NOTE: For a fun, hardcore version of this song give a listen here to the cover of Blank Space by the band I Prevail.
In 2014, Taylor Swift released her first official pop album. On this album is the current number one track in America, Blank Space. The lyrics can be reviewed here. First off, let’s get one thing out of the way. This entire track is Taylor Swift’s way of spoofing her personal life and mocking the media’s take on it. The music video follows right along with that too. With that in mind, let us begin reviewing the lyrics.
Swift begins the track by singing, “Nice to meet you, where you been? / I could show you incredible things / Magic, madness, heaven, sin / Saw you there and I thought / Oh my God, look at that face / You look like my next mistake / Love’s a game, wanna play?” One word stands out in the middle of that verse – “sin.” Is Swift seriously promoting introducing others to sin? Well, no. Remember, this song, in many ways, is a piece of satire. So, as we review it – we should take it as such and remember we’re looking at Swift from her looking through a media lens. The view is, to put it bluntly warped.
But, that’s the view we seem to get from modern dating. I’ve chronicled a number of different songs on this blog from Wrecking Ball to Timber to Gangnam Style and you see a commonality – sex, sin, and hookup culture. In pretty much all of those articles I wrote these words, “Sex is designed for marriage (Genesis 2:24, 1 Corinthians 7:8-9).” It’s still true. Promotion of sin in a relationship generally comes down to promotion of sexual sin. This is a problem and this shouldn’t be how we view dating or relationships. But, that’s the way the culture views them and it’s telling that in Swift’s commentary on the way our culture views her relationships that she puts that three letter word right in the middle of the first verse.
She ends the verse by saying she’s going to jump in and “wanna play” with this new catch who she’s deciding she’s into based solely on appearances. A shallow reason for pursuing a relationship, but Swift seems to know that as her tongue is firmly planted in her cheek throughout this song. That said, we see this often and we need to remind ourselves as Christ points out that lust in the heart is adultery and sinful (Matthew 5:27-28).
Swift continues, “New money, suit and tie / I can read you like a magazine / Ain’t it funny, rumors fly / And I know you heard about me / So hey, let’s be friends / I’m dying to see how this one ends / Grab your passport and my hand / I can make the bad guys good for a weekend.” What is going on here? A short term fling with some dude. That’s pretty much the description of a short term fling where Swift is saying she make that bad boy good for a weekend. There’s not much more to it than that. Are short term flings a good thing? I think the line I gave previously should answer that question pretty wholeheartedly with a big “No.” The Lord wants sex inside marriage, not outside of it. Having random weekend sexual flings are clearly not good ideas. Having random weekend emotional flings are also not good ideas and can hurt just as badly. Again, is Swift condoning this? No, it’s a spoof.
Swift then sings the chorus, “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 / Got a long list of ex-lovers / They’ll tell you I’m insane / ‘Cause you know I love the players / And you love the game / ‘Cause we’re young and we’re reckless / We’ll take this way too far / It’ll leave you breathless / Or with a nasty scar / 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.” She says a lot here. First, the length of the relationship? Whatever. She’s got a bunch of ex’s who think she’s crazy. A long list. But, she’s got an opening right now for a dude so, come on – I’ll let you in. That’s the view of Swift which the media seems to present and which Swift is spoofing here. It’s gossip and it’s insulting.
Gossip is tackled in the Bible as is insults, but one of the clearest pictures of gossip being a sinful issue is in Genesis with Noah’s son Ham. Many remember the “Curse of Ham” (which is actually a curse on Canaan, but whatever) and Noah being naked, but read the story again:
Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard. He drank some of the wine, became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a cloak and placed it over both their shoulders, and walking backward, they covered their father’s nakedness. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father naked.
When Noah awoke from his drinking and learned what his youngest son had done to him, he said:
Canaan will be cursed.
He will be the lowest of slaves to his brothers.
Now, why is Caanan cursed? Well, because of Ham’s actions. What did Ham do? He gossipped about his father. The act of happening upon his dad naked is one thing. Him running out to tell everyone all about it is another. And for those actions, his son got cursed. His gossip hurt his father, it strained their relationship. Gossip hurts and gossip is sinful. We all seem to do it, from time to time, but it’s sinful and worthy of the scorn Swift places upon it in her song. Don’t gossip and don’t insult one another (Matthew 5:22, James 4:11-12).
The second verse is similar to the first in that it encompasses the fling relationship described as starting in verse one. It speaks of jealousy which, when not divine jealousy over false worship, is sinful (Exodus 20:17). It speaks of the fling being awesome, but temporary and potentially painful. All in all, it speaks to a perception of Taylor Swift from the media.
In the end, Swift’s track is one big parody of the gossip which is thrown her way by the modern media. It has to be hurtful to be insulted by the media in such a way. Like Noah, I’m sure she would love to curse those and their offspring who have harmed her with their gossip. Unlike Noah, she does not, and instead walks into the gossip jokingly taking it in. She shakes it off…