Today, OK! Magazine is giving us an “insider report” that Calvin Harris—Scotsman, EDM prince and current Taylor Swift paramour—“doesn’t want to join the ranks of Swift refugee boyfriends who’ve been humiliated by one of her revenge songs.” Reportedly, Harris thinks she “demeans” herself by writing about her past relationships. “He thinks she’s an incredible musician who should use her intellect and channel positive energy into her song-writing, versus mundane lyrics about boys,” the story adds.
First of all, admittedly, this is essentially hypothetical. Second, what do we think 2008 Taylor Swift would say to 2008 Calvin Harris—not just about this hypothetical idea, but at all?
My teenage self was much more loyal to Calvin Harris, disco Scot, than Taylor Swift, heartbreak superstar, and the man sure knows how to put on a festie set. However, I must say, this is a rude hypothetical statement from Calvin Harris, and I will make a rude hypothetical statement in return: Calvin Harris would be so lucky as to get a Taylor Swift track about him.
It’s still, I guess, a bit of a thing that women writing about failed relationships often come off petty, or at the very least, like they’re “getting personal”—while men writing about failed relationships (with a few notable exceptions) come off different, somehow above. The Marriage Plot was just as chickish, if not more so, than any of these books; “Cry Me a River” is no less personal than “You Oughta Know.” But all of that’s beside the point. What I’m trying to say is that a Taylor Swift breakup track about Calvin Harris—aside from using more “intellect” than a naysayer would suspect—would also be good. Taylor is a better composer than she is a lyricist, but her “mundane lyrics about boys” far surpass their Calvin Harris equivalent.
Let’s compare the two, to illustrate. Here’s Taylor on attraction:
So it goes/ He can’t keep his wild eyes on the road/ Takes me home/ Lights are off, he’s taking off his coat
Two very tangible images. Here’s Calvin on attraction:
I feel so close to you right now/ It’s a force field/ I wear my heart upon my sleeve, like a big deal
LMAO. Okay, here’s Taylor on falling in love:
So it’s gonna be forever/ Or it’s gonna go down in flames/ You can tell me when it’s over/ If the high was worth the pain/ Got a long list of ex-lovers, they’ll tell you I’m insane/ Cause you know I love the players/ And you love the game
Obvious, trope-y—but deliberately so, and pretty complicated as pop choruses go: it contains, in order, a hypothesis, a dare, an admission, and a statement, and it zigzags from present to future to past back to present. In contrast, here’s Calvin on falling in love:
When I met you in the summer/ To my heartbeat sound/ We fell in love/ As the leaves turned brown/ And we could be together babe/ As long as skies are blue/ You act so innocent now/ But you lied so soon
The difference between Taylor’s lyrics—which are precise and loaded to the syllable, even when their images are incredibly broad—and Calvin’s lyrics—which are like what you’d sing over a track as a placeholder before your friend who was better at this showed up at the studio—is quite large, even when the two musicians are not writing about Lurve. For example, here’s Taylor on a fun time:
Baby we’re the new romantics/ Come along with me/ Heartbreak is the national anthem/ We sing it proudly/ We’re too busy dancing/ To get knocked off our feet/ Baby we’re the new romantics/ The best people in life are free
In contrast, here’s Calvin on a fun time:
Come in to my house/ You’re invited into my house/ Entering the back of my house/ Welcoming you into my house/ I’ve invited loads to my house/ Loads of people come to my house/ They take stuff inside of my house /And smoke stuff outside of my house
In conclusion, Calvin Harris would be lucky if Taylor Swift wrote a song about him, because that song would probably be a pretty good song.
Images via AP, Getty
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