Blank Space

Blank Space by krin.jpg

Date Aired
December 15, 2014
Running Time
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Todd plays "Blank Space" on the piano

A pop song review

Todd: Guys...Taylor Swift is officially the only pop star that matters.

Clip of Taylor Swift performing "Welcome to New York" on Late Show with David Letterman
Taylor: Welcome to New York

Todd (VO): 2014 belongs to Taylor Swift. 2009, [clip of "You Belong with Me"] that was also the year of Taylor Swift, but it was the year of many others, too. It was the year of Beyonce, Lady Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas.

Todd: But now?

Clip of "Shake It Off"

Todd (VO): Taylor Swift has the biggest album of the year, the biggest single of the year, she's at war with Spotify because she's the only artist with enough clout to do so, and she just became one of the few people to ever get knocked off the #1 spot by...herself.

Todd: And there's no one left to oppose her, like, you know...

Clip of "Problem" by...

Todd (VO): ...Ariana Grande might get there someday, or Iggy Azalea (Let's hope not.). But right now, they're too new, they could be flash-in-the-pans for all we know.

Todd: Taylor Swift has vanquished all her competitors, and that's not who...

Clip of "Teardrops on My Guitar"

Todd (VO): ...Taylor Swift was supposed to be. She got famous for being the everygirl, [clip from Letterman] but that's who she is now. Look, this is the new video.

Video for "Blank Space"
Taylor: Nice to meet you

Todd (VO): Every time she's played dress-up like this before, it's with the understanding of that's not supposed to be the real her. [clip of "Love Story" showing both...] Fake Taylor, real Taylor; [...and "You Belong with Me" showing both...] fake Taylor, real Taylor, and so on.

But there is no real Taylor in this one. That's her, that's who she is presenting herself as. This is a full-on [clip of "Paparazzi" by...] Lady Gaga video! Taylor Swift has supplanted Lady Gaga.

Todd: Quite frankly, I've had more than enough Taylor Swift in my life for a long, long time, but this is what we've got. So get ready for yet another [picture of Taylor, which reads...] episode of Liking Boys, Breaking Up with Boys, & Being Mad at Haters with Taylor Swift.

Todd (VO): And this is a big one. It was so big that it immediately vaulted to the top of the charts, even quicker than "Shake It Off" did. Clearly, this is the one that will symbolize Taylor Swift's dominance of the entertainment industry. Let's see, which one is this one about?

Taylor: Nice to meet you, where you been?
I could show you incredible things
Magic, madness, heaven, sin

Todd (VO): Okay, it's the first one. (Liking boys)

Taylor: I could show you incredible things

Todd (VO): Is she trying to make herself out to be some kind of magical goddess of love here? This is drifting dangerously close to "Bang Bang" territory.

Todd: At least she's finally admitting it.

Taylor: Grab your passport and my hand

Todd (VO): No more trying to hide the colossal arrogance. "Oh, I'm humble, regular ol' Taylor Swift." No, she's cutting out the bullshit and straight-up telling us...

Todd: ...she's the greatest person in the universe who never ever makes a mistake.

Taylor: Oh my God, look at that face
You look like my next mistake

Todd is taken aback

Todd (VO): Wait a minute. I...what am I seeing here?

Taylor: So it's gonna be forever
Or it's gonna go down in flames
You can tell me when it's over
If the high was worth the pain

Todd (VO): Wait, how do you know those are the only two options? 'Cause if so, that means every single past relationship has gone down in flames, meaning I don't even know why she thinks lasting forever is even a possibility.

Todd: I guess that's the point.

Taylor: "Oh my God, who is she?"
I get drunk on jealousy

Todd (VO): Taylor Swift criticizing herself?

Taylor: 'Cause, darling, I'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream

Todd: She's straight-up saying that everything the tabloids have always said about her is totally true!

Taylor: Got a long list of ex-lovers
They'll tell you I'm insane
But I've got a blank space, baby
And I'll write your name

Todd: Oh, my God, it's like I'm witnessing the birth of a unicorn. I can't believe it.

Todd (VO): God, Taylor Swift is...actually demonstrating self-awareness. That means...she can...

Todd: ...analyze her own weaknesses and resolve them before we can exploit them! [pause] My God, she'll be unstoppable!

Clip from The Terminator
On December 13, 2014, 2:14 a.m., Taylor Swift became self-aware
Nuclear missiles were immediately launched against humanity. The war to exterminate the human race would rage for decades.

Todd: Okay, well, um...let me take this line-by-line.

Taylor: 'Cause you know I love the players
And you love the game

Todd (VO): Okay, that lyric is...

Todd: ...very good.

Taylor: Rose garden filled with thorns

Todd: That is also a very good line.

Taylor: Find out what you want
Be that girl for a month

Todd (VO): Holy shit, Taylor Swift is on-point. Not only is this the rare, self-critical Taylor Swift song, it's also really well-written! Never seemed like Taylor Swift was considered some kind of great songwriter, but...oh, my God, every single line here connects.

Todd: This is amazing. Taylor Swift, the lyricist, has never been sharper. I'm...I'm legitimately impressed.

Taylor: So hey, let's be friends
I'm dying to see how this one ends

Todd: Know what? Not only do I think I actually like this song, because of it, I also, somehow hate...

Brief clip of...

Todd (VO): ..."Shake It Off" even more than I already did! It's like this whole song exists to show how unbelievably bullshit the last one was.

Clip of "Shake It Off"
Taylor: But I can't make 'em stay
At least, that's what people say

Todd (VO): [imitating] Including me. I say that on my next single.

Todd: Or check this out.

Taylor: My ex-man brought his new girlfriend
She's like, "oh, my God."
I'm just gonna shake it

Todd (VO): I spent hours on the Internet looking [clips of...] for footage of Taylor Swift saying, "oh, my God," to prove that...

Todd: ...she was exactly the same as her's new girlfriend, and...

Todd (VO): ...all I had to do was wait 'til she released the follow-up!

Taylor: Oh my God, look at that face

Todd (VO): Following "Shake It Off" with "Blank Space" is a shocking swerve. It's like Journey wrote a song called "Actually, Go Ahead and Stop Believing."

Taylor: Got a long list of ex-lovers
They'll tell you I'm insane

Todd (VO): She's not even defending herself, she's not gonna tell you they're wrong, she's admitting that they're totally right, and that she chases the wrong guys and goes insane. It's hard to imagine her singing this without just, like, the [pic from How I Met Your Mother - "Swarley" of Chloe (Morena Baccarin) with...] craziest eyes!

Todd: And not only are all these punchlines solid, it's...she's just completely unbothered by it.

Todd (VO): Like, at first, I thought I might have heard a hint of sadness in there, like regret over how every relationship she has crashes and burns. But no, the more I listen to it, the more I think, no, she's not ashamed. She's totally cool with it.

Taylor: But I got a blank space, baby
*click* And I'll write your name

Todd (VO): Oh, okay, that's a pen.

Todd: She'll write your name in the blank space. Okay, see, I thought that click, that was, you know, "I got a blank space for you, babe." [points the guns] It would've fit.

Todd (VO): And you know what? I'm fine with her being happy about it. I don't think she should be ashamed of having a rocky love life; it's not like I'm gonna date her. And more importantly...

Taylor: 'Cause we're young and we're reckless
We'll take this way too far

Todd: Yes! Duh! She's 25, she's not supposed to be good at dating people. No one's good at it!

Todd (VO): Even people who've been with the same person since they were 14 aren't good at it! Good God, is it weird that saying all this harsh stuff about herself makes me like her a whole lot more?

Todd: 'Cause look, if the backlash is anything to go by, Taylor Swift has a bit of a charisma problem.

Clip of "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"

Todd (VO): The image of innocent, sweet Taylor has long been supplanted by mean-girl Taylor Swift, up-her-ass celebrity Taylor Swift, can't-even-play-her-album-on-Spotify-what-the-hell Taylor Swift, and... and a lot of it does come from people looking too closely at her love life. Look, I don't...I don't care about her personal life. I'm sure she's sick of people caring about it. Unfortunately for her, it's part of her image now, especially since she writes about it in her music a lot.

And I think I am uniquely qualified to diagnose how this song fixes everything because of my position as an Internet reviewer.

Todd: Okay, get ready, everyone, because I'm about to spill one of the trade secrets. It's gonna be like one of those [clip of Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed] magicians' tricks revealed specials; I'm gonna get kicked out of the union for this. Matter of fact, I'd better put on a mask so no one'll notice me. [Reaches down and puts a mask on, then pulls his hood back up] Alright, so, you notice how I crack a lot of jokes about how I'm a [brief clips from reviews of Hannah Montana: The Movie and The Top Ten Best Hit Songs of 2013] broke, pathetic, lonely loser? Well, there is a reason for that. Now, I'm not saying those jokes aren't true, they're very true. Don't think for a second I'm making any of that up. [Laughs nervously] But I tell those jokes for another reason—because otherwise, I would just be some bitter, pathetic [brief clip of end of "Scream and Shout" review, with Todd screaming] jerk-off talking smack about people who have accomplished things a billion times better than I ever will (Trust this man's opinions!), and that gets old real quick. But I start cracking jokes about my own pitiful life, and now...well, I'm still a bitter, pathetic jerk-off talking smack about other people, but now it's okay 'cause at least I'm not pretentious. And this works if you're a [Red Letter Media "What's Wrong With Your Faaaace!?!" print] crotchety, diseased old man shit-talking Star Wars, [clip of "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"] or you're a world-famous pop singer who likes to talk smack about their exes.

That's not to say owning up to your faults is easy.

Todd (VO): Especially if you're Taylor Swift and you already take way too much shit. And yet, here she is doing it! To write a song that is this honest and open is a gutsy move.

Todd: Let's see what she said about it, see where she got the strength.

Clip of interview with SiriusXM
Rich Davis: My favorite line in that song, we were talking about this: "you look like my next mistake."
Taylor: You know what’s interesting about this song is that I actually started writing it as a joke. The media has kind of had a field day talking about what they think my personal life is like. So I just kind of thought, "all right so they’ve drawn up, like, this fictition... this fictitious profile." I just thought of how incredibly complex and interesting that character actually is if it were a real girl.

Todd: [a little let down] Oh. Okay. [pause] Bullshit!

Todd (VO): BOO! BOO! What a cop-out! I don't believe that for a second!

Todd: Look, I'm sure the tabloids are distorting her image in billions of stupid ways, but you're gonna tell me that the person who wrote this line...

Taylor: I can make the bad guys good for a weekend

Todd: ...and this line...

Taylor: Be that girl for a month

Todd: ...wasn't speaking at least a little from experience.

Todd (VO): You're gonna tell me there's not a speck of introspection there, that there's...this is all just pure invention and you're singing from the point of view of a fictional character like it' you're Slim Shady or something. Taylor Swift, if that's true, if you invented this character entirely from whole cloth and it has nothing to do with your lived reality, well, goddamn, start writing some novels. You will win, like, all of the awards.

Todd: And make sure that none of it is based on your life because you write your fictional characters way better than you write yourself. If this was just a joke, guys ever see...

Clip from...

Todd (VO): know,The Other Guys where Mark Wahlberg can dance ballet really well?

Terry Holtz (Wahlberg): I used to do those dance moves to make fun of guys when we were kids, show 'em how queer they were, okay?
Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell): You learned to dance like that sarcastically?
Terry: Yeah, I guess!

Todd: Actually, I guess that one part did sound a little fictional.

Taylor: Boys only want love if it's torture

Todd (VO): At least I really hope she doesn't believe that. Taylor Swift fans, that is not true. [Pasted over video: Parental advisory sticker, "don't try this at home" sign, "NOT INTENDED TO BE A FACTUAL STATEMENT"] Do not go around believing that.

Todd: Bad role model, Taylor Swift.

Todd (VO): I don't know. Her interview there, that does kind of harsh my vibe on this song, honestly. I liked it when I thought it was honest. Who knows, maybe it still is. Taylor Swift sounds like she's in denial anyway. Who cares? I'm not gonna let that ruin the song for me. I like it. It's sharp, it's solid, it's just...

Todd: ...a thoroughly impressive piece of writing. Thumbs up. Thumbs up all the way. Okay? I'm out.

Gets up and leaves

Four days later...

Todd: Why am I already sick of this song?

Todd (VO): Geez, I spent the entire review talking about how much I liked it, and...yet I kinda...don't want to hear this song anymore. I don't know, it's...

Todd: Wait. I think I've figured out the problem here. It''s...

Clip of "Shake It Off"
Taylor: This...sick...beat

Todd: There we go.

Todd (VO): This sick beat. "Sick" in the sense of limp. It's not terrible, I really like the words, but the melody, the music, it's...

Todd:'s never better than passable, and that...that matters a lot for me.

Todd (VO): I mean, I can talk about what this song means to Taylor Swift and her image all day, it's just...I'm not sure I want to hear it all day.

Todd: Which I have been, all day, for days.

Todd (VO): I guess...I felt the same way for [brief clips of...] "Love the Way You Lie" or "Same Love," both of which I thought were interesting, quotable, different, very brave songs, but they were also songs I didn't want to listen to very often. And "Blank Space" is...more listenable than those songs, but...I don't know. If you're gonna be crazy, be crazy. Go full Alanis. Do it. This is just way too similar to that [clip of Leona Lewis - "Bleeding Love"] "keep, keep bleeding" song. I don't know, it''s just not up enough.

Todd: God, I spent the whole review hyping this song up, and then...

Todd (VO): I don't know. I was really into it for a short time, I just wanted to have it around all the time, but then I immediately just get sick of it and my feelings about the whole thing go south 'cause it's like I'm being smothered by it, I just want it to go away, and then all of a sudden, some other hot pop song comes along, and the whole thing starts all over again.

Todd: It's's like something, I don't know. Whatever. Have you heard that new Bruno Mars song? [Gets up and continues as he leaves] Man, it's great. I never want to hear another song again as long as I live.

Taylor: I've got a blank space, baby
And I'll write your name

Closing tag song: The Offspring - "She's Got Issues"

"Blank Space" is owned by Big Machine Records
This video is owned by me

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