Taylor Swift is no Juliet

Can we have one last protest before this literary allusion mis-usin’ songstress takes over the airwaves?

Conrad Schoenleber

Falling in love is complicated. Unless youâÄôre Taylor Swift, in which case everyday is a fairytale (and Kanye West is the wicked witch). SwiftâÄôs songs are the soundtrack to the archetypal/market-tested teen girlsâÄô fantasies and fears: The boy always falls for the girl; the awkward girl ends up being beautiful; Romeo ends up with Juliet âĦ Wait a minute. Romeo doesnâÄôt end up with Juliet. They kill themselves. It seems that Swift needs to reread her Shakespeare. In âÄúRomeo and Juliet,âÄù love is a brutal, powerful emotion that captures individuals and catapults them against their world and, at times, themselves. This doesnâÄôt fit with SwiftâÄôs bright and shiny world. If it did, we wouldnâÄôt be blaming Marilyn Manson for teen suicide, but instead teetering bird-like blondes with acoustic guitars. ThereâÄôs a reason why adults generally donâÄôt enjoy Taylor Swift as much as teens. Two pre-teens have no idea if theyâÄôre actually in love or not. Hey, most adults donâÄôt even. Swift even gets at this in the song âÄúFifteen,âÄù with her lyric âÄúWhen youâÄôre fifteen and somebody tells you they love you/ youâÄôre gonna believe themâÄù. Swift is a better-than-average songwriter. Anyone who can write a platinum album at 17 deserves applause (if not a Grammy). The amount of control she exercises over her own career is truly remarkable, turning down RCA records because they wished to keep her as a development deal at the age of just 15. All talent and success aside, âÄúLove StoryâÄù has problems. Swift paints herself as a âÄúJuliet,âÄù whose dad doesnâÄôt approve of her âÄúRomeo.âÄù Romeo runs away for years, eventually returning with a ring. SwiftâÄôs dad concedes and she never has to be alone again. âÄúItâÄôs a love story/ baby just say âÄòyes,âÄôâÄù she sings. They ride into the sunset and live happily ever after. But at this point in the story, Romeo and Juliet were six-feet under. Swift also manages to confuse her allusions. âÄúCause you were Romeo/ I was a scarlet letter/ My daddy said stay away from Juliet.âÄù Taylor, are you sure you wished to be described as an adulteress in seventeenth-century Puritan Boston? The thought process is easy to imagine, âÄúHey, hereâÄôs something from an old book. In it goes!âÄù Romeo describes his feelings: âÄúIs love a tender thing? It is too rough, too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thornâÄù. Come on Taylor; is this really what youâÄôre going for? Honestly? Swift thinks love is like a blanket – warm, fuzzy and comfortable. The happy tone of her major key melodies reflect her lack of any real-world experience. While Swift is obviously not an English major, there are other musicians who have also attempted to tackle this difficult source material. Here are some examples of those who have incorporated Romeo and Juliet into their repertoire. LMNT âÄî âÄúHey JulietâÄù This ridiculously stereotypical harmony-ridden pop song is the epitome of boy band music. While Taylor Swift actually makes an attempt to incorporate some of the elements of the original story, LMNT says, nah why should we care? TheyâÄôre obviously not concerned about this songâÄôs literary value. This is one of those anthems that you would be embarrassed to listen to unless youâÄôre incredibly drunk. This song is fun to blast while driving through Dinkytown just to watch bystandersâÄô reactions. It really is a fun song; âÄúI just want you to know/ I want to be your Romeo!âÄù Listen to with friends that wonâÄôt judge you for your absurd musical taste, theyâÄôll probably be singing as loud as you are. Dire Straits âÄî âÄúRomeo and JulietâÄù Is it at all surprising that a bunch of middle-aged men could sonically reproduce ShakespeareâÄôs tale? Well, not really. These guys are jaded, talented musicians who actually understand the source material. The song is depressing and beautiful, just like the story. Something catastrophic must have occurred in Mark KnopflerâÄôs (the guitar virtuoso and lead singer/song writer behind Dire Straits) previous relationships in order to inspire the lyrics, âÄúJuliet when we made love you used to cry/ said I love you like the stars above/ gonna love you âÄôtil I dieâÄù. That description seems like quite the disturbed relationship. Listen to this song if youâÄôve just had a bad breakup that makes you want to die, or at least poison yourself with your loverâÄôs kiss.