Did you know that Adam Graham, self-confessed Token White Guy in Japan’s almighty FACT, is a secret Taylor Swift fan? Actually, that’s not true at all. Adam makes absolutely no secret of his Taylor Swift fandom whatsoever. With the world’s biggest popstar releasing her new album 1989 this week, we asked Adam to explain himself – so take it away, Adam…
Cream coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels, doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles, wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings; these are a few of my favourite things (actually, scrap the noodles). I have a wealth of favourite things, a veritable cornucopia one might say. However, floating above them all on a cloud of angel’s hair and baby’s breath, a beauteous and radiant Aphrodite in human form, is the indomitable, the inimitable Miss Taylor Swift.
The music industry being the small world that it is, I have had the fortune and privilege to cross paths with Taylor on a number of occasions (almost certainly more memorable to me than to her), with these close encounters only serving to enhance the fondness with which I regard her. I have to make it clear at this point that my admiration for T Swizzle is as pure and deep as the crystal blue pools of her eyes. As a Northerner I’m immune to the modern day plagues of ironic commentary and post-modern detachment; that kind of shit just doesn’t work on us. My appreciation for Miss Swift and her rich catalogue of almost perfect pop music is both profound and genuine – allow me to expand on what makes her awesome.
1) She writes great, timeless songs. It may seem like a really obvious place to start, but here’s the thing; Your favourite tattooed post-emo blitzcore band may not actually be responsible for what you hear on their record. In studios up and down the UK and USA there are producers and engineers making a killing churning out tunes for “artists” who perhaps have not quite mastered that part of being in a band yet. Sure, the practice is commonplace in pop music, and sure, Taylor has co-writes from Max Martin and Shellback (who doesn’t?), but the song ideas come from the lady herself as you’ll know if you’re lucky enough to own the deluxe version of her new album 1989 (listen to the last tree tracks). And not only does she come up with all these ideas, they’re great ideas. They’re classic pop hooks that worm their way into your subconscious and stay there not for days but forever (ever ever). It’s a rare talent and one that should be cherished.
2) Her lyrics. For me, lyrics are as vitally important as instrumentation when it comes to me falling for an artist. If the lyrics suck, no matter how radical the players may be I find it hard to engage. Lyrics paint a picture not only of what an artist is singing about, but of the artist themselves. It’s quite a difficult thing to define what “quality” lyrics are, but what make Taylor’s lyrics so great is that they’re relatable. Don’t get me wrong, I love tales of being devoured by vermin but it’s never actually happened to me. “Dancing round the kitchen in the refrigerator light” on the other hand? I do it every night! She speaks of the things we do and feel every day, tells stories like a modern day Bob Dylan, and it’s that that endears her to this guy right here and millions of others.
3) Her musical evolution. Personally I feel that evolution is key to musical longevity and keeping people interested in what you’re doing. As perfect examples of this, rock fans may point to how Brand New morphed from pop-punk oiks into peddlers of the finest maudlin alterna-rock of the 2000s, or how Opeth transformed into a humongous 1970s flavoured prog-beast having begun life as (death) metallers. Swifty has done much the same thing, starting out as a wide-eyed country starlet down in Nashville only to become a globe-straddling bona-fide pure pop superstar. The ephemeral nature of pop music doesn’t generally allow an artist the time or space to grow, especially in these days of 15-second attention spans, but this hasn’t seemed to phase Miss Swift in the slightest.
4) She’s punk as fuck. Taylor is an angel, a shining vision of beauty, of that there is no doubt. But do you see her in a push up bra and fishnets, rear end in the air? Or in vulgar convulsions like a dog with an itchy arse who’s just found a carpet? No. She doesn’t rely on the old convention of sex appeal to sell her records and she dances…like I do. In that sense she’s going completely against the grain and the established way of doing things for a young female artist and that’s to be admired in such a ruthless industry. Really her songs speak for themselves, her talent and elegance make her a beacon of light in a sea of sexed-up mediocrity.
5) She’s an inspiration. Go onto YouTube. Type “Taylor Swift cover”. There are millions upon millions of people covering Taylor’s songs with varying degrees of success. Yes, she may well be responsible for a whole festering heap of execrable metalcore covers, but she’s also responsible for some beautiful covers, some quirky covers and some innovative covers like this one right here. She’s inspiring millions of people to pick up an instrument or a microphone and play, and in a world full of war and hate and distrust that’s a beautiful thing. I can’t be the only one hoping that that kid somewhere out there looking at himself in the mirror and singing along to ‘Shake It Off’ turns out to be the next Justin Timberlake.
6) Because without Taylor Swift, I’d never have had this conversation on the FACT Facebook page:
These are just some of the reasons why I love Taylor Swift. The beauty of music is that it’s at once accessible to millions and yet incredibly personal, allowing for a multitude of interpretations. You might not agree with me, you might not like Taylor Swift or my own band or indeed have any time at all for anything I have to say. You may want to berate me with a torrent of filthy abuse for not being metal or trve kvlt or whatever and that’s cool. Just like Taylor, I think I’ll just about manage to shake it off.
When he’s not penning articles for us about musicians we wouldn’t normally cover, Adam plays in an excellent band called FACT – you should follow them on Facebook and Twitter. To celebrate their 15th anniversary as a band, they’re curating a MASSIVE one-day punk and hardcore festival by the name of Rock-O-Rama on November 29 over in Tokyo. Featuring the likes of Palm, Waterweed and Strung Out, it’s taking place at Makuhari Messe in Tokyo – we are super-bummed that it is happening on the opposite side of the world to us, so if you can possibly get your ass to Tokyo for that date for the love of all that’s unholy don’t miss it. If you’re on Instagram, go follow Adam’s personal account on there to see what he gets up to when he’s not being an awesome guitarist. You’ll also see that he really, really wasn’t exaggerating his love for Taylor Swift.