I am not what one would call a sentimental person. I don’t often cry at funerals. I don’t cry when I hear about something sad that has happened. I don’t cry when other people are crying. And I CERTAINLY don’t cry at commercials.
My daughter is a Taylor Swift fan. Like, a big fan.
She knows the words to pretty much every song on the 1989 album. She knows what each song is about. She loves her music videos and her “fashion” and her pretty hair and she especially loves to dance to her TS jams. She loved Taylor Swift in the way that only a four year old can.
And now she doesn’t.
I let her listen to the song “Look What You Made Me Do,” recently, thinking she would be excited to hear something from her favorite singer. I thought the beat was catchy, and she could dance to it and learn the words easily. I knew the video was dark, but I thought as long as I just played the song, the lyrics would be subtle enough to fly right over her head. I figured she’d be bopping and singing along in no time.
But you know what she said? “How come Taylor Swift got mean?”
If you haven’t heard it or seen the video yet, you’ll need to know that it is dark and edgy and the lyrics are full of bite. There are zombies and burglaries and car crashes. The song is a lot more bitter and a lot harder than anything she’s put out before. Clearly, she’s trying to reinvent herself. And look, it is not up to Taylor to be anything for anyone but herself. It is her life, and her brand, and she can do what she wants with it. That’s her right, and I stand by that. But Lila? Lila doesn’t.
And you know what? I’m kind of with Lila on this one. You don’t have to get edgier, and sexier, and darker with each album. It’s okay to be kind, and sweet, and keep your optimism no matter what life throws at you. I’m tired of artists feeling like they have to constantly evolve. You can have a truth and stick to it. You don’t need to keep up with the
Joneses Katy Perrys. You don’t have to get mean in order to stay popular. In fact, it may just end up costing you, and some of your fans, a little something in return.
So we’ll keep rocking 1989 in the car, and we’ll keep Shaking it Off. But otherwise, I think we’re done here. Thanks for the fun, Taylor. It was good while it lasted.
Okay, so it can’t just be us- kids’ movies give us all.the.feelings sometimes. Trolls? Who didn’t shed a little tear at that beautiful True Colors Duet? Or Finding Dory-did anyone else catch that her poor parents missed her ENTIRE CHILDHOOD? They can’t get that back, people! But that reunion, sigh. So lovely. And don’t even get me started on Up. Like, I can’t. I just can’t.
The most recent culprit? Moana, by a landslide. But Moana can affect everyone so differently, and for such different reasons. Will you simply trip on a taro root? Remind yourself that you know the way? Or discover friggin’ happiness is WHERE YOU ARE?!? Whoa, Moana. Whoa.
So? Where are you on the Sob-Spectrum?
Jaymi: Oh dear God, Lila is Moana. She loves her grandmas, she strays from convention, and she has to go her own way. She is strong, beautiful, and brave. She trusts her instincts and chooses her own path, but thoughtfully and responsibly. She knows who she is and can always find her way. And we just don’t freaking understand her sometimes. So, it’s sweet little tears for the first twenty minutes or so. And then at the part where she decides to leave, and the dad is mad cause he doesn’t understand yet, and the mom just gives her a little nod and helps her pack?!? It is like a flash forward to college, when Lila’s heading off to study fashion design in Tibet and I have to be like, “follow that voice inside, Lila” when really I want to be like, “Get your ass into nursing school.” Total onslaught of waterworks.
Christine: Don’t get me wrong. I’m made of stone. The whole “daughter going on a journey” thing? I can keep it together there. At this point Moana is a delightful story of a girl that wants to be on the ocean. Love it. Catchy tunes, that Maui cracks me up, and OH the crab. I get my old times Flight of the Conchords fix from the crab. Fun, fun, fun. And then she’s alone. On a boat. With the ghost of her Grandma. Singing. And that’s kind of a game changer. Because for us – family is EVERYTHING. And yes, my Nana passed away a little bit ago, so sue me if I cling to an eccentric cartoon Grandma. So when her Grandma sings to her and there’s a freaking key change, so you know it’s about to get real, and Moana finds out that “the call isn’t out there at all it’s inside me,” yeah, I start to get a little watery. Can you blame me?? And sure, maybe when she runs back to Ghost Grandma and the music swells as she says, “I will carry you here in my heart you’ll remind me that come what may, I know the way” my eyes swell too. I mean, she IS MOANA.
Chad (Christine’s Husband): You guys are crying at the wrong part. You cry when Moana is walking to Teka to restore the heart. I mean, she’s crossed the horizon to restore the heart and fix all of mankind! It’s about societal restoration and no matter what people do to you it’s how you respond. Moana telling Teka, “they have stolen the heart from inside you, but this does not define you” is a message to all of us that we are more than our circumstances! And fighting doesn’t get you anywhere, that’s why Maui failed. But you need someone that sees you. You just need that love, someone to say “this is not who you are, I know who you are.” It’s all about the love.
Michael (Jaymi’s Husband): Wait, you guys cry at Moana?
Everyone Else: You DON’T cry at Moana?!?
Michael: I don’t cry. Also, it’s a cartoon. Calm down.