Thursday, January 15, 2009

British Literature Fail

I usually try to avoid talking about reality television, especially American Idol; however, Idol victor Taylor Swift has recently released a single that is not totally unrelated to Story, and I think about posting this each time I hear it. This week, which saw the kickoff of Idol's--*runs to do resarch*--8th season seemed like as good a time as any.

Now, don't get me wrong: I have nothing against Taylor Swift. From everything I've heard, she seems like a sweet, down-to-earth young woman. She also has a couple of songs that I kind of like--namely "Teardrops on my Guitar" and "Picture to Burn". I even have to concede that The Song in Question is kind of catchy.

It's "Love Story". You can read the lyrics here

Done reading yet?

Can you see what's wrong?

Swift invokes William Shakespeare's doomed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, as a shorthad for both spontaneous passion and parental opposition. Plenty of singers, poets and writers have done this before. That doesn't the change the fact that, as in may of those cases, the story of this ballad ends so differently from the play.

It bugs me a little bit. Was she sick the week they studied that play in high school? Was there not another famous romance that would have worked better? (Antony and Cleopatra? Okay, maybe not...)

I'm not saying the song shouldn't end happily...but then perhaps the "Romeo and Juliet" theme could have lent itself to something more melancholy and twisted, a la Blue Oyster Cult. (Read the chorus from Love Song again if you don't believe me. ) It would have been a more interesting song, but perhaps darker than would ever be Swift's style.

Ah well; until an English major does win American Idol, I leave you with a link to the very corporate but nonetheless pleasant music video. For those readers local to me, yes, part of this was filmed at Castle Gwynn.

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