole drinking wine solo in front of my Christmas tree mood that I forced into everyone’s homes. On top of just loving this title, the fact that she’s using it to justify hooking up with your ex/hometown love at the holidays makes it SUH much better. It’s like a Hallmark movie but without the lame kiss and happy ending. It’s for bad gurlz who just wanna bang their high school sweetheart on holiday break and wonder what it would be like to stay there and play out the Hally fantasy. No one ever does though because those movies are trash and don’t show what happens AFTER the city girl gives up her corporate job to pop out kids with the hometown guy who drives his truck around the 150 person town. Shot in the dark here, but I’m guessing that story ends in divorce 99% of the time. WOmpP WoooMppppp. Better off getting the nostalgia bang and then skidaddling back to your life in the big city if you ask me.

best lyric: And the heart I know I’m breakin’ is my own / To leave the warmest bed I’ve ever known (damn that one hit hard.)

5. tolerate it. In Swiftie dramatic fashion, there’s special meaning to the 5th track on each of her albums. It pretty much started with All Too Well because of the vulnerability and storytelling and from then on, Taylor made a point to put her most soul-baring songs as track fives. Or, in this case, soul-crushing failed relationship songs. This is a fun ditty about being more in love with someone than they are with you. Just kidding there’s nothing fun about it at all. Unless, like me, you laugh out loud at what a creep she is at the beginning of the song. There’s no non-creepy spin on “I sit and watch you.” It’s right in line with OG Taylor “so I’ll watch your life in pictures like I used to watch you sleep.” I get the sentiment. You love someone, you gaze at them a lot. But alllsoooooo hard not to have some peeping tom qualities to it. Let’s take a beat and put our binocs away on that one.

best lyric: I made you my temple, my mural, my sky / Now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life

6. no body, no crime (feat HAIM). This was a real spicy add to all these heartbreaking tales and I welcomed it with open arms and also took some notes. (Never know when you’re gonna need to know how to off a cheater and cover your tracks, yanno?!) Right off the bat I was like ooh baby we’ve got some big Pistol Annies Hell on Heels energy comin thru here. Don’t underestimate us ladies cause we will ERASE YOU FROM THIS PLANET. Jus sayin. You think it’s a coincidence that chicks love true crime? We’re storing all that info away in case we need it one day. Taylor and the Haim sisters may have just been kidding with this song, but I don’t for a second doubt that Taylor could get away with murder in real life. No body, no crime, man. Think about THAT next time you’re f’ing with Taylor’s life, Scooter.

best lyric: Good thing my daddy made me get a boating license when I was fifteen / And I’ve cleaned enough houses to know how to cover up a scene

7. happiness. Leave it to this tricky B to name a song happiness and have it be THE OPPOSITE of happiness. The conundrums are just never ending. During the Disney + special, Taylor talked about My Tears Ricochet and how she became fascinated with writing about divorce and this idea that the person who knows you best is now your enemy and therefore knows exactly how to attack your insecurities and tear you down. She compared it to how she felt with the Scooter/Scott Borchetta drama but also it’s clear she’s still very into this deep dive on the big D. Speaking of the Big D, leave it to me to hear this lyric: “And I pulled your body into mine / Every goddamn night, now I get fake niceties” and IMMEDIATELY assume she’s making a sex reference. Cause that’s how my brain works. Now that I re-read it, she probably just meant cuddling and here I am going right for the penetration comparisons. I guess I was just hoping in addition to all the swears, she might start dropping artfully crafted sexual innuendos as well. Either way, lyrics about getting D’ed down or not, this song is haunting as shit.

best lyric: But now my eyes leak acid rain on the pillow where you used to lay your head / After giving you the best I had / Tell me what to give after that (this entire song is a best lyric, but if I had to pick one…)

8. dorothea. I gotta be real with you guys, this song starts a little bit of a downward slump for me on the second half of this album. There’s a couple snoozy songs back to back in the middle before it picks back up again and I had a hard time staying into it. Right away with this one, we’re using a very old lady name and it’s not really a compelling storyline. It’s about a friend lost, and if you ask the psychos who analyze EVERY SINGLE DETAIL, they’ll tell you it’s about Selena Gomez. I read exactly one article to see where they’re getting this assumption from and it is VERY far fetched. Selena’s favorite movie is Wizard of Oz, and she doesn’t care about fame and she has a beauty line now. OPE, this song MUST be about her! God I’d love to live in a hardcore Swiftie’s mind for the first 12 hours of an album release. Whether this song is about Selena or not, it’s kinda meh.

best lyric: And if you’re ever tired of being known for who you know / You know, you’ll always know me, Dorothea

9. coney island (feat. The National). After drooling her face off about The National so much and writing Folklore with Aaron Dessner, Taylor finally got her long-awaited emo collab. Had a hard time connecting with this one, and not just because the coney (a white spicy hot dog for all you uneducated wieners) gives me diarrhea. JK, I know they’re talking about the trashy pier amusement park south of NYC. I think at one point in life, Coney Island was the belle of the ball. But from what I’ve seen, it’s pretty gross now. I wasn’t kidding about Hoffmann’s coney’s though, those dogs pack a punch. Only try one if you’re near a bathroom. These are the things I yap about when I don’t know what to say about a song because it’s just doesn’t knock my socks off. You’re welcome.

best lyric: If I can’t relate to you anymore / Then who am I related to? (love a good wordplay)

10. ivy. It’s important to note that not only is Taylor free flowing with the F bombz now, but clearly has also taken an affinity to G-D as well. I shorten G-D because it is the one swear that my dad does not tolerate, and he is one of my few loyal readers so I try not to T him off. Although, he did just send me a text to brag about how they were playing Friday Night Lights on TV this weekend knowing that I don’t have cable. So who is the real troutsniffer here?

Anyway, other than my dad taunting me with that babe soda Coach Taylor, this song picks things back up a bit. It makes me want to skip through a field but not in an outfit you would wear to a one room schoolhouse (jk I pull that shit OFF-see below.) Also noteworthy: another song about an affair. SCANDALOUS.

best lyric: My pain fits in the palm of your freezing hand

11. cowboy like me. I knew the first time I heard this song that it was going to be my insta-skip for this album. There’s one every time. A weird song that I don’t vibe with and I immediately want to get it out of my earholes. Last album was epiphany, before that it was nice to have a friend on Lover. This song is like sad 90’s country and honestly it just draaagggsss. Bonus points for another hard F though. GET IT, GURL. EARN that parental advisory.

best lyric: Forever is the sweetest con (daaaaaamn that has some stank on it.)

12. long story short. This was a much needed bopsicle after the cowboy ballad that preceded. Got some 80’s feels to it but I literally would’ve accepted anything to wake me from that heartbreak slumber. Even though this one is also about WAIT FOR IT a breakup. Or at least, a romantic history. Bad times and wrong guys, tale as old as time. Some say this is about Tom Hiddleston, and to that I say buuuuulllllshit. I still believe ole Tommy boy was a publicity stunt and she never actually dated him. WAY too many photographs in such a short period of time. That paparazzi snap of him in the ocean at her 4th of July bonanza wearing an I ❤ TS shirt still lives rent-free in my mind to this day. And also makes me cringe. A wifebeater in the ocean, woof.com. Long story short: Tom Hiddleston was a decoy. Convince me otherwise, I dare you.

best lyric: Your nemeses / Will defeat themselves before you get the chance to swing

13. marjorie. Another toss to the family lineage, Epiphany was about her grandfather’s military experience (also track thirteen on folklore) and Marjorie was her grandma’s name. So obviously her grandma visited her from beyond the grave and was like what am I? CHOPPED LIVER?! And Taylor was like I HAVE TO PUT OUT A SISTER ALBUM FOR GRAMS. Facts. It took me until looking up the lyrics to see that she was saying “what died didn’t stay dead” and not using a weird accent with WHAT I DIDN’T SAY IS. This song is fine. Like I said, I felt like things really went downhill after happiness (for me.) Kinda sounds like her grandma is haunting her and as someone who learned that spirits visit us at certain hours of the night and have been terrified of a post-grave visit ever since, I’m out on ghosts.

best lyric: Never be so politе You forget your power / Nevеr wield such power You forget to be polite (solid advice, Grams)

14. closure. Sassy Tay comin in hawt at the end PLUS a little backbeat to soundtrack this metaphorical FU. Take your letter and shove it up your b-hole cause Taylor don’t need your stinkin’ closure. Since we’re on the topic, closure is crap. No one will ever have closure. It’s one of those made up things we use as an excuse to see someone we fell out with and then you realize that no matter what they say or do, and no matter what you say or do, it doesn’t change things. Thus, CRAAAAAP. You’ll never feel settled about something ending in a way you didn’t want it to end, you’ll just have to get the hell over it. And that’s talkin’ closure from the most bitter ass bitch in the room. Thank you for reading because I feel SO MUCH BETTER NOW having said my peace. Nahhhhhhhht.

best lyric: I know I’m just a wrinkle in your new life / Staying friends would iron it out so nice

15. evermore (feat. Bon Iver). I guess I’m like a whole ass Bon Iver stan now because Exhile slaps and so does this. I’m really getting in touch with haunting piano and whiny vocals in my later years in life. If you ask me, that’s basically this past year in a nutshell so it’s not surprising that I’m getting my depression vibes on with these jams. Starting out with “Gray November, I’ve been down since July” really solidified that as well for me. If you know, we could sub out “July” and tap in “January” in its place. Cause yes November is grey and yes I’ve been down and out since January and probably will be EVERMORE. Another word no one will be able to stop me from using and abusing going forward. Saying something lasts forever? That’s so 2019 back when we had things to look forward to in life. Nah, now it’s EVERMORE. Soooo much more melodramatic. Can’t wait to drop it in everyone’s grillpiece. THIS PAIN WILL BE FOR EVERMORE.

best lyric: I rewind thе tape but all it does is pause / On thе very moment, all was lost

OVERALL album notes: Listen, you come to The Salty Ju, you’re gonna get brutal honesty. I’m a superfan (not a ‘read into signs and guess that Taylor is hiding the fact that she gave birth to triplets based on an obscure tree branch in the background of cover art’ kind of superfan) and yet I can also tell it like it is with Tay. Folklore was kind of a storytelling phenomenon for her. She’s always been a bitchin’ lyricist using highfalutin vocabulary, synesthesia (see? I know big words too), and in-depth imagery. Folklore brought that to the next level because it was no longer about what music will tour well or play on the radio, it was just about writing good shit that tells a compelling story. It seemed like she was trying the least to make a statement and yet all of those songs made a statement. And that’s why I love her. HOWEVER, I feel like there’s a reason artists pick a limited amount of songs to release on an album. If they released every song they ever wrote, we’d be real inundated with a lot of songs that were just ok and maybe there’s a reason they wouldn’t make the cut. And that’s how I feel about evermore. Are there some more great songs on here? Absolutely. But is there a lot of eh? Also yes. I love crying my face off to a breakup song as much as the next sad B, but it comes to a point after several hours of the sobsies that you have to mix a real uplifting bop in or you’ll be on suicide watch. And 32 slow songs about death, loss, divorce, addiction, love triangles, witches, women-haters can seem A WEE BIT OVERWHELMING. Which leads me to my next point: everyone is CONVINCED there’s a third “sister” album coming. Taylor loves a trilogy and there have been little clues here and there that this is actually going to be a three album story and to that I say

I truly can’t take anymore. I know I said before that I feel seen but maybe I feel a LITTLE TOO SEEN. I never thought I’d see the day when I want LESS sad music to smother me this year, but I think this era can comfortably end here. Let’s pep it up for 2021 and pretend things are getting better. So there you have it. evermore can’t top folklore–although I do appreciate it showing up to the party– and “woodvale” should sit this one out. Now excuse me while I continue to drown myself in lowercase letters, while my eyes leak acid rain, as I use these poetic lyrics to describe my own feelings in therapy until the new year. (My therapist will be a Swiftie by the time I’m through with her.)

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Country, Music, Red Carpet

ACM Awards 2020

I dipped my toe in the quarantine awards show waters with the MTV VMA’s a couple of weeks ago and they were a downright disaster. Half was pre-taped, it was confusing as hell and watching a host that’s not really funny to begin with tell awk jokes to an empty room was cringeworthy as hell. Also, I must also add that I probably aged out of the VMA’s about ten years ago but much like everything else in my life, I refuse to accept it. Regardless, I’m bored as dick and thirsty as hell for awards shows. I live for getting a little wine sauced, stuffing snacks in my snackhole and judging fashion choices and unexpected live moments when celebrities all gather in one arena. Obviously COVID has really dumped all over that. It really hasn’t stopped me from dabbling in these attempted multiple-location, no audience awards shows so we will FORGE AHEAD. Since there wasn’t officially a “red carpet”, there’s only a few pictures to work with here so instead of doing a best and worst dressed, I’ll slap them all together and give you my sasshole commentary as per usual. A quick overall note, if I may…due to the fact that there wasn’t a E! worthy red carpet with Ryan Seacrest asking everyone what they were wearing and what snacks they have in their pantry at home, celebs did not care to dress up for this event. Loungewear casj chic was a real vibe for this show. Lots of sneaks and tees. If I sound judgmental please know that I’m not because this is my casual-wear and it makes the following look like couture.

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charleskelley

This shirt is barftastic and I’m not just saying that because Lady “A” came across like a buncha pricks by changing their name for being racist & doubling down when it turned out to be the name of an already established black artist. YOOOOOOOIKES. To that shirt and also their PR.

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Going for the classic black can be pretty boring but it did allow me to really focus on Dan’s beautiful curls. I mean damn, this guy used to have a fade and now he rolls out with ringlets dripping down his back. I’m jelly as hell. My curls are garbage compared to these. Why is it always the guys who probably don’t even use conditioner and just let their hair air dry have the best locks? It’s just not fair and yes I did just work myself into a tizzy about this jabroni’s perfect hair. It doesn’t help that I found my very first grey hair a month ago so basically my hair stinks and also I’m 29 going on 98.

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I appreciate the efforts to duo coordinate here but I can’t give them an A+. Brian is essentially wearing an outfit I would wear, Tyler has denim patches in his crotch. SWING AND A MISS! I CAN get down with both headwear choices. It’s no secret that I got into the felt hat game last year because I wore the shit out of my maroon hat and photographed it every chance I got. Game respects hipster game. And obviously a backwards camo hat is also my steeze because I learned how to shoot a gun this summer, nbd but HBD. I’m so country it hurts.

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I have no idea what the HELL is going on with this skirt but I’m obsessed with the rest of it. I mean, throw on a pair of classic white kicks and an N*SYNC shirt and you know I’m going to be foaming at the mouth, Hils. Well played. Also, where can I get that tee, yo?

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Looooove this mixture. Roger Klotz meets Willie Nelson. YESSIRRRR. Who says you can’t do both!?

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I would’ve respected Kane more if he showed up decked out in full outdoor gear after he got lost in his own backyard and had to have the cops come rescue him. JK, JK. Relax. For realz though, this look is pretty boring. 

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Ya gurl Kelsea received the highest of compliments and the highest of disses in one single sentence from my mother. She said, she’s got nice legs like Carrie Underwood but she doesn’t have a voice like Carrie. OOF. Cin building ya up to break you down. Either way, her legs are H A W T and she’s crushing those cheetah boots.

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This is quite the 80’s fit. Oversized plaid blazer and white patent leather boots. I know blazers are making a comeback again but I’m just not a fan. Some people can really pull it off in the right environment but a country show in Nashville doesn’t SCREAM Clueless blazer to me. Now…if she had an N*SYNC tee underneath this mom blaze? It would’ve been GAME ON. 

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One of my besties in college used to have a pair of glasses like this that we would wear out when we were trashed to spark conversation. We called them The Lovely Bones glasses because make no mistake about it, they are 100% the glasses of a rapist. If Lindsay is looking to creep everyone out as the star of their nightmares (especially with that closed mouth smile) and get some laughs, great choice. If she’s trying to look trendy and cute–these glasses have got to GO. Love the matching separates though. Looks like red carpet loungewear.

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Luke legit didn’t even know the awards were tonight this is just what he wears every day. Just rolled in from the farm and was like oh that’s tonight? Cool beans. 

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I love summer and I love a good tropical print. But I’m conflicted here, because on principle, I do not like Maren. I don’t like how she’s always flashing the goods on a red carpet. Like congrats on your breast feeding rack but also, we don’t all need to see it. Other than her yabbos poking me in the eye, I’m loving this Hawaiian snack of a dress and the neon heels. 

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I love this guy. He’s a true country hick that just happens to have some hit songs. Canadian Tuxedo and full-blown mullet. Don’t ever change, Morgan.

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YAAASSSSSSS this is probbably my favorite look of the night (which isn’t really saying a lot because we’ve got a real dry spell of outfit pics.) Bob Dylan tee, leather fringe skirt and cowboy booties killinnnnn ittttt. Perfect casj cool concert look. 

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Riley also growing out the lettuce in quarantine and I don’t hate it one bit. He went so casj you can literally see the outline of his iPhone in his pocket. Or is that his phone…

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I cannot stress how much I loathe this entire look. First and foremost, the bangs. Taylor attaches a specific hairstyle to each album era and commits to it until she releases her next one. I am NOT pleased with the folklore hair. Curly-haired people should never under any circumstance have bangs. Whimsical, frizzy bangs aside, let’s talk this glam turtleneck on top, Jack Hanna on bottom outfit. These are high-waisted khaki pants. It’s cut off in the photo, but they are also tapered at the ankle. I’m honestly surprised they are not also cargo pants. This was Taylor’s big comeback to the ACM’s after 7 years and I’m just wondering why this was the outfit choice.

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I met Tenille last year and she is the most pure person I’ve ever met that’s in show biz. She has this delicate voice and the first thing she said in her performance last night was “I’m so humbled.” She’s too good for Hollywood and I just want to put her right in my pocket and keep her safe. None of this has anything to do with her outfit but you know I like to relate everything back to me and my personal stories. She’s rocking this gold jumpsuit and her hair looks amazing. I bet she smells like pine needles and her face is like sunshine.

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TR just spent a significant amount of time with his family in Montana and it shows. Much like Luke Bryan, I think he came back from his mountain vacation and just rolled right up to the “red carpet.” He looks like a fall snack.

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Cool guy Eric Church couldn’t even spring for a non-disposable mask. Also, notably the only person who incorporated a mask into his lewk. He still looks pretty badass.

Now’s the fun part where I just jack somewhat ratchet performance photos off the world wide web for more content:

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Carrie looked great even though she covered up her stems. Once she sees that Kelsea is coming in hot for her title as Country’s hottest legs, she’ll probably think twice about wearing an ankle-length gown at another awards show.

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Gabby is preggers and still committed to these tight as shit hot pants. Whatta babe. I loved the sparkle cape and shiny leathers. 

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Ugh. Gwen and Blake are still parading their love around via sappy duets. We get it, you guys like each other. Could do with a little less white junderwear from Gwen here. If you’re going to perform on a stool, don’t wear a pair of cutoffs that are going to ride right up your hoo-ha, gurl.

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Luke did an outfit change for his performance of One Margarita and this Jimmy Buffett vibe immediately made me smile. Nothing slaps like a Hawaiian shirt.

And finally, since I committed to not only watching this awards show, but also live tweeting it as if I have a following and anyone else was watching it, and on top of that writing this blog…I’m going to go ahead and give you some thoughts on the show as well, in no particular order.

When will Keith get a new haircut?

keith

I mean honestly. I know I already came down hard on Taylor’s hair and I may have used all allotted unsolicited hair commentary for the week with that but COME ONNNNNNN. Keith Urban has rocked the same Karen hairstyle since he hit the scene in the 90’s and I’ve finally reached my breaking point. Probably because it was also greasy as hell for this awards show. We need a little spice. Make 2020 your bitch and debut a new ‘do Keith. I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU.

Not being live STINKS.

The crickets in the crowd sucks but the fact that these are all just pre-taped performances makes it even worse. The whole excitement of an awards show is the possibility of someone messing up or having spinach in their teeth (lookin at you Nick Jonas) and having perfect pre-taped segments is BooooOOOoooOOOring as hell. It’s like going to a Metallica drive-in concert, paying over $100 a car and then just watching a pre-taped movie of Metallica jamming. GIVE ME SOME LIVE CHAOS AGAIN. PLLLEEEEEASSEEEEE.Keith “talked” to Miranda at the Bluebird Cafe and it was like a bad newscast. The delays. The cringiness. Ugh. It was rough. Also important to note that the VMA’s was ALL about showing backstage masked celebrities and crew to really jam down our throats that they’re being “safe”–you know after they flew a bunch of people from California to New York and because they were celebrities they didn’t have to follow Cuomo’s two week quarantine rule. But what was interesting about these awards is that they take place in Nashville and I didn’t really see any masks. The most dramats BTS shot I saw was Darius Rucker pulling a mic out of a ziploc bag during a commercial break. No Corona here! We take the thing that goes near your mouth from a snack baggie so it’s REAL SAFE.

Spoiler Alert: TWO Entertainers of the Year.

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This killed me. The last award of the night is Entertainer of the Year. Keith opens it up and is like OH I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS. WE’VE GOT A TIE! How? No clue how these awards are given out but there’s literally no way you can do a tie. An award means nothing if someone else won it too. If there was meant to be more than one Entertainer of the Year there wouldn’t be a medal for it. Congrats to Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett for getting participation trophies. And the dog and pony show that all put forward to be like WHAT IS HAPPENING?! Was this supposed to be a fun twist ending to a crappy pre-taped awards show because I’m not buying it. Obviously the Entertainer of the Year is Thomas Rhett and it isn’t even a question. Did Carrie even tour this year? Then Carrie accepting and being like GOTTA LOVE 2020, LOLZ! My eyes rolled out of my G-D head and directly out the door. No, seriously. I don’t even have eyes anymore. I’m using talk to type to write this right now because I’m certified blind because of a TERRIBLE joke that Carrie Underwood made. STOP BLAMING THE YEAR FOR EVERYTHING STUPID. I HAAAAAAATE when people do this. Just like when a celebrity dies and everyone is like THIS YEAR IS A CURSE. It’s especially weird because she’s basically throwing shade at a nice thing. She won an award and just happens to have to share it. And she’s like UGH 2020! #SoreWinner Does this year suck? 900000000%. Does that mean that everything that happens can be replied to with, “2020, man?” No. No it does not. Stop doing this. Yesterday I made soup for lunch because my bones were cold and I’m a 900 year old lady (remember I have grey hair now) wrapped in a fleece blanket like a shawl. I undercooked the noodles so it was basically like gnawing on shards of glass and then I didn’t leave it on long enough with the broth because I’m impatient and fat so it was also cold. Then when I put it back on to heat it up so it was edible, I dropped the spoon on the floor and got broth everywhere. During NONE of this debacle did I BLAME THE FREAKING YEAR. I rest my case.

My Fave Performances

They’re not so free with the posting performances after the fact (so I’ve only included one) but my favorites were Old Dominion, Thomas Rhett, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban & Pink, Eric Church and of course Taylor Swift. Although an uncensored Taylor Swift would’ve slapped so much harder. Thomas Rhett and John Pardi did coordinated twirls with their guitars that were bootscootin boogie wholesome and adorable. Eric Church started his performance with a voiceover from Johnny Cash about the American flag and it was badass as hell. I felt like an outlaw just watching it. Then my parent’s TV froze because their internet stinks. GOD. WTF 2020.

MY TWEETS:

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Music

Taylor Swift – folklore.

Alright gang, here we are, back again together so much sooner than expected to hear ALL of my unfiltered thoughts on every single song off of T’s new album. I’ve spent the entire weekend getting in my feels and listening to it so that I can bring you some hot takes on where her 8th studio album falls in the lineup. Right out the gate, this surprise drop inconvenienced me because I wasn’t able to skip on over to Target and get a hard copy for all of my listens. I’m still waiting on my deluxe edition to be shipped so I had to listen to Spotify like a poor (why aren’t digital downloads a thing when you purchase a physical CD?) which also means that I will not be able to review the bonus track until that bad boy arrives. Otherwise, let’s dive in to all the tales she told on this album.

1. the 1. “I’m doing good, I’m on some new shit” is one HELL of a way to kick off a surprise album. Also this is now the only appropriate response to “how are you?” for the rest of 2020. Strong first track and pretty much everyone who I yapped about this album to agreed. It’s easily my favorite song on folklore. And that’s saying a lot as Taylor just keeps making her albums longer and longer, thus forcing me to really pull a lot of commentary out of my ass these days to deliver these track by tracks blogs. Anywho, great beat to this and loving that it plays right into my hands of being a bitter cynic that thinks no one stays together anymore with “you know the greatest loves of all time are over now.”

Best Lyric: I’m doing good, I’m on some new shit (OBVIOUSLY)

2. cardigan. I gave a brief review of cardigan while I was listening for the first time and I really hated that she chose this song to do the music video. I immediately gravitated to like 6 or 7 other songs upon first listen to this album and cardigan was not one of them. The music video was fine, the song is fine, but it was tough to be the first snippet of this album I heard, especially while forcing myself to stay awake past my bedtime to rabidly consume it. I think she made it the “single” so to speak because it definitely sets the weird hipster artistic vibes she’s aiming for on this album. Also amazing marketing tool by her once again to send influencers Taylor Swift cardigans. Kinda shitty I didn’t get one, I basically live in the snowbelt of America and could really use a cozy cardigan with Taylor Swift’s name on it but WHATEVER Tay.

Best Lyric: And when you are young, they assume you know nothing (it’s true tho.)

3. the last great american dynasty. So the biggest thing I took away from this album is that Taylor basically wanted to tell other people’s stories. Real, made up, old, new, whatever. So as literally every single foaming at the mouth news outlet will talk about how each song is about Joe or Karlie Kloss (seriously, relax on the lesbian theories with those two)–I’m choosing to just enjoy the stories she’s telling and not overthink who they’re about. So I’m firmly Team Rebekah on this one. I love a divorcee who loves a good party. As far as the sound goes on this one, “I had a marvelous time” in that breathy Wildest Dreams voice really hits different. Made this a top song for me. That and the fact that she uses the word gauche. If I read that by itself I would never pronounce it correctly. But now that Taylor has sang it, I’m basically a wordsmith. Couldn’t tell you what I learned in college, a degree I’ll be paying for for the rest of my life, but now I know that gauche rhymes with goes and is a word for unsophisticated.

Best Lyric: The wedding was charming, if a little gauche / There’s only so far new money goes

4. exhile (ft. Bon Iver). I’ve never been a huge Bon Iver guy because he’s got a real sadboi voice and you certainly need to be in a mood for that type of music but call me a sadboi because I’m LOVING this song. It’s also very important for me to say (and this will ONLY resonate with One Tree Hill stans) this is a Peyton song and there’s no other way around it. Specifically, a Peyton season 5 post-rejecting Lucas’s proposal and having to see him move on with someone else. When she’s opening that record label in Tree Hill and just basking in The National’s deep voice sadness:

 

Ya that’s where I’m at with this song. And that’s fine. Peyton was whiny as hell and had two moms die and a casual psycho stalker so it’s not like her life was peppy but we’ve all had some Peyton moments where you just want to drown in haunting voices and feel sorry about your life. This is the PERFECT song to do that to.

Best Lyric:I think I’ve seen this film before / And I didn’t like the ending (not the first time she’ll reference a film on this album)

5. my tears ricochet. Taylor coincidentally dropped her MOST romantic album last year at the same exact time I was going through a breakup. Obviously I was bitter as hell and not having an easy time identifying with her rainbows of LOVE songs which really put a damper not only on how I viewed the album, but also how difficult it was for me to review it. Like ok, we get it you’re in love EYE ROLL, whatever. It wasn’t a good time for her to brag about it in my personal life and honestly it was rude of her to not take that into consideration. The point of that ramble was to say that if Lover was about Love, folklore is about loss and struggle. AND THAT’S WHERE I LIVE, BABY. I’m LOVING this album because nobody knows how to get down in the dumps like ya gurl the Salty Ju. Dramatic lyrics about breakups? PILE IT ON ME, BOO. SO now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s first confront her singing “cause I looooooooved you, I swear I looooooved you” in an Irish brogue. We gonna let that one slide? Her dramatics in love and loss have caused her to try out a new accent? Besides that little slip up, I’m all in on this song.

Best Lyric: And if I’m dead to you, why are you at the wake? (Every drama queen’s first post-breakup caption SEND.)

6. mirrorball. This was the first one I came across in the lineup of listening that I wasn’t crazy about. It’ll probably be a skip for me. Definitely a retro feel to it of the times when dance contests were all the rage. To be perfectly honest I kept thinking of the episode of Gilmore Girls where they do the dance marathon and wear 50’s girl outfits and Dean dumps Rory. So apparently I’m just going to relate every song off of this album back to mid-2000s teen shows. Super fitting for me.

Best Lyric: And I’m still a believer, but I don’t know why

7. seven. Another skip for me unless I’m really wanting to get in touch with my Lilith Fair side. If I may relate it back to another pivotal teen show in my life, this 90’s chick singer throaty vibe she’s throwing sounds like something that would be on Dawson’s Creek. I half expect to see Joey tucking her hair behind her big ass ears and Dawson talking about how badly he wants to stop talking about sex and start having it in his giant army green cable knit sweater. I’m sorry. I can’t stop. I’m a teen soap monster.

Best Lyric: And I think you should come live with me / And we can be pirates (cause why not?)

8. august. Ok she got me back on this one. Summer is my favorite season of all time and also feels like it goes SO fast, so leave it to Taylor to put that into beautiful words and also use comparisons to wine to get my attention. August is the Sunday night scaries of summer. And we’re almost there, unfortunately so this is hitting a little too close to home right now. I’m not ready for fall. I’m NEVER READY FOR FALL. What helps a little bit is toward the end of the song when she gets a little pep in her step with “remember when I pulled up and said get in the car” and it was giving me a little Getaway Car flashback. Or, in dumber terms, my note in my phone for that part of the song is “YAAASSSSSSS.”

Best Lyric: For me, it was enough / To live for the hope of it all

9. this is me trying. This falls in middle ground territory. This song is neither great nor terrible. It’s got a lot of the elements that we’ve already seen her leaning into on this album. References to a failed relationship being a film, a breathy orgasmic outburst (AT LEAST I’M TRYING) and killer lyrics. The person contributing to lyrics genius claims this is a Taylor taking credit for her flaws in relationships song, and yet there’s a HEAVY undertone of this individual being an alcoholic, which I don’t believe Taylor is, so I think her fans really need to cool it on reading into every song relating directly back to her life. Also there’s a real divide between fans who think she secretly married Joe and fans who think she broke up with him and let me be clear ALL OF THESE THEORIES ARE CONCLUDED FROM PEOPLE OVER-ANALYZING HER LYRICS. God quarantine needs to end cause we all need to get a life. (FTR, I’m firmly in the Joe is her end game camp…so if they’re married I wouldn’t be surprised.)

Best Lyric: They told me all of my cages were mental / So I got wasted like all my potential / And my words shoot to kill when I’m mad / I have a lot of regrets about that (B2B bomb lyrics. Verse 2 packed a punch.)

10. illicit affairs. Maybe Tay wrote this one about her good bud JT. BAM. Ricochet shot. (I’ll never be over JT being a public cheater, oBViOuSlY.) I do really like this song for her going up into the high notes for random words. It’s like the musician version of putting a word in bold. I also giggled at “tell your friends you’re going for a run, you’ll be flushed when you return.” As if anyone could pass off banging in a hotel room as a quick jog.

Best Lyric: And you know damn well / For you, I would ruin myself / A million little times

11. invisible string. Oohh shit we’ve got a little banjo in the mix now! What a nice way to spice things up as I was just starting to move into a comatose state of synths. For the record, this does seem like a song about Joe. She had to sneak one in somewhere. It was only fair. So we’ll rap about how she references the song Bad Blood, which apparently Joe heard in a cab in LA, a reference to the yogurt shop he used to work at, the dive bar where they hung out that she referenced in delicate and then there’s a little part about boys who broke her heart and now she sends their babies presents. Which led to an unfortunate headline on one of the gossip rags about how Taylor Swift is sending Joe Jonas a baby gift. And honestly, she dated Joe for a brief mo when she was like 18 and he dumped her on a 30 second phone call so are we really doing a callback to that garbage relashe? I feel like people are so desp to create headlines out of her lyrics that they’re really starting to reach. Either way, another lovely ode to her current relationship–he gets paper rings AND invisible strings.

Best Lyric: Hell was the journey but it brought me heaven

12. mad woman. Our first Taylor Swift F bomb. THIS IS AN OCCASION. Taylor has been OVERLY PG on most of her albums. I believe we got our first swear on Reputation (shit) and nothing has ever escalated beyond that. So to get a straight F bomb–AND have it not be the only one on this album. Praise be, our girl’s all grown up! My trash mouth that can’t STOP F bombs from flying is v. proud of her for this. But also this is a classic Taylor feminist song. Pointing out the double standards of men vs. woman and showing that passionate females are treated like they should be committed. This tune could be a GREAT soundtrack for the latest Dirty John season because Betty Broderick was a straight up MAD WOMAN.

Best Lyric: Or does she mouth, “Fuck you forever”? (Adding forever in really makes this curse slap harder.)

13. epiphany. This is a church hymn. Since I’m not in the business of listening to prayers, chants and church jingles in my free time, I’m fully out on this song. It’s like the “it’s nice to have a friend” of this album. Immediate skip. Sorry not sorry. It’s apparently about her grandfather serving in the war, which is ironic because it gives me PTSD to high school when I had to go to church every Sunday and if I missed one I had to go to confession. (Obviously that is said with the most sarcasm, being at war has no comparison to going to church in white suburbia so pls don’t cancel me.) TYSM.

Best Lyric: Only twenty minutes to sleep / But you dream of some epiphany / Just one single glimpse of relief / To make some sense of what you’ve seen

14. betty. This was like ALL THE RAGE the day the album came out that Taylor released the name of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynold’s third child that they hadn’t announced yet. To think that Taylor who has everything planned and pre-meditated about her music and her marketing and how she puts herself out there would have just casually decided to out a child’s name without their parent’s permission is straight idiotic. I can guarantee you that she wrote the song and immediately sent it to them and asked for their feedback. So everyone trying to call her a bad friend needs to take a page from Lover and CALM DOWN. She happened to toss their collection of RANDOM ASS names into this song. Like honestly Blake and Ryan seem pretty normal (for being gorgeous and rich celebs) and yet named their three girls James, Inez & Betty. K. Anyway, now that we’ve established that she used their names and they have absolutely nothing to do with the song, let’s talk about how this is an OG Taylor smash. It’s got all of the early, crimped hair, Christmas Tree farm in backwoods PA sounds to it and I love this nostalgic flashback. That harmonica, OOOooOO Baby. Also, notably, another F bomb.

Best Lyric: Standing in your cardigan / Kissin’ in my car again (what a rhyme.)

15. peace. The second this song started I was like am I listening to a John Mayer song? That guitar coming in right off the bat was an ode to J.May if I’ve ever heard one. And guess what? I love John Mayer so this worked out perfectly. I dig the stripped down guitar vibes and also this song had the most ME lyric of all time (see below) that I quite literally gasped when she sang it. So that certainly helps.

Best Lyric: I’d give you my sunshine, give you my best / But the rain is always gonna come if you’re standin’ with me (UM HI IT’S ME, PERPETUAL RAIN CLOUD FOLLOWING WHEREVER I GO, WAITING TO DUMP A RAINSTORM RIGHT ON MY HEAD.)

16. hoax. Not a strong finish for me. It sounds a lot like cardigan so this makes sense. It’s just giving me uneasy, eerie feels. Considering her drowning with her piano in dark choppy waters for the cardigan video gave me night terrors, I’m not so into feeling the creeps from a song. So moving forward, folklore will start with the 1 and end with peace. And that’s a wrap, folks.

Best Lyric: You knew you won so what’s the point of keeping score? (Another bomb sassy post-breakup zinger.)

BONUS TRACK – the lakes. TBD whenever my stupid CD comes in the mail. Thanks for making everything more complicated by cutting Target out of the deal, TAY.

Update: After almost exactly one month…I placed my order on July 24th, I received the physical CD on August 20th, I can now review the BONUS track that we weren’t allowed to hear for a whole ass month. WHY?! Honestly, WHY TAYLOR?! What’s with the dramatic delay? There were Swifties popping off all over TikTok that she was holding off on releasing the bonus track because it’d be announcing her pregnancy or marriage and here we are, The Lakes has arrived. And it stinks on toast. It says nothing that she hasn’t already said on this album. It’s really a meh song. One that I feel like I didn’t need to wait this long for. Is my bitterness clouding my judgment of this song? Perhaps a little. But it is most certainly not a bangpiece hit and there’s a reason it wasn’t included on the original album to begin with. Jus Sayin.

Best Lyric: I’ve come too far to watch some namedropping sleaze / Tell me what are my words worth (EAT IT SCOTT BORCHETTA & SCOOTER BRAUN)

@thesaltyju

When your #folklore CD comes a month after you ordered it with star confetti and NOT a personal cardigan from Taylor Swift herself. 🙄 ✌🏽

♬ exile – Taylor Swift

OVERALL ALBUM NOTES: I may be biased because I’ve been a Taylor stan my whole life but I commend the way that she can create a whole mood for each album. She’s pushed herself to make albums that sound completely different from each other and are so cohesive like a CD storytime. There’s quite literally a T.Swift album for every vibe that you could be feeling and I think that’s a really cool way to approach music. I mean if you want to scream F the world, you hit up Reputation, if you want to brag about meeting your soulmate–you pop in Lover and if you want to have profound thoughts and tell ghost stories, you fire up this bad boy. Obviously this is a slower record and much more for deep listening and none of these will ever be called bops, BUT I would also argue that it’s her strongest songwriting record. She’s always been a phenomenal songwriter giving fans relatable lyrics, but reaching and telling other people’s stories just added to that and I’m guessing because it probably started from her just writing away while in quarantine. I too have been writing away while in quarantine but my writing has a lot of swears and I’ve never once used a word like clandestine because I couldn’t even tell you what it means. Different strokes for different folks. That’s why we love Taylor–the word play, the references & easter eggs and of course, the dramatics when it comes to loves lost, I think this was a hot to trot lyrical masterpiece.

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Music, Playlist

Bitch, I’m Limited Edition.

This is for anyone who’s having a day (or a life) where they’re feeling down about themselves and need a quick reminder of just how awesome they are. I need this reminder more days than most but let me tell you, a quick rotation of songs that tell me how hot, cool, funny and unique I am, songs that remind me that I can do anything that I put my mind to? That shit works. Just listening to one of these songs gives me a burst of confidence and self-love so there’s no telling what I’ll do after a whole playlist full. Coincidentally, feeling insecure or defeated can sometimes come with a breakup, therefore I’ve peppered in a few dust yourself off breakup songs that I’ve enjoyed and related to over the past year as well. If you’re not going through a breakup, this playlist will still make you do a high kick and want to stunt all over your haters. Regardless of where you are in life, hopefully these songs will reinforce that you’re the bomb.com. OWN IT, ho. (I use this as a term of endearment, I’m really on a hot streak with it ever since I learned via The Last Dance that Michael Jordan repeatedly called his teammate a ho while bullying him to be a better player. MJ might have intended for it to be mean, but it made me laugh and therefore I’m normalizing ho as a name we can call our friends when we’re keeping it real.)

ME! – Taylor Swift Ft. Brendan Urie. Some might say because of my years-long obsession with Taylor Swift and anticipation of this single, I related to it a little TOO hard when it was finally released. I jammed out to it every chance I got and then to take it an annoying step further, would use it as an excuse for why I am the way that I am. If I did something obnoxious that would illicit an eye roll, I would immediately back it up with  well, you can’t spell awesome without me! No one enjoyed it but I felt like it embodied the awkward weird girl who may struggle with confidence and need a reminder sometimes that there’s no one out there like me and THAT’S WHAT MAKES ME GR8! Thanks, Tay. I mean, the song literally starts out with I know that I’m a handful. Like did she write it about herself or about me? So for anyone whose a real dramatic disaster mess, that’s what makes us FUN!

All I Do Is Win – DJ Khaled Ft. Ludacris, T-Pain & Snoop Dogg. This is an all-around feel good jam coming from a place of over-confidence. If you’re ever looking for someone who toots their own horn, look no further than a rapper. They will have no trouble telling you about all of their money, cars and women lining up to bang them. And sometimes, that’s just what you need. You need to believe that you’re rolling in money, winning every single day, even if you’re very unemployed and living with your parents. I’ve used this song on one of my other playlists but it deserves a repeat. Plus, we just taught my 3 year old niece the chorus and I’m happy to give her another opportunity to show her madd skillz in throwing her hands in the air–UP DOWN, UP DOWN, UP DOWN. PS no hotter opening flow than LUDACRIS GOIN IN ON THE VERSE CAUSE I’VE NEVER BEEN DEFEATED AND I WON’T STOP NOW. You TELL EM, Luda!

Bathroom Floor – Maddie & Tae. Here’s a post breakup joint that I discovered while dabbling around YouTube and I’m so glad I did. Although it directly references crying from a breakup, I think it can be applied to anytime you’re knocked down. Get up, wash your face, put on a fab outfit and hit the town. Obviously this doesn’t apply in the current state of affairs but as soon as the world opens back up again, you best be getting up off that bathroom floor, gurl. Also, can confirm this is a great song to dance to.

I Love Me – Demi Lovato. It’s possible that the release of this song is what became the catalyst for making this playlist. Ya girl Demi has BEEN through some shit in the past couple of years and is very open about her struggles, so when we she released “Anyone”, her first song in over a year, about basically her lowest point, it was a very emotional song to listen to (may or may not have cried in the shower a couple times to it.) But then her follow up song is THIS. And I’m like GO OFF, QUEEN. It shows just how easy it is to get into down in the dumpster lows, but you have to remind yourself why you’re great to pick yourself up out of those lows. SAY IT WITH ME: I’m a ten out of ten even when I forget! Basically Demi managed to put a therapy sesh in song form, and for that I am grateful.

Soulmate – Lizzo. Lizzo busted onto the scene a year or so ago in a BIG way. I’m not referring to her size, I’m referring to the size of her confidence, which is what made her so infectious. I could’ve easily put every single song off of her album on this playlist because they all spout self-love, acceptance and badass confidence. There’s a reason people can’t stop captioning their selfies with her lyrics (guilty as charged.) She’s full of catchy one-liners to describe feelin’ ourselves. This song reminds us that if you don’t love yourself first, you’ll be hot garbage in a relationship. Lizzo puts it much more eloquently, of course. For example, “I know I’m a queen but I don’t need no crown.” Tysm, Lizzo.

Love Myself – Hailee Steinfeld. I added this knowing full well that it’s a controversial tune, but it’s 2020 baby, time to embrace it. This song is 1000000% about masturbation. Like there’s no dancing around it, the lyrics are plain as day, this gurl is DJ’ing in her bed singing about how she don’t need a man to orgasm. That being said, it’s a fire song and just so perfectly fits this theme. Although it may be nice sometimes to have somebody else in bed, do you really NEED them? Hailee says no. SCREAM YOUR OWN NAME! Ok, I’ll stop making you all uncomfy now.

***Flawless – Beyonce ft. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. For anyone who’s not already a fan of this song, this is going to be weird to listen to because of all the soundbytes Yonce decided to toss in. Between the announcer voice at the beginning and end and ya gurl Chim giving a Ted Talk on feminism, it’s a lot to handle. But IN THE BEST WAY. This song is powerful as hell and gave us the cocky as shit phrase “I Woke Up Like This.” As soon as this album dropped and all of her pink font merch was appearing, I raced to the closest Etsy page selling knockoffs (I’m not about to pay full inflated price for a black tee with pink letters ironed on–that’s robbery) and ordered myself a tank top that just said FLAWLESS across the boobs. The first tank I received had a hair ironed into the letters. I cried. But when I received the replacement, I wore that tank constantly, usually unshowered and looking less than flawless–something my dad was all too pleased to point out. And you know what? I just flipped my hair and screamed BOW DOWN, BITCHES.

Not 20 Anymore – Bebe Rexha. Beebz has taken a lot of heat through the years about her “curvy” body. Obviously she’s petite & skinny and probably has a six pack but she also got an AZZ on her. As someone who busted a hole in clothing items twice in a six month span just because baby got back, I can very much relate. Bebe has been outspoken about what size she is after designers refused to make her red carpet looks because she’s a size 10 and has tried to create a platform around body positivity for the youths looking up to her. I saw her perform live last summer and was blown away by the amount that girl was dropping it low and bopping all over a stage like it was going out of style. At one point her backup dancer literally kicked her but those thicc thighs of hers were ready to take the hit. So praise her and her body confidence and beating out all insecurities women have about getting old. Twenties are for insecure losers, the big leagues start at 30 when you age like a fine wine and feel comfy in your skin. (I’m using her lyrics to tell you this, because I’m not yet 30 and therefore a very insecure loser…fingers crossed next year I’ll be like OMG YES 30 is the greatest age alive rather than feeling old as dick.) Shoutout to Bebe for also dropping this heater on her 30th. Typically I hate when girls post thirst traps, like we get it, you’re hot (eye roll) but I liked that this was a big FU to everyone who calls her fat. Check out that fAT AzZzZZ.

You Need Me, I Don’t Need You – Ed Sheeran. I think the best part about this cocky “I’m the best” song is that it was one of the first songs Ed even released. He wasn’t the superstar he is now, he was an unknown UK singer/rapper, couch surfing and he’s like I don’t need any of you, I’m THE stuff. And he wasn’t wrong. I like that kind of fiery hot confidence right out the gate. It shows you that confidence is nothing more than telling yourself you’re awesome and then trying to convince others the same. Sounds so easy, right? He was basically Babe Ruth calling his shot on becoming a massively famous musician, selling out stadiums. And then he made it come true. Let that be a lesson, y’all. Also, Ed’s always been a wordsmith but hands down one of his greatest lines comes from this song right here–they say I’m up and coming like I’m f*cking in an elevator. Boom. Roasted.

Limitless – Jennifer Lopez. Shows you just how much of a megastar JLo is that she made this song as basically a throwaway for one of her movie soundtracks and it slaps this hard. I’ve written about this song before because I wanted her to perform it in the Super Bowl, so I don’t want to be repetitive for my super fans who read all of my blogs, but this is just a classic pump yourself up lady jam. Not saying guys can’t enjoy it too but there’s something about “I am a woman who roars” that seems to resonate more with the ladies. If there’s ever a doubt about if you can do something, look directly to JLo for inspiration. She’s 50 and THRIVING, Mama. Never give up.

Nightmare – Halsey. Coming off the high of being limitless, I decided to toss in this bangpiece that doesn’t necessarily directly relate to confidence boosting but should get you real fired up. It’s a little on the dark side, but that’s what we love about Halsey. She’s gritty and she isn’t afraid to tell you to F off. This is a GREAT song to scream sing in the car, I can attest to POPPING off more than once to I DON’T OWE YOU A G-D THING. What a rush that is to tell someone off, even if it’s just the inside of your vehicle.

How To Be Lonely – Rita Ora. Sprinkling in another post-breakup tune that I’ve enjoyed jamming to. Puts a real positive spin on the rock bottom feeling that heartbreak serves. It’s like when people say they feel free after a breakup. Like, I lost a human being who loves me, but now I can really focus on myself and do whatever I want. The bitter bitch in me wants to roll my eyes at things like that, but I’m trying to be less bitter so I’ll give Rita a chance here. Maybe the benefit of losing someone is that you learn to get comfy with being lonely. I’m not QUITE there yet, but I’ll keep working at it and bopping along to this sick beat.

Fight Song – Rachel Platten. Another war cry for anyone who just wants to stop trying. YOU’VE STILL GOT A LOT OF FIGHT LEFT IN YOU. So stop being a wiener and start being a warrior. I think that’s probably what Rachel was trying to say when she wrote this song.

Up – Thomas Rhett. I know this playlist focuses heavily on the *strong and sassy, independent women* tuneage, but I wanted to make sure I was including great male songs too even if they are far outnumbered–it’s only natural that I relate more to the female variety. TR gave us this positive track off his last album and it’s literally impossible to have the Debbie downer feels while listening. Life’s just a big ole rollercoaster and if you’re down right now, get ready to go up. I of course am still waiting for my ride to the top but TR has taught me to appreciate it more when I finally do get there because I REALLY know what it’s like to be in the pits. Seriously, any day now. I am ready and waiting for that skyrocket UP.

Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson. Kelly Clarkson started her career on single girl anthems and that’s probably exactly why she became a megastar. She kicked that curly-headed f*ck Justin Guarini to the curb and was all Miss Independent. If she didn’t let From Justin to Kelly ruin her career from the very start, what doesn’t kill you truly does make you stronger.

Strip Me – Natasha Bedingfield. I’m not gonna let Natasha only be remembered for creating a song that will forever be tied to LC driving her Mercedes with the Hollywood sign in the background. This is a lesser known Natasha song but a whole lot more powerful than soundtracking a scripted reality show with “the rest is still unwritten.” Obviously she didn’t write the song with Lauren Conrad in mind, but you get the point. It’s another casual feminist anthem about always having a voice. So even if you lose everything else, they can never take your voice. Even if you use it to talk shit about celebrities and put out playlists on the internet.

Titanium – David Guetta Ft. Sia. This counts as another male appearance on the list even though Sia carries the song. This is the almighty goal here–no, not to physically have a robot body–but to care so little what people think or say about you that it just deflects off of you. That’s supreme level confidence and self-love that you don’t give a flying F what people think about you. Fire away, FIRE AWAY!

Castles – Freya Ridings. I heard this song on the radio this past fall and it was a day where I was thinking about how much everything sucked, feeling defeated and it was one of those rare moments that you don’t really get anymore (sorry radio, but you’re a dying medium for music discovery) where a song comes on randomly and it’s exactly what you need to hear. I remember feeling a surge of energy and relating the lyrics back to my broken heart as we all do when we’re being dramatic and feeling all the feels. Oh, what’s that, you’re doing great without me WELL I’M GONNA BUILD CASTLES AND BE MORE THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT I WAS. It was all I needed to feel better in that moment as I told off the pedestrian crossing in front of my car through song. Again, still working out the kinks on building that castle, it’s possible I need a few more rotations before I can really take action on that. But when I finally do, it’s over for you hoes.

Headlines – Drake. Again with the theory that no one brags on themselves better than rappers. Drake has basically made a career out of talking about how great he is, of course sometimes it comes at the expense of others–RIP Meek Mill. This is a throwback to OG Drizzy because I just love to point out when people are “overdosed on confidence” right from the start. It also gives me the opportunity to remind everyone of 2015 when I had an app that just responded to texts with Drake lyrics and boy was that a time to be alive. I wrote a whole blog on it because I too, was overconfident in my early blogging days, writing blogs where I literally texted myself for hours to get the right graphics. Check that out HERE for a giggle and a reminder that every once in a while it’s important to say something douchey like, “drinking every night because we drink to my accomplishments” to remind everyone around you what a boss you are.

Hold On – Wilson Phillips. I mean there really are no words to describe this classic and it’s timeless message. Other than imagining Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph interpretive dancing the chorus in bridesmaids dresses, you should also let the ladies of Wilson Phillips tell it like it is. They understand that life is a dumpster fire sometimes but you just hold on for one more day. And that’s all you really need to remember from this playlist. Having confidence or self love isn’t going to stop bad shit from happening, sometimes you just gotta fake it til you make it and keep waking up each day ready to fight. Whoa. Did I just get real deep?! You bet your ass I did. We all need a boost sometimes. I hope that this collection of tunes for the soul helped even just a little bit.

Also, not for nothing, but I listened to this playlist on my first attempt at a 15 mile bike ride the other day and it was a REAL rough situation between bugs, pollen, heat and going against the wind and there were several times I considered just sitting on a bench for a while or walking my bike back to my car and giving up, but quite literally every single song on this playlist pushed me to keep going. So even if you have confidence through the roof and you’re crushing life all day erreday, at least you know that this playlist can push you through a shitty workout where you want to throw up and die. YA WELCOME.

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Music, Playlist

Quaran-tunez Dance Party

Let’s have some real talk. Things suck right now for a whole lot of people. There’s death and anxiety and uncertainty and for us who are just sitting at home, we’re feeling cooped up but also feeling like we can’t complain about it because there are people out there busting their asses to save lives and make sure the planet isn’t wiped out. It’s a pretty depressing time all around and boy oh boy do I know a thing or two about depression. You know what I also know is a cold, hard fact though? That it is completely IMPOSSIBLE not to smile or laugh while you’re dancing. Dancing is such a weird concept. You flail your limbs around to music and sometimes people just sit there and watch and sometimes people join in and also throw their extremities around. How can you NOT be entertained by that? Ever since I’ve made it my life goal to perfect ONE dance video (read about that HERE), I decided to kick things off with a bangin playlist for a Quarantine Dance Party, because you have to have a GIANT dump in your pants to not feel happier after getting your groove on. It’s scientific fact. PS – I’m no fitness expert but go ahead and count this as a workout because I was VERY sore after learning my first TikTok dance and that has to count for something. JIGGLE TIL IT HURTS Y’ALL.

1. Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake. It is beyond weird to me that this song was created for a children’s trolls movie because it is without a doubt JT’s best dance banger. (Overall best song is Mirrors and it ain’t even an argument so don’t come at me.) I mean it’s literally in the title, I can’t stop the feeling that I want to boogie my face off when this jam comes on. It was released a few weeks before my sister’s wedding and when the DJ played it, I happened to be in the bathroom and I quite literally cleaned up shop and came charging out so I wouldn’t miss a minute of dance, dance, dancing.

2. Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus. Though this song requires much less fancy footwork and much more seaweed arms, it’s still a requirement for every party. Party can’t start in the USA until Miley hops off the plane at LAX. Kicks aren’t required for this dance party but encouraged if it makes you move better without falling because you have hardwood floors or something. Not that I would know from experience or anything. Please don’t sue me if you fall and injure yourself from dancing so hard to my kickass playlist.

3. Come Alive – Cast of The Greatest Showman. It’s no secret if you’ve read this blog before or listened to my pump it up playlist that I have a very large boner for the movie The Greatest Showman. I don’t even like musicals and this one had it all that even a naysayer like me who thinks breaking into song mid conversation is ridic won’t stop talking about it three years later. If I ever need to be in a good mood, I slap on this soundtrack and pretend I’m a performer in PT Barnum’s circus. This one really gets the juices flowing because it’s the beginning of the movie when they’re all excited and ready to rock n roll, just like you are at your dance party. It’ll make you want to snap your way over to a door and kick it right down.

4. Want to Want Me – Jason Derulo. Couldn’t have a dance off without JAY-SuNNn De-ROOOO-LOOOOWWW (sing in autotune voice or get the hell out of my face.) There has never been a more out of place pair than when my sister and I decided to go see Jason for a free concert at the NYS Fair, showed up several hours early to get seats and wait on a disgustingly hot August day, almost got edged out of our seats by concert bullies and then took part in a group learning of his “skeerrttt PULL UP” dance move. You’d think learning moves from Jason himself would make me a natural, but alas, I’m still white.

5. Barcelona – Ed Sheeran. It’s important for everyone to hear this. I revisited Ed’s Divide album the other day on a bike ride and what a PIECE OF ART that thing is. Ed went from dropping irish jigs about his grandparents getting married on the Wexford border, to rapping, to showing his hispanic flair on two tracks and then bringing it way down with some sobsies break up and love songs. Let it be known that Ed has THE MOST RANGE. I went from wiggling my hips off my bike seat, swerving all over the road to feeling like I needed to pull over for a good cry because HE WAS HAPPIER WITH YOU, YOU TROLLOP, AND YOU’RE DATING SOMEONE ELSE NOW! Anyway, got carried away there. The point of that long-winded story is to tell you why I needed this deep cut on my dance playlist. It’s under-appreciated, I LOVE a latin beat I can swing my hips to, and sometimes I just really need a man calling me mamacita to spice things up. Te Amo, Ed. Gracias por esta canción que me dan ganas de bailar. Besos.

6. Queen of the Night – Whitney Houston. OooOhhHh Shit we needed some Whitney to take things to the next level. When I asked my sister which Whitney song to choose, we listened to each one and each one made us want to jive so it was really a tough decision that had to be made. But that’s what I’m here for. To make the tough decisions about what song I should force you to dance to. And Queen of the Night just has that undeniable 80’s beat right from the top. So make yourself the Queen of your kitchen and sing into the slotted spoon while you do the running man.

7. Forever – Chris Brown. I’ve used this on one of my playlists before and typically my hard and fast rule is that I don’t repeat songs across playlists/blogs–and since I’ve been shoving these playlists at you for 5 years, that’s actually become quite difficult. BUT THIS SONG DESERVES A REPEAT. Not because of Chris Brown. He sucks and honestly I wish he didn’t create this masterpiece because we’re supporting a dirtbag by listening to it. But IT IS A MASTERPIECE. It’s pretty much the best dance song of all time and honestly if you get married and don’t have this at your reception, I hope your marriage ends in divorce because that’s what you deserve for leaving out the staple that created the JK Wedding Dance entrance and subsequent parodies, especially Dwight Schrute kicking a bridesmaid directly in the face hole. The end.

8. Please Don’t Stop the Music – Rihanna. It’s no coincidence that the songs are in this order. Get all your CB grooves out and then swiftly move on to the QUEEN. The SURVIVOR. Ri Ri has taken a whole lot of years off and I really think she’s due for a comeback, but also nothing will ever top 2007 Good Girl Gone Bad Ri Ri. Pre-Chris Brown dumping all over her face and her life. She was just releasing dance smashes and over pronouncing umbrella and life was good.

9. What A Man Gotta Do – Jonas Brothers. I like to say that I’m not a huge JoBros fan and all but I genuinely have become one with their comeback. Those bros know what they’re doing and they’re killin the game. This is my favorite song that they’ve released and they probably took a marketing class from Tay because they coincided the release with the height of TikTok and had people learn the video choreography and duet with them. Also they ripped the choreography straight from Grease but that’s neither here nor there. This song is a bangpiece.

10. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift. Since I’m such a Tay stan, I really wanted to go deep here because there’s so many jams that need love that she’s put out in her career. When I sampled some for my sister, a Tay hater, it became clear that I had to do an obvious dance hit or get the hell out of her house. So we had to go with this number. I mean it literally has its own dance move and there’s no way you can deny bopping to Taylor saying F you to the haters, PG style obviously. Related but unrelated fun fact: the weirdest thing I’ve done this quarantine was join Nikki Glaser’s Taylor Swift dance party that was literally just 400 people on zoom dancing to her carefully curated Swifty playlist. Natch, I disabled my video and only joined in hopes that Taylor herself would show up. She didn’t. But I did get to giggle at a lot of strangers dancing and dramatic lip syncing in their living room (and one real exxtra girl do some pole dancing.) Good times all around.

11. Die Young – Ke$ha. I originally had Timber on here because nothing can top the time I ran around the house scream-singing it and almost sprained my ankle but like I said, I’m very strict about my no repeats rule. So let’s love on early, trashy Ke$ha because I feel like that phase is easily forgotten now that she’s taken the dollar sign out of her name and shown us that she can actually sing without auto tune and techno beats. Also, great message here. Live your life and dance away like you’re going to die young. Because if you leave your house there’s a pretty high chance of that. Too dark? Dance it off. Inside.

12. Blinding Lights – The Weeknd. I had to give a nod to the song that my sister and I spent 2 hours learning moves to match the rhythm of LITERALLY 14 seconds. 2+ hours for a 14 second video that we did not nail. But you know what? Memories were made, we believed we got better at dancing and now when we hear this intro we break into cold sweats. WORTH IT. (If you want to dance along and learn the #BlindingLightsChallenge  infinitely faster than us, it goes Dab, sunrise, sunrise, swim, swim, spirit fingers, JUMP.) You’re welcome.

13. Toxic – Britney Spears. I mean there’s really not much I can say about this song. It marked the official turn from teen school girl Disney Britney to I have lots of sex, check out my hot bod in this see-through diamond onesie Brit. Looking back it was probably step one leading to her inevitable breakdown but what a killer classic. Hindsight is 20/20. Toxic is forever.

14. Good to Be Alive (Hallelujah) – Andy Grammer. Ya boy Andy basically took a church hymn and made it pop music. Hallelujah and shake dem hips. It’s a nice message of a song and a reminder that even though things might blow right now, at least you’re alive and dancing and that’s something to be grateful for. Did AG just make me positive?! Whoa. Let that baseline move you and you too, could become a positive Polly.

15. Let’s Get Loud – Jennifer Lopez. I wasn’t going to brag about my close personal texting friendship with JLo and not include one of her heaters. I mean she’s Jenny from the Block. She was a fly girl before she was even a singer. Girl’s got moves. If you’ve ever doubted it, look no further than her CARRYING the Super Bowl halftime show with ease–including a quick core strength upside down pole maneuver just for shits. Anyway, now that I’ve wiped the slobber off of my keyboard just from thinking about that, here’s the only song I wanted her to open with because it’s not only a crowd pleaser, but a party starter.

16. Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) – C&C Music Factory. No dance playlist in the history of dance playlists can exist without this B screaming EVERYBODY DANCE NOW. So just do what she says, yo. If you’re not sweating by this point, you’re not doing it right. I used to have a gym unit that was literally called Jiggle Til It Hurts and the teacher (who called me Maria for all four years of high school, nbd) would nazi-style yell at us to keep moving like it was FM Hornets Boot Camp and not 5th period gym class where girls wear rolled up Soffe shorts and didn’t want to be sweaty or ruin their hair for the rest of the day at school. I hated that block more than anything and guess what Miss Cauley, I’VE BECOME YOU NOW! I want to see you all serving your best dance moves until this music stops OR ELSE.

17. Pop – N*SYNC. I get that I’m kinda double dipping with the JT here but deal with it. Sometimes you just need a beatbox breakdown to catch your breathe because you feel like you’re going to die because you’ve been dancing for an hour straight. This was when N*SYNC got edgy and Justin shaved his head. They were in a CLUB in this music video. What a time to be alive.

18. Dynamite – Taio Cruz. Remember this MF’er?! Taio deserves a shout out and the closer for this playlist because no one knows where he is now but he created the annoying habit of repeating things 4 times in 2010 and that was a whole lot of fun, fun, fun, fun. Just wrapping up our dance party with some good vibes and our hands in the air. Hopefully this playlist made you dance, dance, dance, dance, smile or even just laugh at the fact that you were wheezing after one song like you just ran a marathon. Just me? Whatever.

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Music

JLO-BOWL Top Five

I’ve gotten into a pattern of not blogging when I don’t feel like anything triggers me to fire up the ole laptop and clatter away with my obnoxious opinions. Sometimes I feel like, why take the time to blog if I’m not dramatically heated about it? Well, welcome to 2020 where my calendar recently opened up due to the minor detail of not having a job. Was I planning on blogging today? Nope. But then my girl JLo shot me a text that said “Hi Baby!!!!!! Only one month until the Super Bowl! Which song’s do you want to hear on my set list?! (sparkle emoji, heart emoji)” And thank God for me using her marketing platform as a way to pretend I’m close personal friends with her and laugh at all the texts she sends me because WHAT AN INSPIRATION. I’m not going to text her the songs she needs to perform, I’m gonna blog it. HASHTAG CONTENT. So, baby, hope this answers your question (shooting star emoji, kissy face emoji)!!!

First and foremost, if she doesn’t kick the halftime show off with Let’s Get Loud, she’s dead to me. I’m not even counting it as a number because it’s a given. This song is the ultimate pump up jam and I will not accept any other JLo song to open the show.

5. I’m Real (Remix) Ft. Ja Rule.

I’ve been very passionate and outspoken before about my love for that very short time period when Ja Rule would team up with Ashanti and JLo and make dirrty rap smashes. I dream of the day when that golden era music makes a comeback and honestly if JLo trucked Ja out for the halftime show I would probably pee my pants with excitement. Any song that starts out with “WHAT’S MY MUTHAF***IN’ NAME?!” in that grizzly voice of his is already going to be a W for me. Beyond my obvious love for Ja, this is the BEAUTIFUL day and age when JLo is still just Jenny with a top bun, some gold hoops and juicy sweatsuit (shorts edition, gotta show off those stems, yo). This is my favorite kind of JLo as you’ll learn from this list because her OG hits just have a whole lot more street sass than her new shit. This beat highlights her very strong skillset of sing-rapping. NOW I CAN BREATHE AGAIN, BABY NOW I CAN BREATHE AGAIN!

4. Waiting For Tonight.

It’s impossible to listen to this song and not immediately want to swing those hips. This is Jen’s foray into latin club beats and she knocked it out of the park. Plus, what a poetic love song: “I think of the days when the sun used to set On my empty heart, all alone in my bed.” It’s like she can have such a way with words, and then sing them over a beat while she writhes in a bikini and rubs jungle leaves on her face. WHAT A WOMAN. Also a timely choice because in this music video she clubs her way into the new millennium…exactly 20 years ago. While JLo was grinding it up to green neon lights, my family was popping Welch’s non-alcoholic champagne with both my Nana and my Grandma over because both of those olds were convinced the world was going to end in 2000 and didn’t want to die alone. True story.

3. Love Don’t Cost A Thing.

Sometimes we all need to learn a lesson, and this one is very important. JLo don’t want a mans who just lavishes her with gifts and isn’t around because otherwise those gifts will end up sprinkled along the 405 while she’s busy getting cornrows and dancing in front of a tropical green screen. I mean she even ditched the Benz with the custom license plate SO YOU KNOW SHE’S SERIOUS. Also, not for nothing but she’s rich as hell and can buy all this shit for herself anyway and WILL because she’s a boss bitch. So don’t even, HONAYYYY.

2. Get Right.

Full discloszh, I had an extremely difficult time choosing between this one and Do It Well. What edged Get Right in as the prized pick was that saxophone beat. Ignore this weird video where J was obviously trying to puff those acting chops and show that she could play any Jenny you throw at her and just close your eyes and let that sax influence you to pop, lock and drop it. Preferably in a fur-hooded winter coat (crop top style.) If we’re being real though, I can’t even knock her because if I ever had washboard abs like hers, I wouldn’t wear a full length shirt the rest of my life. So I respect it.

1. Jenny From The Block.

THE GOAT. THE PINNACLE OF EVERYTHING THAT IS JENNIFER LOPEZ. Without Jenny from the Block we wouldn’t have a fully dressed Ben Affleck LITERALLY KISSING HER ASS ON A YACHT. Without the Bronx, we wouldn’t have hoodrat Jenny with her nameplate hoops shouting FROM THE BRONX in the background accompanied by rapper hands. We wouldn’t even know what a mid-music video breakdown into a random song or dance number while wearing a do-rag is. And I for one, am #grateful for all of the above. This song and music video sum up everything that is perfection about ya gurl Jen. She’s humble and knows she came from tha hood but also would like to remind everyone that she can dance, sing, bang hot Hollywood babes and buy herself anything she wants now. KWEEN. I’d be even more excited if Bennifer made an appearance at the Super Bowl but I know that’s not realistic. Jenny, if you’re reading this, know that it would be very hilarious and self aware of you to poke fun at Bennifer while performing this song, which should most obviously be your closer. 

BONUS: Limitless

I feel like I was a little heavy-handed on OG JLo from when she was in the prime of her music career and that’s nothing against her, because she’s proven at 50 that she’s still in her prime and yet I pretty much hate any song she’s released within the last decade. She was leaning into the youths a little too much and I tend to not ~~love~~ that type of music. Also, she had quite a few collaborations with Pitbull and I think that bald little hot tamale stinks because he just shouts the same phrases over and over again. The latina DJ Khaled, if you will. HOWEVER, this song that she made for the movie she was in a couple years ago (Second Act–great flick) slaps hard. It makes me want to put on a red power suit and take over the world. GURL POWER. I wouldn’t hate if she slipped this one into the show somewhere with a potential cameo from her daughter who appeared in the video. Also, a great showcase for her vocals, which I feel like she doesn’t have a lot of songs that feature the pipes she’s got. I’m just lookin out for my BFF Jen, who texts me more than my own friends and family.

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Music, Pop Culture, Red Carpet

AMA’s Red Carpet 2019

I just returned from a European vacay, and in true asshole “I’ve traveled abroad” fashion, I went to Price Chopper and bought myself a whole baguette as a casj snack to pretend I don’t actually live in the trashhole that is America. Why am I telling you this? Well, because I settled in to judge the AMA’s red carpet looks with an ENTIRE charcuterie board and bottle of rosé, just by myself. There was not a snack left in sight within 20 mins of the show starting. This is the kind of qualifications I bear to pinpoint when people look bad or sound bad at awards shows. Who better to cast stones than someone who skipped the gym and ate olives, bread, meats and cheeses for dinner in sweatpants. KEEP IT COMIN, HOLLYWOOD AND I’LL KEEP JUDGING.

But enough about me, let’s briefly recap the highlights of the show. Selena SOMEHOW nabbed the opening performance and dear lord did she make everyone question that. Selena has been MIA for 2 years (in rehab & recovering from Justin Bieber dumping her again and getting married 5 minutes later to someone he wasn’t even dating at the time) and tonight was her big comeback singing her two most recent singles about getting over that Biebz good good. Unfortunately she’s delivering burns to JB by singing “you sang off key in my chorus” while SINGING OFF KEY. Her voice was beyond bad. Like I sing karaoke better than her bad. On top of that, she barely moved her body for the dance number. Really mailed it in all around and that was the kickoff to the AMA’s.

Then we got Camila & Shawn still not smooching–at this point are they even dating if they don’t tongue each other onstage? Taylor’s audience SHOCKED faces (enough of this already) and then her Artist of the Decade medley where the ONLY shade she threw was toward Selena by not including her in the besties “Shake It Off” portion of her performance. Do you think Tay sat her down and was like look, I know we’re BFF’s but your voice stinks and I only want good singers onstage with me? Cause I do. But seriously where was the Big Machine drama? Starting off by singing The Man with a white lab coat with all of your Big Machine records listed on it with a bunch of 5 year olds was not dramatic enough for me and I was v. disappointed. Other than that, Halsey’s paint ball performance was cool as hell and Shania and her leopard men brought down the hizzouse as the grand finale.

WORST

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We flew too close to the sun with Halsey’s red carpet looks, guys. She was 2/2 and I knew she couldn’t pull a trifecta. I hoped she would but here we are. Hailing from another planet, red hair rectangles glued on top of her head, eyebrows ceasing to exist & rainbow eyes. The dress isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen her wear but it’s not GREAT EITHER. GAWD, HALSEY.

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Great color but can’t exactly get on board with the Shaq-sized sports jacket and hard flare pants.

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Lizzo is an orange cupcake. Don’t do ruffles, girl. Just don’t. Shout out to her purse tho–wonder if she’s holding Will Ferrell’s cell phone in that.

willferrell

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I’m being very honest when I say that one look at Kesha’s hair here made me want to puke. Those bangs look like they are plastered to her forehead. Also she’s wearing a robe.

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Gaga isn’t here so Xtina thought she would step up to the plate in her absence. No one should ever have block shoulders.

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Heidi out here dressing like it’s the VS Fashion Show. Is she wearing the fantasy bra?!?!

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This is such a Tyra outfit that I almost burst out laughing when I saw it. America’s Next Top Model Tyra showing us how to smize while also dressed like a slutty Panama Jack.

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I’m sorry but I don’t get Billie Eilish. She whisper sings and stares at the camera with voodoo eyes and dresses only in baggy bad 90’s trends. I DON’T GET IT. EXPLAIN IT TO ME, YOUTHS.

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KETCHUP & MUSTARD.

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I will not support these sneakers.

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Bad prom dress alert.

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I think we all know at this point that I was just put on this earth to roast Diplo’s country western act.

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Can we hook up this goober with Billie? They can wear his and hers plaid outfits and just make sounds at each other because that sums up both of their singing careers.

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This was a tough call for me as I love purple AND teal but sometimes you’ve gotta be the baaaaaad guy (see, I’m cool sometimes, Billie) and tell Shawn Mendes to put his chesties away. It’s way too much. Dial it back on putting the pecs on display at a family event.

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H O L Y BooBZ.  Y’all know I don’t like boobage and she’s serving a whole lot of it here. Plus I feel like maybe she should’ve sat this one out.

BEST

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Shania is poppin that hourglass figure and I respect the hell out of the fact that not only did she just come back from the dead for this awards show, but she also decided to wear her hair in the classic, pile it on top of your head because you don’t want to deal with it style. Left a little tail though, just in case.

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 I guess I’m really into the olds tonight but sometimes when you keep it tight and rock classic black, you deserve a nod.

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DAMNIT THESE TWO ARE CUTE AND COLOR COORDINATED.

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The men really showed up tonight with classy and unique suits.

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Pains me to do this because Nick Viall is such a fame-sucking wiener, but God I love this jacket color.

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I keep going back and forth on this. On the one hand, this looks genuinely uncomfortable and like she might pierce her boobs with sharp tin with a sudden movement. On the other hand, SHINY.

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Gr8 color choice for Jenna who already looks v. pregs.

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This is adorbsicles and also they both look fab.

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BAAAAAABE SOOOOOOODA.

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Love me some purple and I love me some Carrie’s stems.

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Camila going for the woodland *possibly nude* fairy look.

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I ate too much bread and my brain has gone to sleep so I can’t even find something clever and catchy to say about these two. They look like smokeshows. That is all.

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We’ve reached the part of the evening where I hate something so much that I come right back around again and like it ironically. This getup is giving me Lisa Frank vibez. I feel like he could have a purple dolphin on his pants and it would still fit in.

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This also applies to that theory. I had a friend in college who used to rock pigtail buns and I was so jelly that they looked cute on her because when I did them I looked like a real idiot. Constance is really puling off the PB’s and lace-up dress.

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KWEEN.

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