New Music Friday: Lavendar Haze by Taylor Swift

As I suggested in my New Music Friday post last week, I do have some thoughts on the new Taylor Swift album. I have said in this space many times before that for the most part Taylor Swift is not for me. I do not know what it is about her voice in the way that she sings in most songs that grates on me. I can’t really put my finger on it, but there’s something I do not like about it going all the way back to her early country days. I respect her as an artist. She’s obviously insanely savvy in creating a fan base and working within while also subverting the business music establishment. So more power to her, but I just don’t particularly care to listen to most of her songs.

I have listened to Midnights all the way through. There are a handful of songs that I like, but they’re all the ones that don’t sound like Taylor’s normal voice and in some ways remind me of other artists and songs. I like “Anti-Hero”, which is good since it’s the single out there right now. It’s catchy and Taylor’s voice is either synthesized enough or has her singing in a high enough register that it subverts the quality in her voice that bugs me. “Vigilante Shit” is giving off real Billie Eilish vibes to me. I’m going to focus on the song “Lavendar Haze” because it demonstrates perfectly all the things I’m talking about.

Her voice in “Lavendar Haze” is lowered enough in most of it that for most of the song it doesn’t trip whatever is in my brain that turns me off from Taylor’s voice, though there are a few times that happens. This song immediately reminded me of other songs that I like in various places. At the 40 second mark where she starts singing “I’ve been under scrutiny” immediately reminded me of Halsey’s “I Am Not a Woman, I’m a God” and directly leads into a drum fill that sounds exactly like the one used in “Fallingwater by Maggie Rogers. For someone who loves music so much, I have no music talent and cannot process things likes beats and chords. So they might both be using the same drum fill coming from the same drum machine, or it might be entirely different but just sounding similar to me. I cannot say. Then the tenor of her voice in starting at the 52 second mark is at least to me reminiscent of part of another Maggie Rogers’ song, “Alaska”. But then at the 58 second mark, we get to the Taylor voice that irks me in the line, “I’m damned if I do give a damn what people say”. This song is barely tolerable to me. Her voice is edging on that sound for most of the song, but only sometimes fully tips over into it, whereas “Anti-Hero” avoids it altogether. So this is all to say that Taylor Swift still mostly not for me, but there’s a couple songs on Midnights I can add to few other Taylor Swift songs I actually like. I’m happy for all the Taylor fans out there who are eating every second of this album up though.

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