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Top Five Deep Cuts: Taylor Swift Edition

22 Aug

Ed. Note: This is a guest post from our good friend @Beatcritiques. Be sure to follow their Instagram page and check out their blog for more great content like this! Related: Check out our review of Taylor’s latest album folklore.

Everyone knows Taylor Swift. She’s written number one hits like “Love Story,” “You Belong With Me,” “Shake It Off,” “Blank Space,” and that’s just a few. Swift was also the recipient of the Artist of the Decade award at the 2019 AMAs. Safe to say, Taylor Swift has had an impressive career and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. If you’re looking to jump on the Swiftie bandwagon but don’t want to sound like you only know her greatest hits look no further. Listed below are five of my personal favorite deep cuts that she’s released.

Forever and Always (Piano Version)” from Fearless (Platinum Edition)

The piano version of the track “Forever and Always” from the deluxe version of Swift’s second studio album, Fearless, is heartbreaking. Stripping the track down to the essentials turns an upbeat track into a highly personal breakup song wondering where things went wrong. Swift sounds like she’s singing right to you asking “Baby, what happened please tell me?” and can draw tears out during the bridge telling the subject to “back up, hold on, back up.” A gorgeous track overall. 

Come Back…Be Here” from Red (Deluxe Edition)

Another deluxe edition track, “Come Back…Be Here” comes off of Red, Swift’s transition into pop. This track is deceptively sad and relies heavily on a guitar instrumental. What really makes this song stand out to me is the bridge and more specifically, the lines “This is falling in love in the cruelest way/This is falling for you when you are worlds away.” Swift’s vocals are stunning in this track as she describes the separation between her and the object of her affection. 

Sweeter Than Fiction” from One Chance

“Sweeter Than Fiction” was written by Swift herself and Jack Antonoff (a duo that has produced some of Swift’s best songs in my opinion) for the movie “One Chance.” This track describes supporting a partner on their journey through all of their ups and downs, eventually ending up in a success (“Now in this perfect weather, it’s like we don’t remember/ The rain we thought would last forever and ever”). More of a feel-good song than anything else, it never fails to get me up on my feet dancing and singing along as I remember that sometimes, life itself really can be sweeter than fiction. 

Clean” from 1989

Okay, “Clean” is one of my personal favorite Taylor Swift tracks of all time and seeing it performed in the pouring rain during the Reputation tour is one of my favorite memories. Written with Imogen Heap for the pure pop album 1989, this song is the perfect anthem of cleansing yourself and realizing that you’re better off without some people in your life. The beauty of this song is the fact that it can be applied to any relationship, not just romantic ones. This track is a must-listen Swift ballad and a classic among fans.

Cruel Summer” from Lover

Swift flexes her lyrical ability on the upbeat summer bop, “Cruel Summer.” In my top 3 of seventh-studio album, Lover, Swift describes the “glow of the vending machine,” as she talks about a secret relationship (“sneaking in the garden gate”). As many fans of Taylor Swift must know, she loves a good bridge and the bridge on this song deserves to be listened to at full volume every time. How else are you supposed to scream “he looks up grinning like a devil?” “Cruel Summer” is also a favorite among fans, and was a contender for the next single off of Lover before Swift surprised fans with her album, folklore.

Honorable Mentions (because who can choose just five?!)

  • “Picture to Burn” from Taylor Swift
  • “Beautiful Eyes” from Beautiful Eyes EP
  • “Jump Then Fall” from Fearless (Platinum Edition)
  • “Better Than Revenge” from Speak Now
  • “Getaway Car” from reputation
  • “august” from folklore 
  • “the 1” from folklore

So there you have it! Did you agree with BeatCritiques’ picks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments! And don’t forget to follow us on WordPress to hear about our new posts as soon as we hit that Publish button.

Top Five Songs to Include on a Mixtape For Your Indie Beloved

14 Feb

Trying to think of a way to introduce a Valentine’s Day-themed list article while avoiding all the common tropes (pro-Valentines, anti-Valentines, pro-anti-Valentines, etc.) is becoming harder and harder; there’s very little middle ground to walk between flower-burning and chocolate-gorging.

To try and skip over the debate, this T5R article instead provides five non-conventional songs that you ought to use when making that time-tested classic gift: the mixed-tape.

More specifically, here are 5 songs that absolutely have to go into your next mixed-tape for your present and/or future beloved; this way, you won’t have to reuse “With or Without You” for the 900th time.

5. “Absolutely Cuckoo” by The Magnetic Fields


The Magnetic Fields’ three-volume concept album 69 Love Songs contains exactly that: 69 love songs. Despite the fact that the album is about love songs, and not love itself, “Absolutely Cuckoo” definitely works as an unconventional inclusion on any romantic mix tape. Stephen Merritt manages to condense all the neuroticism of an early relationship into barely a minute-and-a-half, by imploring her not to fall in love with him just yet (since he might be cuckoo). In the process he admits to falling in love all the same, and also builds up the most fantastically in-depth worst case scenario of what would happen if things went south. The song’s beauty lies in the fact that we’ve all done this. We’ve all caused our what-ifs to pile up until all we can do is wallow in neuroticism. “Absolutely Cuckoo” takes this tendency and turns it around to create a song that’s so warm, well-crafted and mildly humorous that it effectively reveals the emperor’s nudity, while also providing an absolutely endearing song with which to bring you and your steady closer together.


4. “Stealing the Moonlight” by Gold Motel


Gold Motel’s upbeat jangle-pop infused “Stealing the Moonlight” from their debut album Summer House perfectly articulates the emotions of the early days of a recently- re-enamored social introvert’s relationship. Greta Morgan’s aloof, unencumbered vocals combine with a bouncy set of guitars, bass and drums (provided by Chicago colleagues Eric Hehr, Dan Duszynski, Matt Minx and Adam Coldhouse)  to capture the warmth and fuzziness of early love. The wide-eyed innocence that “Stealing the Moonlight” conveys is instantly relatable (in a way which reminds me of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles) and works well on any mix.


3. “Hotel Yorba” by The White Stripes


If you can ignore the mild creepiness of Jack and Meg White’s relationship at the time, as well as the slightly off-centre music video, The White Stripe’s “Hotel Yorba” works as a pretty great love song. Against the backdrop of foot-stomping upbeat country and garage rock, Jack White allows himself time to ruminate about an almost whimsical life in the backwoods with his missus. It’s an easy song to get carried away by: the infectious optimism about the future that the song radiates is bound to transmit itself into your inamorato/inamorata, and that can never be a bad thing. Plus, brownie points for being used in the extended pilot of Arrested Development.


2. “Ghosts” by Laura Marling


“Ghosts” takes a rather different approach to the aspects of a new relationship, by looking at that two-tonne tether to the past, i.e. exes. Laura Marling channels the 90s café singer-songwriter in her to produce an acoustic-driven ballad that absolutely has to be shared with your main squeeze. It’s nearly impossible to enter a new relationship without carrying the emotional baggage of the past (as practically 90% of all sitcoms can testify) , and Laura gets that. “Ghosts” conveys the inner turmoil of a man as he approaches his new lover, at once admitting both his haunting by his past and her role in helping with the exorcism. This is a relationship in all its reality – not in isolation, and not under any pretension, but still hopeful.


1. “Northern Sky” by Nick Drake


“I never felt magic crazy as this

I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea”

Everything about Nick Drake’s world in “Northern Sky” is magical, ethereal, and beautiful. Nick’s easy-going baritone melds with piano, guitar, keyboards and bells as he invites his lover into his world through the simple gesture of telling her exactly how he feels about her.

Nick Drake’s poetry, combined with the gorgeous musical backing, makes “Northern Sky” a timeless work of art. Including it in a mix is a no-brainer.


Happy Friday and/or Valentine’s Day, from the T5R Team!

– Karthik M. (with a little inspiration from Pune).

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