The moment you have (or have not) been waiting for….

Let’s talk TAYLOR.

I’ve talked to lots of people about Queen Tay, and for the most part people fall into one of these two categories:

(1) “Old Taylor” fan and (2) “I’ll listen to any of her stuff.”

Needless to say, I have felt alienated. I am one of the only people I know who actually… ahem…. LOVES the new Taylor MORE. MORE than the old Taylor. And so anyone who knew that about me was so nervous to admit when Lover was being released that they didn’t like the song “Me.”

Well, guess what? I didn’t like it either.

And for everyone who wasn’t entirely sure about cardigan Taylor? I walked on eggshells around her at first, too.

I’ve come to realize that the “new Taylor” who was born with the “reputation” era has pretty much disappeared from existence, though people seem to group any post-Kimye-fued albums into the “new” era. But “new Taylor” was only with us for a little while… First she was replaced with Bubblegum Taylor, which was fine and all but she just wasn’t my favorite. And now Bubblegum Taylor has been replaced with cottagecore Taylor, who I happen to like a lot, but she is still not the pure, full “new Taylor” who captured my heart in 2017.

When I say I fell in love with the “new Taylor,” I’m talking about the one who literally said “the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now.”

I’m talking the mysterious, dark, angsty, snake-infested Taylor. Reputation Taylor.

As much as I will ride or die for Red, and as much as I loved “Fearless” and “Speak Now” when I was a teenager, since 2017 (and for the rest of time) I am a DIE HARD REPUTATION FAN.

Even though I still fawn over Cruel Summer and had an emotional reawakening with folklore and evermore, reputation is – and always will be – Taylor Swift’s BEST ALBUM.

You’re probably wondering, why?

Primarily, in the words of Taylor herself, “I think for me, um…”


It began with the glitchy, sparkly snakes on her mysteriously-empty Instagram… and then one of her top three BEST (and most infamous) music videos.

And thus, the “new Taylor” was born.

And I immediately lost my taste for all the other eras.

Shortly after Look What You Made Me Do, my favorite track from reputation, and also from her entire catalog, was released, along with my favorite music video of all time (tied with Out of the Woods).

It’s safe to say I wasn’t “ready for it,” and I’m still reeling from the shocking beauty of this video.

Forget 1989. This was the moment the true pop Taylor was born, and there was no turning back. So for someone whose entire country music listening experience is made of up of old Taylor tracks, I rejoiced at this genre rebirth!

Then the full album was released, and the next day Taylor appeared on SNL following the best-looking ad SNL has ever made:

I may be biased, but let’s just say that the old Ali would’ve cared, and she died along with the old Taylor. RIP.

All in all, Taylor served some of her best looks during the reputation era. Here are some prime examples.

Which flows directly into the reputation stadium tour

Maybe it can be attributed to the fact that her budget, talent, and expertise all increase with each album as she grows in her craft, but regardless, this tour was the BEST tour she’s ever put on.

Even though I attended the tour in Pasadena, I still go back and watch the performance on Netflix to relive the grandeur.

From the very first moment of the show to the final notes of This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, the popstar put on an incomparable event.

I go into detail about Taylor’s lyrics here and I’ll discuss the lyrics of each reputation song specifically in another article, but I’ll just summarize by saying that reputation has the perfect balance of break-ups and get-togethers, anger and joy, slick pop beats and poetic depth.

But it’s not just the aesthetic that makes the reputation era so phenomenal.

Like you can see in this gif, Taylor actually seems really, genuinely happy. As someone who took on the physical affects of fame by developing an eating disorder like she discussed in Miss Americana, the “new Taylor” seemed way more confident in herself and her skin during the reputation stadium tour than ever before.

Her vocals are arguably stronger in the recordings and the shows, and by the amount of high notes she actually nailed live, girl knows it. Even her more-complex dance routines like the one in Gorgeous shows that she has chosen to ignore all the comments online about her goofy dancing to fully embrace the popstar she was always destined to be.

After the fued with Kimye that pushed her into years of hiding, Taylor emerged in a much healthier state emotionally, physically, and romantically. Though the reputation aesthetic was dark and edgy, the reputation Taylor was remarkably happy and excited. She had taken back her power, her identity, and her music… the album and style both portrayed that she had started making decisions based on her passions rather than publicity. THAT is the Taylor I want to celebrate.

If you avoided reputation altogether like SOMEONE I know (let them remain unnamed), or just need a refresher of this 2017 banger, check out this playlist of the songs that I’ve ordered according to my personal favorites.

What are your thoughts on the reputation era? Was that era also your favorite, or did it rub you the wrong way like a large part of the Swiftie population? Let me know in the comments.


I don’t usually publicize it, but Ariana Grande’s music has always been a guilty pleasure for me. My Everything and Dangerous Woman are my go-to albums for when I’m bored or have exhausted my playlists on a road trip, and while there’s not much to most of her songs beyond catchy pop hooks and slighty-suggestive romantic commentary, her sound always gets me dancing.

Lady Gaga is a whole different ball game. Edgy, experimental, and often weird to the point of making me uncomfortable, her songs either send me running or totally captivate me. I avoided her at all costs until I heard the 2013 song Applause, which paved the way for me to fall in love with quite of a few of the songs on her latest album, Chromatica.

The first time I heard Rain on Me, one of my friends played it for me with this preface: “It’s really weird, but I keep listening to it and I kinda like it. Except for one part that I really hate, I’ll tell you when it comes.” With that intro, I had low expectations. By the time it got the part my friend hated (when Lady Gaga chants “Rain. On. Me.” in her low-pitch robotic voice) my head was already bobbing and I was like “I actually kind of like that part.” (To which my friend responded, “Yeah I actually kind of like it too.”) By that evening, I had learned most of the lyrics and listened to it more times than I could count.

What is it about Rain on Me that was so alluring? It’s just another shallow Top 40 hit, right? There’s nothing in the sound that is that original juxtaposed with the rest of either of the artists’ songs… It’s got the quintessential build-up into the chorus, the sugary pop beat that’s hard not to like, the over-sized vocal range that few pop singers besides Ariana and Lady Gaga can actually pull off… so what was so different and fresh about it?

Certainly not the music video, from which my entire takeaway was:

from @LGmonsterfacts on Twitter

Either Ariana forgot how to dance, or she couldn’t due to the legwarmers on her arms. Or maybe she was just too weighed down by her hair extensions.

Is this an intentional part of the dance routine? Or are they calling for help from a passing airplane?

But that’s beside the point. My music video commentary could be a whole other article on it’s own.

I think the weight of Rain on Me is in the lyrics, right from the get-go:

“At least I showed up, you showed me nothing at all / It’s coming down on me / Water like misery … I’m ready, rain on me”

How often do you get a bangin’ pop track with lyrics that are (1) depicting the singer in a position where they are completely defeated and heartbroken, and (2) welcoming the pain because they know it could be worse?

I’m going to venture a guess that Lady Gaga wrote WAYYY more of the lyrics than Ariana Grande, though they were both credited. Ariana’s strongsuit is high ponytails, not personal reflection.

But regardless of who wrote what lines, Rain on Me is the ultimate unique hype song. Some of the first (and most important) moves toward recovery are acknowledging your losses, coming to terms with your disappointment, and accepting that things aren’t great – but could always be worse.

“I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive” they sing before repeatedly welcoming the pain, asking it to “rain on me.” There aren’t many different lyrics, but something about the repetition of “rain on me” between the verses and even throughout the bridge gives this song a motivating, “you got this” vibe, almost like they are saying “is that all you got? Bring it on, I can handle anything.” And sometimes that is the mentality you need to put on to get you through difficult times.

Singing along to “I didn’t ask for the rainfall,” but “I’m ready, rain on me” is strangely empowering every time I listen to it. Come dark days, let-downs, mistreatment… you can get through anything with the right outlook. And isn’t that just the kind of message we need right now?

While the music video is as hot of a mess as it could be, this end shot is unbearably cute and almost redeems the sketchy aesthetic of the rest of the video:

And just for good measure, I’ll leave you with some food for thought.

from @gagadaily on Twitter

Leave a comment if you agree, disagree, or want to see more of this kind of #unpopularopinion!

Until next week…


Regardless of it’s downfalls, or the fact that dystopias are way out of style, I will always be a die-hard Hunger Games fan. The Hunger Games reignited my childhood love of fiction in my teenage years, and first introduced me to both YA and science fiction. In other words, I owe so much of my creative identity to The Hunger Games. Yet, both in the films and the novels, I always had a MAJOR issue with – yes, I’m serious – Peeta. Which, consequently, means I had major problems with the entire plot and character arcs of the series. Oops, did I just admit that?

Me, apologizing in advance for offending Team Peeta:

I mean, what do we really know about Peeta?

He likes pastries, painting, and philanthropy. He’s not super physically or emotionally masculine (which would not at all be an issue, except for the fact that he doesn’t replace the traditional masculine elements of the male personality with anything… anything at all). Instead of lacking a “man’s man” persona, and instead being rich in intellect, cultural knowledge, or emotional depth, he’s kind of just… there. Pouting. Causing problems. Wallowing in self-pity.

Look at this mushy dishrag. What did he do for Katniss? What did he do for Panem? What did he do for the plot of the trilogy???

The Melark Doughboy was enough of a whiner to begin with, then you add Tracker Jacker venom?

And Katniss should’ve, too. She had a perfectly-loyal childhood friend waiting for her to come back for him. But she never did. She came back and paid even less attention to him than she did before meeting Pita Bread.

It’s not like Gale was standing there giving the calls to fire bombs on the crowd of wounded people Prim was trying to help. He just invented the tactic, the execution of this particular usage was overseen by a non-Gale party. We’re just going to throw all that history out for a one-off?

Don’t lie and say that this relationship is not precious.

Plus he’s got a great sense of humor. Not always easy to find in a dystopian society. *

Honestly, beggars can’t be choosers. Miss Everdeen should not be pushing away friends, because, well…

But the whole thing about Gale not being a real man? That’s what bothers me most. Fine, if you want to say he chickens out too easy and doesn’t stand up for what he believes in, I readily accept that. Is this not masculine enough??? I mean, I’m into it. She’s just standing there looking bored.

Let’s face it… Katniss was never looking for a man’s man. She was okay with this happening way too often.

In fact, I don’t think there were any real men in Panem. Probably due to the government. But if anyone would come close, it would NOT be Peeta.

Unless everyone else except President Snow was dead. I mean, give me Haymitch any day over Peeta. At least he was a complainer for legitimate reasons. O-dare I say that maybe a non-flirty Finnick would’ve been the manliest man?

Scratch all that. I just remembered Cato. That dude wins easily. He should’ve won the Hunger Games, tbh?

Until the next Quarter Quell,

*Quote taken from Bad Lip Reading: The Hunger Games*

**Images courtesy of GIPHY**


Welcome to the first installment of my unpopular opinions. We’re starting off with a death-star-sized article, so fasten your seat belts and get ready to jump to lightspeed.

Let me begin by saying that the mere fact that we got from this to this in a trilogy made by different creative developers is a feat all on its own.

But I’m more into the fact that we went from this to this.

I love space opera special effects and action sequences as much as any other Star Wars nerd, but at heart I’m a sucker for character arcs. To be able to look back on a character at the end of a trilogy to see how far they’ve come and how much they’ve changed during their journey is both why I read/watch movies and why I write. This is always the most powerful literary force for me BY FAR. (Yes, even more than Kylo’s hair and all his other amazing qualities.)

SOOO many people disliked the new trilogy because it “changed the force” or “wasn’t the same as the original six episodes,” but the development of Kylo Ren & Rey’s relationship not only makes the new trilogy my favorite by far over the other two, but it actually has made The Rise of Skywalker one of my favorite movies OF ALL TIME.

So I’m looking at this beginning, all that anger and mistrust and fear, and keeping it wrapped up nicely in the back of my mind as Kylo Ren and Rey’s story continues on.


After the woodland fight, we go straight into the emotionally-charged Kylo-unmasking scene. Rey’s trying not to lose her mind with fear while Kylo is taking lots of long glances trying to figure out how someone can be powerful enough to resist his mind-control.

(also where this golden meme fits in)

We’re still very much on enemy sides here, a clear juxtaposition between the “Light” and the “Dark.” This is where Kylo realizes, no, he can’t just “take whatever he wants” like he thinks he can, and now that she sees him face-to-face, Rey realizes that her enemy poses a different threat than she thought.

Then we get to the snowy battle scene where Rey gives Kylo a run for his money. The fact that she defeats him in lightsaber combat has got to be so aggravating, especially since he is already grappling with the guilt of what he just did to his father.


The Last Jedi has MUCH jucier Kylo & Rey content than Episode VII.

I mean, we start off with these “Force FaceTimes” for crying out loud.

This is where we really start to the see the effects of this mysterious Force connection between Kylo Ren and Rey. They’re both confused, angry, and totally set in their own ideals of right and wrong. But very quickly the lines between Light and Dark begin to blur, which is a classic theme for the hero-villian struggle. Someone’s going to switch sides, but who is it going to be?

Then we get to the (in)famous campfire scene where their Force connection reaches a new level, and some serious emotional boding takes place. “You’re not alone…”

Who’s seriously watching this an not eating it up??? I’m about as cynical as they come, and I sit on the edge of my seat every time I watch this movie like “TOUCH! TOUCH! COME ON!”

I can’t with this scene. If this isn’t a top-notch complex romance, then IT DOES NOT EXIST.

Then, after Luke ruins the moment with his past trauma, Rey delivers the best British-accented-line ever:

It’s not just the strong-female-character confidence Rey has in her own ability to see the future that makes this so good, but the fact that she’s way more enthusiastic about going to see Kylo than she’s been about anything the whole time she’s been on the island with Luke. She spent all that time sitting outside in the rain, accidentally ruining all the hard work of those little nun creatures, not really saying much and keeping a pretty steady facial expression. But the possibility of arriving to be greeted by a welcoming Ben/Kylo has got this girl so ready for her red-eye flight.

Granted, she arrives to less-than-desirable circumstances, and to a still-committed Kylo. But this elevator scene is everything!!!

The fact that they can see into each other’s minds is even more intimate when they are actually standing face-to-face. And Rey’s visions are only confirmed by Kylo’s stillness as she steps closer and closer to him, and all he does is stare at her as she talks. She’s essentially letting him know that she knows how difficult and risky it will be for him to turn to the Light, but she will be there to help him when he does. If you didn’t feel the romantic tension here, you weren’t actually watching the movie.

Oops! Her plan didn’t work. But look at his face!!! Look at both of their faces!

And then the epic red-room fight scene. Where Kylo’s connection to the Sith is literally BURNING UP!

But he’s not free from the Kylo persona yet… Rey’s still got more work to do on him before they can be together.

You KNOW this girl wants to take that hand!!

This is pure romantic drama right here. And against such an epic galactic backdrop, I don’t understand why everyone isn’t obsessed.


And here’s where all the feelings come to the surface. A scorned Kylo Ren goes in search of higher purpose with the Sith to fill his empty heart, while Rey and friends are trying to find the second wayfinder so they can thwart those evil plans.

I think it says something that the more in-depth this connection between Rey and Kylo goes, the more reckless, angry, and wild Rey becomes. But Kylo actually starts to calm down a bit??? At this point, I don’t think anyone is thinking they are actually going to end up having a full-on romantic scene, especially not with him stalking her (on a mission to kill her) and all these physical fights they keep getting into.

But these Force FaceTimes are getting deeper, and the tensions are rising. CLEARLY there are some unresolved emotional issues here.

Once Kylo Ren locates Rey, we can really see that homegirl does NOT like the way he’s making her feel… whether she consciously realizes it is romantic tension or not. But one thing is for sure: when Kylo’s present, Rey grows fiercer and stronger.

You know he’s gotta be impressed by this display she just put on too. He comes sauntering out of the wreckage of his ship in all his caped glory, no rush to go after her… just taking in the immensity of her power.

His face says it all here. Maybe this is the first time he’s realizing that what he does, even just his proximity, seriously effects what Rey does and what she is capable of. HMMM. THERE IS A GREATER BOND HERE THAN THEY THOUGHT.

This leads me to one of my FAVORITE Star Wars scenes ever… this epic water fight.

And our girl has never been angrier than she is here after Kylo destroyed the wayfinder that she worked so hard to get. Then he drops, “The only way you’ll get to Exegol is with me,” and she’s had it up to here.

It all culminates with her actually, finally delivering a fatal blow after all their many altercations.


She heals him!!!! SHE SAVES HIM. And then drops this bomb.

And she becomes pretty much the only reason for his sudden redemption.

He can make her shoot lightning like a Sith Lord, but she can make him feel. Oof!

Next they defeat Palpatine, defy all odds, trick the Force system, yeah whatever. The only thing I’m thinking of rn is the best scene in the franchise. (And yes, I’m ready to fight you on that.)

They’ve worked so hard to be here! They’ve gone through so much to get to each other! The epitome of star-crossed lovers.

While Kylo/Ben and Rey finally got the moment they deserved, they didn’t deserve for it be their last.

Tell me this is not the face of a girl who is so relieved to see there are still people who love her about even though she just lost her true love!

I’m ready to pay to see a Ben Solo reincarnation, but until then, I’m just going to keep rewatching the parts before he dies and wishing all love stories were as deep and multifaceted as Kylo Ren and Rey’s.

Until next week,