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Music Video Thunderdome: Taylor Swift

Let’s face it. Certain things aren’t terribly happy right now and many of us have had several parts of our life come screeching to a halt. While we could do some deep dive praxis analytical scope of the socio-economic effects of the shutdown, well, everything sucks and we want to have some fun for a little bit. To that end, we’re going to spend the next several days doing a top-five ranking of our favorite music artists’ music videos. But, there can be only five, which means we’re gonna have to kill some darlings. Kicking this series off is none other than Taylor Swift, so you know this was a hard culling. Below are our top five music videos for Taylor. Let us know in the comments if you agree with us, or tell us what your own top five Swiftie list looks like!

…Ready for It?

As far as absolutely conceptual “epic” ambition, “…Ready for It?” is a Swiftian “go big or go home” gamble, and the risk pays off in spades. Resembling something far more befitting for a summer blockbuster event, Swift’s exploration of her relationship with the media, as well as her artistic vision is absolutely stunning. This is a must-see for anyone who wants to analyze Swift’s creative mind.

Delicate

In many ways, the “Delicate” video is the older, more intimate sister of “Ours” as Swift reveals the pain behind celebrity life. Rendered invisible, she gleefully dances through Los Angeles, never once singing along to the music. “Delicate” as a pantomime is one of the best depictions of mental health that I’ve ever seen, a raw portrait about how surveillance devastates one’s personhood and the lonely work of learning to hope again.

The Man

If “…Ready for It?” was a deep-dive into Swift’s ambition, “The Man” is a perfect culmination of her creative journey via music video medium. With more easter eggs than you can shake a stick at, Taylor is running with both barrels blazing with her critique of male-machismo dominated society, both visually and aurally. It’s terribly excited to remember this is only her first solo album, so one can only imagine what’s in store for us next.

Ours

“Ours” is a quiet music video that represents an evolution in Swift’s artistry. She wrote the video concept herself, and with no performance shots, Swift is in character the whole time as she sings about keeping love afloat in a hostile world. Her isolation within the narrative, bolstered by a surprisingly sweet ending, serves as a reminder that this pandemic too shall pass: “The stakes are high, the water’s rough/But this love is ours”. Yes, it is Taylor; yes it is.

Love Story

At least one of these videos really needed to dive into her country root, and “Love Story” is both charming and sweet. But more than that, this video is a fantastic glimpse into a younger Taylor’s creative visual mind, and you can easily see the “epic scope” hints that will dominate her later music videos when watching this in hindsight.

Honorable Mentions

Shake it Off, Me!, Blank Space, Wildest Dreams

Image and videos courtesy of Taylor Swift
Kori and Taylor
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