Kanye vs. Taylor Swift: One Overlooked Question

In the midst of all the KanYe/Taylor Swift kerfuffle, one question remains unanswered:

Did Beyonce really have one of the best videos? Of all time?

Not having heard either song, I ventured over to YouTube, ready to unleash my wrath on Beyonce and reluctantly embrace the teen country heartthrob. But I was surprised by what I found.

beyonce-gal-singleladies03After trashing Beyonce a few months ago for having one of the most grammatically incorrect songs of all time, I must admit that…I kinda liked “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”. The video features a lot of Beyonce’s skin, and a lot of body parts moving suggestively, but it’s shot in a monochrome hue that is reminiscent of classic 60s soul. And after doing a little research, I found from The Inspiration Room that she actually put some thought into this, grabbing inspiration from Bob Fosse’s “Sweet Charity” and Gwen Verdon’s performance of “Mexican Breakfast” on The Ed Sullivan Show. Wow.

taylorSwift’s video for “You Belong with Me”, on the other hand, was, well, cute. Kind of like her. It’s a literal interpretation of the song, which is also rather tuneful but has a plot line that we’ve seen in countless teen movies: Homely girl (who’s not really homely, but she looks nerdy because she wears big glasses) likes the high school football captain, who actually notices her but is dating a real bitch, but in the end she gets all pretty for the prom, hunky football captain looks pleased that the girl he sorta liked took off her glasses and is really hot, and they all live happily ever after.

So I’ll give Beyonce her props. But who really cares which video is better? Beyonce and Swift both got their awards that evening. And KanYe’s still an ass.

P.S. Why is Taylor Swift referred to as a country artist? Her music consists mostly of up-tempo songs featuring lots of acoustic guitars, but few banjos and fiddles and nary a slide guitar anywhere. And she doesn’t have much of a twang in her voice, and the lyrics are mostly about teen angst – no real country themes, although one song does have the word “horse” in it.

I hear very little difference between her and her Disney alter ego, pop superstar Miley Cyrus. But at least Swift writes her own material. Which would make her a singer-songwriter, more in the vein of Michelle Branch or Fiona Apple. It’s all in the marketing.

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