Taylor Swift's reputation tour kicked off in early May. Here, her animatronic snake (just go with it) diaries about the experience.
Oh, Canada! A sidenote: Have you ever noticed that Genovia's national anthem in The Princess Diaries 2 sounded a lot like Canada's national anthem? I'm not saying Genovia = Canada, but I'm not not saying that, okay?
We made it to Canada, land of Trudeau and friendliness, just in time. Over in the states, Donald Trump is busy admitting that his campaign aides met with a lawyer with connections to the Kremlin in 2016 to "gather information" on Hillary Clinton — egads. Lord save me. (My country made me crazy; I'll be losing for the rest of my life.) What a wonderful time to escape northward!
Toronto holds a lot of exciting things: cooler weather, less grouchy people who are governed by a dreamy feminist president, etc. But the most exciting thing it had in store for the reputation tour was Bryan Adams, ‘80s and ‘90s treasure and singer of "Summer of '69." Taylor invited him to join for her second show in Toronto, where they sang — what'd you expect? — "Summer of '69."
The song fits nicely in Taylor's current ideological stage, although she has performed it before. (A wee Taylor sang it during her Speak Now tour in 2011. At this time, I, an animatronic snake, was still working on the Vegas strip, waiting for my big break.) "Summer of '69" belongs in the rock-country subgenre "nostalgic songs about sexy summers." In this case, the summer is quite literally sexy. The year "69" has a double meaning, something I only figured out last year. It was the summer of 1969, but it was also the summer of, well, you know. I'll call it "strategic and efficient oral sex." Young snakes, cover your earholes!
Although there hasn't been a mention of "69" on the reputation tour thus far, Taylor's 2018 image is significantly sexier than she has been in the past. "...Ready For It" contains the lyric, "every lover known in comparison is a failure," which suggests that Joe Alwyn (rumored boyfriend) is really good in bed. There's also "Drinking on the beach with/you all over me" from "End Game" and the oft-quoted "scratches down your back now" from "So It Goes." And then, damn, there's "Dress," which is Taylor's version of "Versace on the Floor." All of this is evidence that Taylor is either a) newly comfortable talking about sex or b) newly comfortable luxuriating in various sexual themes and ideas in her work. Those two things are different! You can be comfortable chatting about sex with your best friends — me and the other serpents on the tour have a ball talking about it — and still have qualms about bringing it up in your work.
So, she sang "Summer of '69" in 2011, a full seven years before she would shock us all with "Dress." Now, she's rocking out next to Bryan Adams, singing it with glee. Gosh, I love that song.
The same night, Taylor brought out "Come Back, Be Here" as her surprise song. "CBBH" is a bonus track from Red that I don't think has had enough time in the sun. It's a sad song. It’s potentially about about Taylor's relationship with Harry Styles, although the timeline doesn’t add up. This is only important because the song is about a long distance relationship that ultimately wasn't tenable. (Aren't we lucky I'm not a songwriter? "The relationship wasn't tenable" just doesn't have the same ring to it.)
"Come Back, Be Here" is one of my favorites, partially because I think it's going to make a brilliant 11 o'clock number in the inevitable Taylor Swift jukebox musical.
Speaking of, "Out of the Woods" (from 1989) was Taylor's surprise song for the August 3 show — as a fan and a massive animatronic snake, I'd like to say that this song would be a great Act 1 closer for the jukebox musical. Well, that or "Look What You Made Me Do." Obviously, I'm partial to "LWYMMD," but "Out of the Woods" will work, too.
Taylor was generous with her Toronto shows: She sang "So It Goes," a secret fave, as well as "Dancing with Our Hands Tied," which, yes, is also going to go somewhere in the jukebox musical. (That, or "I Know Places" from 1989. Talk to me after class — email me at email@example.com.)
Before I sign off, I want to address something quickly. There's a rumor that I go by Karyn. This is true. My close friends call me Karyn. Call me what you like. (Call it what you want, yeah.) How do I look?