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August 25th, 2018

My weird brain

A few weeks ago I made a post rating each of the songs Taylor Swift's main albums; this post will eventually be about my brain's relation to it.

The core of that post was the song ratings. As far as my writing went, the main entertainment (such as it is) for any readers would be in recurring quirky themes that my brain latches onto. e.g., I enjoy it when I notice an unstressed syllable falling on a beat, so I'd note the ones that I heard. But because such things don't affect my overall feelings about the song, my ratings could be wildly uncorrelated with my comments. Comedy!

A post on Swift had been idly on my mind for quite a while, and I thought that the semi-systematic approach would be enough to get it all out of my system, perhaps even leading to me broadening my playlists. But it wasn't to be – I kept trawling the Internet for Taylor content, and soon found some more material which I could have used to inform my song comments*. I resolved to leave the LJ post as is, a snapshot of my opinions at the time, rather than a living document.

*In particular, the Making of a Song video for 'I Did Something Bad' shows me that I quite like the song when Taylor's singing over an acoustic guitar, but I dislike the synth bass line in the final version's chorus. I think now that a good chunk of my dislike of Reputation is due to production choices like this. In the songs where she raps, by contrast, I think the problems were more in the conception.

But a little time later I was listening to my playlist of songs rated 8 to 8.9, and I noticed that 'A Perfectly Good Heart' ends in a fade-out. Fade-outs are rare in Swift's catalogue, and because I like them, they were one of the recurring themes in my comments. I checked the post, and I had neglected to note the fade-out in this case.

I don't know how to best describe the emotion I felt on discovering this oversight. In part it felt like a blow to my ego: the post was me*, and I wasn't as perfect as my own idealised self. In part – a larger part, I think – it was fear of embarrassment: what if someone noticed that I hadn't mentioned the fade-out?

*to a much greater extent than, e.g., a Star Wars movie review in which I missed a detail in some scene. I put a lot more effort into the Taylor post.

I must emphasise how incredibly small the expectation value of discomfort this ought to have been. The post gets literally zero hits each day; of those who have clicked (or may click in future?), I suspect many skipped over the individual song reviews in favour of the summary table; even if there were many readers going through each comment song by song, I suspect few would be so familiar with the 2008 re-issue of Swift's debut album to immediately recall that 'A Perfectly Good Heart' ends in a fade-out, and even fewer would notice the incongruity of not remarking on it when I had done so for 'Tied Together With a Smile' half an album earlier.

And, in the worst-case scenario of someone commenting to point out the omitted remark, no-one else would care. I care. The unedited post will live on as a testament to my flawed self.

I'm a little bit over it. Also, the chorus in 'Back to December' goes So this is me swallowing my pride, which has a mis-stressed syllable. Missing this doesn't hurt as much as missing the fade-out though.