Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Taylor Swift's new song lyrics irritate the hell out of me and here's why

I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan. I’ve been a fan of her music since she released Everything has changed with Ed Sheeran. There was just something about those lyrics and the songs, I knew you were trouble and We are never getting back together that really connected with me.

I’ve been a loyal fan since. I went to the 1989 World Tour (and it’s because of Taylor Swift that I’m still living in Sydney – there was something she said during the concert that connected with me) and the Reputation World Tour.
I buy her music as soon as it comes out and I can identify with most of the lyrics.
She’s just begun releasing singles for her seventh album, Lover.
I loved the first single, Me! Where she teamed up with Panic At The Disco’s Brendon Urie) and sung a song about how awesome she was. That song was great. It was upbeat and a song about anyone who has ever doubted themselves. It was a self affirming song and the positivity was welcome.
Her second single, You need to calm down completely missed the mark for me. It was a political song and that’s all I’m saying on the matter. Musicians and politics should not mix.
But her third single, The archer is such a depressing song and I’m not a fan. I mean it’s Taylor Swift so I’ve got it on repeat but that’s also because I’m writing this blog about it, so I kind of have to listen to it multiple times to really get the point and say everything I want to say.
Anyway, there’s a few lyrics in this song that really irritate the hell out of me.
I want to preface this by saying that a couple of months ago I was shot down by a guy I really liked and I’m only just getting over that so I’m all, “I’m great on my own and I’m awesome,” which is why I can identify with the lyrics to Me! I was trying to find specific lyrics I could identify with but the whole song describes how I feel right now.
The archer on the other hand is such a needy, desperate, clingy, co-dependant, whingy, whiney, depressing, wallowing song.
I want to draw attention to some specific lyrics:
Easy they come, easy they go

I jump off the train, I ride off alone

I never grew up, it’s getting so old

Help me hold onto you

The issue with these lyrics is that Taylor is saying she needs someone else to be happy and that she can’t handle being alone.

She’s also whining about never growing up, though I do appreciate the reference to her earlier song, Never grow up.

Why does she need to hold onto someone? Why can’t she be happy on her own? Why can’t she find happiness in other things?

Then there’s the self pity in the next lyrics:

And I cut off my nose just to spite my face

Then I hate my reflection for years and years

These lyrics are awful. Talk about low self-esteem and negativity. That’s just blaming herself for things that have happened and that’s ridiculous. She shouldn’t hate herself. Nobody should hate themselves and nobody should feel sorry for themselves. It’s not healthy.

But the lyric that really grates on my nerves:

All the king’s horses, all the king’s men

Couldn’t put me together again

Why does she even need someone to put her together again? She can put herself back together. She shouldn’t need anyone else to do that for her. She should be strong enough on her own. This song is awful lyrically.

I’m sure at some point I’ll like the lyrics of this song, but right now I don’t. I’m really disappointed in the weakness and co-dependency shown in this song. I just want to knock some sense into her.

And on that note I’m going to listen to Me! Because I’d rather celebrate self love than wallowing and self pity. And of course I'll be buying the album as soon as it's out but this song annoys me.

P.S. It wasn't intentional to have two blogs in a row about Taylor Swift's new music.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Taylor Swift's new song and thoughts on love

Taylor Swift is one of the most polarising artists of our time. One minute everyone loves her and can't get enough of her. The next they're crtiicising her and saying her music is trash.

The tabloids are at it again this week now that she has released the lead single, Me! off her seventh, yet to be named album. She teamed up with Panic at the Disco's Brendon Urie.

The general gist is that Taylor's new single isn't up to her usual standard and that she's sold herself short. She's also been accused of writing for teenagers.

Firstly, even if she has written for teenagers how is that a bad thing and why are people talking negatively about her for writing for teenagers? Are teenagers not allowed opinions? Do their feelings not matter? Why are people looking down on teenagers? If we're not teenagers now then most of us were teenagers once and I don't know about you but when I was a teenager I was all about the crushes on the boys and I was all about the love and romance. I was the type of girl who wrote boys notes in primary school, intermediate and high school. There were so many crushes and crushes are fun.

I'm getting a little sidetracked here. Anyway, back to Taylor Swift's song. I've seen some commentary that the lyrics are lame and that it's a break up song. That's not at all how I interpret it. Now call me an optimist and a believer in love but I reckon it's a song about being crazy about someone and even though they have faults you just want to be with them.

This is clear in the lines:

"And you're the kind of guy the ladies want" and "you're the only one of you."

It's also about how nobody will ever like someone as much as you. Again, this is evidenced in the lines, "I promise that you'll never find another like....." and "I never wanna see you walk away."

I'm truly dumbfounded as to how anyone can think this is a break up song. If anything it's a song about how no relationship is perfect but how no matter what happens you want to make it work.

That sort of brings me to my next point which is about relationships in general. I have a lot of friends who are always worried about getting hurt and worried that a relationship won't pan out. You know what I have to say to that? What if it DOES work? What if you do get your happy ending? What if you're not alone in your feelings? As a character in the TV show Friends once said, it only has to happen once. You only need to have a relationship work once, and as Rachel said in Series 5, "people love being told when someone loves them." Rachel had blind faith that she should tell Ross how she felt. Of course he didn't reciprocate (until later on and then she "got off the plane" in the series finale in season 10), but has anyone ever been rude when someone shows their heart? The answer is no because even if they don't feel the same, they're still going to appreciate it. They'll appreciate it because it takes bravery and courage to put your heart on the line.

People shouldn't be so cynical about relationships. They should trust that things will work. Why do people always expect the worst? Why not expect the best? What if the best DOES happen? What if you do get what you want?

I'm gonna leave you with this thought: you've gotta be in it to win it. It only needs to work out once. In a world of 7 billion people, how could it NOT work out once? How could people not find love? It's all around us if you really believe in it and again, as the TV show Friends says, "it only has to work once."

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Delete dating apps and become the person you want to date

Isn't it a fascinating concept? People actually sign up to dating websites or dating apps searching for love. They basically have a sign on their foreheads saying, "hey I'm desperate, love me, love me. I need love.'

In what world did it become okay to do things so unnaturally? When did people stop having the faith that things would happen organically? Why did they stop believing that love would come into their life at exactly the right time?

I don't want to sound all new age but surely, love will come into your life when it's the right time and surely love will come into your life when, as cliched as it sounds you stop looking for it and become happy in who you are.

So what does that actually look like? Well, being happy in who you are means you can take it either way. It means that you're honestly okay if you're single forever or if you end up meeting The One.

Of course, that's easier said than done but here's the thing about people who are comfortable in themselves. They have their own interests. They have their own life. They have a great job. They're happy in themselves. They're not worried about whether or not someone else loves them because they love themselves. That's not to say they're egotistical. It just means they have self respect and that they know what they want.

Now I'm sure that everyone can relate to having dated a lot of incompatible people on dating sites and apps. There'll be the ones where you just have no connection, the one where you feel something but there's that niggling self doubt (more about that later), the ones who lie to you and string you along like a puppet. There'll be the ones who are insanely into you but who you don't feel the same way about. Now, I don't like the quote TV shows, actually that's a lie, I do. There's a couple of episodes of How I Met Your Mother where Ted is so close to giving up on love.

In season 4's episode, As fast as she can, Ted is destitute and so fed up. He has recently bumped into Stella who says to him, she's getting there as fast as she can. Ted being Ted he acknowledges that comment but he doesn't really believe it.

Then in season 8 he dates the last ever woman before he meets The Mother. The last ever woman was Jeanette Peterson who was mentally unhinged. I'm sure we've all dated someone who is mentally unhinged. Interestingly he says after she's chucked his stuff out of the apartment that he's done with dating and that he's ready to settle down.

Within a few months he then met The Mother.

To quote Ted Mosby, before you can attract love into your life, you have to become the person you would want to date. You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else and before anyone else can love you. It could be that like Ted you scream at the universe that you're done with dating or that you're sick of being disrespected and want more. Or it could be that you follow some other path.

In other words the basic essence of this blog is that you can't go out searching for love. You have to let it find you, and it will find you. At the right time. When you're ready for it and often when you've given up and you're certain it's not out there. If love was easy to find we simply wouldn't value it. It comes into our lives when we will value it and when we won't take it for granted. It's like that movie, How to lose a guy in ten days with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. There's a quote early on in the movie that diamonds are valued because they're scarce. If love was around every corner it wouldn't be valued because it would be just like a bus. There'd be another in five minutes, but it's not like that. It could be months or years between loves.

But one other thing is for sure. It's not on dating apps and nor should it be.. It's so unnatural and fake when you think about it. People post a few pictures of themselves and a short bio with info they want the world to see. That's not how you find love. That's how you attract other desperate people.

The best way to find love is to love yourself and to be genuinely happy in yourself. It's to have your own life and to not need someone else to share it with. When you're in that place you'll effectively be a complete person and that is so much more attractive than someone who is seeking love.

So please, delete Tinder and other apps. They're just fake. You can't find true love on apps. It exists where you least expect it and it will come along when you least expect it. You just have to shift it out of your mind and not need it.

It sounds counter intuitive but it just can't be forced and that's what dating apps do. They try and force it. It's not a genuine connection. Genuine connections are found elsewhere. And when you do find a genuine connection there won't be any self doubt. As cryptic as it sounds you'll just know. You'll just feel it. It will be different to anything you've ever experienced before. You have to let it happen naturally.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Concert review: Bryan Adams, ICC, Sydney, 24th March 2019

A while ago I saw that long time Canadian pop/rock singer, Bryan Adams would be touring Australia. One of my favourite songs is Summer of 69, which is about sex by the way. As you'd expect because I go to a lot of concerts I bought a ticket to his show at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Sydney.

Before every concert I always look online for the setlist and to see who the opening artist is. Opening for Bryan was Australian singer, Mahalia Barnes, the daughter of rocker Jimmy Barnes who was in Cold Chisel and has a solo "singing" career. I use quotation marks because Jimmy cannot sing, but more about that later.

Mahalia opened and she was one of the better support acts I've heard. That was until she turned political and referenced yesterday's state election. She complained about the lockout laws and basically indicated that people shouldn't support the Liberal National Party. Two things:

1 - Live music still exists.
2 - Artists shouldn't turn political because it's really alienating. Not everyone is left wing. Some people are right wing.

I will briefly talk about the lockout laws though. Generally speaking the lockout laws have become a Labor, Green, Keep Sydney Open and Liberal Democratic Party issue. If the lockout laws are ever to be reversed then Labor and the Green Party need to stop using it as a policy platform. I'm right wing and I'm against the lockout laws but when Labor and the Green Party make it a policy platform they alienate and exclude right wingers from the debate.

I could write an entire blog on how the lockout laws have killed Sydney's music scene and how the majority shouldn't be punished for a couple of tragic deaths, but that's not what this blog is about.

This blog is about Bryan Adams' tour to Australia and New Zealand.

You may or may not know that following the Christchurch Mosque Massacre he cancelled his show schedule for March 17th at Hagley Park, close to where the Mosque shooting took place. He has said in interviews that he was traumatised.

The tour was in support of his new album, Shine a Light and he dedicated the title track to all New Zealanders. Shine a Light had been written with Ed Sheeran. The dedication was possibly the best moment of the show. As I've written in previous blogs, I always love when artists talk to the audience and make it personal. That's exactly what he did, and it was really great to see that he was personally impacted by the Christchurch massacre, great to see in the sense that he actually cared. I love when artists care about world events. This may be a contradiction, but Bryan Adams didn't make it political at all. He just said that it had been a "traumatic experience" and left it at that.

Afterwards he sung Heaven, which has been covered by numerous artists including DJ Sammy, which until tonight was the only version I was familiar with. I had no idea Bryan Adams had sung the song originally. The original is fantastic if you haven't heard it.

Another highlight of the show was when he sung his biggest song, Summer of 69 and a short time later When you're gone which he had originally recorded with the Spice Girls singer, Melanie Chisolm in 1998.

I haven't been hugely familiar with Bryan's music and like I say, I was only there for two songs, but I also discovered his song, 18 til I die. Lyrically this is a fantastic song that is basically about being young at heart. I absolutely loved it.

The purpose of a tour is to promote your music that people may not know about and Bryan Adams succeeded in that.

He did make one mistake though which was in the encore which came after a main setlist of 22 songs, bringing the total to about 28 songs. He invited Jimmy Barnes to the stage to sing with him. I don't know what song they were trying to sing but Jimmy Barnes absolutely wrecked it. Jimmy Barnes has an awful gravelly voice and I wouldn't even say he sings. How he's had a long standing rock career is beyond me when his voice was pure torture to listen to.

I lasted about 2 minutes before I had to walk out. His voice was that bad and I was not impressed. I missed the final two songs of the encore so about five minutes all up. That's no big deal as I'd heard all the songs I wanted to.

There was one funny moment where Bryan sung a song, I'll always be right there, with Keith Scott on guitar. He restarted the song a couple of times, and the second time he said, "fucking hell" but it was funny because he incorporated it into the melody when he went back into the song because saying, "I can't say 'fucking hell' in the middle of a love song". It was one of those moments where you had to be there.

So other than Mahalia Barnes being political and other than Bryan Adams inviting Jimmy Barnes to the stage for the encore it was a great show and I loved his dedication to Christchurch.

The security at the ICC was also lacking compared to other times I've been. There was no bag check and given the recent events in Christchurch I wasn't impressed with that either. I hope the ICC ramps up their security for future shows.

I also could have done with side big screens because the stage lights did block some of my view and I couldn't really see Bryan's face. I can't blame the venue for that though as I'd chosen a cheap seat for this concert.

I'd give it a 4/5.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

That time I spoke to Jacinda about a massacre back in 2012

The year was 2012. I was doing my post grad in Communications at Auckland University of Technology. My specialisation was Journalism. I was also working as a media monitor/content writer. On the side I volunteered for the student magazine, Debate as a columnist and article writer. I had a regular dating column called It's in his kiss, which was based on Carrie Bradshaw's Sex and the City. I've always had an interest in the serious issues though so I wrote serious articles. I wrote articles about crime, Kyle Sandilands and I also had a How to guide.

After the Colorado cinema shootings in July 2012 I was fascinated because unlike the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, the Colorado cinema shooter hadn't turned the gun on himself.

I was going to write an article that centred around the mental health of mass murderers, why they do it in the first place, why some choose to end their own life and why some choose not to. For that article I had planned to interview a few pyschologists and I also chose to interview then NZ Labour list MP, Jacinda Ardern. I emailed Jacinda's office and she personally replied and I may be wrong but I think I set up the interview for 3 or 4pm on a Thursday afternoon. I then created my list of questions.

I asked her about the Orlando shooting, what action she would like to see taken and a couple of other things that I genuinely do not recall. If memory serves me right though, we did talk about mental health and we did talk about prevention. I recall her being very compassionate and kind.

This was evidenced in the interview when my building had a fire alarm. She offered to end the interview and continue it later but I didn't want to do that so once the beeping had stopped we carried on with it.

After I interviewed her I also interviewed an Australian psychologist by the name of Susan. I don't recall what she said either but I don't recall her being as warm as Jacinda was.

Jacinda really seemed to care about people and their mental health.

That has been displayed this week in response to the Christchurch Mosque Shooting that occurred on Friday. She has been so kind and caring towards the families of the victims, the entire Muslim community and NZers in general.

I think I steered clear of questions about guns and wanted to focus on the tougher issue because at the time I remember thinking that to ban guns would just be to put a band aid on the wound and that it wouldn't actually solve anything. I have since changed my tune but realistically, in an ideal world I'd like to see gun ownership cut and people given better access to mental health support services.  On that note, I really hope that the paramedics and other first responders on Friday are receiving adequate medical attention. 

Although nobody would ever wish an event like this on their worst enemy, if there's any world leader you'd want in your corner it's Jacinda and throughout the years she's always been a very kind, caring and considerate person.

There's no real point of this blog. I guess I'm just a little spooked out that I interviewed her about a massacre back in 2012 not even knowing back then that she would be Prime Minister of New Zealand or that she would be the one who would be the face of the nation dealing with such an atrocity.

I would be lying if I said I asked her what she'd do if it ever happened in New Zealand because to be honest, I don't think the thought even crossed my mind. I think I really wanted to get her views on the linkages between mental health and massacres.

I also guess I'm talking about it because although I want the assailant to receive the death penalty, I do want to understand what can drive a person, anyone to such a henious crime. How can someone be so angry and evil that they don't think what they're doing is wrong? Back in 2012 neither Jacinda nor I had the answer and sadly that's the case today. I do agree with her that a little kindness goes a long way.

Friday, March 15, 2019

NZ terror attack: peace not war shall be our boast

Here's a blog I had hoped I would never be writing. I suspected it would happen at some point, that eventually there would be a terrorist attack in New Zealand. I certainly didn't think it would happen in Christchurch of all places.

I was at work when the news started coming in. A friend sent me a message on Facebook saying: "Shooting in CHCH at the Mosque. 6 dead. Check stuff".

When I read that phrase I was shocked and immediately check the news. Given I am a writer and studied journalism at university I always like to verify information.

Anyway, it was true. There was an unfolding situation at a Mosque in CHCH. That ended up being much worse than first suspected. I listened to the radio all day for updates while working.

Throughout the day the death toll kept on rising and then around 6pm, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed a death toll of 40. That number would later rise to 49 where it has been for the last few hours, however there are still 48 in hospital.

Newstalk ZB's coverage was brilliant today and it is very clear that New Zealanders are feeling the pain today over this terrorist attack. It's the worst terrorist attack to ever happen in NZ. To put it into context, 49 dying in NZ in a terrorist attack is the equivalent of 2600 in America. That means it's the equivalent of the 9/11 twin tower attacks.

The really sad part is that it was an Australian who carried out this senseless attack on innocent people. Nobody has the right to take another person's life and nobody has the right to get violent with other people. The Australian who allegedly carried out these attacks released a manifesto online stating the reasons and the basic gist is that they wanted to stop invasion of Western nations.

I don't want to focus on them too much but it seems hypocritical because they went to New Zealand specifically to carry out this henious terrorist attack against innocent people. While details have not yet been released, children are amongst the dead.

Instead, what I want to focus on in this blog is how to stop terrorist attacks in the future because nobody should ever feel unsafe where they live, let alone in a place of worship. They should feel safe to go about their daily business.

Hate is what caused this crime and to prevent further crimes, hate is not the answer despite what some people are saying on social media. The best answer to prevent crime is to show compassion and love towards other people. Tolerance will stop these attacks.

Terrorists, regardless of what side they represent want to create division but instead, people need to all stand together and unite. They need to show they won't be broken and that they will not perpetuate hate.

Anyone who is suffering mental health issues (sociopathy and psychopathy included) needs to receive help for their issues and they need help so that they don't senselessly murder people, although this is much worse than murder. This was outright terrorism.

Another question that has to be asked is how the assailants got the guns to carry out these crimes. NZ is supposed to be like Australia, with tough gun laws yet somehow the assailant was able to get enough guns and ammunition to kill innocent people.

What's even more confusing is why the assailant has only been charged with murder. This crime extended beyond murder and was a terrorist attack.

I don't believe in the death penalty. I never will believe in the death penalty. I have however said previously that when it comes to treason and terrorism I make an exception and I stand by that. In this particular case, the assailant, whether they acted alone or with others, does not deserve to live. According to media reports, four suspects are in police custody.

The attack was senseless and served absolutely no purpose.

The really sad part is that New Zealanders and Australians are supposed to be family and yet an Australian specifically targeted New Zealand. They specifically targeted a quiet city that's already been through a lot with the Christchurch earthquakes from which it hasn't yet recovered and I can only hope that Cantabrians will be offered emotional and mental health support.

The attack doesn't make sense. That's not to say that all Australians are like this because they're not. The vast majority of Australians are friendly, welcoming, peaceful and would never carry out a terrorist attack. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned the attack, as has NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and NZ Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters. Mr Peters has also indicated that NZ's national security will be looked at in due course.

It would be so easy to blame all white people for this attack, but I have to raise the point, when a Muslim carries out a terrorist attack that's exactly what happens, some people blame all Muslims but the reality there are only a small minority of Muslims who are terrorists.

It would also be so easy to blame all white Christians for this attack but the vast majority have also condemned this senseless attack.

I've read part of the assailant's manifesto (I couldn't read the rest because it was too disturbing) and the general gist was that they hated Muslims, hated immigration and wanted to reclaim their land (hypocritical given they targeted a country they're not even from) which indicates fear. A culture of fear does not help anyone.

Fear is what terrorists want.

The best answer and the best response to terrorist attacks is simply to be tolerant of other people. If someone isn't hurting you, what do their beliefs actually matter? It's not like they're actually hurting you.

So I would have to draw words from the NZ National Anthem because it feels appropriate today.

In the bonds of love we meet.
Hear our voices, we entreat.

Men of every creed and race
Gather here before Thy face
Asking thee to bless this place

From dissension, envy, hate,
and corruption guard our state

Peace, not war, shall be our boast
But should foes assail our coast
Make us then a mighty host

Instead of hating Australians, white Christians, Muslims, immigration etc, people need to come together to keep the peace and be more tolerant.

Hate, anger and fear is what caused this attack. Love is the antedote to it. Only when we treat others with respect will senseless terrorist attacks stop.

And to close this blog, I'm going to leave you with the extended version of the New Zealand National Anthem.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Concert review - Nickelback - Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney - 15th February 2019

I go to a lot of concerts. It averages one a month, however this month it's more like one a week. These are all of this year's concerts:

  • Lily Allen (that was last week on the 5th of February)
  • Nickelback tonight
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers next Tuesday the 19th of February
  • Beth Hart next Friday the 22nd of February
  • Hanson the 5th of March
  • Kylie Minogue the 6th of March
  • Bryan Adams the 24th of March
I then have a bit of a gap without concerts before the following:

  • Maren Morris the 22nd of August
  • Julia Michaels the 5th of September
Then there is nothing until next year:

  • Elton John on the 7th of Janaury
Tonight was of course Nickelback and as a longstanding fan there was a lot of anticipation. That anticipation was brought about for two reasons.

I saw them back in 2006 at Auckland's Western Springs Stadium when they opened for the Rolling Stones. I thought they were very average live. I was not impressed at all.They might have been having a bad night or they've improved considerably over the last few years, which is entirely possible. I know that even a few months can make a huge difference to my performing so imagine what a few years can do to them.

As I had acting practice early in the evening I missed out on the opening act but as I've previously written about I'm not a fan of opening acts, which the exception being Japanese Wallpaper who opened for Lily Allen last week so I don't think I really missed anything.

Nickelback came onto the stage just before 9pm and opened with the title track from their new album, Feed the Machine.

Long time fans such as myself were extremely happy when the third song was Photograph which they were keen for the audience to sing, and sing we did. That enthusiasm carried through for the next song, Far Away, a ballad from the same album, All The Right Reasons.

Something In Your Moutth was a track that Chad Kroeger was very enthusiastic about , quite possibly because of the lyrics.

The set list had changed between concerts so I was a caught off guard when they launched into Someday, which is one of my favourite songs and a song that I practiced singing last night. It was the highlight of the show for me and is the song that got me into Nickelback in the first place. It also has a lot of meaning for me. In the past it's been a song that has been hard to listen to but tonight I just loved every second of it and sung along.

When we stand together and Gotta be somebody were two highlights for me as well.  The songs had an excellent beat and lyrics as well.

As with most shows, Chad brought a couple of fans on stage to sing Rockstar from All The Right Reasons. One of the fans was so uncomfortable and like a fish out of water whereas the other was right at home. It was a pretty funny moment but in all honesty I could've done without the uncomfortable fan being on stage.

There were other moments when Chad and his bandmates interacted with the audience. He made a lot of jokes about his alcoholism and how everyone loves the drummer, not knowing of course that me, sitting in the stand has a major crush on him (there's just something about a lead singer) and when he talked about how he loves Sydney's weather.

The final song before the encore was How you remind me and there was only a short gap before the two song encore. The concert closed on Burn It To The Ground.

It may be that there's a few songs that I really love and that I feel truly connected to or it's that Chad Kroeger is incredibly hot but the show was one of the best I've been to lately.

I have to give it a 4/5.

Here are some photos from the show including the moment when two fans were brought on stage.