The Waltz of the Confused Virgins: Taylor Swift – “Love Story”

Once upon a time, I was really invested in doing snarky music video reviews. Here’s one example….

  We’re on a college campus, with Taylor walking along and looking forlorn, when she suddenly spies a boy sitting under a tree. He spies her spying. They are both suddenly transfixed with each other, with hints of possible recognition registering on their acne-free faces. (He’s really cute, which is a requirement in most music videos, so if she doesn’t really know him she probably should.) As they continue to be model-perfect, she (or maybe he, who knows) starts getting flashbacks of a past life they apparently shared.

  We’re transported back to old-timey days (which would be 2004 for Taylor, but several hundred years for the rest of us), and Taylor is now standing on a balcony opening off a humongous house. Based on the couture of the extras milling around, we appear to be in, oh, let’s say the 1600s. (Shorthand-breakdown of the symbolism: she’s playing Juliet, and she’s wishing for a Romeo. We’ve all been there.)

  Next thing we know, Taylor’s in a ballroom, with lots of candles plunked hither and yon. (Which means that electricity hasn’t been invented yet, so nobody can charge their social-media devices. Those were truly dark times, and people suffered.) But at least everyone is beautiful, and that’s all that really matters in the end, especially if you want your song to make a splash on the record charts, so you can be on “Good Morning, America”. Of course, you’ll have to wait for America to actually be a country, but times were simpler then and people were used to waiting for something interesting to happen.

  The extras in the ballroom are suddenly unimportant, because Tree Boy from the opening scenes of the video saunters in, all seductive with his casual hairstyle and that enormously-poofy tie-thing around his neck. He doesn’t bother to sign the guest register, because he’s only here to notice Taylor, and she’s clearly ready to be noticed, especially since that’s what it says in the script. They are completely enraptured, in that rapturous way that only happened back in the day when people couldn’t travel a lot and didn’t realize that there were other options on the menu.

  Before the Lusty Duo can proceed to the randy options that they both clearly want, some fool decides that it’s time for a waltz. (This is probably the result of the party planner, those irritating people who run about with clipboards and make people do things they don’t really want to do. Those annoying gnats have been around for centuries.) So everybody lines up for this unwelcome waltz, and I guess they didn’t have a lot of time to practice, because the extras are really bad at it. But everybody’s still pretty, and Taylor and Tree get to do cute things with their hands.

  The waltz goes on for far longer than it should, since modern attention spans are very short, and nobody is doing any rapping and everybody is remaining clothed. (The producers let the scene play out and cross their fingers that it won’t affect album sales.) Toward the end of the primly-sedate, non-dirty dancing, Tree leans in toward Taylor and whispers something. He might be suggesting a future tryst, or he could just as easily be asking if she could validate his parking ticket.

  Later that night, or that century, who knows, Taylor is trudging through a forest that we don’t know about because we don’t have a brochure. She’s holding up an oil lamp, acting like she’s using it to light her journey, but she’s really hoisting the flame so the camera can get good shots of her dewy skin. Suddenly, there’s Tree Boy, standing next to one of those creepy statues from “Interview with the Vampire”. (Seriously, stop the video at 1:40. Anne Rice would be proud of that visual.) I hope Taylor’s got a wooden stake up in that petticoat, just in case things take an unexpected turn.

  She goes up to him and discreetly puts her finger across his lips. (“Shhh. Don’t tell me you’re a vampire. It’s been a long day, singing on the patio for hours and then all that dancing, so I really don’t have time for any more issues.”)

  Then they wander around the forest for quite a bit, holding hands and chatting, the oil lamp never more than three inches from her peachy face. (Girl, careful with that burning oil, that weave will go up in a flash.) Of course, this is a chaste little video (all those tween-ager fans out there, sayin), so despite trudging through enough forest that we should be in Finland by now, they end up just petting a horse who is conveniently standing nearby instead of them having sex.

  Whoops, I may have lied about the discretionary aspects of this video. After Tree reluctantly wanders away from the non-trysting with Taylor, adjusting his pants and possibly heading to a hut in the forest that he shares with Hagrid, we see Taylor plucking a cherry off a tree. We might be in a chaste time-zone, but it’s fairly obvious that Taylor plans to be a woman soon.

  Or maybe not. We now have Taylor back on that balcony, and I guess it’s been a while since she went to the zoo with Tree, because she’s singing the part about how she hasn’t seen him in so long and wonders if he’ll ever come save her. (And I’m thinking, honey, if you needed some gardening, why did you send the gardener away instead of asking him to unfold that enormous tie into a naughty landing-zone on the forest floor?) Lo and behold, once she pauses in her incessant warbling of the song, Taylor spies Hardwood walking out of the forest, headed her way.

  Ecstatic, she starts racing down endless flights of curving stairs, the 20-foot train on her dress artfully billowing out behind her. We now have quick cut shots between the two of them, with her performing swift maneuvers with her slipper-encased feet and his scenes shot in slow-motion. (Hardwood only has to conquer about 5 feet of grass in his quest, but Taylor has an entire plantation house to navigate, so the editor had to get a bit creative with the meet-cute.)

  After Taylor finally finishes running across what looks like a small country, the lovebirds make contact in the middle of a field that we haven’t seen before, so we’ll have to assume that there might have been some location issues with this shoot. Still, they seem very happy to have found one another after apparent decades of unsatisfied longing and presumed non-access to an Internet that hadn’t been invented yet.

  But instead of pawing away at each other like any almost-lovers would after a long separation, even one that doesn’t make any sense, they simply join hands and bang their foreheads together, gazing longingly into each other’s eyes. (I’m not sure why they would want to do that. Have you ever tried it? When your faces are that close, your partner’s eyes meld into one and it looks like you’re on the verge of frenching a Cyclops. I wouldn’t consider such an image to be an aphrodisiac, but maybe that’s just me.)

  And it seems the video-editor notices that we have a lack of true unbridled passion as well, and he throws in a bunch of different angles of the couple not actually doing anything so it seems like more is going on than really is. Still, they don’t even bother to kiss. Even if this is Elizabethan Times or whatever, with all the faked morality and chastity belts, you know that people still had sex or the human race would have ended. That’s basic math.

  Then we flash forward to modern times, back to that opening-scene college, where apparently no one actually attends classes but instead the students wander the campus in search of reincarnated lovers. New-Age Taylor and Tree approach each other, recognition and passion swelling, but this time they don’t hold each other’s hands, probably because Taylor is carrying some stupid textbooks that she never uses and Tree’s arms are worn out from styling his hair for three hours. Instead, they just stand very close and smile, then the video fades.

  Does Taylor Swift even know how the first Romeo and Juliet saga played out? Just wondering, because that story had some serious issues in the final act, and it wasn’t pretty. But at least the original players got to wallow around in a bed whilst Friar Lawrence or whatever his name is looked the other way and fiddled with some holy water. Taylor and Tree? They don’t even make it to first base and nary a stitch of clothing is tossed aside. But they do manage to get some decent glamour shots for their portfolio, so I guess it’s all good…

Click here to watch this video on YouTube. It’s not necessary that you do so, of course, especially if you’re already over it at this point, but it does add a little depth to some of the more obscure pivots in my review…

Previously published, slight changes made. For the record, nothing like this ever happened to me during my college days. Perhaps I shouldn’t have gone to one in Oklahoma. Nothing ever happens there, including progress

49 replies »

    • You’re not alone. I wasn’t all that excited about her in the beginning, but she is actually very talented and can be quite astute when it comes to lyrics. Her “1989” album is the one that finally won me over to her side…


  1. Hahaha. 🙂 After watching the video, your critique is totally spot on, Brian! (I only finished it so that I could more thoroughly admire your work.) Yuck. Such perfect saccharine pablum. It’s really too bad that a vampire doesn’t chase them through the woods, spitting incantations and messing up their hair.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for boldly plunging into the saccharine. (Your valiant sacrifice will be rewarded in whatever your version of the afterlife might be.) And yes, an actual vampire thrown into the visual mix might have spiced things up a bit. Of course, said vampire would probably end up as a diabetic, what with all that bloodstream sugar, but still…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sheesh; This video is truely retchworthy. I’d rank- and I mean that in both senses of the word- it as cod Shakespeare on a historically tragic scale. I’m no fan of the teen queen of twee but this is load of codswallop is comical. Blech. Sorry to any Taylor Swift fans if I offe- no screw it, it’s downright dire.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Taylor: “Sir Obbverse, it has come to my attention that you find my artistic efforts to be somewhat lacking in refinement. Since my feigned chastity prevents me from killing you outright with a sharpened bitcoin, I suggest we settle our differences with a waltz rumble. You select your long-dead composer, I’ll select mine, and then we’ll see who survives the intricate choreography. Game on, perchance?”

      obbverse: “No. Can you validate my parking ticket? I’ve got to be somewhere that isn’t here.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • I see you really do like the Swifty. Oh dear, if I have offended your sensib- no no no I said it before, and I may be a mean bastard but I rilly rilly mean it. I can just tolerate her, but Like her? I can never ever never ever never never ever- whatever. Here let’s agree to disagree.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Taylor Swift has always been my guilty pleasure, and I know this video well. You have, I think, captured its true essence in your critique. And it’s good that you found such an obscure song: just the 641m views of the video so far, so she really needs all the help she can get 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    • As we’ve discussed before, the guilty pleasure is mutual. I love me some Taylor, more so with each new album. Sure, this video is twee to the extreme, but at least it’s better than 97% of the crap out there these days, videos based on nothing more than random crotch-grabbing and a limpid chorus that is repeated 746 times in the “song”.

      And yes, I have been charitable in highlighting this song, as it lingers in the basement compared to Taylor’s other video efforts that generally generate billions of views. I’m sure Taylor is ashamed of the mere 641m views for this one, to the point that she requires counseling and sedatives. Poor thing.

      Liked by 2 people

    • You were wise with the skipping. As a certified music-reviewer (at least in my own mind), you can trust that I will always share exactly what you need to know, sparing you the horror of having to watch the whole mess yourself. It’s just one of the many services offered here at Bonnywood… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I once had the pleasure, as a high school teacher, of lip synching to this song for the amusement of an audience of teens at a Christmas assembly. Sadly, there was no balcony, billowing train, or Tree—just me in a thrift store gown and wig from Party City but I got a fair amount of applause regardless. I love these video synopses!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m dying to know more about this musical performance of yours, but I understand and respect your need for privacy. (We have all done things we shouldn’t have whilst sporting Party City wigs, regardless of the applause.) I will quietly wait for you to get comfortable enough to send me the grainy footage of you lip-synching, because I know such a thing exists… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Taylor is actually very adept at writing song lyrics, much more so as she gets older, so I’m maligning her a bit more than she deserves.

      But yes, the squinty eyes. She’s always doing that. If it’s a medical condition, then obviously we shouldn’t be making fun. But I suspect that somebody told her at some point that it’s alluring, and she’s stuck with it ever since…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nope! Can’t watch it. Even for the Anne Rice statue. I remember what happened to the dogs…

    Please bring back more of your video critiques! I’ve read a few, but I didn’t get thru the entire library. I loved the ones I did read. 🥰

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for asking me to bring back the video critiques. I did them for many years, way back and on another site, and I loved it. (Clearly so, as I have roughly 400 of them in the archives.) Trouble is, the critiques generally don’t do well here at Bonnywood for some reason, getting low likes and minimal comments, so I try to space them out.

      On the flip side, I’ve been blogging for over 15 years now. And I’m really getting to the point where I don’t care who likes or comments. (Does that sound mean? Perhaps “don’t care” is too strong. More of a “I just wanna do what I wanna do”.) In fact, I just might do a marathon of music video reviews. And in tribute to you, I should call it the “Burning Angie Festival”! Wait, that might not come across right. Screw it. I’ll see what I can do… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I expect that reading your review takes longer than watching the video, but I’ll settle gladly for the text version. I’ve heard the song and kind of like it, but I agree that it shows zero knowledge of the actual story of R&J (which is one of the foundations of Western Civilization–c’mon!) J.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It always amazes me how so many folks in modern times don’t seem to grasp the true essence of earlier literature. “Romeo and Juliet” is often considered a touchstone of undying romanticism, but in reality there’s a LOT of dying and the whole mess is a cautionary tale about breaking the rules designed by others… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Another gem Brian, thank you for sharing and thank you for your support.
    Yet again word press technology changed as regularly as …………. Apologies as I thought I was already following you according to the reader and have been ignoring the black follow prompt which turns to green following (already done so in past). I wondered why I had to keep logging in in order to comment 🫣

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Margaret! No worries about the follow angle. I haven’t been posting for a while on Bonnywood, so you haven’t missed much. But I still get an email when you post, so it’s always a delight when I see that you’ve been up to something…

      In case we don’t talk again before then, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a terrific new year!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oooh Brian, I am always up to something.
        I appreciate your ‘likes’ on my infrequent posts and love reading your older posts.
        Wishing you & yours a wonderful Christmas and a terrific new year 🎄🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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