Look, I’m actually not going to take sides. Am I a fan of John Mayer as a person? Not really. But I’ve never met him and or interacted with him and he picked Montana to live in which demonstrates some sort of acceptable taste. And the dude can play guitar. Straight up.
When it comes to Taylor, I do think she’s a role model and I do think she has a responsibility to act accordingly. Was writing a vindictive song about an ex and effectively kicking him while he was down the right way to do that? Probably not. But let’s face it, that’s how she’s made her living and her fame. And if someone asked her about it, why shouldn’t she answer? She didn’t give anybody his last name. You date Taylor Swift, it’s going to get noticed.
But if John wants to comment on the song as a songwriter, then by all means, I have something to say, too.
I don’t have the money and the fame and the technical chops to back me up like he does, but as a songwriter who has spent many, many years learning and perfecting what I do, I am going to say that it’s not cheap songwriting. He’s written songs about his exes too. All songwriters do it. Maybe his songs have been a little less obvious when it comes to who he’s talking about, but his conduct outside his songwriting hasn’t been. I don’t think you get to be self-righteous about one and not the other.
And I’ll also say that even the songs that come from the most truthful, deep down hidden place are not always 100% honest. It’s a song. It’s poetry. Songwriters embellish for effect, they draw on other similar experiences, they focus on one perspective even though they might see it from several different angles. Sometimes they change a detail for the sole purpose of making it rhyme. YES. IT HAPPENS. And if you don’t think it does, you’re naive. Taylor Swift knows how to get her songs on the radio, and if you don’t think she wrote that with every intention of making money on it, then you’re crazy.
And we all know John Mayer knows how to make money.
So did Taylor think to herself, “People are going to know this is about John Mayer, and they’re going to eat it up?” Eh, probably. Do I think that’s slightly manipulative or backhanded? Yep. But that’s not about the songwriting itself, that’s about the two of them. And John Mayer’s a whole lot older than Taylor Swift and had a very good idea of her track record going in. So I don’t think he gets to be offended, musically or otherwise.
Huh. Maybe I did just take sides.